This is the first issue of 1986, yet I’m writing before Christmas (just — and if I don’t get a move on there won’t be any turkey left — well duck actually. Ludlow duck is justly famed.)

The Big Thing recently has been the cover of December’s issue of CRASH and the Domark adverts for Friday the 13th. This seems to have sparked off a controversy of sweeping proportions, with some parents cancelling their orders for the magazine. More of that in due course. Lots have written in with things to say about the game Elite from Firebird — some nice things about the game, some unpleasant things to say about Lenslok. In fact Lenslok looks all set to take over from turbo loaders as The Big Moan.

I’ve received a massive mailbag of very interesting letters this month and picking one out for special mention has proved difficult, but in the end I opted for this one begging for some change in advertising attitudes from the software companies.


Dear Mr Mangram,
Oh what a weird world this is! (The games world, stupid.) Flicking through the millionth or so issue of CRASH (well, it seems like it) I see... ADVERTISEMENTS. (Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you!)

Now what’s wrong with THOSE I hear you say. Well, at a glance, nothing, but how about trying to buy the games that the advertisements advertise? Let me give you an example. A while ago, I saw an ad for Rambo by Ocean. Ha! I thought probably their Xmas 86 release, but what’s this? Spectrum version £7.95 — OUT NOW! So off I went, down to Southend to investigate. Investigate indeed:

‘Hello, could I have Rambo for the 48K Spectrum. It’s by Ocean.’

Rambo? (Heh, heh) Sorry mate. It’s not out yet.’

‘But it says so here!’, I said, holding out my ad.

‘Well we haven’t go it. We might have it in about...’ etc etc.

So, I went home a sadder, but wiser person (every shop’s reply was the same). Couple of weeks later (got my new CRASH) I was at home and some of my mates were down town. They rung me from a box. They’d seen Rambo and were impressed. On the Spectrum? Not on your Quickshot, mate! The Commodore version wasn’t even supposed to be out yet, let alone in the furthest reaches of Southend. So Ocean, and all the other companies: US Gold, Elite etc., WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE PLAYING AT?

I must sign off, I’ve got to take some more Valium before I have a violent attack of depression!
John Deamer

This is quite a common subject in letters. However, I think the plea is eloquent enough to get the software award for letter of the month, so that’s £20 worth on its way to you, John. Meantime, here’s another on the same theme...


Please do something! I can’t stand it anymore. Why must software houses advertise games two or three months before they are even finished? Eh? Tell me why!

Looking through your ‘pretty damn devastating’ magazine you can find at least ten ads for games that are not yet on sale. A case in point is Swords and Sorcery which has now been in development for roughly a year. Why should PSS be allowed to take consumers’ cash for a game that has not (as far as I can tell) been finished yet? It is morally and ethically wrong.

Also there was Tomahawk which has been advertised in your mag since the year dot. It has now surfaced way off schedule. If I had sent off £10 when the first ad appeared, I would now be well displeased to say the least. Do the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) check out such cases?

I am now worried about sending off large cheques to software houses for games that only exist in a programmer’s imagination. Can’t the influential Big Cheeses at CRASH Towers get someone to pass a law about advertising a product that does not exist? I am sure other readers of CRASH will agree that adverts should only be placed in mags when the product is ready for sale.

Perhaps we can put an end to ‘teasers’ that encourage people to buy games that they haven’t seen. I am sure that owners of The Great Space Race would agree that, had they seen the game beforehand, they wouldn’t have splashed the cash so easily. There is a moral to this letter!
AACR WISOC (An Angry CRASH Reader Who Is Short Of Cash)

It’s annoying, I know, but if it’s any consolation, software houses don’t like this happening either, because it tends to hit sales if a program misses its promotional ‘window’. However, sometimes things just go wrong with finishing a game and bearing in mind the software house has to book its advertising many weeks before an issue appears, there is always a danger of saying ‘OUT NOW’ when it’s not.

As to product that is advertised long before it emerges, should you have sent cash in good faith, then of course you are entitled to receive a refund after 28 days if you opt not to hang on for the product. In general, it seems to me that these two writers have a very strong point. The worst of this kind of advertising — of a completely unfinished game — is helping to damage the industry.

THAT Cover

Dear CRASH Magazine
I was disgusted at the horrific picture on the December issue of your Publication. My younger brother, who receives your magazine monthly, is only nine and I hardly think the covers are suitable for that age range and over. I really think that the pictures from the film inside were totally unnecessary and quite disturbing. I also don’t really see what skimpily clad women have to do with computers (Issue 21 and others)! A lot of the covers have great sexual overtones and are totally irrelevant.
Mellany Robinson

You are not, to be fair, the only person to complain about the December cover of CRASH. The office received quite a number of complaints, including one lady who also wrote complaining to the Press Council. Their reaction was to pass on the complaint, and Graeme Kidd wrote to her. In fact, though she objected to the cover, her real cause for upset was the Domark advertisement for Friday the 13th, which has appeared in most computer magazines. I’ll give my views in a moment after one or two others have had their say. As to the ‘sexual’ overtones of the covers, this seems a very overstated point of view. In 24 months the only covers that come to mind that might fit your bill are; No 2, the ‘King Kong’ one, where a girl is seen grasped in Kong’s paw — very much based on the original film theme; No 17, where I suppose the members of Frankie Goes To Hollywood dressed in their birthday suits as cherubs might be considered sexual; and No 18, the cover based loosely on the game Dun Darach, where Skar holds Loeg in bondage. Whether these covers can strictly be said to be ‘sexual’ is very much open to interpretation, and in any event, to refer to three covers out of 24 as ‘a lot’ seems to be a gross exaggeration.

The next reader has this to say...

Dear Sir
By what I am about to write I may be branded a reactionary old fuddy-duddy (I’m 37 years old) — but I feel it needs to be said. The cover to the December (Xmas — peace and goodwill to all men) Issue has transcended the bounds of good taste. Whilst I’m all for alien zapping and gobs of green blood, the Friday 13th theme is totally sick and horrific.

My nine year old son and eleven year old daughter were horrified by the cover, the spurting blood depicted is obviously meant to be human, and page 148 — Mark and Dominic, obviously intelligent guys, words fail me!

The current spate of sick and horrific computer games is an unnecessary trend which I would have thought influential magazines such as yours would not promote to impressionable youngsters who are your main reader group — where will it end, one wonders — computerised sex orgies for the under fifteens?
RA Barustain

PS. Even the Friday 13th Ad is puke-making.

This is the second complaint that has started by attacking the violence implied in the cover illustration end ended by linking it to sex, which certainly plays no part in the cover — it really makes me wonder where it will all end!

And the next, please...

Dear Sir Lloyd,
When I read the letters complaining about the gory pictures in certain issues of that well-above-average publication called CRASH, I laughed with amusement and contempt. That was before I saw the December Issue. That is sick. Some of us do not go and see the mindless gore films on principle. We certainly don’t wish to see our regular magazine featuring that sort of thing on its cover, and a still worse advert inside. My contempt for that no-quality company Domark increaseth.

Point taken. And ever onwards...

Dear Lloyd,
I am so angry that I thought I just had to put biro to paper and write to you. I used to respect your mag a great deal until I got this month’s (No 23, December). I was looking through it, thinking yes, gosh, ah, cool and other things to that effect until I got to page 41, where I stopped in horror. I am not thinking of the picture on the front, or the ad on page 39 or even of the preview of Friday 13th on pages 146 and 148.

I am thinking of the ad for the Wham! Music Box.

Even the appearance of that disgusting word WHAM made me realise that this was going to be gruesome. As I looked on, I saw a picture of the members George ‘Weirdo’ Michael and Andrew ‘changed nose’ Ridley. So gruesome. This really got me mad. I showed it to my friends and they totally agreed with me.

So come on, CRASH, don’t be so disgusting and let’s have more pokes instead of horrible pictures. I will give your mag one more go. But please don’t do it again.

Yours disgustedly
Someone who doesn’t like WHAM

After The Osmonds and Perry Como, Wham are my favourite group. How can you possibly not like them? However, sorry to have so upset you! Readers complaining about unlucky days will now think this is a made up letter for light relief, but it is genuine — there are people who hate Wham. But back to the theme for the month.

Having read several of my kids’ CRASH mags — and taken the scissors to several of the worst pages — this month’s (December) front cover and related internal themes have sunk to a new low.

I’m getting fed up with the macabre and evil undertones in much of the contents and I will be forced to stop my son buying it if it doesn’t improve, which will be a shame as it’s good in general.

I hope ‘earning a quick buck at any expense’ isn’t your only motivation, and that you have some (?) conscience about the harm you are doing to impressionable kids.

Isn’t there enough horror in the world without you adding to it and glorifying it?
N Rolls

Quite why people immediately think ‘making a quick buck’ is the reason for including something with which the writer disagrees, has always puzzled me. No one ever seems to think that making ‘a quick buck’ is the reason for putting in something nice (?)!

But on we go...

Dear Sir,
I am writing to complain about your Issue No 23. I pay for a standing order at the newsagents, but when my son turned up with your last issue I was horrified at the cover — it was frightening and horrible. My lad is only 10 and the pictures and editorial pictures were very explicit. I am amazed that a magazine aimed at pre and teenagers should feature such gruesome and frightening pictures.

I know people die in games all the time, but graphics are not as frightening or bloodthirsty. The film is 18 Cert and pictures from the film should be the same. I think it was very unthoughtful of you to put these pictures in such detail.

I personally have cancelled my order for your mag and have persuaded two others to do so. I have persuaded my newsagent to send copies of the magazine back to WH Smith.

I feel so strong about this that I have taken the offending pages out and put them up where I work (A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER) with notes saying this is what CRASH MAG is trying to push on your children.

I would be very interested in you trying to justify the publication of the stills, and await your reply.
C Hayes

Okay, I can’t put it off any longer — it’s REPLY time!

First, though, I must make it clear that the following are my personal opinions. Yes, the cover is pretty strong in content but, unlike the films on which the game is based, it is also very stylised. The game comes packaged with blood capsules — delightful little objects that can be bought in many shops around the country, underlining the fact that this is supposed to be fun. Whether the individual considers it to be so is obviously another matter. I do think Domark’s publicity stills and the general promotion is over the top, but of course they are riding on the back of the films’ promotion — and it’s worth remembering that they have had a colossal audience. I don’t seriously think that the Domark stills, or those from the film are anything like Cert X and the photo caption in CRASH was purposely designed to remove any sting from the picture anyway. Perhaps you don’t agree.

It seems very common in this sort of argument to take the attitude that CRASH is aimed at ‘pre-teens and teenagers’. When the mag started, over two years ago, an advertising agency contacted Roger asking for the intended reader profile and age group, so they could word their promotion to suit the magazine’s type of reader. Roger is supposed to have said that he wasn’t entirely sure what age group would be predominant, the agency was alarmed, replying that they couldn’t do the press release properly unless they knew what age group to write for. Roger answered, ‘We’re writing for 25 year olds because younger people don’t like being talked down to.’

Our own questionnaire established that the average CRASH reader is well over 17, although the biggest single group is in the region of 14. In that sense we are aiming the magazine at the age group that most buys comics like 2000AD. In comparison to that, anything in CRASH is mild stuff.

In conclusion, no one here is trying to foist anything on ‘impressionable’ youngsters. The very use of the word ‘impressionable’ is intended to be emotive, implying that the ‘kids’ are being got at. I am not very impressed with the game Friday the 13th, but it was previewed in good faith as a bit of fun.


Dear Lloyd,
Many people have written to you claiming to have found the Lunar Jetman trailer, but you have always proved them wrong.

I decided that I would have a go at finding the trailer. Some of my friends offered to help me on my mammoth task so we loaded Jetman with infinite lives. A few days later after hours of alien blasting, we found it. We have taken a photograph as proof, which is enclosed. Maybe now you will believe the trailer exists.
Peter Featherstone, with help from Mark Connor, Martin Wilson, Chris Hubbard, and Andrew Edscer



To Lloyd Mangram
Howdy Lloyd! How's tricks?

Last week I resolved to mosey on down to the store to interchange some of the old legal tender for my pet publication of Spectrum festivities.

Upon arriving I proceeded to execute the aforementioned. (No, not arthropod celebrium!) When at my abode, burying myself in the folios, a few conclusions entered my cerebellum and medulla oblongata: excellent, first class, exquisite, high-grade, attractive, great, superior, exceptional, superb, capital, accomplished. incomparable, priceless, invaluable, magnificent, wonderful, skillful, praiseworthy, above par, first rate, terrific, amazing, neat, groovy, top hole and definitely up to the notch.
Steven Cantwell
(Roughly translated, 'I bought CRASH and liked it'.)

Yes, and I can see you've got a pirate copy of my Long Word Dictionary too. For a moment there, I thought you were going to take us to task over how many synonyms there are for 'really excellent' in the reviewers' comments!


Dear Sir,
I am writing to express my complete satisfaction with the advertisement that has been placed by our company in CRASH magazine over the past few months. The response from this advertisement has been tremendous, abling us to build our micro computer section up even further.

I hope this letter will be published in your magazine so that other future advertisers will certainly consider CRASH magazine before any other. Your advertisement rates must also be the most reasonable in this country anyway, and we find it is a pleasure to do business with you and you are certainly guaranteed your advertising for at least the next twelve months. Many thanks and keep up the good work.
CK Durie, Service Manager, Walkers Computer Service and Repairs, Birmingham.

Thank you for the compliment! I suppose I should make this letter of the month! Well, perhaps not, people might start getting the idea I'm biased.


Several readers have had a few things to say about Firebird’s Elite game...


In Issue 22 I read about a game called Elite from Firebird. So taking out my birthday money I rushed to the computer shop to get this game. I got home and loaded it. I read the instructions about Lenslok and tried to find the code — after three attempts the game just went off. So I loaded it again, and again trying to suss the code. You guessed it, the game just went off. I tried this for four hours.

So the next day I took the game back to the shop — and it took them three hours to get the code. The only snag is, the code changes each time you load up. I think this is the worst act to stop pirates due to the fact that it also stops non-pirates playing the game.

The Lenslok instructions were pathetic. They didn’t give any idea how to use the stupid thing. They should have showed some sort of diagram, showing how to look through the lens. I just hope all the software companies don’t decide to use Lenslok because it is a complete farce.
C Ullah

All I can say about Lenslok is that we have had no trouble with it, most people finding it quite simple to set up the lens and read the code. Firebird, however, obviously agree with you on the instructions, as they have had them completely rewritten.

The next writer shares your views though.

Dear Lloyd,
After all the waiting, after all the adverts, after all the previews, it’s finally here! Yup, you got it, we’re talking about Elite.

We’ve both bought a copy and are exceedingly impressed. On opening the box we noticed they are having a competition playoff for the best players. What form (we ask ourselves) can this take? Perhaps a series of Spectrums networked through an IBM so that you have to battle it out amongst each other until only one is left? No. Well then, what about giving each player an identically equipped ship and a time limit, the victor being the one with the most kills or the most money. No again. The answer came to us in a blinding flash of inspiration: The winner will be the one who can work out how to use ... LENSLOK!

Perhaps it’s just that our mega-sized brains can’t handle something so trivial as a blob of red plastic. Maybe due to our advancing years (both of us are the wrong side of 23), we’re just too muddled to cope. Could it be our reliance on another type of Lenslok, the sort you stick on your nose first thing in the morning (it’s another sign of old age, being short-sighted). Honestly, neither of us can say with hand on heart that we can really see actual letters through the damned thing.

Apart from the quibbling we must say that Elite is the best game either of us have ever played. Lenslok is the most infuriating thing we have ever come across. (Next, maybe, to having to work late when the pubs are open!)
Messrs Reid and Wood

Well some turbo loaders just won’t load, perhaps some Lensloks just won’t unlok. I must admit that the times I’ve tried it has been on a CUB Monitor — maybe it doesn’t look as easy on an ordinary TV screen.


Dear Lloyd,
Having seen Adam Lock’s letter in CRASH 23 I thought that I would write to you concerning the subject of so called ‘computer’ role-playing games. It may be said that Elite bears more than a passing resemblance to Traveller, not just meaning names taken from the book.

I have a friend who plays Traveller and he tells me that Elite is not exactly like it. For one thing, it is very difficult to get a ship in Traveller (unless you are very rich or lucky) and combat is not at all like the one in Elite which is more exciting (being arcade type). This is not to say Traveller is better than Elite or vice versa. They are both different games on their own, and not really comparable. This also goes for other computer games, such as Fairlight or Knight Lore.

Two major things at least are lacking from all but one of these computer arcade adventure role-playing games (to give a name). First is the ability to adventure in groups which is sadly missing. Second is the ability to actually role-play. That is, to develop a personality for your character in a long-running campaign.

These two points, I believe, are the most important, but there are others. I’m not saying these computer games are inferior — it’s just that comparisons can’t be made, as in the case of Elite/Traveller.

So now to the exception. This is the incredible new PSS game, Swords and Sorcery. This is (at last) a CAARPG (see above). If you like role-playing games then buy this. Anyway, please don’t confuse role-playing games with computer games, the gap has only been bridged once — the rest are only on a par with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.
James Pengelly

The next writer doesn’t quite seem to agree...


Dear Lloyd,
I must agree with Adam Lock’s letter (Issue 23) about the similarities between Elite and Traveller. Details in the game are identical, even down to the space cadet’s name (Jamison in Traveller, Jameson in Elite).

I feel that this fact actually enhances Elite, as players of Traveller have a background knowledge of the complex needs and risks of interplanetary trading. I’ve had Elite since it first hit the shelves, and can honestly say it’s the best game I’ve ever played on the Spectrum.

As to the Lenslock security system, I’ve had no problems with it, and feel the only enemies it will make are with the software pirates, who may find themselves out of pocket if they want to play the game. My only small niggle is that the folding part of the lens is not as strong as it could be, and may break after continued use.

Thanks, anyway, to GDW for the brilliant concept and to Firebird for the computer game of a lifetime.
AD Cornwell

It’s nice to see lots of people getting enjoyment from Elite because in some respects, on the surface, it isn’t a game one might expect to have massive popular appeal, but it certainly is a compelling one!


Dear LM,
This is just a quick note typed out on my trusty OLD Adler typewriter. I read with interest the letter from Mrs Rhonda Sherman in the December issue of CRASH and I must say that I can only agree. As a dyed in the wool male chauvinist porcine, I feel obliged to point out that software companies, being what they are, would probably find it difficult to produce games made exclusively for the ladies in the programming world.

Having said that, I can quite happily see something of that sort coming from St Brides in the near future. At any rate, I know of at least one non-sexist by name — Sandy White (remember Ant Attack?)

I think that to single out women for special software is demeaning in the extreme but I do think we could all take a hint from the Chinese and drop the feminine/masculine gender from scenarios wherever possible.
Maurice Criddle

Perhaps you’re right about the gender thing, but I draw the line when I’m told a ‘manual’ is now referred to as a ‘personual’. Does this make me a MCP?
— worried of Ludlow


Dear Lloyd,
I would like to compliment a certain software company for helping unemployed Superheroes.

Take my Dad for instance (please). He used to fly around the States (of America, don’t you know) saving people’s lives and the like, but because of the bad publicity in the films and cartoons, ordinary minions think that superheroes save lives for nothing. Huh!

People like my Dad need this money for things like food and laddered tights, not to mention clean undies!

Software companies can produce as many games as they like, so long as they give me and my Dad a fiver for every ten games sold. As only an elite few of us know (Me and my Dad) the ‘S’ on my Dad’s leotard is in fact a 5, standing for £5 — but when my Dad has saved a life or two and asks for a meager fiver the people just don’t pay up and, being the nice gent he is, my Dad won’t pressure them into paying. This is where you come in.

Please remind people that superheroes can’t live on thank yous and send a quid or cheque payable to us, or any spare tights you might have, we will be very grateful.

I would hate to see the day when my Dad would want his five pounds in advance, before he saves someone. Could you imagine it?
David Adkinson

When you’re needed people are all over you, David, but as soon as you’re not they no longer care. Isn’t that life?


Dear Lloyd,
Issue 23 finally did it. It made me angry enough to spend time writing you. I’m fed up with people saying how good CRASH is when quite frankly, it could be much better:

1) CRASH Smashes should be given a full page. A game that gets 9 on the adventure scale deserves more than being split up over two pages (Terrormolinos)

2) Stop lying about subscription offers. They are NOT free. We have to pay £5.00 extra for old games.

3) Offers of CRASH clothing are about as good as West Bromwich Albion FC. I mean to say, £4.00 for a stupid hat that makes your ears stick out (Issue 21). The CRASH Binder Offer, £4.50 for a folder with CRASH stuck on it. Now be fair, how much DO they cost to make?

Finally and the most outrageous, was the advertisement on the Christmas edition. The cost is £1.95 compared to the usual 95p. Of course there is a poster given free and there are more pages — I would have counted that there will be about 20-odd extra pages. Does this merit a £1 increase?

I will, of course, as will thousands of others, buy the Christmas edition. Why? Because it is the done thing to buy CRASH every month. People buy everything with CRASH written on it.

I think you are selling CRASH regulars down the river. You are not being fair to the people who made you popular. So enough of this propaganda. Start getting your priorities right and your prices fair. People are starting to see through your schemes.
Yours angrily
Evan Gillespie

Come off it Evan, nearly every CRASH Smash gets two pages, but sometimes the space allowed for items doesn’t work out that way. You make it sound like the thing is laid out in a few hours when actually it takes some two weeks. No one is lying about the subscription offers. The proper rate is given in the masthead and any games DO COME FREE!! If the cost to us is so high it makes the offer uneconomic, then obviously there has to be some adjustment upwards in the total offer cost. As to caps — how many other mags offer you caps AND sticky-out ears in the price? I’m not sure how much the binders actually cost us, but I do know that our mark up is considerably less than the usual 100% and that includes the box, packaging cost and the postage. A certain well known magazine devoted to computer and video games also had a giggle over the £1.95 cover price for the Christmas Special, but neglected to point out the value of their sister magazine’s ‘Annual’ of not very many pages of reprinted listings for £2.50. As you point out, you got a large double sided poster in CRASH which alone would cost £2-£3 in a shop. As for ripping off regulars, any subscribers got their Christmas Special included at normal cost. So there.


Dear Boiled,
Thanks for the review of Brainstorm. (No, this is not a letter bomb.) While I thought most of the review was quite fair, there are just one or two points I’d like to make. Firstly, there are no bugs in the sprite routine that I know of, and if I had ever noticed the effect that you claimed happened with your copy, I would certainly have done something about it. You don’t think Bubble Bus would have let me get away with something like that, do you? There is definitely nothing wrong with the production copy they sent me.

Apart from the above, I agree with the comments made by the first two reviewers — the graphics are a little dated. But, mm... well was the third reviewer a moron? I mean, when did Bubble Bus do a copy of Sabre Wulf? He didn’t mean Wizard’s Lair, did he? And I can’t really agree that the game is a copy of Jetpac — the playing motion might be the same, but there are no other similarities are there? or do we have two different Jetpacs? It was more inspired by the early Fantasy games than anything else. Anyway, I won’t bore you with my criticism about your criticism. I have one or two ideas that would improve your review even further:

1) Stop comparing Spectrum versions of a game to their Commodore equivalents. It may be alright for you to say ‘this makes the Spectrum look ten times better than the C64’, but I think you should compare a game to something Spectrum owners can relate to, not something they’re never likely to see;

2) I think you should put reviewers’ initials at the bottom of each piece of criticism they write. This would mean that readers can anticipate that a certain reviewer would, say, go over the top about any platform game, and so take his comments with a pinch of salt.
Tim Prosser

You’re right about comparing cross-machine versions of games, although you might be surprised just how many CRASH readers do see 64 games. But I do think it is interesting to reference Spectrum games with those on the Commodore and the Amstrad, where the reference is relevant. The argument about initialling the reviewers’ comments is an old one. Long ago we adopted the policy (right or wrong) that the reviewers would remain anonymous, largely because they were and are mostly at school, and partly because there are so many of them that it would not have much point. The system used in ZZAP! 64 magazine is quite different where the reviews are tackled by in-house staff.


Dear Lloyd,
Please could you explain to me how software is chosen for reviewing.

I noticed, after a short look through Issue 23 that Graham Gooch’s Test Cricket has not been reviewed, and I suppose will not be reviewed. Yet, in this issue, seven and a half pages were covered with reviews of eight budget titles. Only two of these (One Man and his Droid and Chicken Chase) justified the space, while the others averaged only 60%.

This magazine seems to be prejudiced against sports simulations; preferring to contain endless budget games and Quilled adventures. Two important CRL releases, Formula One and Endurance have never graced your pages. Also, Brian Jack’s Superstars Challenge and Sports Hero from Martech and Melbourne House never received the full treatment. Could this have anything to do with the fact that Chris Passey finds cricket ‘yawn inducing’ (Issue 16) and that one of the reviewers of World Series Basketball is ‘not a sports simulation person’?

I think that a separate corner should be established in the mag for sports simulations, where games could be reviewed by one who knows about and likes this sort of software.
John Cowley

A bit of an unfair criticism, seeing how many sports simulations we have reviewed in the past. Endurance Racing was reviewed last month and Graham Gooch’s Test Cricket is reviewed this issue — as soon as was possible. Brian Jacks and Sports Hero did rather miss out due to the fact that they arrived during Chris Passey’s Sports Special and got included there — same for the CRL game. The tendency to look down on most sports simulations is simple — most of them have deserved no more. As you will see in this issue, Graham Gooch’s Test Cricket gets the full treatment and is well reviewed (in fact, breaking a CRASH confidence, Chris Passey’s comment is the first one).


Dear Lloyd,
I am writing this letter to complain about the lack of good joysticks at reasonable prices.

Eleven months ago I received a Protek joystick set for Christmas which included a Quickshot 1, Protek Interface and the game Airliner. Six months later the joystick fell to bits while I was playing Blade Alley. When people talk of cheap joysticks as good value, I think they are crazy. When you buy the set, just because it is cheap, you still should expect the contents to be of an acceptable standard and not rubbish. The set itself cost £19.99 which is very good value, considering the separate price would be about £30.

I have a friend who has a Gunshot 1, which after only three months is ready to go to the dustbin. These joysticks could be faulty, but many of my other friends have had the same complaint. There is no point in selling a joystick for £10 if it will fall to bits shortly after you buy it. £10 is a lot of money, and could be spent on something of more use.

I would [like to mention my] teacher, Mr Fanning. Anyway, I lent him my copy of The Quill last year. Well now he has just released The Duncan Bowen Adventure which he is selling for £4.99 at the local computer shop. But he wouldn’t even give me a free copy of the game. The game he used my Quill to write.

Well, now I’ve got my Quill back I’m starting to write my own adventure game. I will call it The Crash Towers Adventure and I will send you a copy FREE OF CHARGE (if you print my letter).

By the way, tell Robin Candy that his POKE for Raid Over Moscow (November Issue) doesn’t work, and that he should try out the POKES before he prints them. Also, he needs a haircut.
Michael Freund

Robin had a haircut many moons ago, in fact before the PCW show (he’s had others since) and no longer looks anything like his Playing Tips photo — in fact he looks more like a pop group now — Wham perhaps? And all the POKES are tested before printing. Occasionally there are typesetting errors that cause the problem, but most letter and phone call complaints turn out to be operator error in entering the data. I look forward to your Quilled adventure, but perhaps you should send a copy of your teacher’s along so Derek Brewster can review it!??

If you have anything to say on almost any subject in the universe as long as it relates to Spectrum games (which includes almost everything possible), then write to me, LLOYD MANGRAM, CRASH FORUM. Sadly, it is virtually impossible for me to reply personally, so please don’t send in SAEs for replies — you’ll just be disappointed. I’m so busy you see, I have to clean the keys of my typewriter after every hammering session. However, I’m pleased to announce that the management have seen fit to give me an upgrade — I’m now on a 1938 Hermes machine, and wow, is it flash!