The CRASH History created echoes everywhere. Issue 1’s cover had seen its latter-day counterpart in October, and now in November the King Kong cover of Issue 2 rebounded in the illustration for Activision’s Rampage, previewed that month (and indeed the painting from Issue 2 was used in the competition inside). The vision of gigantic destruction was reminiscent of the covers for the Fleetway War Picture Library series that Oliver used to paint in the Seventies. Note how the angle of the skyscraper leads the eye straight to the announcement of the 3-D section, just as intended.
The hectic days of The PCW Show were over — for everyone except the writers, still working on a seven-page news section which took stock of the software world as seen at Olympia. And back in Ludlow, the show went on. Barnaby’s editorial informed us of yet another Ludlow College reviewer joining the ranks, which made up for the loss of Gareth Adams, who had moved away. Bym Welthy (an unlikely name), Barnaby told us, had first contributed to CRASH around the end of 1984 (the mention of Issue 3 was an error), having turned up then as a friend of Ben Stone’s — to the inevitable greeting of ‘Bym and Ben, the flowerpot men’. Back in those days he’d undergone the CRASH initiation ordeal, being photographed for CRASH T-shirt ads. And though it was a long gap till this month when his familiar red head of hair reappeared, he was excused modelling T-shirts again.
This was our special 3-D issue, the one with the free red-and-green glasses inside, and what fun it had been for the Art Department. When the 3-D special was first conceived two months earlier, the notion had been to do what all magazines do: buy the spectacles from the specialist company that made them, and send the artwork to be turned into 3-D to one of the two repro houses in Britain which specialise in 3-D techniques. It was only afterwards, when plans to have loads of illustrations and text in 3-D were well under way, that it was discovered that the cost of three-dimensionalising was approximately £400 per drawing!
Roger Kean decided we could do the work in-house. All we had to do, apparently (!), was discover what it was the specialists did. Roger and Markie Kendrick pored over 3-D comics (of which Markie has a big collection), and figured it out. The problem, though, was being able to proof the result so it could be looked at through the spectacles to see if it had worked properly. This was achieved through use of a special colour proofing system used in film planning to cheek complicated colour pages. The proofed drawings came out in process magenta and process yellow/cyan (to make green), and were not quite the colours used to print the pages, but close enough.
A scream of ‘Eureka!’ from film planning brought the entire building crowding into the room to peer through the spectacles in wonder. Throughout the following days it became a habit to leap up or downstairs as each new masterpiece was proofed, each getting more ambitious. The CRASH Charts, for instance, had eleven planes of depth to them, and the whole issue represented weeks of painstaking cutting, repasting and adjusting to get the effects right.
In the room next to film planning, Oliver Frey was setting up his new editorial department for THE GAMES MACHINE. It had been moved from Gravel Hill because of problems with screen photography, and also to keep all the editorial staff together. Downstairs in the CRASH room, Nick Roberts got the job he had originally written in for, compiling the Playing Tips; and another new face slipped quietly in to join Barnaby, Dominic and Ian Phillipson. David Peters was to meet the urgent need for a Subeditor to plough through the dozens of thousands of words which each CRASH contains, correcting and trimming where necessary. Meanwhile, Ben Stone moved to continue his training at another magazine in the area, What’s On In Shropshire, though he continued to come into CRASH several times a week to write reviews and features.