What can I say about this cover that hasn’t already been said in detail in the Forum? It did cause CRASH trouble with WH Smith, who at one point considered withdrawing the issue from sale, but then contented themselves with extracting a written promise from Newsfield to be more careful in future. The moral issue apart, it remains a powerfully painted image which suits the game ideally. It also caused C&VG to hiccup, because apparently Palace had given them the ‘exclusive cover’, unaware we were doing one. C&VG evidently withdrew theirs.
Not everyone on the LM team was made redundant. Graeme Kidd remained in place as an editor without portfolio and Publishing Executive, and Barnaby Page, LM’s Subeditor, came to CRASH to become its Assistant Editor. Ciarán Brennan moved over to ZZAP! full-time.
And LM’s closure was an ill wind which blew some good for the casual reviewers because more work stations were created as more Amstrad PCW8256 ‘Joyces’, used for writing, came to CRASH from the defunct magazine. CRASH itself had moved again, returning from the middle to the lower floor.
And another new-old face (re)appeared. While Roger Kean was editing LM at Gravel Hill, Robin Candy started turning up for the odd chat. The strains of the previous year were exorcised, and with Roger’s return to King Street and CRASH, Robin indicated he would like to start writing again, largely because he needed finance for his band, Ad Lib To Fade, and because he had recently taken up skiing in Switzerland, which is an expensive pursuit! His first task was an article on the history of software houses and the changes in attitudes over the past four years. Robin’s return seemed to complete the feeling that the old CRASH spirit was back in force.
The new spirit ushered in video reviews, well aware that there would be catcalls from some readers crying ‘LM!’. To be truthful, those first few were written for LM, but the reasoning behind including them had not been lost (in reverse) on the fantasy film magazine Star Burst, which every month reviewed computer games. CRASH readers, we argued, are likely to be heavily into video-watching, so it makes sense. And despite several mutters of protest, the experiment seems to have worked well for most readers.
Recent independent market research has shown that we were right — of a range of magazines aimed at the ‘youth market’, including Smash Hits and the weekly music papers, CRASH and ZZAP! readers came out as the most avid hirers of videos. You are also, it transpires from the same research, the biggest purchasers of blank audio tapes — though that’s probably a subject we shouldn’t touch upon... !
Not to be outdone by my Playing Tips Supplement in the May issue, Derek Brewster provided a special supplement for adventurers, which included two Smashes for The Pawn and Shadows Of Mordor.
Robin Candy became involved in an interesting project almost immediately upon his return to the fold. As work on this issue began, Roger and Richard Eddy had visited programmer Pete Cooke at his home in Leicester to have a look at the part-completed Micronaut One, his first game for Nexus. At that time Pete had only designed three of the game’s four tunnel networks with a special utility he’d devised. Everyone thought it would be a good idea if someone from CRASH designed the fourth and hardest. Richard volunteered. However, he was due to attend a journalism course in London which cut across tunnel-designing, so Robin took the utility home and designed a network himself. He was never credited in the game, but to avoid any accusations of hidden bias Roger and Barnaby mentioned Robin’s involvement in the next month’s editorial. And fortunately, when Micronaut One arrived it was quite good enough to speak for itself without any personal partiality to boost its rating.