Lucy’s Letters

Greetings, CRASHettes! By tradition April’s the time for pranking around, playing futile and cruel jokes on poor unsuspecting plebians. Unlike you mere mortals, this fun and trifling goes on all year round at CRASH Towers — while I’m not cracking the whip. Only yesterday Nicko cleverly tricked Corky Caswell into showing off his bungie jumping skills off the top of CRASH Towers. The punchline was the bungie was strangely frayed in the middle — and we all had a really good laugh. But Corky’s such a good sport, he didn’t mind spending the next four weeks in traction. Anyway, what a lovely stack we’ve had this month, some praising, some moaning and others downright insulting, but all welcome. So whatever your view whatever the topic keep ’em coming to: LUCY’S LETTERS, CRASH, Europress Impact. And don’t forget the £40 software voucher for Letter Of The Month!

Speccy Suffering

I must complain most strongly regarding the bad treatment those poor little Spectrums received in the Valentine’s romance story.

Firstly, a 48K Spectrum was brutally killed by a jealous woman AND it was forced to kiss Nicko. No computer should be put through that!

Secondly, a +3 was forced into bed with DJ Pervert. Considering Spectrums are only ten years old, this is highly illegal and quite sickening.

I understand that you use trained stunt-Spectrums but I demand you give me your word that both Spectrums were not hurt in any way. I only live ten miles down the road so if I’m not happy that they’re okay I shall be round with the cops in 15 minutes.
Ian West

PS I am open to bribery.

Please don’t worry, the Spectrums were In no danger. In the photos with Nick T Roberts, OBE, MEB, the Spectrums were played by the Chuckle Brothers. (You don’t really think we’d let any self-respecting Speccy go through that do you?) Since you’re open to bribery, we’ll agree NOT to kick your head in if you don’t come down to sort us out.

Let’s talk About SEX!

Our family are keen Spectrum owners (ZX81, two Spectrums and now a SAM 512K) and we subscribe to CRASH as the best, most ‘family suitable’ Spectrum mag.

However, the quality is dropping like the proverbial stone. About half of the magazine is now unreadable due to swear words, sexual innuendo and the like. Even Techni-Tak starts badly.

Please could you clean up? Alternately, could you send us a personal cleaned up version, to encourage us to renew our subscription.
Ken Udall

Well Ken, did you realise your name Itself contains two rather saucy bits of innuendo, ie, ALL NUDE and NAKED? Might I suggest you clean up your name and send us the edited version?

Seriously though, we have no intention of offending anybody but you know that age-old proverb — you can’t please all the people all of the time. But we will be sending you the aformentioned squeaky clean version!

Pet Shop Pottiness

It’s all right, I’m not moaning, except at Corky for leaving. I hope it’s worth it. Seriously Mark, I don’t know what happened, but give CRASH one more chance.

CRASH is getting more amazing every month (either that or I’m losing my mind). It doesn’t pay the rent, of course, but it’s always on my mind until I get it the next issue, and as I read it my heart misses a beat every other word.

I could continue buying CRASH until I die, and left to my own devices, I probably would. It’s so hard for CRASH to get any better, but you’ll probably manage it. There’s a lot of jealousy building up in me, you being famous and all that, but I’m in the same business as you; it’s certainly a good opportunity.

One more thing: as you may or may not noticed, I’m a Pet Shop Boys fan, so could you ask Nick whether he knows why certain songs were left off the Discography album. I was really disappointed that they were missing — it’s a sin the things some people do to make money.

So, CRASH, keep up the good work, and don’t become boring.
Geoffrey Dallimore

Oh crikey, you’ve done it now, haven’t you? Nicko went into such ecstasies when he got this letter and realised someone else in the world actually likes the Pet Shop Boys, he hasn’t been able to get rid of this utterly hideous grin ever since, so we had to lock him in the filing cabinet for his and our safety!

According to Nicko, certain songs were left off the album because all their stuff is so mind-bendingly brill that you couldn’t fit it all on. (Personally, I reckon they wanted to save some for the next Discography album so the poor unfortunate fools who like their stuff will have to cough up more dosh!)

As for Corky, due to popular demand, he’s BACK and is dividing his time between CRASH, ZZAP and a deranged water melon. So let me hear you say HALELLUJAH!

Baa-rmy Boasters

I’ve had my Speccy a year now and I love it. The trouble is the kids in my class keep on boasting about new games machines. They change their computers for the latest one to come out, being quite rich, and all you hear is, Nintendo, Game Boy, Master System etc. My dad’s disabled and we’re not very rich, but when he got me my Speccy I was dearly happy.

The kids in my class say Spectrums are crap — and that makes me mad. I told my dad who said they sound like a bunch of sheep who follow each other round.

He came up with a plan to stop them boasting. He said when they start going on about Nintendos, Game Boys etc, tell them that you’re getting a new computer called an Orbit and then make it up as you go along.

(Later, at school)

‘I’m getting an Orbit!’

‘What’s an Orbit?’

‘Oh it’s a new computer that’s just come out. It’s better than Nintendo or Sega and the graphics are out of this world.’

‘Where do you get them Ricky?’

‘You can’t get them here, they’re only made in America.’

‘How much do they cost?’

‘About £900 and the games are about £100 each — but what games!’

I went on about the imaginary Orbit and after I had strung the tallest story I could think of, I went out to play. Everyone was talking about the Orbit at dinner time and by the end of the day all the sheep wanted to come around and see it.

I kept it up for a couple of days until I’d had a good laugh. When I told them there is no Orbit and you couldn’t buy one if you had a million pounds in the bank, they all felt very stupid. All except one boy, who still wants to buy it off me (can you believe it?!).

The good thing now when they start boasting about Nints or Game Boys I just mention the Orbit and everyone goes quiet.

PS What do you get if you cross a Nintendo owner, a Sega owner and a Game Boy owner? Answer: a kid who can plug in a Spectrum.

Bravo, excellento, encore! Well done Ricky, that’ll teach the snot-nosed brats. I’d say that’s probably the best thing you could’ve done (apart from buying a sheep dog, rounding ’em all up and sending ’em through the sheep-dip, that is). Perhaps you could tell ’em they’re baa-rmy for having those other machines or enquire about the cotton wool between their ears. Either way (although porkie-ple telling is not something I usually hold with), you win Letter of the Month.

Mum’s The Word

I’m a mother of two children and have recently enquired about buying a Speccy and these are the replies I got:

Tandy NO
Currys NO
Toys ’R’ Us NO
Dixons NO
Software City NO
AR Computers NO
Software Superstore, Hanley NO
Computer shops, Hanley NO; NO; NO; NO; NO; NO; NO; NO.

I’ve now bought a second-hand 128K +2A Speccy. I could have bought my children an Amiga in every single shop. Don’t you think I deserve a prize for being so good and not buying an Amiga? (If I don’t get a present, I just might go and get one.)

By the way, I do like your magazine and please don’t tell but I play on the computer every night after the kids have gone to bed!
Mrs McKenzie

PS I’ve told my friends to buy a Speccy for their children as it’s a cheap, perfect first computer with plenty of software, so I think you should have a word with Amstrad!

Okay, you’ve got yourself a deal. I won’t tell our tens of thousands of readers that you play on the computer every night if you don’t buy an Amiga — can’t say fairer than that. I trust you’ve also been telling your friends to buy CRASH as the crucial accessory to their Speccys (we know where you live, remember).

As to the Speccy question, we got ’em on the blower and this is what their spokesperp said: ‘We still have Spectrums of all types in stock so there’s no reason why your readers shouldn’t be able to get hold of them or get them fixed if necessary. However, if the retailers choose not to stock Spectrums, that’s up to them. I suggest anybody with any queries rings the Amstrad head office.’

So there ya go, matey-peeps — get on the phone and sort ’em out!

The Thirteenth Disciple

The CRASH Powertape is already brilliant but I’ve got a way to make it even better. First, let me tell you a story...

Back in the mists of time, a couple of people called Alan and Bruce got together and made a super, smashing Spectrum disk drive system called the ‘DISCIPLE’.

People stood back in wonder at the genius of this new invention, but Alan and Bruce weren’t satisfied. They got straight back to work, and bless their cotton socks, made another disk drive system called the ‘Plus D’, This amazed even more people — and what was more, the two systems were compatible.

For a while, Alan and Bruce had a little rest from disk drives and tried making something else — the SAM Coupé!

This computer was marvellous: compatible with the Spectrum, great graphics, stunning sonics and a disk drive! Clever old Alan and Bruce had made this new computer’s disk drive compatible with both the stupendous DISCIPLE and the bodacious Plus D. What joy the universe was enveloped in...

What a lovely story, eh? This is where CRASH could come in. If you snapshotted each Powertape program on to a DISCIPLE disk, users could enjoy quick, reliable loading! Bliss or what? So how about it — the CRASH Powerdisk.
James Goffin

Hmm, I have a sneaking feeling that you’re Alan Miles writing under a pseudonym, James, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt — this time.

We are expanding our SAM coverage (as you’ll see from the extra SAM page and three review pages) so this idea is being put on the backburner and might flare up any moment — you’ll just have to wait and see won’t you?


I’ve got a problem. No, not that one, I mean the other one, regarding the Spectrum +2.

Way back in time, Issue 94 of CRASH magazine, you printed a letter by a JL Sinclare of London, asking you if Amstrad were planning to stop manufacturing the +2.

Your reply was, that the +2 was not on its way out. (Although personally I would like to see a +2 machine opening a door and walking out, ha-ha!) If that’s the case, can you explain this:

I owned a Speccy +2A until it was taken away illegally. I’ve been to ALL of my local retailers, and they both tell me they’re not stocking any more of the +2, or any other kind of Sinclair Spectrum machine.

In fact, one store owner said he sent his stock back. So imagine my delight when I saw a Spectrum +2 sat inside another retailer’s shop. So, cash in hand (well almost — the money was in my trouser pocket), I went to buy the lovely Speccy machine. Imagine again, if you will, my horror when the manageress told me the machine was not allowed to be sold and should not be on display! In fact, she had orders to send it back.

Now c’mon, can you tell me what’s going on? Why is my home town being deprived of these machines? I mean, I’ve got 200 Spectrum games and I cannot play a single one.

Any info on this matter would be much appreciated.
M Jones

Don’t worry, m’dear. The stores you mention are just very miserable, and in a bit of a sulk because I visited them and told them they’re completely crap and their curtains clash with their assistants.

Hope that’s a good enough explanation. (For a serious answer, see the Mum’s The Word letter, and give Amstrad a bell.)

Promises Promises

I’m writing after losing your mag then finding it and losing every compo under the sun!!

You really make some great promises, don’t you. In Issue 95 there was a statement boasting you had a 100% colour mag. Yet in Issue 96 you had 24 b/w pages.

Also in Issue 96, you said that subscriptions were on page 26 (the most surprising thing is that it was), but page 26 said it was 43 (two page 43s, what value). Strange. Perhaps you might give me a £40 software voucher to brighten me up for all my bad luck and to forgive yourselves.
Christopher Thomson

Well oh dear, isn’t the world awful, Chrissy? Variety is the spice of life (or should that be turnips?), and anyway, promises are made to be broken. As for the voucher, NO FEAR!

Although keeping with our tradition of making cock-ups, here’s another for ya to grimace at. It’s not actually a £40 software voucher, it’s a 40-pound traffic warden from Frinton-on-Sea, called Morag. She’s a lovely lady. We’re sending her to you Recorded Delivery, ’cause we like you that much.

By the way, she’s got a delicious recipe for cabbage cake, which I’m sure she’ll disclose to you.

Shiver my Timbers

There’s a point I want to get off my chest. Basically, it’s the death of the Speccy (may it live forever!!). There are two main things I feel will kill it off.

  1. PIRACY (that b ***** of a trade).
  2. The continuing rise in game prrces,
  1. The pirates are killing off their own trade by pirating games. They sell games cheaply, the software houses lose money and stop producing games. The pirate has less to copy and the Speccy owner has less to play. They then have to buy something crappy like a Commodore (strangles from the ZZAP reader). The pirate has less people to sell to, so he goes off to that dreaded place you visited — GONEBUST.
  2. The rise in software prices is so dramatic you can buy a CD for less than a taped game. This is even making the software houses lose money (think about it). They lose out to the pirates, put up their prices, the gamesplayer can’t afford the games (they get a paper round and get run over by Nick ‘Pie’ Roberts), the software house loses out, they increase prices more, sell less games and kill off the Speccy in the process. (Shouts of ‘yippee’ from the ZZAP reader.)

Doogy Chris Malcolm

Thanks for the Speccy market assessment, boffin-features. This has been a big problem in Speccyland right from the word go and although we all hate and despise those fiendish spoilsports who are killing off the software producers, are you telling me that if you were given a chance to make a pile you’d pass it up? You great big fibbing hypocrite!

Brilliant Blinky

I’ve recently bought a Sinclair Spectrum +2 along with about 50 games, which I’m trying to sort out! And I also bought an issue of your CRASH mag for Jan ’92, with the terrific Titanic Blinky.

Can you tell me where to buy one, or Zeppelin’s address, and also does anyone know where I can get a handbook for this model, as I’m a disabled person. I don’t work anymore and I’d like to learn more about computers. I think the games are really good.
Mr W L Kemp

Try our mail order hotline. Amstrad can advise you on the handbook question.

Brains Of A Rocking Horse

I heard about a TV programme dedicated to computer and console games. I was eagerly waiting for it, then it came at last! Games Master! I watched it waiting for some Speccy games and tips (not that I don’t get enough from your wonderful mag!). but what did I get? Sega and Nintendo!

The first thing on the programme was a challenge from the Games Master who challenged a boy to collect 50 coins on one of Nintendo’s Mario games. Then we had a review section with Nintendo and Sega games only!

Next there was another challenge involving the Sega Mega Drive’s Man Utd Europe! After that we got a special section on the Nintendo Game Boy!

What happened to computers? Where was the Speccy? What a waste of half an hour! Could you please send Nick around to the ‘Games Master’ to beat him up and make him show more Speccy stuff!

Now I’ve done enough moaning, I have to say how totally brill your mag is! Congrats on the new Techni-Tak page! It’s totally excellent! Is there any chance on expanding it to maybe two or three pages?

Also I’ve noticed that Nick’s Playing Tips section’s a bit short. If you expanded both these sections I’d be more than willing to pay extra. You could put the price up to about £2.50 and I’d still buy it!

I think it’s a bit sad they’ve stopped producing +3. I think Amstrad should bring out a new Speccy, the +4. It would be the same as the +3 but have a better sound chip etc. Since Amstrad stopped making Speccy games on disk?
Mark Flemming

PS I’m sorry for using words like ‘Nintendo’ and ‘Sega’. I know they’re disgusting words but they were essential to my letter. Keep up the good work!

PPS Could you tell me the ages of all the CRASH crew?

Why don’t you try giving the Games Master a piece of your mind (he obviously hasn’t got enough of his own otherwise he’d have Speccy games on the programme wouldn’t he?). I forgive you for using these unmentionable words, but don’t do it again — I had to lie down for at least an hour after hearing them!

As far as the tips are concerned — your wish is granted (as you can see by the whopping 16-pager in this issue!).

And our ages: Nicko’s 19, Woz 22, Ian 24, Corky’s 27 (wotta FOGEY), Charlie 18 (aah, the baby!), and I’m not telling you how old I am — you don’t ask a lady her age (any smart-arse remarks will be rewarded with a kick in the **********).

Male Order

Having been away from the Spectrum scene for ages, I’d really like to know where I can get my hands on a copy of Rebel Star 2 by Firebird.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Firebird are now defunct, and being such an avid fan of the original, I’d like to get hold of the sequel. You used to do a mail order service, do you still?

If so could you please let me know in the SAE I’m enclosing.
Michael Veal

PS Was there a sequel to Elite?

Yes, we do have a mall order service (not that I agree with it — no male EVER gives me orders).

Firebird planned an Elite 2 but it never materialised. There’s an outside chance it will see the light of day, (very) eventually, but don’t hold your breath.

Loaded Speccy

Is it me or do computers CHEAT! Especially Audiogenic’s Rugby.

Do software houses stick in little rules that can be altered for computer use only? Or is it sprites really know what they’re doing?

And for that matter, Audiogenic’s E Hughes Football: disappearing players, keepers with no hands, only be hacked outside the penalty box?

WWF: why is the computer so good when he has no energy? And the list is endless.

Well my case comes to a close. Remember the next time you lose on your favourite games, there’s always a chance it’s cheating.
Stephen Pratt

Funny you mention cheating. I was playing the lovely old classic Rick Dangerous the other day when suddenly, at a particularly crucial part of the game, a big hand came out of the screen and hit me, rendering me unconcious for the rest of the game. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?

We Are The Champions

Hi there, I’m a person who just before Christmas got a free Spectrum +2 48K. ‘What a load of rubbish,’ I thought, but I was wrong. After getting a lot of games I started to enjoy it more than my dad’s ST.

I bought Scooby Doo & Scrappy Doo, Who Dares Wins 2, Rampage, IK+, Paperboy, Smash TV, The Dizzy Collection and Dizzy’s Excellent Adventures.

After buying my favourite mag, CRASH, the other day, I asked my friend Jonathan over and he dared to say he hated Smash TV. (He was probably jealous because I can get to Level Two and he can’t even get past the first screen.) Paul ‘On & On & Ariston’ Aris (he hates me calling him that) hated CRASH as well (some people have such bad taste nowadays).

Now I have the Feb ’92 issue of CRASH and I enjoyed CRASH vs ZZAP vs SEGA FORCE, so now me and two friends are doing a Nintendo vs ST vs Spectrum challenge (with my ST and Spectrum), and of course I’m supporting the Spectrum.

I have The Dizzy Collection and Dizzy’s Excellent Adventures so can you tell me which Dizzy games I haven’t got.
Ian Wigger

You spongacious dweeboid! A +2 48K?! There haven’t been 48K Speccys produced for years — the +2 has 128K!

Anyhow, tell old Ariston & On that he’s a drongo and ought to be de-toenailed. The only Dizzy game you haven’t got is Bubble Dizzy, and you could try Seymour, which is in the same vein.

Good luck with the challenge, m’dear, be my champion and I’ll love you forever and ever. (And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything!)

Where To, Guv?

Help! Around last month one of my games stopped working, it was called Sabre Wulf and it was my best game! Please help me, or even better tell me where I could find it in a shop!
Sam York (age 8)

Just try our mail order hotline on page 62!

Well there ya go, take it or leave it, like it or lump it (alternatively scrunch it into a tiny ball and put it in a crisp packet). More letters next month so keep ’em, coming on any subject to: Lucy’s Letters, CRASH, Europress Impact.