TIME TO DRAW a soulful, satisfying sigh of relief.
Following a short breather, Grandslam’s budget label, Bug Byte, is
back (what do you mean you didn’t know it had gone?). Not being the sort
of people to ignore general market trends, marketing and promotional plans
(yawn), they’ve given their insectoid label a bit of a face-lift.
You’ll now be able to get your hands on such back titles as Xeno
(86%, Issue 35), Glider Rider (80%, Issue 34) and Elevator
Action (72%, Issue 37) for a paltry £1.99 instead of a mammoth
£2.99. Not only that — they’ve also managed to get the rights
over Domark’s back catalogue, so by the end of the year titles
like A View To A Kill (76%, Issue 18), Split Personalities
(90%, Issue 30) and Kat Trap (84%, Issue 36) will be gracing the
software shelves. Can you wait?
PEPSI GO FOR GOLD
MICHAEL J FOX braves savage dogs to get it. Tina Turner
dances round it and Michael Jackson sings about it. What do you mean what?
Pepsi Cola, of course. Now Pepsi, the taste of America, has joined
forces with US Gold. Together at last, they invite you to take part in a
computerised version of the Pepsi Challenge. Buy one of the Pepsi Challenge
range of computer games (the first being Mad Mix), and you’ll
find a voucher giving a preset score inside. Beat the score and you qualify to
take part in a fabulous free prize draw and win one of hundreds of US Gold
goodies. Now for the really crucial question — is this enough to stop
Nick Roberts drinking Cherry Coke?
US Gold and Pepsi attending a ‘lovely function’ in
London, for the signing of a historic agreement between software and soft
drinks producers. Looks like that one at the back (on the right) has had a bit
too much to drink! (Burp!)
HIP TO THE BIT
STAND TO ATTENTION, pin back your lugholes and get ready
for an announcement from Mirrorsoft.
They’d like it to be generally known that they’ve launched a new
entertainment software brand called Imageworks. This rather posh,
designer-sounding label is all set to ‘stretch the popular 8-bit and
16-bit machines to their very limits’. It’s already broken into the
coin-op market with an exclusive licence to convert Atari Games’
Right, now you can go back to sleep.
FLIP TOP CITY
TERRY ASHTON, the man at the top of The Big Apple
used to hide his cassettes in cigarette packets to stop them being stolen if
his car got broken into. Now he’s packaging his software in cigarette
packets to stop it getting broken (how sweet). The Big Apple (which has yet to
release its first Spectrum game) is set to shock the market with its innovative
fliptop lid game-pack design. Made from a single sheet of strengthened
laminated board (whatever that is), the revolutionary boxes ‘allow six
faces of printed material and withstand over 300 openings and closings’.
All very useful. Whether the games are going be worth all this opening and
closing remains to be seen.
DON’T DILLY DALEY
APPARENTLY (although it’s probably some stupid
promotional thing that someone at Ocean thought was a bit funny), when
sporting superstar Daley Thompson took his first look at Ocean’s
Daley Thompson’s Olympic Challenge (originally titled
DT’s Decathlon 88) he grilled the appointed demonstrator on the
apects of computer graphic. (So would I, if they’d given me the wrong
skin colour in the prequel! — Ed) Gary Bracey, Ocean’s Software
Manager, was heard saying: ‘He really put me through my paces, and
eventually defaced the loading screen by putting a large pair of spectacles on
himself. But they won’t appear in the finished version of the game’!
Chortle, chortle... And in the true summer trend Ocean have promised to give
royalties of the game to the British Amateur Athletic Association. Now
there’s a good thing.
ER... YOU MAY not know this but Telecomsoft and
Hewson have been having a bit of an argument. Something about a
‘much-publicised wrangle’ over the two Graftgold games,
Morpheus and Magnetron. If this piece of info has you
gnashing your teeth, tearing your hair out and wading with grief, STOP IT RIGHT
...because they’d like everyone to know they’ve made it up.
Phew! That’s all right then.
ALIVE AND KIXXING
THOSE CLEVER GUYS (and gals) at US Gold have put
on their thinking caps (very fetching bobble-cap variety) and come up with a
very selective budget venture. Known as Kixx (not sure why) the new
label is to cover about 12 titles in the first year. Top of the list are
Gauntlet (92%, Issue 37), Metrocross (77%, Issue 42),
World Games (71%, Issue 40), Ace Of Aces (62%, Issue 38) and
Tenth Frame (55%, Issue 38). The games retail at £2.99 and should
be ready to burn a hole in your pocket some time in the middle of August.
QUESTION: what do you do with a blockbusting best-seller
that’s already sold millions of copies? Answer: give it to
MicroProse. They’ll turn it into a bestselling game and sell even
This piece of helpful advice comes from Tom Clancy, author of Red
Storm Rising, a story which deals with the tactical operations of an
American nuclear attack submarine some time in the middle of World War III.
According to Sid Meier, co-founder of MicroProse (and he ought to know),
Red Storm Rising is going to show technical improvements that far
surpass their previous submarine simulation Silent Service. In other
words it’s going to be equipped with lots more thingies on the control
panel as well as a few intelligent(?) kamikaze torpedoes which home in on their
targets all by themselves. So if you must play with torpedoes, wait for the
best. Red Storm Rising should be available later this year.
FIRST THERE WERE Green Shield Stamps. Then came petrol
tokens (‘collect 5000 Supergas stamps and you too could be the proud
owner of a pair of self-folding, bright red spaghetti tongs’), and
Now we have self-adhesive software tokens. Like The Big Apple’s
Bronx Club, The Great Microdealer Cover Up involves sticking
lots of little tokens on a piece of cardboard, waiting till you’ve
collected enough, and then exchanging them for an absolutely free,
no-strings-attached present picked from the glossy Microdealer catalogue
(although it could be any old game, if you know what I mean). One token is
awarded for every five pounds spent and all entries go forward into the
Microdealer Grand Cover Up competition later this year. So get sticking!
The future of the software industry lies in these three
children’s hands. No game gets out of the Code Masters’ stable in
Warwickshire unless it is given the thumbs up from eight-year-old William
Darling (centre). John (left) and Annie Darling (right ), who are both aged
four, help Willy with PR. (And they seem to be loving it! — Ed)
NATIONAL COMPUTER GAMES CHAMPIONSHIPS
The final qualifying round for the National Computer
Games Championship, sponsored by US Gold and the National Association Of Boys
Clubs and organised by Newsfield Publications, hit Leeds in mid-July and
featured yet more eager games players battling for the 1988 title...
Saturday July 16
Whether it was due to the weather (just for a change, the sun
was shining) or to the Northern temperament (whatever that is), Hunslett Boys
Club was graced by one of the largest groups of competitors we’d seen
this year. They were already trickling in an hour before the contest was due to
start and kept on coming as the morning progressed.
All together now. The Leeds qualifiers say cheese
Although 1943 on the Spectrum hadn’t been released, it turned
out to be more than manageable for most of the competitors.
Playing 1943, Philip Sadler notched up a massive score of 55030
within the first few minutes and would have kept on playing long after his bout
of ten minutes was up. No-one even came near to achieving a similar feat until
the morning was almost over. Just when it seemed that Philip’s lead was
safe, Paul Roberts sauntered up and coolly amassed a mammoth 58380 points and
was duly awarded the winner’s goodie bag, and a place on the plane to
Seoul... er, sorry, that’s the car to Gateshead. As the results were
compared, it turned out that Philip and Paul had outscored their three closest
rivals by over 20000 points. Watch out for them in the semifinals.
|Spectrum qualifiers from Leeds|
|Paul Roberts (winner) ||58380|
|Philip Sadler ||53030|
|Damian Collier ||29200|
|Paul Walton ||27700|
|Faron Collier ||25770|
Watching the competitors to see how it’s done
The semi-finals should be over by the time you read this, after
which it’s time for the real testing as 12 candidates compete for the
title of 1988 Computer Games Champion. The finals take place at this
year’s Personal Computer Show at Earl’s Court and everyone’s
welcome to come along and join in the fun. Even if you don’t get a
ringside seat you won’t miss out as all the action is being shown on a
100 square foot video wall sponsored by Pepsi Cola. Overall winners from the
Commodore and Spectrum group both receive £1000 worth of hardware/software
courtesy of US Gold. The two winners then go forward to the ultimate test:
playing a new game on an Atari ST in the Pepsi Cola Challenge. Stay tuned for
next month’s announcement of the final placings.
Nick watches over the frenetic action in Birmingham
The National Computer Games Championships is sponsored
by US Gold in association with the National Association Of Boys Clubs and the
Personal Computer Show and organised by Newsfield Limited, publishers of CRASH,
ZZAP! 64 and THE GAMES MACHINE. We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance
of British Rail, the British Airports Authority, Dixons for supplying the
Spectrum +3s and monitors, Commodore (UK) for supplying the Commodore 128s and
monitors, and Konix for the joysticks. And thanks to the staff and members of
the local Boys Clubs for all their help and patience!