The Detailed History of Zzap! - Part 2 by Demetrius Kiminas
A new margin character appeared in issue 15, later acquiring the name ‘Mr. Nose’. Issue 15 also contained the only review comment by Roger Kean. Issue 16 saw the departure of Gary Liddon in order to join Newsfield’s newly created software publisher, Thalamus, and issue 17 the surrender of Editorship by Roger Kean to Gary Penn. Since Roger was busy running Newsfield, Gary as Assistant Editor was doing most of the magazine’s editorial job anyway. In the same issue Richard Eddy was introduced as Liddon’s replacement. For some reason he would remain the least liked reviewer in reader surveys.
The monthly sales of ZZAP! as stated in issue 19 were steadily rising: During the period January-June 1986 it sold a monthly average of 59,356 issues, 54,399 of which sold within the UK.
Issue 20 saw the departure of Sean Masterson and the handing over of the tips section to Julian Rignall, as Gary had his hands full with his responsibilities as editor. Issue 21 was the Christmas Special of 1986, which at a cost of £1.95 set a new record of size (196 pages). Issue 22 set another record with its 44 games reviews and included the only review comment by sub-editor Massimo Valducci. Yet a new reviewer, Steve Jarratt, was introduced in issue 24. In issue 25 Gary revealed that the mean circulation for the 2nd semester of 1986 was 67,728 issues. Issue 26 cost £1.50 as it had a cassette tape stuck on the cover: The ZZAP! Sampler! Issue 27 saw the promotion of Ciaran Brennan to a reviewer, taking the position of departing Richard Eddy, and the re-introduction of the Strategy section by Philippa Irving, holder of a similar column in Crash!
Issue 28 started with the editorial handing over procedure: Gary went to work for the new Newsfield magazine “The Games Machine”, and ZZAP! found a new editor in the person of Ciaran Brennan. The same issue saw the return of Gary Liddon and his ‘technical bit in the middle’ column.
Issue 30 announced the new circulation statistics: From January to June 1987 Zzap!64 sold a monthly average of 77,483 issues, 63,809 of which within the UK. It also introduced a budget section where from now on cheap games would be reviewed in brief, instead of getting a full review. The same issue saw the final departure of Gary Liddon and the final column of The White Wizard. Issue 31 came with free (cardboard) 3D glasses and an impressive 3D section. Its cover price was increased to £1.25 and the new Adventure columnist introduced: It was Nik Wild, writing under the pen-name ‘The Harlequin’.
Issue 32 saw the departure of Ciaran Brennan and the passing of the editorial position to Julian Rignall. It also contained the first 16-bit section, devoted to both the Amiga and the Atari ST, a feature that would appear regularly from issue 34 (but only for the Amiga), usually spanning two pages. Issue 33 was the Christmas Special of 1987, which again cost £1.95 and boasted 196 pages. It introduced yet another new reviewer: Dan Gilbert, who also took over the Tips section in the next issue. However, issue 35 saw the departure of Dan and the return of Julian at the Tips. It also introduced the new reviewer who would replace Dan: Paul Glancey. Issue 36 saw the arrival of yet another reviewer: Gordon Houghton, as well as a feature that contained Amiga games reviewed in the normal ZZAP! style. With so many reviewers around, Paul Sumner was slowly phased out with only his name in the masthead remaining in the next issue, and even that vanishing by issue 38.
In issue 38 the circulation numbers for the period July-December 1987 appeared: 82,933, with 64,110 in UK and Ireland. That issue also saw the departure of Steve Jarratt who became the new editor of Crash! Issue 39 came with a free booklet, “Another Day at the Arcades”. Issue 40 saw the departure of Julian Rignall, the last of the first generation of reviewers. The next generation took over with Gordon taking on the Editorial and Paul Glancey the Tips. The sudden reduction of reviewers to two warranted one last appearance by Paul Sumner. It later became known that his bits for this issue were written by Warren Lapworth. He was not meant to get a reviewer’s position at this point however, as issue 41 introduced Matthew Evans for the job.
Issue 42 cost £1.50 as it had a ‘Mega Cassette’ stuck in the cover, which was supposed to have a demo of Katakis in it. As Katakis was taken off the shelves by court order (due to its resemblance to R-Type) instead it had a copy of the rather dated game Time Tunnel, which caused a wave of reader complaints. This issue also saw the return of the margin characters, Rockford and Thingy, which had mysteriously vanished after the last Christmas Special (issue 33) -- Mr. Nose would return in the next issue. Finally, Gordon informed the unsuspecting public that from that issue on, Zzap! would also review Amiga games in a separate section. The last C64-only magazine ceased to be C64 only!