Life is hotting up as it usually does at this time of year. You may think it poor that Christmas begins in mid-October these days, when all the pretty, pretty Chrissy trees go up on the storefronts, but at CRASH Towers, Christmas began in June with the first discussions of what would go in the Christmas Special issue and, more importantly, how the team would cope with all the strain! Now it’s really getting near, frightening isn’t it?

Lots of fine letters this month, bash and counter bash, and counter-counter bash. For the £20 worth of software for letter of the month, I chose this one from a parent for a change.


Dear Lloyd,
When I started the software was amazingly simple, like being a king and having to feed the peasants for seven years to complete the game, yet it was fun and pretty tricky stuff. Now my boys can come home with games that are truly amazing. I can use machine code to a fair degree yet still find the games absolutely fantastic. How do they do it? Surely the software capabilities of the machine have surpassed what Sir Clive originally intended for his baby?

I noted a letter in your September issue from Brian Gillespie saying he felt a lot of innocence had gone from the software market. Oh how true! I remember reading articles about games authors who with one disk drive wrote really good stuff in their back rooms. It was a fun time then and one felt just maybe you could achieve this yourself. Of course now games are written by teams of people each working on a separate slice. It is a shame but in your magazine you hear so many complaints about the quality of software that the houses had to become more professional. You can’t have it both ways!

As for advertising, if you spend large amounts of money in creating a game then you’ve got to sell a lot of copies. We know this large colourful advertising works from the letters you get from people who rush out to buy a game on the strength of an advert even before it is released. Also regarding advertising, your cover price would be astronomical if it wasn’t for the large adverts you carry. I used to sell space and know all about the discount jungle, so just tell them to stick it ’cause you’re No 1 for Spectrum games players, so my boys tell me, all their friends read CRASH or ZZAP! depending on ‘religion’.

Finally, we must all face facts, the Spectrum is not the best home computer you can get even for the money, but we’re loyal. Right guys? If it hadn’t been for Sir Clive we’d all be playing paddle tennis instead of Ghosts n Goblins. Power to your elbow Lloyd, I’m sure we’ll be reading CRASH for many years to come.
Paul Tyler

That’s the kind of thing I like to hear! How could any machine in such a fast moving market remain the best value around for ever? Yet the Spectrum has continued to keep pace with all the others simply because it allowed such flexibility in programming from the outset, that programmers have always managed to better themselves year after year. And long may it continue. Thank you for your comments, Paul, your software choice should be on its way soon.


Dear Lloyd (What’s a camera?) Mangram,
I’ve got a mighty big bone to pick with you. WHY, WHY, WHY, weren’t Hannah Smith, Roger Kean, Oli Frey, Del Brewster, etc, etc at the PCW show on Friday? Eh? You just tell me that! All the people I saw that were on the Newsfield stand were Sean Masterson, some bloke called Kavanagh and a woman called Frances as well as other unknowns. Even Penn and Rignall would’ve done. I felt so annoyed that I wandered over to the EMAP stand and stuck C&VG and Sinclair User Stickers ALL OVER my CRASH sweatshirt. So there!
Yours, Mathew Clarke
PS I’m still your friend
PPS Tell Hannah Smith she’s sexier than Melissa Ravenflame. The picture of her on the cover of CRASH 31 really turned me on!

Derek certainly wasn’t at the show, and Oliver made it down for the Saturday and Sunday as did Hannah, sorry you missed her on Friday. But everyone else was there, Roger definitely was and so were Penn, Rignall, Aunt Aggie (aka Carol Kinsey) and Ben Stone. Not only is Hannah sexier than Ms Ravenflame, she’s somehow much more... REAL


Dear Lloyd,
Having read your PCW show preview in the October issue of CRASH there were two items that persuaded me to venture up to Olympia on Friday 5th September of this year. They were the release of Elite’s much awaited Paperboy and this special offer of Domark’s Trivial Pursuit. On arriving at “the event of the year in the games world” as you described it, I was told by Domark’s representative that all copies of the above mentioned Trivial Pursuit were on sale for £10 and I discovered that Elite now plan on releasing Paperboy later this month.

Being a student, it was no mean feat scrounging up the £7 train fare and the £3 entrance fee (including programme).

In the past, I have never had any complaints to make about CRASH. in fact it has been the best Spectrum publication by far for a long time, but after this total lack of reliability, I am no longer so sure. I hope you can restore my faith in the next few issues.
IM Orford

I hope we can too, but information given in advance of any event is taken on its face value, and a month (between publishing and the event) is a long time. Time enough for people to alter their plans.


Dear Lloyd,
Ha, so you’ve all been wondering where old Robin is then. Well I am the proud owner of one Robin Candy. I bought him at a market in Milton Keynes from this little old woman on a stall selling CRASH backnumbers (now you know why they are running out). He was so mega cheap I just couldn’t refuse, a real Candy cage and adoption papers free, yes free!

I’m sure this woman said, ‘bye, son,’ as I led him away tugging at his chain. I suppose his grunts meant roughly, ‘mother, don’t sell me, well not this cheaply anyway.’

He’s not been the same recently since his supply of CRASH coffee (or is it soup) ran out, I just had to feed him on Hannah’s playing tips instead (sorry Hannah) he seemed to enjoy ripping them to pieces.

I will let Candy free for such a small price I feel I’m ripping myself off, all you have to do is make my letter Star Letter. Maybe that should be the other way round, I’ll let Candy loose if you don’t make this the Star Letter (sorry to have to make threats against you but I’m in bad need of some new software). Just think, such a small price to pay to be sure of never having Candy soil the threshold of the world famous (nearly) CRASH Towers.
Batman and Robin

Okay Robin, stop writing these ‘keep my name on the pages’ letters or there’ll be trouble. You can’t fool me with a fake Bedford post stamp...


Dear Mangram-thing,
I’ve got a lot to get through so I’ll start immediately.

1. ADS. I must agree with Michael Imprato (issue 32). Many (but not all) advertisements consist of a whole page, devoted to the game’s title — Revenge of the Inland Revenue, and a drawing of said leering taxman brandishing his 3 foot long poisoned rollerball — nothing else. No helpful screen shots, no caption explaining what you must do in the game, whether it’s an adventure or an arcade game, and sometimes not even a price! This means you know more about how a good artist is than how good a game is.

2. MINSON. Why doesn’t this moron push off and do monthly recipes in WOMAN magazine. We want to know about latest launches not latest lunches. His page can, on occasion be amusing, but let’s have a bit more relevance, huh?

3. I am forced to complain about the utterly unreasonable way the comps minion is treated. (cue violins). This poor, defenceless wretch seems beset by every sort of torture and humiliation you evil lot can devise. Shame! Anyway, this has got to stop. I hereby announce the formation of S.P.U.T.U.M. — Society for the Protection of Underpriviledged and Totally Unappreciated Minions. This gratuitous violence will cease immediately — or there’ll be trouble.
Connor Carson
PS Go get her Hannah!

Yes, some ads are a bit minimal in concept, on the other hand, they might well become a bit tedious to look at if they get too technical and informative. Still, there’s obviously a balance to be found. Minson irrelevant!? He’s the epitome of relevancy, a fearless writer who tells it like it is. You think the games business is all fun, all playing games all day. Well let me tell you it’s not. There’s a lot of hard drinking, loud shouting and unquiet Hawaiian shirts to get through before your average computer hack can drop into his unmade bed. Same goes for comps minions (or is that ‘comps minsions’)?


Dear Lloyd,
Just a quick few words to tell the critics in the mould of Philip Coggins and Mr Evans to leave Mr Minson alone! Just imagine how dull the page would be if he gave an everyday account of his travels, for example: “And then I went to Mikro-Gen’s offices, saw a game in the pipeline called The All-new Wally Week Game, had lunch went back to CRASH Towers...” See how boring it could be? Some spice is needed, no matter what. So keep up the good work Mr Minson (and CRASH)!
P Hindle
PS Tell Mr Minson that I found a half eaten Barrat Sherbet Fountain the other day in Tesco’s freezer. He is welcome to it!

I guess that would sound dull. Even duller would be nothing on the page at all. That would be cheaper though — perhaps I should suggest this upwards in the hope that the Minson fee comes downward in my direction, which would be a help what with the new Sutton’s seed catalogue out and an early planting start to make after the Yuletide festivities...


Dear Lloyd,
In reply to Amstrad’s launching of the new Spectrum I would just like to say I am a bit angry. I bought my Spectrum Plus ten months ago. Within a year of buying my computer, two other Spectrums have been launched, each one better than the other. I would just like to say two things:

1. When is this going to stop and

2. Can I get my Spectrum upgraded by Amstrad?
Thomas Greenan

Annoying, isn’t it. But exactly the same thing happened to Amstrad owners. Amstrad seem hell bent on producing new machines, some compatible and some not, at a furious pace without much care for the consumer who buys early. In answer; I’ve no idea whether it’s going to stop, but I doubt it, and I would be surprised if Amstrad upgraded your machine for you.


I really think all these arguments about violence and sexual over tones have gone to Oli’s head. I mean look at his drawing of Hannah Smith mud wrestling with Melissa Paving Slab it looked nothing like her, and if this C&VG (eek) tipster is all woman why does she sign her name Jerry Ross?
Yours Domark Fraggle

Good point, why does she?


Dear Lloyd,
I am about to exaggerate a little but if you think about what I am about to say it is quite possible. The Spectrum 128K flopped as it was not devastatingly different to other computers so no-one wanted to fork out the money before there was any software. In my opinion the next big selling computer will have to knock socks off the Spectrum and Commodore 64 for the same price tag. How, I hear you say, can this be done? I’m not intending that what I’m about to say should be done but it is to prove it is possible.

The late great QL is one hell of a piece of hardware underneath its bad publicity. It failed the business market as people thought it was too cheap to be good and it failed the games market as few kids have £400 knocking about. If you put a three channel sound chip into a QL what have you got? A games computer with 128K memory, twice as good graphics as a Spectrum, 8 colours per square, 3 channel sound. In plain English a computer capable of producing games which would out do the best games or any of the big selling games machines at the moment.

The present price of a QL is £160 and that includes a printer from all Dixon stores. The Spectrum 128K costs £139 now and is far inferior to such a computer. Now then: you may say: People don’t want a computer that’s not compatible with a Spectrum. This isn’t true. Most people who bought a 128K Spectrum kept their old Spectrum as everyone who wants a computer has already got one and there is nobody to sell it to.

I personally would keep my Spectrum no matter whether I bought a new computer which was absolutely 100% compatible with it. Second hand Spectrums are not in demand and if by chance you could sell it you would only get £20 or so for it. To have it as a spare is worth more than that. So a new computer need not be compatible to be able to sell well.
Paul Fravigar

Now there’s an original thought. Perhaps the QL could see a new lease of life after all! Of course it uses a 68000 processor, which to some degree puts it in with the Atari ST and Mac. Maybe a new mag catering for those machines would also help boost the QL — who knows...


Dear Lloyd,
I am writing to comment on complaints suggesting that the ‘Fear and Loathing’ articles are too adult and boring, and CRASH Course is useless as the average CRASH reader is a teenager.

If CRASH catered only for the average reader, look what would have happened to last month’s issue:

The average reader is a games player, so out would go Tech Niche, CRASH Course, The Gallery and Fear and Loathing.

The average game-player plays arcade games, so it would be goodbye to Adventure Trail, Sign Stumps, Front-Line, PBM Mailbox, the adventure Charts and the Stretching Computer Games feature.

So what are we left with? The Editorial, News, Forum, Hotline charts, the Hall of Slime, Playing Tips, Merely Mangram and the Lunar Jetman Cartoon.

That may look quite a lot, but it is only 68 readable pages, compared with 82 pages now!! (This doesn’t include adverts).

What a waste of time CRASH would be if those whining simps had their way. I like CRASH just as it is, Thanks.
Nat Pryce

Right! And (by your calculations) 14 pages against 68 doesn’t eat up too much of the mainstream stuff either, does it? Life has more to offer than the obvious, and you should seize it when it’s there. Thank you, Nat, for a dollop of common sense.


Dear Lloyd,
I felt I must write to you after reading your letters page, especially Lee Sayers’ letter. I also bought my 128K within months of it being launched, and frankly I feel diddled. We were promised lots of new releases for the new computer but to date all I have seen are a few revamped programs that have had made adequate use of the 128’s excellent sound chip, and only a few have been expanded to make use of the vast amount of memory. Why oh why aren’t any of the software houses being brave and writing games for the 128?

My other gripe is that on the subject of the Opus Discovery system. I feel that software companies haven’t really taken advantage of this excellent system. Games such as Elite could have made a real use from the Disk System. The game could have been expanded with many more by having the flying and docking loading separately. On this subject may I say thanks to Software Projects for putting Dragons Lair on disk: even as I write this letter my tape and four pounds are winging their way to Software Projects in exchange for a disk version of their game. So come on all of you software companies put your games on disks, I would be quite happy to splash out the extra money for advanced speed. This would save me a lot of time in transferring all my games to my Opus system as well.
Robert Bain

It is indeed a shame that the Opus Disk drive has not been pushed more, since with more exposure and software for it, more Spectrum owners may have opted for purchasing it. This kind of feedback effect always has enormous benefits for everyone in the long run.


Dear Lloyd,
In the October CRASH your Competition Minion made a mistake. In the WAR wordsquare you have LAUGH written down as a word to find, but it cannot be found in the square. The nearest word to it is DAUGH on the end of HEAD).
Phineas Huggett

It’s simply a matter of the Comps Minion having the last laugh, huh? Never mind Phineas, like everyone else you were stuck with the same wordsquare, so it didn’t make the competition any worse for you.


Dear Lloyd,
Since (as you so correctly pointed out) there will no doubt be a massive uproar about N Potter’s letter (Forum 32), I thought I’d be different and defend him.

I’ll start with the standard 48K Spectrum. In its day, this was a very good machine, but its day has long gone (it was already fading when the Plus was introduced). Yes, the programmers still do amazing things with it, but what right does that give anyone to condemn someone who speaks the truth and admits the Spectrum is outdated. True, the C64 is also based on outdated technology, but it is better implemented — its faults, bad BASIC and the need to use a dedicated tape deck are curable, attribute clash and terrible sound are not (yes there are add-on sound boxes but who supports them)?

On to the much talked about (but little bought) Spectrum 128K. This machine is a joke! What’s it got over the 48K? More memory — fair enough — I concede on this point. Better sound — hah! If the Spectrum is outdated, the AY chip is positively prehistoric! It doesn’t have proper envelope control — just a few preset shapes. Compare this to the SID chip used in the C64 — on the other hand, don’t — there is no comparison. The best way to do this is to visit your local computer and get them to put a game on both the Amstrad (which uses the AY chip) and the C64. Listen to the difference — I rest my case. As to how Sinclair has written the ROM sound routine — that’s the best of all. The whole point of having a sound chip is to take the load off the CPU so it can get on while the note is sounded. So what does Uncle Clive do — he makes it so the computer stops while it plays a note — brilliant!!

To cap it all, Uncle C missed his final chance to use a proper keyboard. I’m sorry, I couldn’t recommend the 128 to anyone.

Personally, when I get rid of my Spectrum at the end of the year, I’ll be buying a C128D. These may not come cheap, but you do get 3 computers for your money. Games — use 64 mode. Programming — 128 mode has one of the best BASICs available. Serious programs — depends on your wallet size — most Spectrum utilities are also out on the 64 — there quite a few American 128 utilities — for the rich, just switch on CP/M mode...

However, I will stay loyal to CRASH, I’ve got quite attached to it and could never get into ZZAP!
PA Rasbotham

I’m not surprised, such an unpleasant bunch those ZZAP! people! Your opinions are obviously strong on the 128, and I’m not saying they’re unfounded either. But whether the plus and 48K have really had their day is another matter. What counts, surely, is the quality of software available. Compare it with a book. Do you decide that just because books have been around a long while (regardless of what’s written on the page) it’s time to throw them away. It is the book that matters, it’s the novel contained on its pages that counts.


Dear Lloyd,
Having owned my Spectrum for 3 years, I have watched the software industry grow from strength to strength with releases such as JSW/Manic Miner, Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Knight Lore and the more recent Way of the Exploding Fist. All of these releases were original, excellent games, outshining all other games on the market, and are well remembered for doing so.

It seems, however, that breakthroughs like this are nearing extinction and we have to be content with either sequels (Dynamite Dan II, Cauldron II), copies of earlier hits (Batman, Bobby Bearing) or arcade conversions (Ping Pong, Ghosts n Goblins).

Exasperated Spectrum owners seem to have blamed Ultimate for this, lord knows why, they are the only company that I can think of that have been awarded a CRASH Smash on each and every release.

Having valiantly defended the Spectrum for so long against those horrible C64 owners, I will continue to do so, in hope that the recent software slump will pick up after the PCW show in time to fill my Christmas stocking with some good original stuff.
Anne (yes, a girl) Poulton

Perhaps we’re all being a bit impatient. It took a couple of years before the real clever breakthroughs started to happen on the software scene. Since then they have come thick and fast enough, yet if you look back, everything takes its own time. I’m convinced there’s still a lot more to happen yet.


Dear LM,
Could you please ask Hannah Smith when she is going to publish the second half of The Incredible Shrinking Fireman solution. The first part was published in Issue 29 (June 86). I’d be most grateful.
David Thompson

Hannah tells me she thinks she already has printed it, but perhaps she’s become confused by all the recent raving fame. Still, there’s a map this month and hopefully the solution (again?) next month.


Dear Lloyd,
Did you realise that CRASH is read by the third best group in the world? (The first and second are not WHAM!) Yes, LEVEL 42 read CRASH! Now listen up, and I’ll start from the beginning.

A while back I purchased a copy of LEVEL 42’s latest album entitled World Machine. It wasn’t until now that I noticed this part of the lyric in a song called Dream Crazy:

“Stand easy, it’s a party CRASH so sleezy lets make a SMASH. Cool covers, set the scene, dive into the neon LOVE MACHINE”

Take a look at those lyrics... notice anything? take a look below.

1. The first part mentions the name of your ULTRA-FANTASTICO magazine.

2. The second bit mentions the word Smash which I’m sure my fellow readers are familiar with.

3. The third section mentions ‘cool covers’, can they be referring to Oli Frey?

4. The last bit has got something about a ‘neon love machine’, this thing is probably a Spectrum.

Now lets translate the song:

“Don’t panic CRASH are gonna give us a review in a party Xmas special, Let’s make it good and they might give us a Smash, If they draw us on the cover it’ll be great, So dive into my cupboard and pass me that Spectrum”.
Chris Willis

Seems to be an irrefutable analysis of the lyrics to me, Chris. Hello Level 42, how’re you doing?


Dear Lloyd,
In Issue 33, Thomas Connolly and Andrew Thorpe were criticising Sinclair User, Your Sinclair etc. I have drawn up a little benchtestette (look that one up LMLWD) for CRASH, SU and YS.

These tests are for the October issues of the mags.

Pages: 138 115 104
Reviews: 36 27 31
Comps: 4 2 2
Colour pages: 8353 47
Adverts: 46 49 51
Pages of letters: 62 3
Pages of tips: 92 Free tips special
Number of Tips: 185 Free tips special
Average review space: page half half
Screen shots: 89 76 60


Crash: long reviews, descriptive.
SU: longish reviews, quite basic.
YS: Shortish reviews, full of wit.


Crash: includes criticisms, game keys and 15 other rating factors.
SU: includes hint strips, facts box. Uses very ancient stars system.
YS: has 4 rating factors and a mark out of ten.


Crash: Excellent, more than SU and YS. Good variety.
SU: Bad, normally 2 month old tips copied from Crash.
YS: Quite good, few screenshots, postermap every month.


Crash: Great mag. Original and full of colour. Lots of clear reviews. There is something for everyone in CRASH!, lots of features. I mean variety is the spice of CRASH!
SU: Quite nice. Used to be rubbish but copied CRASH with coloured, large reviews.
YS: Good. Emphasis on different printfaces. Nice and witty and colourful. Lots of ‘useless wit’ which does nothing for you but makes you laugh!

Well there it is. You have the evidence. Please print this, if only to serve as a guideline for any prospective buyer of magazines.
Paul Bell

Thank you for your hard work, Paul. You’ve saved our statistics department hours of labour!


Dear Mr Mangram,
We, in Portugal, usually can find a pirated copy of a new release at about the same time it’s launched in England. While this may seem strange to you, that’s about all we get; I’ve never seen an original game cassette for sale in a shop. A pirated copy of any game costs a quid, give and take 50p, and if you play honest and write a British software house you get your money back (sometimes) with a letter apologizing, but “we don’t sell software to Portugal due to the piracy over there”. Who’s to blame, then?
Joao Paulo F A Carvalho

Indeed, who is to blame? Frankly, if civilised countries can’t act in a decent and proper manner, then there’s no reason why any software house should either bother with them or the citizens within their borders.


Dear Lloyd,
I have been an avid reader of CRASH since Issue 2, (unfortunately, I missed No 1) and thoroughly enjoy most of it! I never used to read Forum until a month or so ago and this month I’m glad I did.

I saw a letter from US Gold referring to World Cup Carnival. I must admit I was amused to read their excuses for releasing an old game with a new title.

Being a married man with a young son, I don’t often find the cash to buy new software, so, as you can appreciate I tend to be fairly choosy when I buy new games. My biggest passion is Sport. I play football at the weekends and most of the games I buy are Sports simulation — Football Manager, Matchday and Matchpoint, being my favourites.

When I saw World Cup Carnival I thought that this could be a good game to add to my collection. Unfortunately, I became too impatient and bought the game. Impatient?? Yes! — I’ll explain: Usually, I wait until a game is reviewed in CRASH before deciding to buy, but as it hadn’t been reviewed at the time I had enough money to buy it, I broke my own rule and took the plunge.

Boy, was I disappointed! Apart from the fancy wrapping and free badge etc, it was practically an identical copy of Artic’s World Cup, (a game I bought quite awhile ago for about £5 which is now being sold for £1.99. I paid nearly £10 for the US Gold copy)!

With reference to US Gold’s well written letter; there are a number of personal observations I’d like to make.

1. I don’t read ZZAP!64 so I didn’t see any screen shots.

2. No-one told me at Boots (Aldershot) where I bought Carnival that it was an ‘updated’ version of the Artic game.

3. I wrote a letter to US Gold saying that having been pleased with some of their games, I was disgusted that they passed off this game as their own! — They didn’t even have the decency to reply! (so much for answering all letters).

To say that Carnival was ‘to the good of the software market’ is in my mind, pure rubbish!

I hope you publish this letter so it may encourage other people who have lost a hard-earned £10 on a game that will never be played to add their voices to the protest.

Perhaps software companies who make a good living out of us ‘punters’ will start repaying us by not ripping us off.
John Miles

I think your letter makes its own points very succinctly without me adding anything. I’m sure the US Gold reply printed in Forum was well meant in as much as it did admit to original plans going awry but that’s hardly any consolation to those who feel they were taken in.


Dear Lloyd,
I write to you on the subject of hacking. Recently in another Spectrum magazine I saw a whole page of pokes for Elite, which hacked it to pieces. There were so many different cheats and POKEs from anything between infinite energy bombs to endless fuel, that the game would just be senseless to play. I mean what is the worth of playing Elite where you couldn’t die? You wouldn’t have any fun, be achieving anything and the game would just be a bore.

You couldn’t be credited for completing that difficult game you had been struggling over if you succumb to the disease of hacking. Some people will argue that there is no point in just leaving a game to gather dust if it’s too difficult, you might as well hack it to at least see what the ending’s like, but I would rather persevere and be able to say that I completed it on my own merit.

There would be no pleasure or sense of victory if you immediately hacked a game after just buying it. The price tag would be worthless. On the whole I think pokes are a complete waste of time. If you want to admit defeat, poke away.
Gary Holloway

I don’t agree with you at all. There are those who get their fun playing a game on its own merits to the end, there are those who have more fun hacking them, and there are those who get stuck and would give up without some help. As to how much ‘help’ you take on a game, is obviously up to the individual, and if you wish to persevere to the end on your own — fine — let the others enjoy their games in their way.


Dear Lloyd,
Having been reading CRASH since issue 1, I thought it was about time I wrote in. I would just like to raise a few points that have been discussed in the Forum recently.

1. Minson. Personally I think he writes a very good column. Admittedly it has nothing to do with what he is supposed to be reporting on, but it is, in my opinion at least, very entertaining. Keep it up Minson.

2. I must agree with Brian Gillespie that software companies are becoming more and more money-conscious and less prepared to take risks. I think this is why the 128 is not catching on. It could do with a return of the 1982 pioneering spirit. I do not think the 128 II will sell either unless the software companies release enough software for it.

3 Valente. Would the people of Tyne and Wear kindly hang, draw and quarter him please?

4. The layout of CRASH. I think that the different types of game should be kept in their own columns. Would you also put the names of the people reviewing a game down so that we can get to know different peoples’ tastes.

I think that’s about all, except to say better luck with the runner beans next year.
Barnaby Dellar

I’m going to plant them a touch earlier next year, perhaps that will help. As you’ve been a reader of CRASH since the very beginning (and there must be loads more out there in great readerland), how about writing a short essay on how CRASH has changed (or not) over the three years. I would be very interested to hear your views and doubtless so would the rest of the team.


Dear Lloyd,
Just writing you a letter to test my new pen. I’ll try and write quickly cos I know you don’t have much time. I’ve noticed recently that most of your letters cover a number of subjects so I’ll try to do the same.

BUDGET SOFTWARE: this has now become big business among software houses with, at a guess, at least half of all games being released below the £3 mark and I HATE IT. Why? Because it is being used as an excuse by authors to write absolute trash, 99% of budget software is of a very low standard and almost certainly wouldn’t be released at a price of £5 or more.

My plea to software companies is if you wouldn’t sell it at £5 or £6 don’t sell it at all. You are just lowering the overall standard of software today. People don’t want to buy rubbish no matter how cheap it is. (I have bought both Spellbound and Knight Tyme — I just wish the rest were as good).

3D GAMES: In my view, games have very few types of presentation possibilities. The flat side-on technique has been used for many years now and still is with Dynamite Dan II etc but no-one complains. So why should someone complain when a handful of games using the same 3D technique comes on to the market. It is just another method of presentation — don’t knock it!

MINSON: I think he’s great, and sometimes even funny! He may have a different style of reporting than the rest of the CRASH team, but variety is the spice of life. Or so they say.

MANGRAM. Yes you! Personally, I couldn’t give a Commodore 64 (or what!) you really are. As long as you are just being your usual informative, chatty, intelligent self (grovel) then you are fine by me. So stop printing letters with stupid explanations of your being. Please!

Well that’s it. Good luck with your new magazine. I hope it’s as good as CRASH is now, and that it doesn’t go to your head as quickly as Old Flatulance Bitter goes to mine!
Jeremy Moore

Well, we’re really having a ‘bash the bashers’ session this month, and why not? As to budget software, I think I’m inclined to agree with you. It’s always nice to get a really fine game for two quid, but so many are pretty awful. It seems a shame to me that the industry has polarised so much that everything is either under £2 or over £9. Doesn’t this mean that somehow reasonable games can be done for around the £6 mark?

I find Minson funny too, especially when he wears a grey shirt and tie and tries to look like a fifties Fleet Street reporter. Great stuff! Modesty prevents me from commenting on the rest of your letter.


Dear Lloyd,
With reference to the recent correspondence on the alcoholic propensity of Computer Software journalists such as your own Mr Minson. (P Coggins, September issue).

It seems to this erudite correspondent that such alcoholic over-indulgence is directly related to another grievance that is often aimed in the pages of your august (not the month, stupid!) publication — that of the extortionate (well, often anyway) price of software. It does not take a genius (like wot I is) to mentally compute that if software houses did not spend so much money on indulging the predelictions of semi-inebriate epicurian journalists in the hope of a favourable review of their latest offering(s), then they could afford to cut the retail price of their products.

Of course, this alone would not be enough, maybe if said software houses were to restrain themselves from constantly advertising their games months in advance of launch (if, indeed, such products ever come to be launched!), the money saved (sorry, Advertising Department!!) could be again put towards a price cut.

Finally, full marks to the (beautiful) lady on your stand at the PCW show on Friday who was able, where all others failed, to inform me that Incentive were not exhibiting at the show and thus GAC was not on demonstration (no thanks to Incentive!!).
DGW Griffith

It’s true, of course, that chronically inebriated twisters of prose like Scott FitzMinson, do add up to costing the industry a lot of money. The hardest part of any software launch is to persuade them from the bottle to the screen before they totter off to another launch. On the other hand, we’d never get to hear about anything if it wasn’t for the press launches. Promotion may add up to a substantial sum for a game, but it’s still a small amount of the total expenditure, and without it, software houses can’t sell into the chain stores and the like. As I’m sure you are aware, it isn’t love that makes the world go round but money — unless you’re a press hack of course, then it’s booze.


Dear Lloyd,
I am sick to death of hearing people complaining about the cost of games. The argument usually put forward is that in 1982/3 games cost about £5, why the sudden increase?

This is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Show me a game written in 1983 which had 3D graphics as good as Batman or a colour scrolling game without attribute problems, such as Lightforce (HOW do they do that)?? Come to that any scrolling game at all, with the exception of Lunar Jetman, one of the most addictive games ever written.

What I am saying is that considering the complexity of new games and the time, advertising and promotion involved. And also the quality of the actual games, is it so surprising that games have become £3–4 more expensive?

So tell the whinging ratbags to keep their comments to themselves, we don’t need them.
Robert Hayden
PS Who needs Claire Hirsch with the adorable Hannah Smith around?

Who indeed?! It’s nice to hear someone defending progress in the games market for a change and, bearing in mind that clever graphics don’t necessarily make a great game or become an excuse for jacking up prices, I agree with your sentiments sir.


On the subject of Ultimate ‘clones’, I suggest that some people should be less cynical about 3D viewpoint games, after all, it is only a viewpoint. Imagine if Green Beret were called a Cauldron II clone because of its side view, Bounder a Panzadrome clone because of its top viewpoint, why doesn’t this happen? The answer is massively different [gameplay], but the majority of 3D games also have totally different gameplay: Movie, Fairlight, Pyracurse, Kirel, Spindizzy, Molecule Man, Quazatron and Paperboy! True there are a lot of games which are real Ultimate clones clones but not that many. But games like Fairlight have been tagged as Ultimate clones where if you think about it, the graphics even are of a very different style (and they’re better). So you utterly unsatisfiable people stop moaning about the number of 3D games and why not pick on 2D games instead? Um what else... er, oh yes, I think that Gargoyle, Elite and Imagine are really ace and Green Beret should have been a Smash.
Timothy Rouse
PS As for Mr (Hi I’m an Oranginaholic) Hunto (Totally outrageous) Minson, cor! wot a lad! wot a party animal! Someone wake him up please.

Let sleeping dogs lie, I say. Wake him up and he’s as loud as his shirts. It won’t do! As to the clones, I’m sure we’re going through a patch where there are so many good games around and yet people still feel the to complain, so they do. Once we were all thrilled with a few unidentifiable blobs or arrows for heroes — how much better life is today, only some three years after ‘the good old days’.


Dear Lloyd,
In reply to your letters on advertising I would like to express my views on the subject. Advertising serves two purposes, one is to inform the public on what games are going to be released, the price and other details. The other is that it helps sell the game. By using fancy artwork and glamorous phrases and licensed people advertisers provoke interest in the game which would lead to more sales. For instance Friday the 13th and World Cup Carnival only generated their sales from clever advertising. Many a time I have been persuaded to buy games solely on their advertising. No matter what people say, everyone is effected by advertising in some way.

Also, I have seen games in WH Smith underpriced. For example I saw V for £5.95 and Arc of Yesod £5.95 as well.
C Counsell

Well that makes a change from the usual accusation of the chains over-pricing a game!

Of course advertising affects everyone in some way, often we’re not even aware that we have been affected, some times for the good, sometimes for the bad. At its best, I think advertising can actually brighten life up considerably.


Dear Lloyd,
I’m sorry to say that I agree with N Potter’s letter (ish 32) about the recent spate of 3D games, compared to the variety that Commie (Spit) user’s have been getting. OK, some of the 3D games are not bad (Batman), but I am sick of seeing cheap, tacky versions, as well as Ultimate’s drivel. I look forward to the conversions of the Eidolon and the such.

However, I think Spectrum adventures are far superior to Commie versions, and will invest more of my meagre amount of money into them if the 3D games survive much longer.

Now to cover some more points that have caught my eye in FORUM. Firstly I would like to speak out in favour of Hunter S. Minson, he is a vital ingredient of your magazine and removing him would be like scrapping FORUM. He is very witty and is the first article I read after purchasing CRASH.

What’s happened to ‘On the cover’ and ‘Homegrown Software’. What has really happened to Robin Candy, I think you were jealous of his increasing popularity and killed him, his pastures new is really a field where you buried him.
Jamie Butler

You’re right about the adventures, except that the Commodore does offer tremendous scope as long as you own a disk drive. It doesn’t seem that Hunter MinFitzSimmons is in any real danger of being removed other than by his own liver (unless it’s by members of the Loud Hawaiian Shirt Abatement Society). On the Cover is probably due for a return soon, but I think we had just about run through everyone at the time it stopped! Homegrown Software is suffering the pre-Christmas rush period (which makes it hard to fit in time-consuming activities) and Rob Candy is alive, well and living in Ludlow College, not some field. In fact he stuck his head in a few minutes ago, and as far as I could tell there was a body attached to it.


Dear Lloyd,
You will first notice that I am writing this missive in red ink (Readers of the Forum won’t know, but believe me I am). This is partly because it was the only pen I could find, but also because I am a little angry. (Now you’re scared, aren’t you)? What has aroused my wrath? Sloppiness! That’s what. My friends do it, my mother does it. Even my economics teacher used to do it. Now even CRASH has fallen into the trap, in Issue 33.

To elaborate: what is written on the front of the box of a certain game is, “TRIVIAL PURSUIT”. There is no ‘S’. There’s only one game in the box for flips sake! Why the plural? Why does everybody do it wrong?

Am I the only sane person in the world? Sometimes I think I must go mad. Everyone of your critics in the October review got it wrong. Is it some new psychological trick like: Paris in the Spring? Aaargghhhhhhhhhhhh!
Yours sincerelys, Stuart C Marlow(s)

Sorrys about thats. Its the sorts of things thats happens when there’s lots of peoples about who don’t know English properlys. Definitely slopinesss, slapped wrists all rounds. Happys now?

So, there we go for another month. Not long now to CRASH’s anniversary. Ish 35 completes three years of existence. How do we do it? See you next month.