As I write, the ‘Crashtionnaire’ forms are still coming in, so thank you everyone who has taken the trouble to complete and send them back to us. Some interesting results have emerged from a pre-collation done on the first 500 forms received. A full collation will be undertaken as soon as possible — it’s quite a mammoth task!
Just briefly for now, here are some answers. On reviews of software, 95.5% said they like to have some sort of rating system, 44% said they think the present system used in CRASH works excellently, and a further 52% said it works reasonably. We also asked how much reading software reviews in CRASH has affected recent games buying and 70% replied that it has. Most interestingly on the subject of CRASH reviews, we asked whether, on playing a new game, you have agreed with the review of it. 19% said, ‘always’, and 73% said, ‘Most of the time.’ Further details on the review section of the questionnaire have yet to be collated.
On the subject of including software for other computers in CRASH, the result seemed overwhelmingly against the idea. 78% said they would be irritated, 12% disturbed, and 10% were either not bothered or actually interested. We were impressed by the number of forms which added that they would stop buying CRASH if it did move on to including other machines.
Another overwhelming NO was to program listings. 96.5% replied that they did not miss them, and a similar percentage said that they did not want any space used up for listings.
We will be publishing the full results as soon as possible, but in the meantime you may be sure we are taking note of the findings! The one slightly touchy subject was The Terminal Man comic strip. This question seems to have aroused very strong partisan feelings! At the moment the split seems to be approximately 48% for it and 52% against it. What is surprising, though, is that those for it are generally VERY for it, whereas those against are VERY against! But given the figures we have seen, we feel that if almost half the readership really do like it, then four pages is well worth having, as it hardly detracts from the total amount of pages devoted to reviews and other articles, and shouldn’t really be a severe annoyance to those who do not appreciate it.
The response to this questionnaire has been most encouraging, with well over one thousand returns already. Since that one was compiled we have thought of several other interesting questions to which we would appreciate answers, so there may well be another questionnaire in the near future. You’re warned!
Having just said that we are taking care to bow to your recommendations regarding the inclusion of other computers in CRASH, it is worth keeping an eye on new developments. In April the Hi-Fi tower unit giants Amstrad launched their first ever computer, the Amstrad CPC 464. In keeping with Amstrad’s policy of systems, the CPC 464 comes complete with built-in datacorder and a monitor — a green screen for around £200 and a coloured one for around £300. For around another £100 more you will be able to get it with CP/M disc drive. Quite clearly the CPC 464 is aiming to bonk the QL on the head.
What’s interesting from a Spectrum owner’s point of view is that quite a bit of Spectrum software, slightly re-written, is likely to appear for the machine when it arrives in the shops later this month. At the launch in London we saw one well-known Spectrum game running on the Amstrad — Durell’s Harrier Attack. Romik also had a game there, one which was designed specifically for the machine, and so used its excellent resolution and colour capabilities rather better. It is going to be interesting to see how many Spectrum software houses turn their hands to the new Amstrad during the latter part of this year.
Meanwhile the Spectrum software goes on from strength to strength and continues to show how easily it leads all other computers when it comes to ideas and content. It isn’t often you find one magazine praising a rival publication, but congratulations to Computer & Video Games — or rather to the parent company E.M.A.P. for their excellent game Psytron, released under E.M.A.P.’s new software company, Beyond. Beyond got off to a rather soggy start with the good-looking but unplayable Space Station Zebra. Psytron, a CRASH SMASH this month, is a different kettle of alien fish altogether, and indicates that programmers are still determined to pack everything possible into the available RAM of the Spectrum.
Despite an assertion in last month’s issue that the Living Guide would be dealing with the arcade section this month there is no Guide in this month’s issue, for which we apologise. There are two reasons, one being that we have had to make some room to include programs for younger players in our ‘Crash Course’ section. This will be an occasional look at what might be loosely termed ‘educational software’. The second reason is that the Guide itself is in need of a revamp and some updating! This is an enormous task, as you might well appreciate. At the same time we have received literally hundreds of letters with update details on guide info and with suggestions to improve it, all of which we wish to examine carefully.
The Guide has become rapidly very big and we would like it to be helpful, informative but without becoming a bore. It needs some thought — but don’t despair, it hasn’t vanished from our pages for ever!
In response to the demand for more competitions, this issue is crammed full of them! We hope you enjoy them, and the prizes too. Thanks to all the companies who have participated and made them possible.