Each month I’ll be choosing the best letter from the postbag, and, as well as publishing it, I’ll send the writer £12 worth of software of his or her choice (it can be two cassettes as long as they come within the £12). I’ve had to grovel on bended knee to the editor for this, so you’d better be grateful!
Send your letters to Lloyd Mangram, CRASH Forum. I can’t promise to print everything that comes in because space is precious (I’m told) but I’ll do my best.
I am shocked to see just how many letters we have received already. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining — but aren’t you all supposed to be banging away at that collapsing keyboard or something? Still, I guess it’s only fair that after us boring you half to death, you should be able to get your own back ...
Seriously though, thank you for the letters. Quite a lot have made the CRASH team blush to the roots of their dyed hair. There are some that if we printed them would make people believe I made them up. In the event it was a tough task to pick out a winner, especially as some cute cookies offered me bribes in the form of flattery (it’ll get you nowhere...) After some reflection I thought this plea from Mr. Ashton to treat the simulation game with more respect was the best of some very good letters.
First of all, congratulations on your new magazine. If further issues live up to the first, I am sure it will be a success. Reading your criticisms, I would however like to make a point.
There are basically two types of game — fantasy and real life. Fantasy games, arcades, mazes, dungeons, etc, are all figments of vivid imagination. Nobody knows how safely Horace can cross the road or how easy it will be to laser an alien space craft. Accordingly, speed is immaterial — the games designer can program the game as fast or slow as he wishes. In all these games the criticism that it is, perhaps, too slow can be valid.
On the other hand the real life games must be as realistic as possible. Yes, motorbikes can travel quickly, aircraft land at speed and accidents happen fast whether the flight is simulated or not.
But please remember one thing — as an ex-R.N. rating I can assure you that submarines do dive as slowly as Hunter-Killer works.
I have been a table-top wargamer for some years and Hunter-Killer seems to me to be the first real, and good, computer war game in the strictest sense of the word. This, to my mid, is a ‘real-life’ game, and the speed of the sub, the controls that need using, etc. are excellent. Torpedoes do run that slowly, and the agonising wait that the real submarine Commander goes through is ideally represented here.
If you want fast action, buy either a fantasy game or a real-life game of a
fast subject. Please do not dock points from Protek for being amazingly
Thank you for your kind comments, Mr. Ashton. This is the kind
of reaction we want to hear from our readers. Of course, you are right about
Hunter-Killer. I’m afraid I’m a poor judge as I am not by any means a
dedicated war-gamer, so the slow simulations tend to leave me cold.
Unfortunately, a lot of our young reviewers at the moment are dedicated arcade
players and less given to the joys of more thought-provoking games perhaps.
Hopefully the Reviewers’ Competition in the last issue will arouse some
adventurers and war-gamers into action on our poor editor’s behalf!
I have just bought the first edition of CRASH and I cannot wait for the second one to come out. Although I am not yet a Spectrum owner, I hope to be one soon, as I have had one on order for the past three weeks.
I have also bought a number of other magazines and software reviews, but
none of them go into so much detail as CRASH. This magazine will certainly help
me and I hope many others in choosing the best programs to buy. I also liked
the article on interfaces and joysticks and I hope you continue to include
items like this each month.. All in all, 75p well spent! Keep up the good
Just thought I’d write to say what a great mag you’re writing. Does that get me the 12 quid? No?? Ah well, we always live in hope! Anyway, at last us Spurtocratic Hackers (Spectrum users with an affinity to modems, alternative databases, shooting many a green man and loud noises) have got a decent magazine that deals specifically with the Spectrum. Many readers may not know it but the best add-on for the Spectrum in my opinion is the Prism VTX 5000 modem. It’s great fun. Especially using Micronet — all that software with no postal delays!
As for my favourite software, that has to be Lunar Jetman, Atic Atac (completed), Ant Attack and Chequered Flag.
Oh well, I suppose I’ve said enough, do I get the £12? grovel,
Stephen Lacey aka The Mad Hacker.
Keep up this unbridled quality of letter writing, Stephen, and you could earn yourself a fortune in no time!
I’ve nothing earth-shattering to say about games as I am very new to the scene, but I would like to congratulate you on your superb new magazine. Please don’t alter it, it is just perfect the way it is. I’ve never known a magazine to take me so long to read, not because it was boring but because there was so much information crammed into it. The reviews were the finest and most complete available and are the only ones I’ll be reading in future to determine whether or not I buy a game. Even though I only had my Spectrum for Christmas, I spent the previous couple of months buying and reading computer mags to determine which I would continue with once I had my micro.
I thought I had seen the best until seeing your (delayed but worth it) mag,
which forced me to change my mind. Keep up the excellent work and best wishes
for the future.
Thanks for your comments, Ian. Sorry about the delay too! We
had an issue lined up for November 18 last, but there were so many new titles
due out before Christmas that the news trade asked us to delay until after the
holiday. By the time we knew of this delay it was too late to pull out those
two ads that appeared with the earlier date.
Thanks for the new magazine CRASH. It’s just what the majority of Spectrum owners have been waiting for. I hope you don’t lose sales because of the name CRASH. I think SPECTRUM should have been part of the title.
Please review utility programs. I’m glad you haven’t cluttered up the pages
with program listings, which never compare with the commercial games. I don’t
like comic strips, I’ll look to the BEANO for those.
Some interested newsagents have said the same about CRASH too
but we think people will get to know the name soon enough. Utility programs
will have an increasing area of CRASH as we go along and will soon be appearing
in the Guide Section I’m told. Program Listings were never, ever on the agenda
for CRASH! There’s just not the room anyway. Sorry about the comic, mind you
you won’t find something like THE TERMINAL MAN in Beano. The overall plans for
the story are extremely interesting — it’s going to be quite mammoth. You might
argue that it doesn’t look though it’ll have much to do with computers, but in
fact it will, in an indirect way. But more importantly it’s intended as a piece
of entertainment with strategy, adventure and arcade overtones. I don’t see why
only Quicksilva should be allowed to get away with the Faluvian Empire!
I am writing to you for advice. I would like to know why, when I
load ATIC ATAC with my Currah Microspeech unit plugged in, the game crashes
when I press 0 to start. The Currah advertisement states that ATIC ATAC and
LUNAR JETMAN are usable. LUNAR JETMAN works, so why doesn’t ATIC ATAC? Hope you
can help me.
I think if you read through the review on the Currah
Microspeech unit in this issue, you will be able to see why ATIC ATAC crashes
when played with the unit in the Spectrum. I’m only a key pusher myself, and I
don’t know what goes on inside these things at all! What’s more surprising is
that the Currah ad does state that ATIC ATAC is compatible. I’ll check into
this, but I suspect the reason is simply that agreements were reached between
the Currah people and various software houses that certain games would use the
facility. ATIC ATAC was a little delayed in its release, and I think there may
have been alterations made at the last moment to fit the program into 48K which
made it impossible to play with the Microspeech unit. But of course, by that
time the Currah ads were already in magazines.
Why do software houses have to charge so much for their software tapes? Most tapes are priced around five to six pounds, for that you usually get a few minutes of tape with a program recorded once or twice on each side. For around the same price you can purchase a music cassette with much more value for money.
Congratulations, CRASH is fantastic, it is just what people need to read
before they spend their money on computer tapes.
It isn’t really fair to compare a music cassette with a software one. Even a reasonable music album is expected to sell about half a million copies in its life time — chart toppers sell several times that.
According to unofficial figures approximately 25 million software
cassettes were sold in the last 12 months or something like the equivalent of
15 top selling music albums. As you know, there were many more than 15 Spectrum
games last year! What it means, is that an individual title, even a popular
one, isn’t selling in the quantities a music cassette sells in, and don’t
forget, the majority of Spectrum cassettes are sold only in the UK. Now if you
look at how the ‘cake’ is sliced up, as they say, take a tape costing
£5.95. Knock of the VAT to leave a price of £5.17. Of course the
software house doesn’t get that by the time the retail shop, wholesaler and
distributor have taken their cut the software house receives about 40% of the
price, or £2.07. Off this they must dock the cost of duplication, cassette
and box and inlay printing, say 50p. Then they are paying the author a royalty
on the selling price of probably 10% (52p) which leaves them with £1.05.
Out of this ‘profit’ must come the cost of advertising and the overhead costs
associated with running any business like salaries, rent etc. As you can
imagine, at the end of the day the software house isn’t left with all that
much. Of course, if they could sell a million on one title alone, it might be a