Zzap Editorials

Welcome to one of my favourite parts of Zzap!, the editorials. They always gave you an insight into the going ons of the magazine and the C64 software industry in general.

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Editorial from Issue 51

After the party

No sooner than a birthday bottle of champagne is broken over the free cassette on Issue 50 than it's all change at the Towers. Gordon Houghton, after a year as Editor has left along with Kati Hamza and Maff Evans. While Maff plans superstardom - or preferably cult status - with his group Assimilate Four, Gordon and Kati are pursuing the slightly more prosaic career of freelance journalists back down South.

The new ZZAP! team includes Robin 'from the Valleys' Hogg (winner of last year's intermagazine challenge (ha!), military enthusiast, Kerrang! reader (Lorraine Lewis - phwoar!) and estate agent firebomber), Phil King (sports fan, Alice Cooper devotee and skateboarding superstar) and me (trekkie, REM fan and C128 owner - there has to be one). Together with Paul (how many pictures of me can I get in one Issue?) Rand, Ken D Fish and new contributor, Prof Norman Nutz,we hope to keep increasing the quality of your monthly ZZAP!.

To this aim the reviews have been tinkered with (again), the intros lengthened to allow more detail on games as complex as Millennium 2.2 and Archipelagos, and emphasised to make them stand out. So even if we go wild over a game in the comments,there should be enough information to decide if it's the type of game you'll like too. We've also trying to more clearly separate C64 and Amiga reviews and have brought back the irregular strategy section, with Robin Hogg drooling over some of the best games around. It's not the sort of column Randy likes, but he's just discovered an unexpected enthusiam for Compunet, staying on-line to all hours at night. So unless the phone bills bankrupt us in the meantime, see you next month!
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 55

A C64 Xmas?

Finally, the summer software drought seems over with high quality games flooding in for the C64. While the Amiga lacks a single sizzler, the C64 wins TWO Gold Medals and one sizzler.Hats off first to Ocean, for putting so much time and effort into their movie licences. The number of sub games and levels offered by the two products is astonishing, as is the sheer polish which makes them so much fun. And applause too, for Chris Butler doing the impossible for Activision.

Clearly the C64 has plenty of life left in it yet. ln terms of presentation, playability and the sheer amount of levels crammed into C64 games today's programs blow away all but a few classics from the old days. The technical excellence delivered by Power Drift, and promised by Turbo OutRun, is simply amazing. And who would swap the value-packed, multiload Ocean licences of 1989 for those of 1985? Particularly as the good games that were around then can now be picked up for £2.99 on rerelease, or in mega-value compilations. As the 1990s approach,the c64 offers all this for a quarter of the price of an Amiga with new releases costing half as much as Amiga software. lf you want amazing graphics the Amiga certainly delivers (see Batman preview), but for the moment C64 owners can remain content: their machine offers by far the best value for money with a range and quality of software second-to-none.

And with so much happening on the C64/Amiga scene it's a pity Paul Rand has decided to leave Newsfield for a job with publishing giant EMAP. Best of luck to him, and Robin Hogg who's bravely stepped into his shoes with a 'Pig in The Poke' playing tips section.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 57


The dawn of a new decade sees the quality of C64 programming stronger than ever before, with games such as Turbo Out Run, Stunt Car Racer and Retrograde pushing the technical boundaries ever further. ZZAP! is committed to bringing you all the latest news, previews and reviews on the c64 scene - not neglecting the Amiga, of course - in the new decade. Sadly, the cost of paper, unlike RAM chips, tends to always be rising rather than falling. As the Xmas issue went to print the increase was finally confirmed, raising the price 25p. Not the best of Xmas presents, but further rises in paper costs are unlikely for another two years and the management's currently looking at ways of increasing the number of pages - fingers crossed for that.

In the meantime, I hope you like the first ZZAP! of the 90s. With a bit of luck all the games we've been chasing will have been caught in time for review. So until next month, Happy New Year from everyone at the Towers.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 58


The Christmas avalanche of games continues to bury the ZZAP! team under coin-op conversions this month; the number of game review pages is the highest it's been for ages. But some of the most exciting games won't have Phil, Robin or myself pulling our usual faces over them. They're games like Future Wars, Drakkhen and Dragon Wars. Distinguished by brilliant graphics, some excellent animation, and amazing playabitity they're the sort of programs we might - in quieter months - have classed as 'normal' games and reviewed ourselves.

The rapid decline in text-only adventures in favour of games such as Indy: The Adventure Game, which often have arcade sections, has blurred the whole definition of what an adventure is. The highest scoring 'normal' game this month is Space Rogue from RPG adventure specialists Origin it combines a RPG game with an Elite-style space game. But however difficult classifications are, this month's Lab Report is packed with first-class games with plenty of appeal for all but the most committed arcade fan.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 60


Tonight the readers of that amazingly happenin' mag, ZZAP!, paid their respects at the funeral of Editor, Stuart Wynne, who was sliced in half by an alien laser bolt. The fact the terminally ill, Mr Wynne, 83, has not quite snuffed it yet didn't put off the mourners, who were determined to 'have a good time grieving'.

The circumstances of Wynne's death ... er, fatal injury, are still very vague, but he remembers seeing a strange bluey whiteness which bore an amazing resemblance to his mother's toilet bowl. This claim is supported by nurses at the hospital who said that Mr Wynne's underwear was remarkably clean for the victim of such a worrying accident.

Police have given out a detailed description of Mr Wynne's assailant. He is a bio-mechanical extraterrestrial about 6 feet 4 inches tall (without his reinforced leather boots on), and about 300 pounds in weight (without his combined hand drill and household detergent utility belt). His hair and eye colour are unknown as his head is completely hidden by the respirator helmet which he always wears (even in the shower). The only other clue is a '5p off' Vim coupon which he dropped upon leaving the scene of the crime.

A one-legged Albanian dwarf arm-wrestler is helping the police with their inquiries. Detective Inspector Bert Fascist-Pigg stated, 'We think we've got our man.'
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 61


Amazing microsurgery by famed surgeon, Prof N Nutz, has been performed on the bisected body of ZZAP! Editor, Stuart Wynne. The success or failure of the operation is still in doubt, especially as the Geek was helping out with his grandmother's thimble and whalebone needle. In the meantime the Scorelord - who is totally and absolutely innocent of the Ed's attempted murder - is so enjoying writing reviews he may well continue. But what will the readers think?
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 62


After five years toiling in the bowels of Newsfield, harassing and abusing the reviewers while treating the editors with absolute contempt, the David Bailey of computer games has finally escaped. Cameron Pound (AKA Cameroon), made his bid for freedom shortly after the finish of the last issue, and is now enjoying life beyond the stalag gates. According to notes smuggled to inmates he plans to make a luxurious living as an overpaid, underworked techie setting up computers and teaching people how to use them. A lot of people are going to be very insulted!
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 63


Can you write clear and interesting prose? Are you a dab hand at computer games? Are you an amusing person? Do you look uncannily like a famous person in history (eg Hitler or Quasimodo)? Well, ZZAP! is on the lookout for young talent (and someone to make the tea).

To be considered, you must be over 16 (preferably over 18). We'd like a CV detailing your age, qualifications, work experience (especially tea-making), interests, etc. Two referees (not Kick Off ones, but perhaps a teacher or a previous employer!) would also be useful. Most importantly, though, we'd like you to send us an example of your writing: a ZZAP!-style review of any C64/Amiga game, comprising an unbiased intro and critical comment.

Reckon you fit the bill? Then send your application as soon as possible to Staff Writer Applications, Stuart Wynne, ZZAP! 64/Amiga, Newsfield, The Case Mills, Tameside, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1JW.

All applications will be acknowledged on receipt, and some candidates will be contacted later for expenses-paid interviews.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 64

This month sees the end of an era with Oli Frey, whose paintings have graced all 63 of the previous issues, taking time off to spend more time administering the Newsfield empire.

But from now on the ZZAP! covers will be painted by a variety of artists, with Ron Smith making his Newsfield debut on Issue 64 of ZZAP! 64. Ron has had a long and distinguished career, working on the first UK Marvel comics in 1974, drawing Judge Dredd for eight years and even doing the Green Cross Code Man! He's also painted covers for Iron Maiden, Sigue Sputnik and most recently Rock Machine. While still contributing to 2000AD, he's found time to immortalize professor Potts for this issue.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 65


Of late there seems to have been a little confusion in several software houses, with them mistakenly assuming some of their games won Sizzlers. Firstly, Domark put a Sizzler logo on the packaging for Amiga Cyberball (the actual mark was 72%), then Sales Curve advertised for programmers with the claim that Ninja Warriors achieved 92% (actual marks: 79%/82%) and finally System 3 put a Sizzler on their Flibo's Quest ads although the game has yet to be reviewed.

It seems nowadays the only way to be sure an award is real is to regularly read the reviews in Oscar-winning ZZAP!


Due to 'internal restructuring' at the Newsfield Empire, ZZAP! is back up to full reviewing strength with a new stuff writter joining us next issue. We'd like to thank all the people who applied for this job - the response was absolutely tremendous - and we'll be keeping the best applications on file for any future vacancies. In the meantime we hope to make ZZAP! an even more exciting read (and finally get some holidays!)
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 66


One hundred pages, a massive Megatape with three games and a demo, a new reviewer, a completely new design, loads of features but still no space for an editorial. Well, not a big one anyway! In brief I'm back, the Scorelord has gone on his summer hols, and our next issue is going to be even better. (Is it possible?)


Warren (Wozza) Lapworth hails from Northfield in Birmingham, although he's been 'living' in Ludlow for over two years. Prior to ZZAP! he's mostly been writing reviews for Newsfield's multi-format mag, THE GAMES MACHINE, but also in the horror, fantasy and sci-fi worlds of FEAR. Becoming our latest reviewer is something of a homecoming for Warrer because in his early days at Newsfield he helped out with ZZAP! reviews

He's owned a Commodore 64 for nearly six years and his favourite games include Wizball ('not that I've ever understood the colour-mixing method'), Ghosts 'N' Goblins ('a brilliant conversion and awesomely playable'), Bruce Lee ('the first game I played to death') and Mega Apocalypse ('psycho shoot-'em-up at its best'). He doesn't own an Amiga but expresses a preference for Wicked ('a Gothic blaster! weird!'), Venus The Flytrap ('highly addictive, Venus is a classic sprite') and Xenon II ('a real rad shmup - ah yeah!).

Apart from alcohol, Warren spends most of his 'spare' (ie FEAR's - Ed) cash on comics and graphic novels - he reviews a selection of them for Graphic Detail, his comics column in FEAR. His favourite titles include Daredevil, Akira, Excalibur, the Plastic Forks limited series, She-Hulk and the various Dark Horse Comics Aliens titles.

Warren has been trying to play guitar for years but hasn't succeeded. His favourite bands include The Icicle Works, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Clan Of Xymox, Dead Can Dance and Win ('but not Wynne!').
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 68


Yes ZZAP! brings you Xmas before any other mag!! It's a bit early perhaps, but with such a game-packed Xmas why wait? Numerous Sizzlers and a Gold Medal make this the most award-laden ZZAP! in ages. Cartridges have finally arrived with the glorious C64 SCI, embarrassing even the Amiga with virtually instant access, and promising much for the future. Speaking of which, we've got a look at some spectacular games in development: Robocop II, Wrath Of The Demon, Ninja III, and the awesome Turrican II. All of these except the latter are currently planned for cartridge, so is the C2N finally going to become redundant? Probably not, but one thing's for certain - this is the brightest C64 Xmas in years!


ZZAP! is famed for its quick turnover of stuff over the years, but few have lasted less than Warren 'Wozza' Lapworth. He's decided that ZZAP! is far too exciting for him and has moved onto GMI, Newsfield's own fantasy gaming mag. We wish him the best. Of course, this means that (once again!) there's a Staff Writter position going on ZZAP!. If you feel you could fill Wozza's pixie boots, now is the time to send in your CV and a sample, ZZAP!-style review. You must be over 16 (preferably over 18). All applications sent in last time are being considered.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 69


It takes no great insight to recognize the hardware market is as confused now as it ever was in the boom years of the early Eighties. There's a whole host of gleaming new machines competing to establish themselves, from uprated Amstrad computers to the Atari Lynx. Waiting in the wings we have CD-TV, and a new PC-compatible Amstrad machine.

Software houses are obviously hoping for the market to sort itself out so it returns to the old days when all they had to worry about was C64 and Spectrum conversions. Ocean see the lower end becoming mainly cartridge, with CD-ROM at the more expensive end. US Gold see the PC as the coming thing. Rumours of a high spec, £400 Amstrad PC, styled like an Amiga are called upon to support the argument that the PC might finally become a major leisure machine.

In fact the market is likely to remain splintered for a long, long time. The ideal console would probably be a smaller version of the PC Engine, ultra-compact and portable with an optional LCD screen and TV tuner. Anyone who's played Slimeworld on the Lynx knows the brilliant potential of multi-player games. Sure, you can link Amigas, but how often are you going to lug your £400 machine and £300 monitor round to a friend's house?

Unfortunately such a machine is probably a decade away. The new range of superconsoles are all fairly big, the PC Engine was doubled in size for the US market. The Sega Megadrive is spearheading the superconsole UK invasion, but smaller numbers, exorbitant pricing (compared to the US/Japan) and limited, expensive software restricts its appeal. By Xmas 1991 it could be a big threat, but by then the Nintendo Superfamicom might be looming. As might the Atari Panther, the semi-mythical 32-bit superconsole which aims to regain Atari's technical superiority. All three consoles make it likely that Commodore are working on their own console. The GS is a nice machine compared to both the Master System and Nintendo, with software at half the price and aimed squarely at the European market. It should do well, but the new technology makes a successor likely. Already there are strong rumours of a new machine based on the 6502 chip (used by the C64, Lynx and Super Famicom). Maybe it could be compatible with C64 carts?

But what of the C64. Well its future doesn't look too bad actually. Frankly no-one is going to try and bring out a £160 computer any time soon; only Miles Gordon have tried with their Super Speccy which ended up bankrupting one company. It's tough business and R&D costs make the £160 barrier a tough one to breach, if people were even interested. New computers such as the Amstrad PC aim at £400 and often end up much costlier.

So for parents wishing to buy junior some reasonably priced entertainment this Xmas, dressed up with some genuine educational value, the C64 is the ideal choice. And it will be next Xmas too. Amigas are fine things, but they're too pricey to break through into most Xmas stockings. Consoles are good too, but the C64GS is one of the best cheap ones and the expensive consoles lack educational value.

In short, don't write off the C64. Even without carts it's in good health. With them it's doing superb. The future is going to be as splindered as now, with Amigas, CD-TVs, Lynxes, Gamegears and especially the C64 grabbing a fair share of the market.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 74


ZZAP! may have gone up a few pennies in price, but I hope we've made it all rather worthwhile with the entire mag now completely devoted to the C64, a brand-new review look with lots more space for each game, a free tips booklet, a big budget section and more C64 news, previews and reviews than any other mag around. We've also got a neat little box for our Megatapes, to make a nice collectable series. All in all the world's best C64 mag has just got a lot better and brighter!


It's unbelievable but true, next month there'll be an even better Tips booklet adorning the cover of ZZAP! packet with yet more crucial games info. And yes! The month after that there'll be another one! This series of three tips booklets is in answer to all those readers who wrote into the Rrap asking for one. It's taken a bit of time to do, but we've certainly done it in style. Order your next copy of ZZAP! 64 now!
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 75


On the cover of next month's ZZAP! will be maps for two of the most magical lands ever to appear on the C64. In readiness for the exclusive cover-mounting of the awesome Sizzlers Lords of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge, ZZAP! has produced two beautifully drawn maps detailing all the significant locations in these two vast lands. Lords of Midnight was written by Mike Singleton (of Midwinter fame and utilized a brilliant new programming system called Landscaping. This astonishing routine allowed for the creation of no less than 32,000 views of the medieval, dragon-infested kingdom of Icemark. On its release it got 91% and was labeled a 'truly epic game' - a judgment which has effortlessly stood the test of time with most C64 pundits still judging it one of the finest programs for the machine. Both an epic adventure and superlative wargame, Lords of Midnight can't be missed.Indeed, many people said it could never be bettered, but it was - just once - by the stunning sequel, Doomdark's Revenge. Amazingly Mike Singleton managed to improve the program with 48,000 views, but more importantly character interaction was much improved in the tale of the warrior-princess Shareth the Heartstealer, and her plan to avenge her father's defeat. 95% was the rating for this masterpiece.

So whatever you do, don't miss next month's ZZAP! where one of the C64's greatest-ever adventures starts with two glorious maps. Subscribe now to make sure of collecting the two brilliant programs themselves, coming very soon!
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 76


Do you really want a C65? A super new version of the C64 with a built-in 3.5 inch disk drive, 4096 colours, near Amiga quality graphics and C64 compatibility all for just £200? Well, this is the question that Commodore is asking itself. As long back as ECES '90, Commodore's retail sales manager Kelly Shamner had been fairly open about upgrading the C64, although he expected the current model to continue 'in its present form' for another two years. In line with that the C65 is unlikely to appear before 1992. Indeed, as yet there are no firm plans to release it at all. Commodore's design plant in Westchester, Pennsylvania has lots of interesting prototype hardware but that is never going to be put in production.

Upgrading a successful computer so it's got lots of glitzy new features while still being compatible with all the old software is an appealing project. After all, Commodore's already tried it once with the C128 - offering substantially improved graphics plus CPM compatibility for business. Unfortunately that failed, mainly due to high price and poor software support. The C65 will be cheaper and more powerful. Unlike the C128, with all its business aspirations, the C65 is directly aimed to replace the C64 as a low-end, first-time buyer machine. Cheap but still packing enough hi-tech wizardry for it to be competitive for the next five years. It's a tough nut to crack, too good a machine could hit Amiga sales, but if the machine is too weak then who would buy it?

Commodore's Press & Public Relations Manager, Andrew Ball, promised the machine would be much better than the C64 (or C128), its specification would pit it against the 16-bit Atari ST in fact. A palette of 4096 colours and Amiga-type IFF (allowing Amiga screens to be directly ported accross) offers 'near Amiga-style graphics', although there won't be a blitter cheap to zip graphics around. What custom chips the C65 would have Andrew wasn't saying, but 'sound would be improved' as well. The machine's memory remains undecided, but an absolute minimum would be 128K. The CPU would still be a 6502, but custom chips make anything possible - the Lynx uses a 6502, as does NEC's PC Engine (which has an arcade-perfect version of R-Type

Although the outline specification has been touted around developers there's been no official reaction other than usual 'we'll wait and see'. There are certainly no development machines out there, there isn't even a better than fifty-fifty chance of it being launched according to Andrew. One reason for this doubt is the remarkable success of the C64. It sold more units in the UK in 1990 than ever before, a quarter of a million in fact, and Andrew expects to sell almost as many this year as well - 200,000 or so. Any thought of killing the C64 for the Amiga was ridiculous - 'why kill a product that's going so well?'. Rather than dumping machines in Eastern Europe, Andrew expected the opening up of that area, and the Far East, as offering a superb opportunity for the C64. These countries would provide a huge potential market for a low-cost home computer and as Andrew points out, 'nothing can touch the C64 at its current price'.


Whatever the power of the new consoles, the C64's continuing success demonstrates some people want more from their machines than the ability only to play expensive cartridge games. The ability to run some business software, cheap budget games, do homework and so on are not features available on a console. The failure of the SAM Coupe and the new Amstrad CPC Plus series to catch on, and the fading of the Spectrum, has left the C64 dominant among cheap home computers. Other than the C65 there's nothing new on the horizon aimed at this market.

The only possible weakness is that perennial Achilles Heel, the C2N. Commodore's dropping of it from the C64 packs lowers the price but leaves buyers in a quandary over what data storage device to buy. Asked whether Commodore would be encouraging retailers to take third-party datasettes Andrew Ball was surprisingly dismissive, in his view datasettes are suitable only for basic home programming due to their unreliability and lengthy loading times. For games, cartridges and disks are the way to go. Unfortunately, the range of cartridge software remains limited while C64 disk drives cost almost as much as the C64 itself, besides being slow. 3.5-inch disk drives are faster, cheaper and offer much more memory storage potential but Commodore's last attempt to introduce them for the C64 never scratched the market. There was no hype, thus low sales, and software houses never bothered to support it.

Of course the C65 would solve these problems at a stroke with its integral 3.5" disk drive. Indeed some commentators think the C65 was conceived purely as a means of solving this problem. At £200 the C65 would offer improved hardware and vastly superior data storage for around £40 less than a C64 and an old, cumbersome and costly 5" disk drive!

Put this way, the C65's appeal is strong indeed and for dedicated C64 owners could be irresistible. C64 software could be loaded in seconds on a 3.5" drive and doubtless there'd be cartridges to back-up treasured software libraries to the new medium (whatever the legal questions). Games specifically written for the C65 could equal many current Amiga titles written as ST-ports!

So if you want a Super 64 what can you do? Quite simply write into ZZAP!. Andrew Ball is very eager to hear what C64 owners think. Although primarily aimed at first-time buyers, the C65 needs to appeal to C64 owners and too. Would you upgrade to a C65? Are you interested only in super new games, or would you also like some serious stuff, a printer and a word processor program perhaps? Whatever your opinion, write in - we'll read all your letters, print as many as we can and maybe pass some on to Commodore as well.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 78

Something wonderful is about to happen...


The C64's resurgent software performance - second only to the Amiga - healthy European sales and the prospect of huge Eastern European sales have all helped contribute to a number of very exciting new developments on the C64 scene. The latest news concerns a 3.5-inch C64 disk drive developed by TIB (a manufacturer of disk and cartridge software). It will use a standard Citizen mechanism and be formatted in a standard PC DOS fashion, giving around 700K of usable storage space per disk. It will operate on around 4 volts which will be drawn from the C64 itself, doing without the need for an external powerpack. The most exciting element, however, is that rather than using the C64's awful disk drive port, it will plug into the cartridge port allowing superfast data transmission: 64K could be loaded in about six seconds! TIB are justly proud of their system and took it to Commodore, who were apparently very supportive. UK distributors have been no less impressed with most of the big companies being very enthusiastic and placing hefty orders. Even Dixons are jumping into the bandwagon.

The most important endorsement, however, comes from Ocean and various other software houses who have made available nine games for the £99 launch pack: Jahangir Khan Squash, MUFC, World Championship Boxing, Ninja Rabbits, Summer Olympiad, Winter Olympiad, Wizball, Gutz and Firefly. Although most of the games are golden oldies, there are plans to make available vouchers so if you've got Mutant Wallabies on tape, you can send it away to a software house to get it converted onto disk. Some companies are more wary though. One Birmingham-based developer pointed out that currently 5.25-inch drives occupy such a small portion of the market that retailers hardly stock them and would probably be reluctant to stock another C64 disk format at all - this would be the biggest stumbling block. Also software houses currently deal with so many formats, from Spectrum to Super Famicom, that adding another format is accepted only reluctantly. Nevertheless, those software houses that do support it could make for a real breakthrough. Companies such as Ocean, who currently develop carts, could use the new hyperfast disk drive for rapid access in a similar fashion to cart software. The advantage would be that 3.5" disks are a lot cheaper to buy, plus 700K far exceeds the 512K which is the biggest memory size - and most expensive - of carts so far released. Moreover who's to stop a game stretching over three or four disks? - the cost barrier is far less than with carts, and if the game's a flop you can reuse the disks, unlike carts.

Of course Commodore have previously offered their own 3.5" disk drive, but that worked through the C64's nonstandard disk port, meaning it wasn't that much better than the standard (and awful) 5.25" disk drives, plus software support was minimal. A quick phone call to Commodore's Press & Public Relations Manager Andrew Ball confirmed the company's positive reaction to the device: 'A jolly good idea, encouraging better software and more of it, which is always a good idea. It will encourage the use of the C64 as a proper computer.'

But what about the C65? If TIB's drive is a success, will that remove a large part of the C65's appeal? Will Commodore see TIB as sufficiently bolstering the C64 that no new machine is required. So what about the impact on the C65? 'I honestly don't know, but when there's a real need for it, we will respond. When there's the right software support to take advantage of its interesting advantages.' Hmm. Although Andrew is still eager to remind people no firm decision has been made on the C65, and it certainly won't be launched before early 1992, he sounds a bit more positive. What's more, although obviously he's reluctant to hype a machine that may never be put on the market, he has agreed to try and answer some C65 questions next month. Fingers crossed for that, but don't write off the C64 yet...

'Later in the year we're going to be doing something rather exciting with the C64, we're going to be giving it an enormous shot in the arm. We're so excited we might even give it its own TV commercial!' Has there ever been so many tantalising rumours about the C64? Well, tune in next month for a full TIB drive review, a competition to win three drives, and that Andrew Ball interview.
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 79


Zzap!'s back, and better than ever! Bet we had you worried there for a moment or two. Truth to tell, it gave all of us at ZZAP! Towers a jolt. You may have read in a certain other C64 mag that ZZAP! had gone for good, but it was a bit of a porky, certainly a touch previous at any rate. Takes a bit more than Newsfield going down the pan to keep a mag as essential as ZZAP! from publishing.

The truth is Lloyd Mangram wanted a nice holiday - he hasn't had one since the big N started over 100 years ago. Rumour has it he rang up the liquidators and got them to come in on 17 September to tell us all that Newsfield was insolvent, which is a bit like being caught in Smiths with ten disk games in your sweaty hands and only a pocketful of loose change to pay for 'em.

It was okay for Lloyd. Despite moaning for years about never having a pay rise, he's got more money stashed away under his mattress than the whole of Fort Knox. The rest of us had to take a hike to the local DHSS and sign on. Let me tell you, when they ask you that daft question about what sort of work you're going to be looking for, editorships of Commodore mags ain't that high on the list of highly opportunities.

Too numerous to mention, the 'old' new staff gather for an Impactive photo.

So what really happened? Yep, Newsfield, after eight valiant years and the two best eight-bit mags in the business, found itself short of cash. We were told that the failure of LM - Newsfield's general-interest youth title - back in 1987, and MOVIE the year after, were probably to blame, that and the recession of course.

All the magazines (plus games, computers, T-shirts and Robin Hogg's joystick) got collected by the liquidators to be sold off. The mags went up for auction, and immediately the bids started coming in, with one big London publisher wanting to set up a special company here in Ludlow to run ZZAP!. Another, Future Publishing (Commodore Format), wanted CRASH and ZZAP!. Commodore Format's publisher Jane Richardson denied their interest was simply in killing off the competition. 'CRASH and ZZAP! are very strong titles and we certainly didn't want them to die,' she warmly warbled. What exactly were they going to do with them, then? 'We had several options open to us had we got the titles. We probably would have incorporated them into our existing magazines.' If that isn't killing titles off, I'm blowed if I know what is.

But rescue was at hand! Roger Kean - once a ZZAP!'s editor - and a Newsfield director got together with our very own cover illustrator, Oliver Frey, and Jonathan Rignall to raise finance through Europress (Games-X, Amiga Action, ST Action et al). So was founded Europress Impact, still in Ludlow, and their bid for CRASH and ZZAP! won the day!

Of course we're all sorry that Big N's gone, but it's great to be back at work again (and they've bought me brand new Apple Macintosh to do it with). So you see it! Yeah! Better and brighter and glossier than ever on our new shiny paper and with a great two-part freebie poster calendar for 1992 - and an awesome line-up of Megatape games. Next issue's going to be even better, so keep reading ZZAP! - the mag everyone wants to buy!


Sadly it's true, the Welsh computer games wizard isn't returning to ZZAP!. After Newsfield's sad demise Robin returned to Lichfield to live with his girlfriend, Sam, and is so happy he's not coming back - aw!

Robin had such a good gamesplaying reputation at ZZAP! Towers that Thalamus had planned to poach him for their game development department! Robin joined Newsfield almost four years ago on THE GAMES MACHINE where he quickly established a reputation for narking off software houses - and sometimes other reviewers! - with his hard markings and picky reviews. Over two years ago now he made the fateful move over to ZZAP! magazine where his cheery grin and military-mania soon became known to the nation! Despite his, uhm, unique time-keeping, Robin is much missed and we wish him well in his future career.


To kick off the brighter looking ZZAP! 64, we commissioned Oli Frey to do a special A2-sized double-sided 1992 poster calendar (phew, what a mouthful!). Part One is stuck on the cover (if it isn't, go back to your newsagent and ask who half-inched it). As you can see, one side's got a head on it and the other's got a - well a bottom bit of some geezer. Worry not! Next month's fab issue gives you all the other vital bits needed to make up two whole men-things and a year to boot. And there will be instructions on how to construct your ZZAP! Oli Frey 1992 calendar (batteries not included).
Stuart Wynne


Editorial from Issue 80


Commodore rumours continue to proliferate with our sister magazine, AMIGA COMPUTING, printing news of a proposed A300.

This would boast standard Amiga internals, but the keyboard would be radically stripped down making it really a console. There would still be a disk drive, allowing access to current software (so long as not too many keys are needed!), but it's hoped there'll also be plenty of cartridge software. The price is rumoured to be approx £200-£300, allowing the Amiga to compete more effectively with Japanese consoles.

But for C64 fans the big question is whether the A300 is likely to knock out the long-rumoured C65 (claimed to have near-Amiga capabilities, but costing £200 and boasting C64 compatibility). The truth of the matter seems to be that Commodore's design labs have been very busy and at least two machines are in prototype form, but whether they're ever launched depends on the company's evaluation of the marketplace.

Andrew Ball offered this masterful 'no comment' comment; 'With an installed base of so many C64s, and over a million Amigas in the UK - meaning one in fifty people have them - there's an enormous market which we're constantly examining new ways to serve.'

1992 is certainly going to be interesting with Commodore needing some king of answer to the Mega Drive, Atari revving up its own console, various CD-ROM units competing and the C64 hopefully getting updating.


Those of you who still journey to the local newsagent, rather than relying on a super-comfy subscription, will undoubtedly have noticed an exciting new mag called SEGA FORCE.

This amazing new mag dealing with, uh, Nintendo or something like that is being edited by ZZAP!'s famous King-Wynne editorial team. This promotion is no doubt due to their world-famous efficiency, speed and attention to deadlines (ho-ho - Publisher). Or maybe because they know games and are cheap! But to help them cope with two wondrous magazines, and make up for the loss of Robin Hogg (sob!), staff writters have been recruited by the bus load.

The new mega-team may continue to handle both mags, or separate to form two teams. Maybe you'd like to write in and say what you'd like, even vote for which writers you'd like most maybe! Whatever happens you can be sure ZZAP! continues to provide the most accurate, unbiased C64 reviews in the UK!


Employed in a vain attempt to even up the male/female ratio in the Sega Force/ZZAP! office, Claire is our new stuff writer (and she's worth ten men any day!). After surviving just one day at Birmingham Polytechnic (as long as that?!), Claire has achieved her life-long ambition (at just 20 years and 3 weeks) of breaking into the glamorous world of the press (hah, disillusioned fool).

Having lived all around the country she currently commutes from Telford 'the roundabout centre of the universe' in the car borrowed from Mr Bean that everyone calls 'Basil' (the surname isn't Fawlty, I hope).

She used to work at a garage in Ellesmere (where?), and has also done time behind the bar at a local nightclub (she's a party animal).

She likes fast cars, golfers, practicing her Arnie Schwartzenegger impersonation, singing in the bath and drinking Diamond White out of the bottle (she's that 'ard). She dislikes canoeing but is very proud of the fact that she can do an Eskimo Roll (lucky Eskimo, I say). Her hobbies include driving to work, swearing at people in Welsh, painting her nails and scuba diving (Jacques Cousteau, eat yer heart out!). Her favourite games Creatures and Rainbow


Alan is one of the latest additions to the team (the other one is much prettier), and is the brains of the operation (he rents them out to everyone else for extortionate fees). A Bachelor in the Arts, he has come to the magazine fully qualified (many years of experience and research in tea making).

And not only is he in the process of revolutionising the entire magazine, but is certainly shining a beacon of fashion on the office with his designer sportswear (baggy Lee T-shirt and flappy 'MC Hammer' trousers) and a 'bad' haircut (in other words he's as bald as Captain Picard).

He's often to be seen rolling erratically into the office car park in his flash motor (a beaten-up Lada), after wild nights in heady Wolverhampton (his home town). On arrival he's usually dozy and generally useless, having spent all his spare time listening to extremely loud music of bizarre nature (Bucks Fizz, The Brotherhood Of Man, Gilbert O' Sullivan etc). In fact he is now completely deaf (watch out for this one's sound ratings!).

Alan claims to like toast, sleeping, falling out of tall trees, driving very fast and boogeying (his greatest ambition is to appear on 'Dance Energy'). On the other hand he particularly dislikes boring games, his van breaking down, and (like Ian) zoos... he can't get any girlfriends from there! (what about the orangutan we saw you with last week, Al?).

Al's fave C64 game is the classic Who Dares Wins II.


Adrian originates from the darkest depths of Wolverhampton. He was born in the early Seventies when hot pants were 'in' and you needed a pair of step ladders to get into your platforms. He's a fashion victim, a Pet Shop Boys fan and wants to live next door to Victoria Wood. He hates wasps, shell suits and Bobby Davro ('nothing personal, Bob!).

His fave Commodore games ever include Wizball, Bubble Bobble and Head Over Heels. He owns a Porsche 911 and can be seen each morning racing from Wolvo to Ludlow dodging little bunny rabbits along the B road. (We lied about the Porsche, by the way, but he's read Watership Down, all in all, about twenty-seven times! - Ed.)

Fave C64 game: Wizball.


In his short time at ZZAP! Towers, Ian has already upset several software houses. 'A crap game gets a crap mark', he says, 'and I'm damed if I'm perjuring myself just to please advertising sales...' (Don't let him start that again! - Ed.) Fair enough!)

His hobbies are eating Pot Noodles, arguing with Ade about the Pet Shop Boys, and hiding from US Gold reps. His ambition is to write a computer adventure game, so reviewers can get their own back.

Fave C64 game: Rick Dangerous


Born and bred in Leicester, Paul lived there until three days ago, when he got this job. His main hobby is computers 'because I'm so good at playing games on them.' He also likes music, along the lines of Punk and Heavy Metal which means he has a very lamentable sense of hearing. The rest of the time he spends watching TV (nothing Australian) and sleeping. His main interest, though, is crashing cars - he's written off two: smashed e and reversed with the door open into a lamppost!

Fave C64 game: Great Gianna Sisters.
Stuart Wynne


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