Christmas is traditionally the time of year for gong-giving and general back-slapping. The CRASH staff put their heads together with the Spiky-Haired ones from ZZAP! and the motley crew from AMTIX!, and between them they came up with a list of companies and games that everyone agreed deserved recognition in the Newsfield Awards for 1986. Just before Christmas our Publishing Executive put on his dress Doc Martens and handed out tastefully framed certificates at the Industry Dinner held in London’s Hilton Hotel.
On the Spectrum front, the award for Best Game of 1986 went to Starglider 128 from Rainbird. Cobra from Ocean took the best Platform Game award, while Martech’s Zoids was selected as Best Strategy Game.
Uridium from Hewson received the award for Best Shoot ’em Up, but mainly on account of the much improved new Commodore version. World Games from Ocean was voted best sports simulation by the staff of our three magazines, and it should be appearing on the Spectrum in due course. So should The Pawn from Rainbird, which collected the prize for Best Graphics.
So much for the opinions of the staff here at Newsfield. It’ll be interesting to compare our opinions with the results of the Readers’ Awards.
To follow up their highly successful Trivial Pursuit, Domark have released the first in their promised series of additional question sets.
Trivial Pursuit, Young Players Edition comes in two forms: as a game in its own right at £14.95, and as a tape holding an extra 6,000 questions to be used with the original Genus Edition at £7.95. The questions cover topics ranging from Grange Hill to The Wizard of Oz and should provide youngsters with a chance to run rings around the older generation, whose knowledge of Duran Duran and A-Ha might be a bit rusty.
Further versions are in the pipeline. The Baby Boomer version, due out by Easter, is for closet hippies born in the years of the post-war baby boom. These are the people who’ve still got their Kaftan hidden in the bottom of the wardrobe and believe flares will make a comeback. Genus II should appear around next Christmas, providing Trivia lovers with another 6,000 general knowledge questions.
Another crop of compilations has been gathered in. Five Star from Beau Jolly contains a quintet of games, all of which collected high ratings in CRASH: Zoids from Martech, Equinox and Three Weeks in Paradise from Mikrogen, Back To Skool from Microsphere and Spindizzy from Electric Dreams. The whole lot, two cassettes, inlay and entry to a competition costs £9,95.
Ultimate fans won’t want to miss two £9.99 Unbelievable Ultimate compilations released by US Gold. One tape includes Atic Atac, SabreWulf, Underwurlde and Alien 8 — the other contains four golden oldies Jetpac, Tranzam, Lunar Jetman and Psst. Scott Adams fans might want to pick up a previously unreleased adventure from The Master — Buckaroo Bonzai — which appears on the Scott Adams Scoops collection with Voodoo Castle, Strange Odyssey and Pirate Adventure. Then there’s the Spectrum Stingers pack, also from US Gold which features Bruce Lee, Pole Position, Zorro and Cyberun, priced at £3.99.
Gauntlet, US Gold’s Smash arcade conversion, may present problems when it comes to loading the dungeons into your Spectrum.
There are two editions of the game in circulation. The first edition has a black-coloured inlay. This version will NOT work with the new Spectrum Plus Two, and there may also be problems when using a Kempston joystick interface. If you experience either of these problems, take the tape back to the shop you purchased it from, and exchange it for a copy with a buff coloured inlay, which is a later version with these bugs cleared up.
A spokesman for US Gold said the company would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. Apparently, quite a few problems have been encountered when getting versions of the company’s games to run on the Plus Two — the machine appears less tolerant to some forms of piracy protection and fast loaders than the earlier types of Spectrum.
Two new companies have decided to set sail on the stormy waters of the games software market. Vonsoft somewhat optimistically hope to capture five to ten per cent of the market, with twenty releases in the first four months of this year.
This assault will start with A.R.E.N.A., a graphic adventure selling for £4.95. According to Vonsoft, buying the game will entitle you to enter a competition for a prize worth at least £1,000. Later in the year, they plan to launch separate labels specialising in utilities and adventures.
Alternative Software is another new company which plans to concentrate on the budget market, releasing games at £1.99 — Howzat and Henry’s Hoard are the first two on the release schedule. Products are also in preparation for a utilities label — Summit Software — which should kick off with a £9.95 art package called Art Master.