CRASH - The Online Edition
— Issue 61 Contents|
MGT, the leading manufacturer of Spectrum add-ons, has unveiled detailed plans for the production of a £149.95 ‘Super 8-bit’ computer. Miles Gordon Technology’s SAM Coupé features 256K RAM, six-channel stereo sound, four screen display modes, a sophisticated custom chip and a Z80B processor which runs 50% faster than the Spectrum’s. A £220 version comes with a built-in 780K 3.5″ disk drive, but the entry-level machine will load off cassette. There is also a 48K Spectrum emulation mode allowing most Spectrum games to run on it. Expected to be available from April, already the first month’s production run has been over-subscribed.
News of the machine was exclusively revealed in Issue 48, with an in-depth report in Issue 50, but it’s taken a year to finalize the design. SAM will come complete with a multiplicity of interfaces, including MIDI for musicians, and can easily be expanded to 512K RAM with two extra chips. Owners of MGT’s Plus D and DISCiPLE Spectrum disk drive add-on will also be pleased to know they’re SAM compatible. For more details on this exciting machine turn to Tech Niche.
MEGASTAR Michael Jackson is set to appear on the Spectrum this autumn thanks to US Gold. The game will be based on the pop phenomenon’s hit Moonwalker movie, which opened this last Christmas. In the film Jackson is turned into a superhero by a passing shooting star. While critics have lambasted the plot, which includes lengthy clips of his videos, the effects are spectacular with Jackson transforming into a rocket car, a silver robot and even a massive spaceship.
The game will be programmed by US Gold and distributed by them in Britain and Europe (more than likely containing a free audio track tool), while the Keypunch Corp will handle sales in America. Keypunch are based in Minneapolis, St Paul, and as well as having several full-priced labels account for 25% of the US budget market. Current successes include Californian Raisins (based on a TV ad) and Psycho. Keypunch also plan to release Jaws and A Nightmare On Elm Street. US Gold will be handling the UK distribution of some Keypunch games, including A Nightmare On Elm Street.
Another big licence due out from US Gold is Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. US Gold have produced computer game versions of the earlier two films and expect the third to be ‘wonderful’. Programming is by Tiertex, responsible for 720° and Thunder Blade and also tipped to do Moonwalker. The Last Crusade is due out in June.
The new version of the Spectrum +2, the +2A, has run into criticism due to its incompatibility with some peripherals. This is because it has the same circuit board as the +3, which has a slightly different edge connector to the old +2. Critics suggest Amstrad have made this alteration to clear stocks of unused +3 boards.
Although the +2A is easily distinguished from the grey +2 by its black colour, it is being sold in identical packaging.
The Spectrum’s creator has, of course, moved onto other things. Sir Clive Sinclair’s latest product is a low-price satellite TV receiver. The flat, square ‘dish’, from Sir Clive’s Cambridge Computer firm, measures just 60cm across. And at a mere £149.95 for the basic receiver and tuner system (£179.95 with remote control; £229.95 with remote control, graphic equaliser and stereo sound), it will be in direct competition with Alan Sugar’s similarly-sized (and shaped) Amstrad/Fidelity dish at £199.99 (£259.99 with remote control). We’re all backing Sir Clive’s!
Both dishes, available in high street stores from March, use the popular PAL format to receive transmissions, including the 16 channels available from the recently-launched Astra satellite.
Of course one of the main worries with satellite TV is the potential for crude exploitation-type entertainment. Similar concern about standards in computing are being voiced by OASIS — the Organisation Against Sexism In Software. It aims to encourage software houses to avoid sexist stereotyping and Is producing a bi-monthly journal, offering a forum for further discussion on the subject.
One software house already producing software with ‘women in mind’ is Audiogenic, which has outlawed sexism and adopted a policy of positive discrimination towards women — surely that’s a contradiction in terms.
Anyway, we at CRASH welcome the campaign for more women in games, in programming, in promotions, in the CRASH office, and practically anywhere else, for that matter.
Women (and blokes come to that) will pleased to know CRASH has been proved the magazine intelligent readers prefer. In a recent scientific trial, held at Spitting Image’s Limehouse Studios, competition winners from all the top computer magazines were entered in a talent contest. Each winner had to perform an imitation of a celebrity of his choice. Needless to say the contestant who had been raised on monthly issues of CRASH magazine won easily. 17-year-old CRASH reader Steven Martin did a scintillating impression of EastEnders’ Dot Cotton to win various goodies, including a latex puppet of himself worth several hundred pounds. Congratulations, Steven!
After many months toting the game around software houses, it seems that the ever-cute Roger Rabbit has found a home. Activision have just finalised plans to release Who Framed Roger Rabbit, due out in February. The conversion of the Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future) film is to be programmed by Software Studios (R-Type). Other interesting releases from Activision include The Real Ghostbusters (February), Time Scanner (March) and Incredible Shrinking Sphere. Force Field are programming the last two, with ISS reviewed next issue.
Ocean are never quiet. Schwarzenegger’s Red Heat and TV’s Run The Gauntlet are ready for an Easter release. Renegade fans will be glad to hear the third in the series is also planned.