The Def Guide to Zzap!64

Commodore Force: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
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Author:  fgasking [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:47 am ]
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I'll race ya.... 8)

Author:  Ian Osborne [ Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:04 am ]
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There were actually three issues started that never saw the light of day.

* Issue 17 was completed and sent to the printers, but not actually printed due to Impact going down the tubes. I was drafted in at the end of the schedule for this one because the issue had fallen behind its deadlines (again), and wrote several sections, including the final (I think) Back to the Feature and a piece on how Commodore Force was put together. Interestingly, this was meant to be the last issue of CF. The magazine was put on Firm Sale (so the newsagents had to pay for every issue they put on the shelves, whether or not they were sold), but when orders exceeded expectations, the title was reprieved and 'Goodbye, readers' messages were quickly removed.

* Issue 18 saw me rejoin the team. Apart from the Megatape pages, which James earmarked for himself, the magazine was completed over a week ahead of schedule. For this issue, I did everything that wasn't freelanced out. I Can't remember much about what went into it, but it definitely had a substantial reviews and previews section, for the first time in months. Also, Bash the Barbarian was replaced by an old healer-type figure for the adventure column, largely because we forgot to remove his farewells in the previous issue.

* Having finished Issue 18, I moved on to Issue 19. I can't remember how much of it was completed or what was written, but it was probably only half a dozen pages or so.

It's great to see people interested in seeking out the missing issues, but it's a mission that's doomed to failure. I doubt the issue that went to the printers was printed at all, and if it was, it certainly wasn't bound. If anything went through the rollers at all, it would be a single section of the mag, printed on an enormously wide roll and not even cut into pages. These would've gone straight in the bin when Impact went down the tubes. The only way anything could survive is if a journo or designer had kept printouts or files after the crash, and that doesn't seem to have happened.

Author:  Queen Frostine [ Thu Jun 23, 2005 8:51 pm ]
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Great to hear from Ian too!

It's a real pity that the farewell issue didn't come out, at least that would have been something.

Author:  Iain [ Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:31 pm ]
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Well issue "100" turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, with only a small pullout included for the occasion and with the lack of resources the magazine had at the end, I doubt if a farewell issue would have been any better :(

Author:  fgasking [ Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:09 am ]
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Couldn't be any worse than C-Format's last issue.... I hear Simon Forrester still has a price on his head after that one... 8-)

Author:  Azhrei [ Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:20 am ]
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I have a question for ex-Force reviewers...

I've always wondered about this person who used to write in for a few months, and nearly always win Letter Of The Month. His name was John Kavanagh, from Morden, Surrey, a clue that had me believing for years (and to this day) that he was made up by the staff. My theory was given more credence with the content of his letters - stuff that the staff would write!

So, was he real, or not?

Author:  Professor Brian Strain [ Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:10 am ]
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I don't know about John, but over the last few months of C-Force, we were all innundated with letters from a certain Mr Luke Croll. He was never going to give up the C64, he was going to learn to program and make new games, and he was going to do all sorts to help save the C64...

Of course, a few months later it was a different story. Luke was a dedicated Megadrive fan and wrote into Digitiser (on UK Teletext) to tell them...

Author:  Ian Osborne [ Mon Jul 04, 2005 10:34 am ]
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Ah, Luke Croll - he used to phone the office twice a week too, usually to ask when the next issue was coming out. Increasingly irate instructions to read the 'next month' page in the current issue did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm...

Author:  Azhrei [ Mon Jul 04, 2005 11:38 pm ]
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I do remember he was mentioned in the magazine once by what sounded like a very bemused staff member :D

I think a lot of Commodore Force fans were a little nuts because it seemed to be in the spirit of the magazine. I mean, if you'd told my thirteen year old self that I'd be talking to such legends over the Internet in ten or so years time, I'd have laughed at you.

Force fans were a little crazy because we worshipped the magazine, and it's staff so much :)

Author:  CraigGrannell [ Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:39 am ]
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Towards the end of CF my only thoughts were "why the hell am I still buying this?" The James/Miles combo was hardly the stuff of legend and it was rather disappointing to see page after page of retro stuff and no reviews when there were still a lot of new things happening in the scene. (It also took Format a long time to figure this out.)

Author:  Lloyd Mangram [ Tue Jul 05, 2005 8:46 am ]
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CraigGrannell wrote:
Towards the end of CF my only thoughts were "why the hell am I still buying this?"

I already had that feeling when I bought Zzap around issue 70 - 90.
(Actually until 89, I though that was the last one :) )

Neurotic behaviour, looking back. 8) :wink:

Author:  CraigGrannell [ Tue Jul 05, 2005 9:29 am ]
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Not entirely—I felt pretty much the same. When Zzap! started to ape CF, it was all over.

Author:  LeeT [ Tue Jul 05, 2005 9:54 am ]
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By the time Force was launched, I had pretty much given up on the C64 (and gaming in general). I only bought it (and continued to buy C-Format) out of loyalty - Most months, I didn't even bother to load the covertapes, though when I did, it was the only time my C64 was switched on!

I would have preferred it if Europress had kept the ZZAP! name, rather than launching Force - though I do understand their reasons behind renaming (ZZAP! losing readers, it being old, wanting a complete new look).

Author:  Iain [ Tue Jul 05, 2005 6:21 pm ]
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While C= Force was nowhere near as good as Zzap during the best years, it was a lot better than the later Zzap's (75-85ish).

I also had pretty much lost interest in the C64 and certainly its games and it was only because I convinced my brother to get the mag that I still read it, but there were some good articles in C= Force and I really enjoyed the PD Scene. The techy stuff was also good but it was about 2 or 3 years too late for me, since I knew most of it already and had stopped coding the C64 at that stage as well :(

Sure C= Force should have discovered the 'scene' and all the great hardware (e.g. CMD stuff) that you could get, but considering what they had to work with (i.e. little money, little time and few games) I think they did an okay to good job!

Author:  Fab [ Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:02 pm ]
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I agree with Iain, Zzap!'s quality dropped a lot with issue 74, the one where Amiga coverage was removed and style became very childish, cartoon-like. Removing the three faces (good, so-so and bad) in the reviews meant removing one of the best features Zzap! had always had.

I never read C= Force. Actually I had a chance: as an ex-subscriber, I got issue 88 for free, and an offer to subscribe again at a special price. I didn't do it because I thought Zzap! had no future. That was true for Zzap! itself, but maybe, for my money I could have got a C= Force subscription, since Zzap! and C= Force were from the same publishing house. A pity, I could have become the only Italian C= Force reader :)

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