Lloyd Mangram’s Forum

Just like the stuff in my garden, the summer weather has made the size of the Forum blossom! Yes, summer’s once again upon us and that means the streets of Ludlow are crawling with tourists lushing around and bringing ‘much needed trade and vitality to a quaint old market town’, I don’t think. Well, you try getting in your weekly shop at the market while coachloads of Japanese take photies and giggle furiously everytime you pick up an aubergine and squeeze it for ripeness. And then trying to get home on a bicycle through the narrow lanes as further coachloads block the roads. So, if you’re visiting Ludlow this summer and get an over-ripe aubergine lobbed through your coach window, you know who to blame. Sorry. Anyway, there’s always one thing I welcome into Ludlow and that’s your letters. Keep them coming back the sackload — there’s a £40 software voucher for the best letter every month. Send your missives to: Newsfield, LLOYD MANGRAM’S FORUM, CRASH, Ludlow.

SPOT ON

Dear Lloyd
Last week I bought The Hunt for Red October and really enjoyed it. I think your review was spot on, with an overall mark of 70%. Oh, and why has your magazine got a lot better? Is it because of you?
Paul Broughton

Of course it’s because of me. Who else do you think could create something this good! That’s what I’m continually telling the Ed, but after seven years on the job I’m still overworked and underpaid. Some things never change. A bit like the accuracy of the CRASH reviews, as we say, written by Speccy gamesplayers for Speccy gamesplayers! It’s just like asking a mate (which is what we are because we’re very cuddly).
LM

HULLO, ‘EINSTEIN’

Dear Lloyd
I have made a brilliant discovery! Yes, you can record yourself playing games on your Specoy. What you do is this: connect the aerial lead from the back of the Speccy into the socket of a video recorder which normally takes the TV pictures from your roof aerial. Turn on the TV, tune it into the video channel and tune the video to your Specoy. And there you go! Press record to tape your game being played.
Edward Reed

Amazing! Blimey, never thought of that. ’Hem, ’hem. The only problem is that watching a video of a Speocy game being played ranks on the boringometer slightly below looking at granny’s holiday snaps.
LM

CHEAT! STRING HIM UP!! ETC

Dear CRASH
Remember your Jetman compo from Issue 89? Well, one of the winners has cheated (Ha ha! I like getting people into trouble). I have sent in a page from a Beano comic (dated January 25 1991) which has an identical picture of Stuart Sell’s Eyespy character. In other words, he didn’t invent it at all. Personally, I think he should be disqualified and my character should win instead because he is so cool and original.
Captain Planet, Inverness

Well, well I never knew Captain Planet lived in Inverness. Learn something everyday, don’t you? Anyway, well done Capt, you’ve righted another wrong that slipped through our net (we’re not avid Beano readers, y’see). Stuart — you should be ashamed of yourself, pop down to your local fish emporium, purchase a large and soggy haddock and give yourself a few good blows with it.
LM

CALL THIS A LETTER?

Dear Lloyd
Hello there! How’s life in Speccyville? Lloyd, I’m bored (sorry, but I am). I’m upstairs in my bedroom on the pretence of revising for my exams and I just can’t take anything in so I thought I’d drop you a line. I would usually just hook up my Speccy and hammer away in that for a while, but its at the fixing shop at the moment. I think it must have overdosed on Dizzy games. So, here I am.

I knew writing to you would be a good ideas, but now I’m here I can’t actually think of anything to write about. Er... Oh yes! I know, how about the state of the economy? Right, the state of the economy is crap, why don’t we scrap all this money business anyway?
Adam Longthorne

PS Can I have a free game?

No you can’t? I reckon that ranks as probably the most pointless letter of the month. Adam, you’re a plank (and don’t you forget it).
LM

ZOB OFF

Hello, my name is Zob. I am an alien from Mars. I have come to Earth and transformed myself into this piece of paper. I am at this moment having sex with your fingers and I know you are enjoying it because you are smiling. Please pass me onto another human being so I may try them.
Zob (RWJ Bain)

Ah, it is nice to have interesting and worthwhile letters, isn’t it viewers (so how about some?). Zob, you’re a complete perv, return to the planet whence you came this instance!
LM

SAM(E) OLD STORY

Lloyd
First of all, I must confess that I am not a regular CRASH reader! I feel that your magazine is not aimed at my good self, as I’m 39 and may fall into the BOF (Boring Old Fart) category.

However, I do enjoy playing games, especially adventures, strategy and puzzles, and I also enjoy utilities. I’m the proud owner of a twin-drive 512K Sam Coupé with numerous add-ons dangling from the ports.

I bought the latest CRASH as you featured two good reviews of SAM specific software, in colour too! I was pleased to see several pieces of SAM material and even an increased amount of adverts for SAM programs. Many magazines seem to ignore SAM, as there isn’t a large enough market for SAM software to be developed on a wide scale. SAM is an excellent computer, great for utilities and games, and is becoming more popular by the month.

If you continue to support SAM, I shall probably buy CRASH on a regular basis. as long as I don’t have to wear a baseball cap at a strange angle and go around saying ‘yo, dudes!’.
Phil Glover

The Coupé’s here to stay, especially now software is really coming through for it. At the moment we’re just waiting for Prince of Persia and F-16 Combat Pilot to come through, both promising to be excellent titles (they may even be in this issue!). And if you start wearing a baseball cap and shouting ‘Yo! Dudes!’ we’ll start saying ‘Ar yow oil-rioght, l-oike?’ like they do in Brum.
LM

NOW COME THE THREATS

Dear CRASH
Hi my name is Andrew, I am 11. And I am quite good on the Speccy. Coud you answer my question? Could I join the team because I hardly have any friends that have a Speccy. Please reply a good answer (if you don’t say yes then I will get my alsatian!).
Andrew Rix

Get your alsatian? What kind of a job application is that? The Ed says he doesn’t succumb to mindless threats (well thought out, devious, nasty plans give him the shudders, though). Sadly, you can’t join the team because there’s this little thing you should be doing at the moment. It’s called school. You know, the big building packed with kids and a few grown-ups milling about the place. Concentrate on that for the mo, and drop us a line in about eight years time.
LM

PRAISE INDEED

Dear Lloyd
I am writing to congratulate you on the new doubIe-tape. I spent hours on your soccer game and lots of time on the Codies’ games. I also like your cover. They look so realistic and are full of colour.

I have been reading CRASH for about a year and have seen a vast improvement on the reviews, previews, and compos. So keep up the good work and I’ll keep forking out for CRASH. Are there any wrestling games out at the moment?
Scott Stapley

There aren’t, to my knowledge, any good wrestling games around at the moment; there have been a couple of attempts in the past but none have been successful — either the collision detection’s all wrong or the graphics just wobble around the screen like demented budgies. Thanks for your comments on the double-trouble Powertape extravaganza (there were people collapsing all over the place to bring that much excitement and quality to you).
LM

DANCING THE DIZZY HEIGHTS

Dear Lloyd
I am writing this letter to correct a mistake printed in your forum in Issue 89. In the letter from Luke Palmer it said he was Dizzy’s biggest fan. Well, he was wrong! I am. I have got and completed (without using a poke) Dizzy (I have four copies now!), Treasure Island Dizzy, Fantasy World Dizzy, Magicland Dizzy, Fast Food, Kwik Snax and Dizzy 3.5 — Into Magicland. At the moment I’m saving up for Panic Dizzy and an Atari ST so I can buy all the Dizzy games for that as the graphics are slightly better and there’s different gameplay.

I have a poster of Dizzy and Denzil and I have made models of most of the Yolkfolk out of blown eggs and Fimo, when I was supposed to use the school library to do a project for English. I used CRASH magazines from home so I could do a project on Dizzy. I am always playing the Dizzy games and always talking about them (I drive my friends mad!). I think Code Masters are the best software house in the world. Try to find out when Dizzy 5 will be released.
Dave Garratt

Dave, you’re obviously as mad as a hatter. Have a word with yourself and come back in the morning. In the meantime, how about sending a photie of your handmade Yolkfolk along so we can have a look. Dizzy 5 could be with us this autumn.
LM

LETTER OF THE MONTH!

Dear LM
Regarding the ‘Speccy is no good’ arguent put forward by the spoilt owners of Nintendos and the like, please allow this old giffer of 25 a bit of a moan...

The Amigas, Master Systems, Megadrives, Masterdrives, Megamasterdrives, Whistdrives and Graveldrives of this world might have all the hardware sprites, smooth scrolling, multi-channel PCM sound systems and 1000 colours per pixel from an available patlette of 11 million, but they were all designed to do that: to impress tender young minded gamesters of the Nineties. When people mock the Speccy, they forget that it’s very old indeed and at the time of its invention most people thought a sprite was either a small elf-like creature or a drink of fizzy water.

The Speccy was a huge innovation in personal computing and it is a tribute to its quality that it’s still so popular today. Sir Clive wasn’t knighted for nothing! Okay, so graphically and sonically the Speccy has its limitations, but it can smooth-scroll, most games do have sprites and multi-voice music has been heard — a miraculous feat indeed on a one-channel beeper.

As long as programmers continue to beat the Speccy’s apparent limitations, it will survive. How often have we thought ‘That’s it, surely it can’t do any more?’ only for the next game to show us that it can. Anyway, who wants to pay £30 a game when the only way to enter pokes is with a a soldering iron?
Graham Marsh

Exactly! You’re a bright and cheerful kinda fellow, aren’t you? Of course, the world of computers and games is going to progress — and there’s no point denying that there are some excellent machines out there. But, over and over again, the Speccy does appear to keep coming out on tops as far as game quality (if not quantity) is concerned.

The only shame these days is that the famous programmers who can push the Speccy to its limits are moving on into the world of the 16-but machines and console, far greater riches lie there! But don’t panic, there are sitll programmers around who know how to get the most out of the machine and I’m sure we’ll see loads of spectacular Speccy sights over the next few months!
LM

GRAPHICAL EXCITEMENT

Dear Lloyd
I was just reading Robert Finlayson’s verdict about the Spectrum +2 in Issue 89. Man, I think the graphics are brill! Take the Dizzy games for instance, they’re great and boldly coloured and probably the best graphics out of the Commodore and Amstrad even put together (anyway, that’s my opinion.)

I was really amazed when I loaded Dan Dare 3 — it was a pleasure playing it. I started to lend the game to my mates ’cos they liked it so much. Never again! What do you think about Dan Dare 3 and its wide range of colours and great playability?
James (Speccy fan) Preece

Man, we loved DD3 and gave it a CRASH Smash in Issue 73 (Feb ’90), it’s cool and we dig it (Oi! This is a hippy-free zone? — Ed).

BEE-BOP-SHE-WOOP-WOOP

Dear Lloyd
I think the standard of music in Speccy games gets better all the time. My favourite recently has been the music on the Turrican 2 demo on last issue’s Powertape, which arrived today.

What I’d really like to know is what’s the best package around so I can create music on my Spectrum. Also, can you tell me what sort of music the CRASH team like?
Ben Armstrong

Datel Electronics can supply you with the RAM Music Machine, a natty package which comes complete with all the hardware and software you need to create tunes and sample music. It costs £49.99 and you can get details from Datel.

On the subject of the CRASH team’s music tastes: Nicko’s ‘well into’ Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure but currently warbling on about Hungarian folk music. Mark thinks everyone should listen to James Brown, ELO, Led Zep and foreign electro-bop stuff (peculiar, isn’t it?) and the Ed likes nothing better than spinning a few Kylie (she’s ace) or Madonna discs and loves old croon songs (he’s currently torturing a couple of Billie Holiday songs around the office). Me? Oh, Pink Floyd (I’m just an old rocker at heart).
LM

CELEBRITY JOKE SHOP

A laugh a minute is not at all guaranteed when CRASH Advertisement Exec, Justine Pritchard opens up the doors of Celebrity Joke Shop.

‘Right, there’s this bloke and he walks into a pub, takes off his hat and puts it on the table. Suddenly this great big dog grabs the hat and eats it. So, this bloke says to the dog’s owner, ‘’Ere! Your dog just ate my hat!’ And the dog’s owner says ‘Don’t bother me.’ ’Ere!’ says this bloke again, ‘I don’t think you understand, your dog has just munched my hat.’ ‘Go away, don’t hassle me’ says the dog’s owner, ‘’Ere!’ says the bloke, ‘I don’t like your attitude.’ So the dog’s owner says ‘Wasn’t my attitude!’ (attitude hat-he-chewed! Haw! Haw! Geddit?! Screeeeam!)

Yes. Have you any similar mirthless jokes, completely snigger-free? If so, send them along to: Newsfield, CELEBRITY JOKE SHOP, CRASH and you could be the winner of a Celebrity Joke Shop certificate!

HAVE YOUR SAY

Dear Lloyd
I have just finished reading this month’s Letter of the Month in Issue 89 concerning the effect that shoot-’em-ups and fighting games are supposed to have on the younger generation.

‘War crazed kids’, indeed! What a load of rubbish. If had a wet haddock I’d slap it right across certain peoples’ faces. It also was unfortunate to hear that radio report which I’d totally forgotten about until I read your Letter of the Month. I totally agree with what Carl said, but I’m writing because what you said: ‘Don’t you think it would have made a better report on the radio if they interviewed gamesplayers or, at least, software houses?’ Well, what about people who work on computer magazines?

I’ve decided to write to the radio station concerned as they have a programme where people can go into the station and take part in the programme for one hour and put their views forward on any subject they want to talk about. So, could your readers help me?

How? Well, if people wrote were to write in with their views on the subject it would help. So, come on your Speccy players — send in your comments and why not ask your parents and grandparents what they think.
Andy Longbottom

If you’ve got something to say, say it! That’s always been my motto (along with: laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and the world doesn’t give a hoot). This Forum is your place to have your say but don’t neglect things like radio phone-ins, they’re always just as pleased to have a call (make it sensible, plan what you’re going to say) as I am to have your letters.

And, as Andy points out, let’s hear some opinions from parents (I know you take sneaky peeks at the mag) on your views of games. You might even win a £40 software voucher which’ll save your wallet next time your siblings come begging!
LM

Right, that’s your lot. At the moment letters on the subject of software pricing would be especially welcome. Is £11.99 simply too much for a full-price game? How long would it take you to save up for that? Or don’t you bother saving that amount, and stick to buying budget software? Let’s inform the software publishers. Go on, then, get writing. See you in a month’s time. Ta-ra, chucks.