Another year begins. Quite naturally, people’s minds turn to wondering what it will bring — and the letters I received for this month’s FORUM reflected this speculation. I’m hoping for better games, a rise, and a more impressive crop of runner beans. I might be able to do something about the beans...


Dear Lloyd
Recently the software industry has got itself into a tight spot. Realising the difficulty of producing original games, people have decided to program games based on films, which are often very poor. Still more of the games we buy today are arcade conversions. These games are being made faster than new arcade machines, so the licence fees will go up, leaving less money to spend on developing the game. Companies which don’t get the rights will decide they’ll do another version, and produce a similar game. Where does this leave us? In a position where most of the boxes on the shelves contain arcade games, films, comics and so on.

Looking away from all the glamour, you see a different box. You don’t recognise the title. Oh well, better look in CRASH. Surprise surprise! It’s actually different, and it shows! Effort has been spent on the game, by a programmer/team who thought of the idea, and they have produced an excellent game in a different mould. This type of product will nearly always come from a smaller company.

Having said this, all the sales are in the ‘seen the film, read the book, heard the music’ games and the software houses will pursue this field.

The original games always come from the smaller companies, who do their level best to bring out a game which is different. If more different games and less film games were brought out, the consumer would probably change his attitude.
Stephen Cluck

Roy Gibeon of Canvas is also annoyed by licence deals that take money away from the programming budget — his views were reported in the feature on Denton Designs in the Christmas Special.

Without doubt, there have been a significant number of poor games hiding behind famous names — and quite a few are reviewed this issue. But the fact remains that a lot of people DO buy tie-ins, and as far as the software publishers are concerned, spending money on a licence works. Sales are boosted, and if it’s an arcade conversion thought doesn’t have to go into designing a game and scenario.

Smaller companies, who perhaps can’t afford the level of investment required to enter the licensing arena, are still producing original games. Fortunately there’s no shortage of programming talent for them to draw on. Generally, if the first consideration in a software publisher’s mind is the game, the end product is much better.

And not all tie-ins are rubbish — Top Gun for instance. The programmers behind Cobra also did an excellent job. There’s nothing wrong with adding value to a game by acquiring a licence, providing that’s the way you go about it. Selling a licence on the inlay and box and ‘giving away’ a game must ultimately, harm the industry.

For your well-placed advice to software houses, I’ve decided to award you this month’s £20 of software.


Dear Lloyd
Surely now the Spectrum has reached its limits. What advances have been made over the last nine months or so? The best games then were Tau Ceti, Zoids and Dynamite Dan, along with Sweevo’s World. Now what are they?

Lightforce, Dan Dare and Dynamite Dan II? Virtually nothing has developed in the graphics department. Sure, the colour in Lightforce is terrific, but doesn’t it slow the gameplay down a teeny weeny bit. Dan Dare also has great graphics, but so do Dynamite Dan and Monty on the Run, and they’re well over a year old.

The sound has also improved a little bit. Back in late ’85 early ’86 the best music belonged in my opinion to Starquake and good old Dynamite Dan. Now that accolade belongs to Ping Pong, but not by much.
John Logue

I wonder if you will feel the same at the end of 1987, John. I hope not. There’s plenty of room left for improvement in game design, and although the limits of the Spectrum ought to be finite, some programmers seem to manage to push the limits that little bit further with each successive game.


Dear Lloyd
After reading Mark Langley’s letter (Issue 35) in which he defends the publishing of POKEs, I feel I must contribute to this debate.

This first argument was that if we didn’t print POKEs Hannah Smith wouldn’t have a job. Well, if we didn’t shoot people gun-makers would be out of a job but that doesn’t make it right.

When a quality game is written, the programmer tries to strike a balance between the game being too easy or too difficult to complete. This means that the player must come across stages in the game when it appears impossible (or at least nearly impossible) to progress any further. It is at times like this when the ‘jerk’ Mark refers to who has just bought a new game, will be tempted to use the POKE he noticed in CRASH. It is not until he has used the POKE that he realises the game has become too easy and his money has been wasted.

Also spare a thought for the programmer whose game has been ruined by a POKE because it is no longer being played the way he wanted it to be. I’m sure programmers care about such things.

I can see that some people might spend ages stuck in the same position in a game, and I think gameplay tips are acceptable in this case because they can get someone going again without altering the physics of the program. However, I do not think you should print any POKEs in your magazine just to sell a few more copies. Completing a game yourself beats cheating any day.
Richard Yendall

I’m sorry Richard, but it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not to use a POKE that is printed. I doubt that programmers are all that upset by the POKEs we print — maybe a programmer or two would like to voice opinion?


Dear Lloyd
Fantastic, informative, nostalgic, colourful, jolly, professional, lively and compulsive. What am I talking about? Oh yes, the CRASH Christmas Special. For two quid, you can’t get anything near as good. I still haven’t finished reading it. Your LOOKBACK ON 1986 and the TECH NICHE special on little red boxes, were particularly good. A few bum notes though — for instance the Durell (Deep Strike) competition: one picture was upside down (a bit too much Christmas Spirit up in Art I expect) and the CRASH readers awards — why should we put ZZAP! Readers Awards on the envelope?
Jason Pritchard

PPS Antidisestablishmentarianism — stick that in LMLWD!!

Glad you liked it Jason. Art has been chastised. It already is.


Dear Lloyd
I have just read FORUM in the Christmas Special issue of CRASH and decided finally to put SMITH-CORONA Enterprise keys to paper.

I read the letter criticising the CRASH reviews with interest, and I wish to present my point of view. It seems to me that for a game to achieve the much sought after status of CRASH Smash there just have to be signs of effort from the programmer, such as nice graphics, attention to detail in the graphics or plot or accuracy of rules in a simulation. Although these qualities may be desirable in a game, surely it is the contents of the plot and the gameplay that are more important. I would tend to agree with N Clemons that a large number of Smashes are not worth the ratings and the hard-earned scarce commodity called money that we spend on them.

This is because after the initial effect created by the nice scenario and the stunning or original graphics has worn off and the humour has worn dry, the actual game that you play is very boring and unoriginal.

I think that you will find that games such as Football Manager, despite the stick graphics and the slow basic programming techniques used, the lack of attention to detail and the complete absence of any form of humour at all, are still played and enjoyed by many today. This is because the idea is fun and the game is immensely addictive. I have never played Head Coach before, but if it is anything like as addictive as Football Manager it should get a favourable review, despite the inaccuracy in the rules and poor graphics.

Most CRASH Smashes today are severe cases of ‘Nice graphics, shame about the game’, particularly the 3D games which, since Knight Lore have never really broken any new ground and have all been very dull and boring despite the vast variety of plots and scenarios and initially different graphics. What we need are games that will not become boring once you have completed them. Games that have satisfied this requirement have been Football Manager, the Midnight duo, and of the sports simulations I have enjoyed Match Day in particular. Starquake holds the title of the most compelling arcade adventure on the market.

But that is not all that I can gripe about. I would also like to complain about the other ratings, as well as the overall. Why are they always consistently similar? Take Ghosts ’n’ Goblins for example. All of the ratings were within 7% of each other. This is the case for most reviews, but what really annoyed me was the 92% for graphics. It did not really deserve more than about 75% in this department. When you compare the graphics to many others around, they are certainly not amongst the best. In a system where the overall is not an average of the other marks there is no excuse for this.

If a game deserves 70% for graphics, 80% for getting started or 75% for value for money whilst getting 96% overall, then the reviewers should award the marks that the game deserves. Despite these criticisms I still believe that the CRASH reviews, if not the reviewers, are the best of any magazine on the market. Keep up the good work.
Jonathon Brooker


Heh! Lloyd
I am writing in response to the Nick Clemons’ letter in Issue 36 of the not-so-Christmassy edition of this magazine. I completely disagree with him in respect to your reviews always being wrong.

Obviously some people won’t like some games, but that is the reason why there are three commentators who can express their own opinion on a game, thus providing the reader with three different opinions.

While we’re on the subject of the Nick Clemons letter, I do think a huge mistake was made on Smashing Winter Games, which was unattractive and very boring. Otherwise the reviews are good and I compliment the team.
Paul Wicks

Elsewhere in this FORUM Mr Clemons gets the chance to refine his argument — it appears it was the reviewers he was aiming his attack at, not the reviews themselves.


Dear Lloyd
I do not know about you, but I think I am not alone when I say I am sick and tired of hearing ‘Oh I really like Gauntlet in the arcade’. I think it is rather sinister, in fact, that in many polls taken in computer magazines, one of the more automatic questions like ‘What’s your favourite TV programme’ is often replaced with the question ‘What’s your favourite Arcade game’, and I’ll name names: YOUR SINCLAIR September issue, feature on arcade conversions; YS January issue/Christmas special: Questions asked to people at the October Microfair (‘Oh, I like going down the arcade and I like playing Gauntlet and so on.’)

I think you will find it disturbing that a percentage of all these people may be the sort who stay in the Arcade whenever they can (usually they say: ‘Well there’s nothing better to do is there?’) It is rather pathetic that some young people can find nothing else to do.

If they spend so much time at the ‘arcade down the road’, you may wonder where they get all their money from. I’ll leave it up to you to make your own conclusion to this...

If they are addicted to arcade games, then you can bet they will also be addicted to the much more sinister side of the Amusement Arcade, that is the flashing lights and bleeps of the Fruit Machine. I think magazines should do everything they can do against the scourge of the arcades, and its addicts.

I am sure that the reason for this ‘Growth’ is the arrival of the Arcade Conversion. Many other people will join me saying that most arcade games are very bad indeed, and make no contribution to the advances of games technology whatsoever (two off the top of my head are Kung-Fu Master and Dragons Lair).

Apart from the quality of some of the Elite conversions, hardly any arcade conversions are any good. Most of the best game ideas for the Spectrum are made up by software houses and their games designers, not giant corporations, who do not have limits of 48K RAM, 7 colours and sad sound. Probably the best games for a long time have been produced by a company that has avoided licences — Telecomsoft. Look at Elite, and more recently, the stunning Star Glider.

Reviews of the better arcade conversions only serve to encourage gamblers and addicts. By far the worst culprit is C&VG, with its almost grotesque portrayal/glamorising of arcade games, in a special arcade game review section.

Just as a footnote, I think I am right in saying the average reader age of magazines such as CRASH and C&VG is 14/15. Magazines like C&VG conveniently forget that, except in seaside arcades, it is illegal for anyone under 16 to go into an arcade. I think you will agree that arcade addiction should not be encouraged anywhere, whether in your new young peoples’ magazine or in any grown-up’s magazine or publication. However, coverage of arcade games only appears in magazines with readers of 14 or 15 or younger.
Tom Evans

Well, what do other readers feel about the influence of the arcades on the Youth of Today?


Dear Lloyd
I’ve got something to say which has been on my mind for some time now. There are so many games released which are very good. Only one thing often lacks: the sound. ‘What would you expect from a 48K Spectrum?’, I hear you say.

Well, if there are tunes like those from Ping Pong, and Vectron to name but two, why can’t every game have such good tunes?

One moment software houses make excellent tunes, the other moment it’s a lot of crap. Why can’t they keep up their music standard? I own a 128K and I can’t make tunes like Ping Pong even with my sound chip.

And where are the ‘Games Music’ packages for the 128K machine?

Anyway, I’ve made a tune/sound FX Top Ten of my software. I think that 1, 2, 3 and 4 are very difficult to beat. The rest is nice and I’m sure there are better ones, but I don’t have them. So here it is.

  1. Vectron
  2. Ping Pong
  3. Fairlight
  4. Micky
  5. Max Headroom
  6. Arc of Yesod
  7. Knight Rider
  8. Equinox
  9. Pyracurse
  10. Heavy on the Magick

Does anyone disagree with me?
Frank Bouts

At last Spectrum sound comes into its own with the advent of the Spectrum Plus Two. Considering the limitations posed by the BEEPer, there have been some excellent multi-channel simulations and sound definitely adds to a game. Maybe we should start a Sound Chart for people to add their votes to Frank’s?


Dear Lloyd
I disagree with R C Fortune in the Christmas issue. Any game on the Spectrum should be reviewed, no matter how cruel or barbaric it is. Also C&VG are real plonkers if they think the graphics deserve 0. I thought they were very good. They probably condemned the game as soon as they received it as they considered it a terrible thing to do like Mr Fortune did. What about these poor defenceless aliens plodding around a screen when suddenly a lightning bolt shoots up their posterior? (Very painful I’m sure.)

‘It’s not the same’ I hear you cry. Okay then, it isn’t but you have boxing and martial arts games in which you punch and kick the hell out of someone. I mean Americana probably didn’t mean to offend anyone — they just wanted to bring out a game that pulled in some cash. It’s a sports simulation: as simple as that. It isn’t meant to be real life, just as many games aren’t supposed to be. So RC Fortune, C&VG and anyone else like them just give Americana a break eh!
Elliot Owens

I still don’t agree with the ‘sport’ of bullfighting


Dear Lloyd
I have a very large bone to pick with you. Well, it’s not all your fault. But (I’ll get straight to the point) for just 32 more pages in the Christmas CRASH you’re charging £1.95. Well that’s what it seems but it’s far too daft. Now, noting that CRASH contains issue 0 of LM that is said in the advert to be free with CRASH Christmas Special, it seems very very likely that you are charging people:
1) The normal £1 for CRASH
2) 15p extra for 32 pages more
3) 80p for a so-called ‘free’ magazine.

One and Two are acceptable, but as far as I am concerned CRASH is getting a little too expensive. Besides, CRASH is a computer magazine — it’s not a Youth Magazine. I hope next year’s edition at Christmas is much cheaper.
Richard Dobbs

The CRASH Christmas Special has become a bit of a tradition — we always try to pack it with competitions and special features as well as providing some form of gift. We ran into a little bit of criticism last year for charging £1.95 for 196 pages — our printers can only cope with a 196 page magazine — so giving away another 80 pages in the form of a completely separate magazine this year seemed like a good idea.

The increased price is for one issue only, but the November and December Issues are also a bit larger. Sorry you felt a bit miffed Richard. What did the rest of you think about the new magazine that bears my initials?


Dear Sir/Siress
I feel compelled to write to you in the light of recent comments made in the FORUM along the lines of ‘tell anyone with any complaint that we don’t need their comments’. This kind of philosophy is warped to say the least, and those correspondents responsible seem to be unaware of the fact that a forum IS a place for discussion, and that each individual is entitled to his or her point of view. What is more, the readers whose views differ from some of the more controversial ideas which appear on your pages tend only to say ‘I think that Valente/Connor (remember him?)/Tony Bridge is a bit of a bastard’, and almost invariably fail to support their comments with any convincing or logical arguments.

Or perhaps it is the case that this particular form of moaner doesn’t have the vocabulary to express sentiments without resorting to abuse? I trust that this letter will find its way into the FORUM along with the other (mainly) junk that normally gets printed, as having a go at moaners seems to be a currently trendy thing to do. Who knows?
B Andrews

I’ve always maintained that criticism, which may be good or bad, should always be constructive and supported by some degree of logical comment. Abuse on its own may be satisfying to hurl but unless it is backed up by some supporting arguments it is largely without value.

I’m always interested to receive readers’ views on life, computers and the whole Spectrum world and do what I can to encourage debate in these pages.

Junk indeed. You see; you’ve just fallen into your own trap Mr Andrews!


Dear Lloyd
I am pleased to be able to say that I am an owner of the new 128K Plus 2. I would just like to put some people straight about this machine because I get the feeling that you don’t want anyone to get it: you almost put me off.

I would like to say that not only does it look good, but also acts it. I know that the rewind on the tape recorder is a bit slow, but it is still the best one that I have had. Also I don’t know how you can say that lines go across the colour TV set. If they do I can’t see them!

All in all this is the best computer that I have ever had.
Davie Clifford

No-one in CRASH Towers has got anything against the Plus Two, Davie. We had a few reservations about it, not least that companies seemed a little reluctant to produce software specifically for the 128 machine. We mentioned that the new Sinclair/Amstrad machine found itself in a bit of a ‘chicken and egg situation’, with companies waiting to see how well the computer sold before producing games, and people waiting for games to be released before buying the computer. Over the past few months some excellent software for the 128 computer has been released, and apart from a few problems with the on-board datacorder, the Plus Two is looking set for success.

As for the TV problem, as Simon Goodwin explained in his review, the modulator didn’t work too well on the very early versions of the machine. This has now been sorted out.


Dear Lloyd
I am writing to you, not to complain but to compliment you on your excellent postal service.

On Friday the 14th of November, I received a package from the postman. I hurriedly opened the package to find it contained a CRASH hat and T Shirt. ‘What’s this?’ I said, ‘I haven’t won a competition!’ I opened the letter which accompanied the package and read it.

‘Congratulations on being a runner-up in the Adventure Chart feature in CRASH magazine!’ it read.

I rushed upstairs and got out the past few editions of CRASH. Just as I thought, my name’s not in any of them. I said sadly, ‘Must be a mistake’.

The following day — the 15th — my CRASH arrived — Issue 35 — which comes in several days early, as I am a subscriber. I quickly tore open the thoughtfully sealed bag and turned to the chart pages. There it was: my name. I was a runner-up!

So thank you for the hat and T Shirt. CRASH is the best Spectrum Magazine ever as they deliver the prizes to the competitions before the magazines verifying the results!
Brian Neilson

PS I also won the Christmas questionnaire — the hat you pull the names out of must like me!!!

One or two competition winners in the past may not agree with you Brian — there have been a few moments of panic when prizes got lost on their way to winners or companies lost lists of winners. But we’ve asked Auntie Julie to take over as Competitions Secretary and she spends all her time chasing people up, solving problems and making sure winners get their prizes. It looks like she’s excelled herself in your case. I’ll pass your letter of thanks on to her. Reading it will probably make a pleasant change from dealing exclusively with problems...


Dear LM
I was recently down at the Newsagent’s when I saw a SINCLAIR USER. I opened it as I was a bit bored (very bored in fact!) and I saw a review of a game I had been waiting for for months. It was Space Harrier and I saw that it got a 5 star SINCLAIR USER CLASSIC. After seeing this I thought WOW! and I eagerly sent off for the game from Elite. After a couple of weeks the game arrived. I quickly loaded it in to my humble Spectrum and I thought this is the best shoot em up on the Spectrum: I just couldn’t believe the speed.

A couple of days later CRASH came through my door. I was just looking through it and I saw a normal review of what looked like a normal game but when I looked closer I saw the words SPACE HARRIER written on the top of the page and the general rating: A near miss. What are you saying? This is the best game out!
Mark Edwards

One or two other people, including Steve Wilcox of Elite, thought that the CRASH reviewers had been a bit harsh on Space Harrier. The ‘Doc Martened One’ has already taken them to task, but they insist that their ratings stand, saying that somehow, there’s not that much of a game there. The promise that the game showed when it came in for preview somehow didn’t materialise into a game worthy of a SMASH it seems. Reviews are always going to be a matter of opinion — and we’re far from infallible. Look at the Match Day controversy for instance.

What do other people think about our ratings for Space Harrier? Were the CRASH reviewers ‘wrong’?


Dear Lloyd
Having read several letters along the lines of the Streethawk/TT Races saga I felt that Leisure Genius deserve praise for the way they went about advertising their new game Scalextric, for the Spectrum.

Avidly reading last year’s Christmas CRASH (No 24), I noticed on page 116 that there was an advert for Leisure Genius, with a table showing games out, and games due for release (with date shown). Now, being a ‘Scalextric’ fan, I was keen to discover that the game was due for release on January 22nd 1986.

Unfortunately, the game didn’t arrive on the shelves and there were no adverts to be seen in any of the magazines I buy. After three months I gave up hope of hearing anything more about the game and spent the £10.00 on something else.

Reading Issue 35, I turn to PLAYING TIPS and on page 78 I see an advert for Scalextric on the Spectrum.

Leisure Genius obviously decided that the original date set for release was a little optimistic. So they stopped advertising a game that didn’t exist and concentrated on getting it finished (hopefully to the standard of a SMASH).
Gordon Collins

And there’s a preview of Scalextric later on in this very magazine, Gordon.

It is a refreshing change to see a company hold fire on advertising when a game is obviously going to be significantly delayed — but in most cases involving delayed releases companies probably feel their game is going to suffer a small delay rather than be held up for ages. The temptation to continue advertising until the minor problem is overcome is great, and when another little problem crops up...


Dear Lloyd
While flicking through Issue 35 of CRASH I saw an advert, on page 102 for Yie Ar Kung Fu II from Imagine. Carrying on a little further through the magazine I saw on page 123 another advert for ‘Shao Lin’s Road — The follow up to Yie Ar Kung Fu’ from The Edge.

Feeling a little confused I turned back to the first advert and realised that the sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu is being marketed, or at least advertised by two different software houses — The Edge and Imagine.

Which Company has Konami given the rights for the follow up to Yie Ar Kung Fu?
Richard Hawkins

It’s quite straightforward really Richard. The official licence to produce a conversion of the arcade sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu went to The Edge who have released Shao Lin’s Road. Shao Lin’s Road was the sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu in the arcades. Imagine, on the other hand, have effectively published another version of game they produced under their licence, which was for the conversion of Yie Ar Kung Fu.


Dear Lloyd
Whilst reading Issue No.35, an alarming thought came to my mind. Please reassure me: is the new magazine LM going to be another magazine, and nothing whatsoever to do with CRASH itself, or is it, (I hope not) going to replace CRASH? No more CRASH after Christmas!? Please tell me these are two different magazines.

CRASH has been going for three years now (HAPPY BIRTHDAY), and we, the readers LOVE this name as well as what it represents; it’s become a symbol, and we want to keep it as it is: CRASH.
G Thibaudeau

I hope you agree that nothing can replace CRASH.

Fear not! LM is a completely separate magazine, put together by a completely separate team, as you should have spotted from the Christmas Special. Well, alright then, I offer a little help and so do Oli and Gordon from ‘up in Art’, but otherwise they’re on their own as far as CRASH is concerned. If you see what I mean...

In case you need any more proof, check your newsagents on 28th January. You should find Issue 1 of LM on sale then, a whole week after this issue of CRASH went (or should that be goes?) on sale.


Dear Lloyd
You really shouldn’t be so touchy — or was it just the pressure of the Christmas Special? I’m referring to my letter you printed in the Christmas edition. My comment was just a generalisation when I said the reviews are ‘always wrong’. If I thought every single review in every issue was a load of rubbish — which I think you thought — do you really think I would carry on getting the magazine?

Your second critical point was that I ‘went on to say that the reviews were very good...’ I never said the reviews were bad. I said the REVIEWERS are bad. There is a difference. The reviews are very good with detail and comments and plenty of screen shots and so on.

I hope you get the idea?
Nick Clemons

Me, touchy? I still don’t think you can make a generalisation which includes the word ‘always’.

As of this month you can start directing your comments to individual reviewers — they’re admitting to who they are. Maybe you’d like to take up the issue with individual reviewers?


Dear Lloyd
I am not a regular reader of your magazine but I feel I must point out a grave error in your CRASH Competition for Shao Lin’s Road (Issue 35, December 1986).

The figures depicted in the drawing are not Kung Fu fighters but Karate fighters. They are wearing Karate suits and are performing movements that are more Karate-like than Kung Fu-like.

Is there that much of a difference? Yes, there is a huge difference; Kung-Fu and Karate are definitely not the same art.
Declan Chellar

Ah. As a regular reader you might have spotted a far more serious problem in the November Issue — there weren’t any differences! But that’s all sorted out now. Ian Craig, who drew the pictures, tells me that he wasn’t aware that there were significant differences between Shao-Lin and Karate — but then he’s not the Martial sort of Artist. Trust that’s all cleared up now.


Dear Lloyd
I am writing this letter to you so that you can inform me about your Rating Headings at the end of the reviews. The two headings I ask about are the USE OF COMPUTER and GETTING STARTED.

The earliest issue of CRASH I have is Issue 4 and there it said something like: USE OF COMPUTER how good the keyboard positions are, if they are responsive etc, but looking in the latest issue of CRASH (Issue 35), I notice that Dr What has definable keys, any joystick, and the keys are responsive — it gets 41%. Then look at Uridium — no redefinable keys, only Kempston compatible and keyboard play is not too easy, and it gets 89% for USE OF COMPUTER. Why?

GETTING STARTED: in Issue 4 it says, Are instructions clear, packaging good, and loading good. Look at Oblivion — The game needs hardly any instructions as the game is basic: one reviewer says, “The packaging is excellent” and it only got 56%. Another why?

On a slightly different note, who are your Software Reviewers? And why are there still no indications to who are reviewing the games? Both ZZAP! and AMTIX tell you, so WHY DON’T YOU??
Stephen Coby

As of this month, we do Stephen.

Ben, Paul and Mike are all ‘signing’ their reviews. You’ll also notice that the ratings system has been revamped a little bit — the GETTING STARTED and USE OF COMPUTER ratings (which haven’t ever been the major considerations when arriving at an overall rating) are no longer used — the reviewers decided that PRESENTATION was more relevant nowadays. They realised that USE OF COMPUTER and GETTING STARTED percentages weren’t being used to the best effect and felt that those two ratings were a bit outdated. In the early days, when the option to define keys was unheard of and keyboard response so variable, they were much more important.

There’s a full explanation of the new way of working somewhere around Page 14 of this very Issue.

I still maintain that you can attach too much importance to percentages — it’s the written criticisms that really tell you about a game. The percentages are only there as a quick summary of the reviewers’ opinions.

for the General Certificate of Education

January Examination, 1987 — Ordinary Level


THREE questions are to be attempted

  1. The Spectrum is an out-dated machine. Discuss.
  2. Write notes on the effect of hype in the software business, paying particular interest to licensed software AND advertising.
  3. Comment on TWO of the following statements, giving your views:
    1. Big business is destroying software creativity
    2. POKEs remove all purpose from games software
    3. John Minson is a pratt
  4. Compare the criticism levelled at 3D Games to the lack of criticism levelled at arcade adventures and platform games.
  5. ‘Hannah Smith — The only girlie tipster’ How far do you agree with this view?

    With the aid of a sketch compare the layout and presentation of CRASH to any other similar publication.


    Giving particular examples, write an account of the cult status achieved by Lloyd Mangram and the letters ‘LM’, discussing the part they play in modern society.

Robert Burgess

Answers should be written legibly in black or blue ink, or preferably typed for ease of reading. The examiner reserves the right to append comment as he feels appropriate, and would encourage candidates for the LETTER OF THE MONTH to create and answer their own questions. Account will be taken of initiative, clarity of expression and neatness of handwriting. Place completed answer sheets in an envelope addressed to LLOYD MANGRAM’S FORUM.