A YEAR and two months ago, a brave experiment was formulated. The concept had been hovering for longer, but in the small Cornish fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced Mow-zal), the directors of Newsfield, who happened to be taking a working break there, committed the company to launching an entirely new type of youth magazine.
Fed up with the accepted pap of existing periodicals, Newsfield tried to devise a magazine which would encompass every aspect of life, involve the readership as much as the computer titles did and present itself as a long and good read every month. From its plethora of early working titles, it became known as LM.
Sadly, the experiment has ended. The fifth issue of LM has not been printed. The magazine has closed and its talented and devoted editorial team have gone their separate ways. I said ‘ended’ — LM did not fail, but market forces prevailed against it. Advertising agencies and their clients failed to see the impact LM was going to have on the traditionally fractured and difficult ‘youth’ market. The magazine was referred to as ‘too widely targetted’; translated, that means it covered so much ground in its editorial that advertisers couldn’t see who was going to buy it. The belief that people aged between 15 and 25 require magazines of a narrow scope and preferably with very few words which skate right over the top of a subject, hardly touching its depths at all, continues.
Advertisers thought LM would confuse potential readers and so no-one would buy it. They were wrong. Taking into account the increases in monthly sales from the first issue, LM Issue Five would have enjoyed sales probably in excess of 60,000, and I’m confident it was easily set to top 100,000 before the end of the year.
LM had to close because Newsfield is not a huge conglomerate with limitless funds, and the company could not wait any longer for advertising revenue to catch up with LM’s monthly costs. As I write, there is still a hope that another publisher will buy the title. But whatever happens, the spirit of LM will not die. It lit a flame under the precious notions of youth publishing, and pointed a finger in a different, more vital direction. Hopefully someone will learn a few lessons from it, so that we may look forward to magazines with guts in their bellies instead of guff.
Not all of LM has disappeared. CRASH has inherited its sub-editor Barnaby Page. Shuffles and reshuffles seem all the vogue at the moment; Ciarán Brennan, introduced last month, moves over to ZZAP! in an attempt to improve its team’s spelling and grammar (now that should be something to see!). Barnaby takes the hot seat at CRASH, and has already contributed heavily to this issue. Readers of LM will be familiar with his style — despite his extreme youth, he’s the one who can tell you the difference between an aardvaark and a bear-ant. And he’s the one I always go to when I get confused between ‘comitted’ and ‘committed’.
We’ve also tried an experiment in this CRASH — you can find it on page 130 — Video Reviews. The argument goes as follows: readers live all over the country, not always near a cinema and — whether they do or not — almost certainly hire videos regularly. Films (videos) may not be directly anything to do with computer games (though often enough there are tie-ins and even films featuring computers), but they’re a standard part of entertainment, and we thought CRASH readers would like the regular games reviewers comments on the latest hire shop releases.
If we’ve got that wrong, no doubt you will tell us. If the ideas proves popular, then we’ll rapidly expand the page to a small section, though no more than four pages at most.
CRASH seems to have suffered from people being unwell of late. Tech Niche fans, however, will be pleased to see Simon Goodwin recovered, back on form and back on the technical pages again. Oliver Frey, unfortunately, has had a couple of weeks feeling poorly, and as a result there’s no Terminal Man this issue. But he, too, is back at work again, busily catching up on those colourful pages ready for next month.
I hope you enjoy this packed issue of CRASH as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together. For the first time, every review in the magazine has colour screen shots (unless I’ve been misled by someone in ‘art’. It rather depends on how the software comes in during the production period — this month was a bit of a struggle with late arrivals, last month was a doddle — as to whether we can get every review in full colour; but we shall always try our best.)
Look out for the Special Readers’ Offer on page 79, which has some of the best of US Gold’s past hits as its attraction. Last month’s Gremlin Graphics Offer is going great guns. Over the next few issues, we’ll be lining up some more amazing deals for those older games you may have missed. At CRASH we’re leaping and bounding ahead.