Straight from the shoulder then: sadly we are forced to make a price increase in CRASH starting next month with the November issue, No 46, which will be £1.25. We know it seems quite a steep increase, but it should be seen in the light of the period of time over which we have held CRASH down at £1, almost two years in fact. The last increase was for the April 1986 issue. Since then there have been several severe rises in the price of paper which obeys an international market of supply and demand — there’s never to go round — plus the usual round of increases in printing services, salaries and overheads.
The increased use of full colours has also added to production costs, as has the greater number of specialists contributors who have allowed us to expand the areas covered by the magazine. So rather than put up the price by a smaller margin, and then have to make further rapid increases, we decided to make the rise sufficient to be able to hold the price for as long as possible — certainly for another 20 months.
In terms of comparable value, we doubt that many other computer titles will hold back with price increases for very long, for they too have suffered escalating production costs. Since CRASH started, it has usually been the first to put up its price when absolutely necessary and the others have always followed within a few months. We do hope you will find this increase acceptable.
No. After the Hungerford killings everyone here and throughout the industry was suddenly well aware of the violence in computer games: phrases in reviews like ‘it’s great fun shooting everything in sight’ took on a disturbing new meaning.
And soon after the incident ‘an industry figure’ wrote in Computer Trade Weekly that ‘the commercial exploitation of unnecessary violence is a prevalent theme both on the part of the games and magazine publishers’.
We have reconsidered the good taste of what we say in CRASH, and no doubt many software houses will do the same with their games. But the real thrill of most shoot-’em-ups ISN’T the destruction, it’s the satisfaction of skill and coordination in a fast-moving game which might as well be hockey. After all, no-one takes ‘killing’ ‘aliens’ in ‘spacecraft’ seriously...
This is a subject to which we’ll be returning as demands increase for censorship, or at least certification, of games.
A slight reshuffle at the Towers (Mike Dunn was demanding a bigger disk and having to rent space off Nick Roberts...) has meant new titles for a couple of oldies: Roger ‘What? Me move from mag to mag?’ Kean and Barnaby Page. We’re both still on CRASH — Roger is Editorial Director and Barnaby is Managing Editor.
All that means is that day-to-day hassling — by software houses, readers, potential writers, whoever — should be directed to Barnaby and not Roger. (Pause for Roger to breathe sigh of relief.)
Speaking of potential writers, we are looking for a new copy editor — someone who goes through everyone else’s writing and corrects spelling, grammatical misteaks and prepares it for typesetting. It’s not really a game-playing job, but if you’re really hot on English, probably with A Level at least, and you’d like to get into the production side of magazines, contact the Man Ed at CRASH.