Getting through this FORUM has been a bit of a dash because of a new project I’m involved with for the Newsfield Powers That Be. For the moment it will have to remain a secret, but I promise to share it as soon as I’m allowed! What with that, the runner beans, oiling my bicycle chain and reading your letters, it’s been a full month. For the best letter of the month, and the valued and much prized £20 worth of software, I chose this one because it’s informative and a different view of life, the universe and whatnot...

VIEW FROM THE HIGH STREET

Dear Lloyd,
Much has been written about home copying (or tape piracy/theft), particularly from the viewpoints of the copier and of the programmer. I have never seen a retailer put his point of view forward, and since I work for one of the larger national retail chains (though I am in no way connected with software retailing) I feel it is only fair that this side of the case is mentioned.

In a large high street shop the different types of merchandise are generally in fierce competition with each other for available space on the sales floor. The products which are sold are usually those which:

  1. Conform with the accepted concept of the particular retailer, eg newspapers in WH Smith, cosmetics in Boots, etc.
  2. Generate a good customer flow, ie attract a lot of customers who may well buy other products during their visit to the shop.
  3. Show a good net profit to the retailer.

Room in the High Street is becoming increasingly scarce — and therefore increasingly costly. Normally, the greater the demand for a product — ie the more that are sold — then the better the profitability, and the more likely that the product will continue to be seen on the shelf. Any activity which reduces the demand for a product reduces the profitability and renders it liable to be replaced on the shelf by other merchandise. Home copying is such an activity, as also is the theft of inlay cards to use with copied tapes.

So please Lloyd, don’t condone people like Mark Fernihough in last month’s Forum. 33 originals out of a total of 200 games may not be enough to prevent a return to the days when we had to search the back streets of the nearest large city for our software.

One more point on a totally different subject. Please tell John Minson (page 14 Issue 28) that Ocean did put out Superbowl in bugged form. I bought it excitedly after months of waiting only to find it totally corrupted. Today I received the ‘proper’ version back from Ocean and although it loads and runs there are still several parts of the game which don’t work as they should according to the instructions. This seems to be a recent habit with Ocean (Imagine). Ping Pong also contains a basic bug — when deuce is reached, service does not alternate but remains with Player 1. Does anyone actually try their games before they are sent out to grab our hard saved pennies?
Colin May

On your last point, I wonder myself. There seems to be a lot of bug-ery these days, and at a time when were told that the state of programming has never been higher. I wonder whether the pressure of getting already delayed games out is getting to the programmers.

Your views on how hard it is to get product onto the shop shelves should prove interesting to loads of people. We consumers so often think goods appear there as if by magic, when in fact it takes tenacity, ingenuity and often a lot of money for the producer to succeed on each product. Thanks for the letter, and £20 of software is on its way to you as soon as Aunty Aggie gets the details.
LM

GETTING FLASHY WITH THE COLOURS

Dear Lloyd,
While I was reading my way through the May 86 edition of your fab mag, I saw a letter which criticised speccy programmers for not producing a Hi-res colour routine on the speccy. I feel I should point out to the writer of that letter, Peter Dann, that in order to produce Hi-res colour similar to that on the Beeb (Sorry!), you would have to change the contents of the attribute file (The place in memory where the colour is stored) about 1,000,000 (Yes ONE MILLION) times per second, which without a second processor or some other hardware of similar high expense, would be impossible.

Okay, before you (LM that is) start getting letters about this one, I know David (God mark 2) Webb has already produced a Hi-res colour routine, but that only works on a quarter of the screen width. That routine is to be found in his brilliant book ‘Advanced Spectrum Machine Language’ which is published by Melbourne House. This is a very highly recommended book and one which I would hate to be without.

However, I think that some sort of Hi-res colour routine can be produced, and I am willing to get together with any other programmers who would like to try and produce a routine of this sort. Also, not wishing to use Forum as an advert section, I would like to join a software company to work on projects as a freelance programmer. Again, please contact me. I will consider any offers. Finally, to all at CRASH, keep up the good work, and congrats for being the best-selling computer mag in Britain.
Matthew Wenham

Matthew, thank you for being so technical, and sorry dash ed for not stopping his plug in time!
LM

TOO MUCH SENSELESS VIOLENCE

Dear Lloyd,
After buying CRASH issue 27 I went home and typed in some pokes for Tau Ceti and put it away in my magazine box.

Then one boring Sunday I suddenly realised that I hadn’t read it! So out it came and I had a good read. THE MEL CROUCHER INTERVIEW was the best bit of reading since I finished White Gold Welder (any Steven Donaldson fan will know what I’m talking about), I think Mel Croucher should be given a medal for standing out against the ‘senseless violence’ in games today. (Okay, the first shoot em ups were fun but they’re going too far now.)

So how about CRASH doing something about it and writing MORE articles on ‘thinking’ software or programming? It’s not just the software houses magazines that have a great influence on what software people buy.

Thanks for the interview bringing this matter to light (and for the POKES, they did work!) and I’ll read my next CRASH before it goes into the old mag box.
Martin Brown

He’s probably an acquired taste, but I’m certainly a Steven Donaldson fan, although you have to admit that there’s a lot of violence depicted in the books. Perhaps you can argue that it’s not ‘senseless violence’, but in any fictional work violence is arguably ‘senseless’. Where do you draw the line? There hasn’t been all that much debate on the subject of violence in computer games although a lot of ‘pundits’ have had their say over the years. What do CRASH readers think? Let’s have a few more views!
LM

CAM THE CAMERA

Dear Lloyd,
I decided to put pen to paper when I read last month’s CRASH. I am writing about the camera work of Cameron Pound. I think his camera work is very good except I wish that for each review they would do at least one full screen shot, even though I like the close ups,
Cameran Herman (13)

It wouldn’t be that your first names sound the same would it? Still, Cameron likes a bit of praise now and then. Sometimes we backroom boys feel left out by the stars (violins off). Cameron, of course, isn’t the one who decides how his pictures will be presented in the mag — that’s up to ‘them up in Art’.
LM

A LOAD OF POINTS

Dear Lloyd,
This is my first ever letter to a magazine of any sort and this is my own personal analysis of CRASH and the computer world as I see it at the moment.

1 SOFTWARE DELAYS

During the past 12 months it has become the in thing to have software delays, eg Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Elite, International Karate, Street Hawk, V, Knight Rider, Daley’s Super Test, etc, and the prime culprit for delayed software in 1985 was Ocean. As said in your recent interview with Imagine, over optimistic programmers are usually to blame for this.

2 SUBSCRIPTION DELAYS

Since taking out a subscription with CRASH in August 1985, I think only about 3 or 4 of those issues have come on the same day of the month. A few months ago it was stated that your subscription deliveries were being switched to a company in London, well all I can say is that they aren’t all that hot on consistent monthly delivery dates, eg Friday before publication, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and even Thursday in the week of publication. What is wrong with them?

3 ULTIMATE’S DOWNFALL

When I originally got my Spectrum in 1984, the first two games I rushed out to buy were Underwurlde and Knight Lore. I’d seen reviews which couldn’t praise them enough. The Alien 8 controversy came and went, but then Nightshade appeared. Being a great fan of Ultimate’s software up till then, I bought Nightshade without even seeing it reviewed, what an idiot I was! It was pure, unadulterated crap. Next Gunfright came, more of the same, so I didn’t buy it. I haven’t seen your review of Cyberun yet, but Popular Computing Weekly have and said they didn’t know what was happening to Ultimate because it was a game in the style of Lunar Jetman from 1983. Personally, as a former great fan of their products, I feel sorry at what has happened to them in the last 9 months, but they’ve brought it all on themselves.

4 FAST LOADERS/LENSLOK

What’s all this trash slamming fast loaders? I’ve never had a single loading problem with one and don’t know what all the fuss in the past was about.

The most recent method of protection to come about is Lenslok, this isn’t going to stop software pirates, all they have to do is hack into the main block of code, remove the Lenslok code and away go the cassette recorders on another duplicating run.

5 DISCOUNT SOFTWARE

A lot of letters I’ve seen in the FORUM recently complain about the high price of today’s software and this I agree with, but haven’t these people seen any of the weekly adverts in PCW for discount shops? They usually give a minimum discount of 25% (and more occasionally) and I’ve saved around £200 software from various different shops. So get looking in PCW moaning minnies and you’ll find a way to cut your software bills.

6 REVIEWS

On the whole the reviews in CRASH are great, but why do we have to put up with reviews of the worst in Spectrum software? My suggestion would be to give a brief summary of all the dross games available in a month for those readers who are dumb enough to even consider buying them. I know the authors of this software might consider this unfair, but they should be ashamed at writing such trash in the first place.
S Valente

Delays? Well we’ll see how that improves. Subscriptions are now handled by the printers in Carlisle, and from tests I can tell you that most subscribers get their copies before we even see one in the office! Ultimate’s downfall and fast loaders — I’ll leave that argument to the readers, but discount software — read Alan’s letter about that! As to trashy games in review — CRASH has a duty to review games whatever their merits, and giving brief reviews of games we think poor leads to snappy, clever note-form writing that’s a disservice to everyone. That’s my view. What do others think?
LM

A GNOTHER GNU

Dear LLoyd,
After seeing the photograph of the Lunar Jetman trailer, I knew this task would be a bit difficult, but with a lot of determination (and my trusty assembler, The Art Studio) anything is possible. Five hours later, there it was, the trailer, which everyone says doesn’t exist. As proof I have enclosed a printout of the trailer, so Lloyd, it does exist.

Okay, so it looks like a caravan, not a trailer. Perhaps there are a few version of Lunar Jetman around, or even a Multi-Storey trailer park somewhere on the planet’s surface. Perhaps I can’t draw trailers very well, and caravans are easier to draw. Anyway, the caravan does exist, if only my imagination so make of it what you want to.
Anton Hobbs

Yours is obviously the existentialist version of Lunar Jetman, Anton. You know the old wives tale about every time you say you don’t believe in fairies another one dies, well this is the reverse — every time someone says they believe the trailer exists, another one appears. This way Ultimate needn’t write a game, just provide players with a scenario and let them get on with it!
LM

THE ART OF SMASH

Dear CRASH,
I’m writing this letter in the middle of a boring maths lesson, hence the lined A4 paper but that’s another matter. Anyway this is about your magazine’s policy of giving CRASH SMASHES. As the best computer games magazine on the market (yes, better than ZZAP!) I feel that the award of a CRASH SMASH should be given only to games that break new ground in games/graphics/sounds. Thus, giving a SMASH to games like Lords of Midnight, Knight Lore, Fourth Protocol and Avalon was valid. But giving SMASHes to Technician Ted, 4 of the Wally Week games and Alien 8 wasn’t.

One was an ordinary platform game, the second lot were basically the same game with different scenarios and the third which is undeniably of a high standard is too similar to its predecessor. Why wasn’t Match Day SMASHed? It was definitely the most exciting sports simulation of its time. I would like to know what you at CRASH think makes up a CRASH SMASH? Anyway back to the Maths.
Carrin Charles

I don’t know why you think the SMASH should only go to games that break new ground. To do that you would have to define ‘new ground’ which would be grounds for loads of arguments. In any area of endeavour be it films, books, plays or games, there are only so many ways of approaching the basic idea — it’s the way the designer/author implements and uses those ideas that makes the difference between ordinariness and brilliance, and it’s those factors we look for in reviewing any game.
LM

WE ARE NOT DERIVATIVE, MEL!

Dear LLoyd,
The main item that attracted my retina in the April issue of your glorious publication was the ‘Mel’ Croucher interview. In it, he states that he finds ‘violent’ games ‘unpleasant’ and ‘inadequate’ however his arguments to this effect are rather strange. His first point is irrelevant — all games are just pixels and beeps — even his own beloved Deus Ex Machina — and not every game is based on Friday 13th or Rambo or anything in particular.

His second point is that they are ‘derivative’! Derivative of what, may I ask? If you take the view that all so-called ‘violent’ games are the same then by the same reasoning, all records with guitars in them must be the same and all people called Arthur must also be the same. However, they are not! I fail to see how anyone that, say, Elite is derivative of Eliza and other such programs.

His third objection is that they are ‘socially destructive’. He claims that it is ‘dangerous to encourage young people to believe that winning is to do with killing’. All computer games are necessarily rather abstract and I cannot see how anyone could associate the disappearance of a sprite with the death of an actual, living being. The point is that most of Mr Croucher’s arguments are based on the premise that people are stupid and mindless and need protecting from ‘the men of violence’ by ‘Moral Guardians’ such as Mr Croucher. The proof of this is in a later paragraph where he describes 14–15 year olds as ‘little children’ who ‘can only be derivative — it is impossible for them to come up with an original idea for even if they do they haven’t the vocabulary to express it’!

This is total rubbish! What on Earth stops 15 year olds from producing original ideas? The answer is — nothing. Mr Croucher only says this because he is jealous that a 15 year old can produce a better game than his aged self. I mean, how many people can honestly say they prefer playing Deus Ex Machina to say, Commando?

The point is that I feel ‘violent’ games perform a useful task by harmlessly purging people of their naturally violent instincts. Let’s face it — humans ARE violent. There’s a whole area of the brain devoted to aggression, a relic from reptilian times, and moaning about it isn’t going to make it go away. I just wish that people like Mr Croucher would bog off back to Mary Whitehouseland and leave the rest of us in peace.

Love, S

I don’t know who you are ‘S’, but there’s not a lot to add to that, since I agree with you completely. Keep up the good thinking!
LM

OCEANS OF SMASHES

Dear Lloyd,
In the April issue, Jason Harding wrote a letter complaining that Ocean didn’t receive enough CRASH SMASHES, and that CRASH had something against them. I totally disagree. So far, Ocean have produced 8 CRASH SMASHES: Moon Alert, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, World Series Baseball, Hypersports, Yie Ar Kung Fu, Mikie and more recently: Batman and Ping Pong, so how he could say they only had 1 CRASH SMASH in 1985, I honestly don’t know.
Mark Barnwell

PS If Dom Handy has seen all the pictures in Sam Fox Strip Poker, why doesn’t he send in some photos of them to prove it.

Ha ha — you’re not going to catch Dom out with that one! You’ll just have to try harder, especially now Sam’s ‘Otituary’ has appeared in the SUN. As for Ocean Smashes, well some readers do get funny bees in their bonnets.
LM

OVERCHARGING A MISTAKE

Dear Lloyd,
I thought as a regular CRASH reader I would bring this point to your attention.

A week or so before Christmas 1985 my mum and I were out doing some Christmas shop- ping. We went into a well known shop called WH SMITH and purchased some computer games and other goodies. Among the games we purchased was Rambo for £9.95. At the time I thought the price was a bit high for Ocean games but I didn’t make any comment and gave the man the money. After Christmas I was reading CRASH and I came across an Ocean advert with Rambo advertised for £7.95. I thought to myself that there was something fishy going on so I told my mum and we went back to that branch of WH SMITH. We went to the computer desk and I told them about the extra money they had charged. The man on the desk said he couldn’t give us our money back seeing as WH SMITH normally raises the price of things at Christmas. When I got back home I looked in the December issue of CRASH and I found that Ocean were advertising Rambo for £7.95, so my mum phoned WH SMITH and told them about this. In the end I got my two pounds back. They said it had been some kind of error.

Anyway two weeks ago I was looking in a different WH SMITH shop not far from the other one I and I saw V for £9.95, another Ocean game. What is happening? Somebody please tell before I go totally mad with these high prices WH SMITH are charging.
Sean Powrie

It does sound like a mistake, probably genuine, even though silly. What doesn’t sound like a mistake is WH Smith charging more for games at Christmas — that sounds like a confused sales assistant covering up stupidly. If you encounter that kind of thing you MUST insist on seeing the manager in charge of computers, or failing that, the shop’s over manager.
LM

RADIATION SHOCK HORROR!

Dear Lloyd,
We are in trouble! I mean BIG trouble! Now I know you’re thinking, ‘What’s he going on about?’ Well I’ll tell you! It’s that power plant disaster at Chernobyl! The cloud of radiation came over here and has affected some people’s brains! A perfect example of this is a certain Anthony Jacobson, who launched an attack on CRASH and ZZAP!, which just so happen to be my two favourite mags! Now, being sister mag to ZZAP! you must also have heard this madness (which was in Computer Trade Weekly, week of April 21). On opening my ZZAP! I saw in the editorial, ZZAP! — The Corrupt One!

ZZAP! The Corrupt One?!? Immediately I started to read and soon my face started to cringe!

‘The issue I have to hand of ZZAP! 64 has 37 pages of reviews and 14 pages of competitions...’ is how Anthony Jacobson began. So what? — That’s GREAT! Keep it up. Further on he added, ‘Magazines of the style of ZZAP! and CRASH have brought the general regard for the home computing to the elevated level of the hula hoop...’

Hula hoop? The cheek of the man! CRASH and ZZAP! are devoted mainly to software, which is just how me and thousands of others like it. If he doesn’t he can keep it to himself!!

Further on he said: ‘... There is always an audience for simple minded pap....’

WHAT!!? Now he’s getting nasty! He’s referring to ZZAP! and CRASH readers!! Spluttering on, I read, ‘The nasty trivialisation that the CRASH-style stable offers, like fluff covered lollipop, is, I regret to think, no doubt good for the bank balances of its publishers, but for the UK computer industry it is corrupt and dangerous’.

Corrupt and dangerous? Why then are CRASH and ZZAP! the two bestselling mags in Britain?! (Hooray!) And, ‘... Poor Commodore User is an example of what can happen to anyone when the rot sets in...’?

In other words, ZZAP! is better than Commodore User. Anyway, who is he calling rot? In my view everything, well almost everything about CRASH is great as it is, so don’t take any notice of Anthony Jacobson (yuk!). The corrupt one!
David Shaw

Couldn’t agree with you more, David. And if you’re also a ZZAP! reader as you seem to be, you’ll no doubt appreciate the cover of issue 15, which is out as I write — a fluffy lollipop special!
LM

PERVERTED AND HORRIFIC!

Dear Lloyd,
During the past few months in CRASH, the Forum has contained letters from angry parents concerning the drawings shown in your magazine.

Why is it people are shocked by these kind pictures when there is one far worse? On page 76 of the Christmas Special, there is an advert featuring the Wally family in Three Weeks in Paradise from Mikro-Gen. At first glance it seems rather fun.

On further inspection you will notice that one of the natives has his index finger extended, and is pulling down young Herbert’s trunks, to reveal his... But what is the native going to do with that finger? I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on this.

It just shows that Oliver Frey isn’t as perverse and horrific as some people think.
Mark Bonner

Oh dear, has anyone actually said our Oli is perverted and horrific?! Thank you Mark for drawing our attention to the interesting fact that most offences are committed inside people’s minds! Perhaps you should look at it the other way, maybe Mikro-Gen’s naughty native is actually an ethnic Mary Whitehouse who is actually in the process of pulling Herbert’s trunks UP. No? Well I try...
LM

THE PRICE OF ARCADES

Dear Lloyd,
People are always complaining about the price of software but this weekend I visited Blackpool and went into the arcades and it cost me a fortune and with the money I spent I could have bought a couple of games. When you buy games it takes you a few attempts to get used to it, in an arcade if you have never played the game it will cost you a lot to get used to it. So if you count how many times you play your game and add up how much it would have cost you to play the same game in the arcade the same number of times, you would realise the software is well worth the asking price.
David Gorton

Certainly no one has ever argued that Spectrum software isn’t cheaper than playing the arcades seriously. The problem is, I suppose, that lots of readers would say they never do go into arcades, and therefore the argument is a bit beside the point!
LM

GUN FRIGHT IN BED

Dear LLoyd,
Here I am in bed (Thursday 1st May) reading CRASH No 27 April — come on CRASH get your water pistols out and go fire them — I am on about Gun Fright. I bought the game before your reviews on it — wow what a game! Now that you reviewed Cyberun I stuck my hand out to my mum: ‘Can I have another £9.95 for a game?’ She stuck her hand out and said in a quiet voice, ‘What do I get for washing your clothes, feeding you?’ etc. Well she wants pay. Help! Why do games cost so much? Well here I am with a rotten cold saving up for Cyberun.
Gareth Jones

I bet she’ll be sorry when you’re gone, passed away from the effects of a cold and wasted away for want of a game. She’ll regret being so mercenary then.
LM

DAMAGING OLI

Dear Lloyd,
Having read all the letters of complaint on Oliver Frey’s paintings I thought I would add my comments on the subject. Firstly lots of people wrote about the ‘horrific’ effect on impressionable youngsters. Now this may be true in some cases but in most it’s just rubbish. My brother is eleven and so are many of his friends, they all read CRASH regularly, suffering no ill effects I may add. In fact most kids just look at the writing and the photos — the drawings are a nice decoration which brighten up the text.

What worries me is that the constant barrage of abuse against Oli may be damaging his work. Just look at the last few months covers, none of them have been up to his usual standard. For example the Max Headroom cover was just a photo with only a tiny Oli sketch beneath it. Whatever happened to the brilliant covers of the first year of CRASH. Is Oliver Frey taking on too much what with ZZAP! and AMTIX! (whose covers are much better than CRASH’s)?

Back to the effects of Frey art on young people. I find that the picture on the Sign Post pages is more horrific (or exciting, whichever way you see it) than any of the covers.

It usually portrays a nice Creature/person on the first page and when you turn over on the other side is a large picture of lots of these nice Creatures/People killing or torturing men.

This is very effective in a frightening sense and Oli’s drawing skills carry it out perfectly.

All in all CRASH is a brilliant mag and its art beats all other magazines into the ground (whose covers seem juvenile and badly drawn compared to CRASH.) Keep up the good work and ignore all the fuss.
Richard Townsend

It’s nice to hear some sound sense on this long-toothed subject. Quite often, the more attention is drawn to a contentious subject, the more harm is perceived and therefore done to the very people the ‘protectors’ would save.
LM

CHANGE THE REVIEW SYSTEM

Dear LLoyd,
I’m writing to give my support to the idea of printing reviewers’ names after their criticisms. I’ve never understood why this has not been done before and neither do I understand the need for reviewers to remain anonymous in the first place.

Such a move is only common sense and will improve what I think can be a misleading reviewing system. Misleading, because I don’t like mega-hard (boring) games like Everyone’s a Wally. I know that now, but it cost me £10 to find out. People have different tastes, so when CRASH highly recommends a game it’s influencing some people who still may not like it. But this possibility is not made clear in the reviews.

So instead of babbling on about how many bonus screens there are etc, shorten the game description and put in more detailed analysis of who may like the game and so on. Remember criticisms are important and more often they fail to serve their purpose. I, myself believe the reviewing system is very unreliable and should be changed. The main fault is that too many games are over-rated, that are in fact poor value for money and offer little in the way of long-term interest. Still, that is another matter and I doubt whether such a change would happen.

It seems the Questionnaire is going to decide the issue but I don’t see the point in that. After all, who can object to knowing which CRASH reviewers share their tastes in games? Most of all, who can oppose a simple amendment that will enhance the reviewing system which forms the bulk of the magazine?
Martin Dean

Using the reviewers’ names is still under consideration, but I suspect they will be used. You can’t blame a system based on reviewing for being flawed because of personal opinion. It really is up to the reader to decide on game style, content and gameplay from what is written. I do, however, agree that knowing a reviewer’s taste is a useful factor in deciding whether to agree with what they say or not.
LM

WRONG PRICE

Dear Lloyd,
I would like to point out the malpractices of certain software dealers. I refer to the Boots branch in East Kilbride town centre. Ballblazer and Barry McGuigan’s Boxing are being sold for the 128 Spectrum for £9.95 whereas all the advertisements state a price of £7.99. I cannot find any other shops which sell these games and I would like to know if this is a common practice.
Neil Burns

I’m afraid to say that your branch of Boots is quite correct. The 128K versions are more expensive and if you have a grouse it should be with Electric Dreams or Activision for not stating the fact on the ads you have seen (if indeed they haven’t, not having an advertisement to hand to see at this second).
LM

128K AGAIN

Dear Lloyd,
Irrespective of whether you exist or not (and let’s face it who cares as long as FORUM keeps running) here is my tuppence worth on the new 128K Spectrum. One major point which was not discussed in May’s issue was the price of games for this machine (it may have been discussed elsewhere but I only read FORUM). More memory means more program, more program means more design and more programming and so more wages and higher priced games. This may also in turn lead to the downfall of lower budget programming outfits. Something worth thinking about.
Ali

Right, let’s get thinking then. Prices obviously are going to be a bugbear. Any other thoughts?
LM

GO BACK TO THE OLD WAYS

Dear Lloyd,
I am writing to complain, although your magazine is the best, over the last few months certain pages have been annoying me. The pages I mention are where the CRASH Smashes are reviewed.

ZZAP! has the reviewers comments in balloons dotted in between the review. Now CRASH has copied this system for the comment boxes in the Smash reviews. Why? These boxes in between the actual review are most annoying, for me anyway. I begin to read the review until I encounter a brightly coloured comment box, so I read the comment in the box, then I return to reading the review. ‘So what’, I hear you murmur. By the time I have finished jumping (my eyes do the jumping) in and out of the comments and chunks of review I have forgotten what was written about the game and its scenario. Please end my suffering, go back to the old system. Why not have multicoloured pages like in issue 15’s Dragontorc review? Please stop confusing me, I hate having to read the review twice to get the ‘know’ of the game.

Finally, how do ZZAP! readers survive their monthly encounter with the ugly ‘Zzap Zoo’ team? I mean, you get pictures of them in every review, photos of them and they even appeared on the mag’s cover! Disgusting.
Douglas Robertson

I know, it is disgusting. But then, superstars always are rather disgusting. I must say, I think the new look Smashes are more interesting, and the convention of having separated boxes within an article has been common in magazines for donkey’s years. Sorry it confuses you though.
LM

A CONTRADICTION

Dear Lloyd,
Here is one letter not complaining about anything to do with the excellent magazine that your brilliant articles are ‘featured’ in but, in fact, at something that YOU wrote and something else under your name contradicting this.

The evidence that I will give will prove you don’t read what you print!

Look at your page 49 of the 27th edition, (April, for those not good with numbers!). I am, of course, referring to the ‘Street Hawk’ letter where you said the game hasn’t been finished... it is coming. Now look at page 87 of the same issue in your ‘Hall of Slime’. Note Mr Adam Liversage’s claim of getting 21,030 points in the game that is not yet finished!!!

Will you please read what you write, I mean, we have to!
David Mager
PS Answer that one if you dare!

I dare! What I wrote was quite true — so, very likely was what Mr Liversage claimed. Ocean released a version of Street Hawk many months earlier, BUT only through the Littlewoods Mail Order catalogue. It was not a complete version, but one rushed through to fulfil a contract they had. I do read what I write (occasionally, anyway), but the real problem is in deciphering the impression on the paper made by the worn out old record ribbon on my Hermes. Perhaps this will encourage Them in Power to buy me a new one — ten years worth of typing has taken its toll.
LM

MORE FREY SHOCKS

Dear Lloyd,
Concerning your recent controversies over your colleague’s artwork, I was amazed to find on P98–99 May 86 an art form which even I felt went a bit far. Do you do this kind of thing for sensationalism? I think so. Why would you print, getting progressively worse, month after month?

Frey has finally convinced me that he spends all his time looking through Penthouse, Razzle or Rustler to find new ideas for his artwork.

I am proud to be interested in computers, and I feel that I am justified in putting my ‘O’ levels results on the line because of the interest. I am 16, and am certainly no puritan but I am disturbed at this serious flaw in your magazine’s feature.

Bear with me when I say that none of this started before Roger Kean became editor.

I am looking forward to your reply and the reaction other readers will take.
Howard Hanson

For a start off, you mean none of this happened when Roger Kean was the editor. Graeme Kidd has been CRASH editor for a year now. Clearly he is much less puritanical than Mr Kean! The pictures you refer to were meant as a make-weight for a cover that never got done of Samantha Fox (Oli has some scruples you know). As for ‘sensationalism’ — gosh, we don’t need that kind of thing to help sell CRASH you know. We’re sending Oli out for a month’s spell on the Ludlow Parish Gazette to get the feel for really nice drawings.
LM

So, enough for another month. All the team now take their leave, quietly wandering off to dark corners for a well earned rest and time to lick their FORUM wounds inflicted by a cruel-hearted public! See you next month.