Live Circuit

I’m clattering this out on my faithul old Hermes typewriter, surrounded by a mountian of huge carboard boxes. ‘Pick up your things and leave, Mangram!’ said Those Who Must Be Obeyed.

Is this the end of the road for me? Not on your life! But It’s the end of the old CRASH Towers: fed up with falling debris all around us we’re moving to salubrious new (so we’re told) offices on the riverside. The minute I hit the final key for this month’s Live Circuit the Hermes will be packed up to be delivered (still in one piece) to NEWSFIELD, LLOYD MANGRAM’S FORUM, CRASH. Which is where all your letters should now be addressed — do that and you could win £40 of software! Just like lucky Ryan this month...

Off the Streets

Dear Lloyd
I am writing this letter on behalf of my son Ryan who is eight years old, hoping he will win the £40 just to give me a break.

We bought him a +2 last year for Christmas and for 12 months we’ve hardly seen him as he’s always in his bedroom playing it. At the moment he’s just playing games but I hope he will keep it up to the programming stage (why wasn’t there any when I was at school?). Is Ceri Williams a genius or what! I saw your last tape and couldn’t believe a 14-year old could do that, keep it up, son.

I believe it’s the best investment we made, at least a computer keeps them off the streets causing trouble or just being plain nuisances; not only is it an educational asset but we’ve noticed a welcome change in his attitude and manner.

I’ve even had to cancel my Angling Papers so we can order him CRASH. I normally watch sport on TV on Saturdays but now get banished to his bedroom so he can bring his computer downstairs to use on the colour TV, while I watch the black and white. At the moment he’s trying to save up to buy a multiface or a mouse (there’s no more pets coming in this house, said his mam!) so his sister can use it as well, for drawing purposes.

Anyway thank you for keeping my son entertained and out of trouble. Can you recommend any books which tell you what add-ons you can get for the +2 and what they do, ie interface, multiface etc.
Ian Hamill

Silence is golden isn’t it? Anyway — it’s nice to see a letter from a parent who doesn’t reckon that gamesplaying is freaking their child out — as the TV programme QED implied a while back. There are no books that I know of listing add-ons, but why not write to Romantic Robot, Datel or MGT for information — all have a huge stock of useful utilities. And have £40 of software — it’s worth it for the peace!

Fancy Free

Dear Lloyd
Here are four reasons why my letter should be printed.

  1. I read your mag
  2. I’ve got a plus 2 Speccy
  3. I fancy Clare Fielding
  4. Cos I say so.

Philip Baxter

And just what does Clare Fielding think about all this, then?

Hip And Kool

Yo Ladz!
Wow! You dudes really make a radical mag! When I saw new look CRASH, like, I flipped out, dude, get my drift?

Four hot games every month, wow, freak out city, party time, get my joystick man!! And you also gave us 11 games throughout December and January — games city. Dude!!!

Well done ladz, like, you’re fandabidozy, dude, so LM keep up the good work, and like don’t freak it out man!!! and also, keep trendy, Nicko, your one coooooool dude, if you get my drift, (well, so am I)

Yours dudeingly
Loughlin McSweeney

The teacher shortage is showing — isn’t it, readers? But you’re right I am kool!

Music Maestro

Dear Lloyd,
What I want to do is use my Spectrum to drive a printer which will make a hard copy of what I play in standard musical notation. The piano can be linked to the Spectrum by a series of touch sensitive pads mounted under the keys and plugged into the two keyboard sockets inside the Spectrum in place of the keyboard itself.

The aim is to monitor my playing by producing records over a period of time, hopefully showing an improvement!

The tasks of the program seem to me to be fairly simple:

  1. To register which key or keys are pressed (ideally up to 8 or 9 simultaneously but I suppose I ould make do with up to 5);
  2. To measure the length of time each key is pressed for; and
  3. To make a hard copy of the notes played.

The program doesn’t have to work over all 88 keys; I could make do with 61 keys, from c two octaves below middle c to c three octaves above middle c.
Justin A Dix

Right — anyone help this chap? We’ve cut the letter down to the bare essentials — it fills three pages in total! But should any CRASH readers know of a program that could achieve what Justin wants — or should they want to offer to program the utility — then let us know: we’ll pass the information on.

Colour Dump

Dear Lloyd
Please could you print this so someone can help me. I have bought a Star LL-10 colour printer for my Speccy+ 48K, but I do not have a colour screen dump program. If get one, or can help me with this problem I will be very grateful!!
Anthony Daniels


Dear Lloyd
I am writing in response to the advertisement that states ‘Piracy is a theft’ which has been recently displayed in your magazine. I’m sure software houses could cut down the vast amount of piracy if they reduced the preposterous prices of their games as they are only recordings which cost a few pence to produce. Also prices of games are increasing rapidly, for example the price of yet average game a year ago was £7.95, now its £9.99; even the prices of budget games have gone up; and according to my calculations if this continues, by the year 1995 (if the Speccy market holds out that long) the average price of a game will be approx £23 (the present price of a 16-bit game) So I ask you who’s being ripped off: them (due to piracy) or us; being ridiculously overcharged.
Karim Portess

PS. I know software companies have to pay vast amounts for copyrights, and programmers need profits, but this does not account for us being charged so much for a mere recording.

For goodness sake! You’re not just getting a recording when you buy software — you’re getting at least six months of a programmer’s — and more often these days a whole programming team’s — work, plus a few months of the publishers’ planning, artists’ illustrations — the list goes on... You wouldn’t go out for a meal and expect to pay just for the cost of the food would you?! If more people bought software instead of pirating it, prices would come down because software houses would have more buyers to spread the cost over.


There’s a new fanzine on the loose, folks! It’s called Advanced ZAT Programming (Z-A-T! Geddit Z-80?! Never mind...) and isn’t at all boring as the title may imply. It’s very well produced and entertaining and, while covering the gaining side of the Speccy, hopes to spice up any Z-80 enthusiast’s life with a technical section. It’s produced just up the road from CRASH in Telford, Shropshire and is run by a team of three — that’s David Ledbury the Ed, Darren Blackburn (Art Ed) and Malcolm Seeby (Assistant Ed). Apart from Speccy and SAM stuff ZAT covers comics, CB radio, and promises sections on video and science fiction soon! It’s currently running a superbly illustrated SF strip called Sentinel. You get 32 pages for 60p (and 10p of that goes to charity) — check it out by writing to ZAT.

There’s An Old Mill...

And it’s by a stream and CRASH (and the rest of Newsfield) are moving to it. We’ll, touch wood, be fully installed in the new offices by the time you read this (as long as we can catch all the Olibugs in time), so the old PO Box 10 and 20 address no longer applies.

And this it — the new Towers Lloyd mentioned. A tad Colditz like, eh viewers? Full report next month!


We mentioned it a while back, but now it appears that the Hi-Spec Load-It Data Recorder from Mills Associates should be available by the time you read this. They claim this little gadget will end the frustration caused by your favourite games not loading! As it works on the full range of Spectrum computers it should be just what the doctor ordered, and it makes you wonder why they’ve taken so long to develop it! At £44.99 this gadget could just be the next best thing to (expensive) sliced bread...


Hornby, traditionally regarded as model railway and toy manufacturers have hit the electronic age! They’re marketing a new range of hand held LCD video games from Konami. First titles on offer are Top Gun, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Double Dribble, ‘C’, Gradius and Skate Or Die. The 6-inch pocket sized gadgets feature exciting sound effects, multi skill levels and hours of fun. So if you fancy your own mini walkabout arcade and have £19.99 plus batteries to spare — off to the toy shop with you!


Coming up from Rainbow Arts are two games programmed by Probe. Turrican has you as a brave hero fighting a three headed monstrosity who in days past was responsible for all mankind’s fears and nightmares. Vanquished once, he has returned, and terror once more stalks the countryside. Turrican should hit you in May.

Set for a June-ish release is the science-fiction/shoot-ern-up Apprentice: a budding young wizard undergoes a frightning series of final tests to become a fully fledged Mage. As usual with scenarios of this kind failure results in death. Watch out for a review of both games (wands crossed) next month...


Mark Caswell checks out what’s happening on the ‘graphic novel’ scene this month.

Titan Books, £5.95 One Off

Yes, it’s another graphic novel about my favourite comic book hero. Batman Year Two follows on from the Year One story: Captain James Gordon has been promoted to Commissioner and Bruce Wayne is just starting his second year as Gotham City’s vigilante protector. But matters take a turn for the worst when Gotham’s first caped avenger, The Reaper, returns after twenty years — a fearsome sight with a skull-like mask, red leather armour and wicked scythe-like swords.

Like Bruce he lost a loved one to a gunman, unlike Bruce The Reaper kills his victims. This sets Batman on his trail, only to find himself allied with his parent’s killer and under suspicion of being in league with the underworld. Titan have come up with another winner in Batman Book Two: the plot is superbly scripted by Mike Barr and masterfully drawn by Todd McFarlane and Alan Davis. An essential purchase for all Batfans.

Titan Books, £5.95 One Off

No comic book this, but with the slightly delayed release of both the movie Nightbreed and the Ocean computer game in September it’s a good time to take a look at this ‘encyclopedia’ of characters from the movie. Take a trip through the world of Midian and meet the Nightbreed: mythological creatures who shun sunlight and ‘normal’ human company, introduced with colour photo portraits and potted histories of how they came to be. Some of the make up displayed is quite stunning — not surprising, with technicians Image Animation who worked on films like Return Of The Jedi, Dark Crystal and The Never Ending Story. The movie is based master of the macabre Clive Barker’s novel Cabal and directed by him. If you’re into horror films, you’ll remember his Hellraiser and Hellbound — Hellraiser II. Expect some shocks when Nightbreed appears. Until then read this book and whet your appetite!