I trust you Earth inhabitants had what you would term an 'entertaining’ New Year. As I recall, it’s the time when even the youngest of your race are forced to down huge quantities of repulsive russet-coloured liquid and thereby attain a state of consciousness akin to a a quick snort of one of your Earth ammonia com pounds. Like everything you do, it is pathetically inadequate.

However, returning to more sober topics . - There’s a new Challenge form in these, my pages: for an indefinite period, the Challenge will now take place every two months, on either an Amiga or 64 game, as apecified by the wimpy bunch of so-called reviewers. If you think you can match them, write in on the original form or a photocopy.

One last thing: that hapless weed, Glancey, is now quitting the ZZAP! office in favour of a foreign field - so don’t expect to win so easily from now on! Only the sternest contestants need apply. . .

The Scorelord (top)  An early morning just before the ancient feast of Christmas witnessed the arrival of the Challenger, Stuart James Scattergood, curiously nicknamed ‘Oswald’ by his friends and enemies. In fact, he arrived too early - a full three-quarters of an hour before the first of the ZZAP! chumps had crawled out of bed and slithered into work. Was this keenness, psychological warfare or just the fact that he’d caught the wrong train? Maybe it was all three. . .
The Scorelord (bottom)
It was revealed that my champion hailed from the Flint area, and therefore had much in common with the half-fish, half-human Evans, that replusive toady from Clwyd whose vile ways and ill repute would never have got him into ZZAP! Towers but for a clerical error. The Challenger was much more accomplished: sporting his rubber-handled, intently-greased Atari joystick he oozed confidence; his favourite games include Tetris, Nebulus and Wizball. He expressed a severe (and wise) dislike of the odious Glancay’s lemon ‘n’ lime tartan socks, expressed a preference for carrots and nurses’ uniforms, and listed amomgst his hobbles, ‘going to parties and jumping up and down a lot’. A worthy Challenger indeed!

But who was he to face? Up stepped the first ever female reviewer at ZZAP! Towers:Our hopeful Challenger, Stuart 'Oswald' Scattergood (Eh?) waggies his joystick a bit for the camera Kati 'nygaaah waaagh' Kamza, a creature of reduced brain power, chronic physical debilities and bodily features dissimilar to those of the other reviewers -something which I have always found puzzling amongst humans. There are those who may mock the existence of a girly Challenger - particularly one with such basic psychological hindrances but ZZAP! reviewers are made of stern mettle (well, all excepting the parpling puerile pulp-man, Paul Glancey), and no Challenger finds things easy on a long visit to Ludlow. . .

The opposed high scores at Tetris painted a pleasing picture: Stuart’s Top Score was an epic 79,420, whereas the uncoordinated Hamza-creature’s best was a mere 18,980: I looked forward to a victory not tasted since the defeat of the scrawny tipsier back in Issue 43.

It was agreed amongst those present that the Challenge would take place over three rounds of 5 minutes each, the player with the top score after that time being adjudged the victor. After a particularly rowdy night of jigging and slobbering, one of the 64s and its monitor had been belted senseless by the ZZAP! team, so the Challengers took turns on the only surviving machine in the Towers.

First off was Stuart. He’d been made to wait all morning by the conspiring chumps, filling his time by As a relaxation from Tetris, the two opponents partake in a vicious and violent fish-catching gameplaying games and laughing nervously when Fat Git Houghton wandered anywhere near him. During lunchtime, he was force-fed pizza and gateau at a local sleaze-bar, so that by the afternoon he was well and truly intimidated, obliging me to down a Vim ‘n’ Dom cocktail to quell my mounting anger.

After a nervous start during which he treated the joystick like a wild dog with advanced rabies, he downed his blocks with the best of them, reaching a comfortable score of 2,248, completing 45 lines. An equally troubled Hamza managed to extend her claws around her favourite Euromax and press the fire button to start - beyond that her coordination was miraculous for one of such paltry quantities of grey matter. At the halfway stage, she had attained a score of 1,240 - 180 more than Stuart - and my circuits began to buzz with a sensation which equates to your human nausea. By the end of the five minutes she had attained a huge 3,116 - 59 lines’ worth of despair and misery for me. . .

The ugly mugs and their pets celebrate the Hamza-creature's ignoble victoryIn a fit of rage, I ordered the second tournament to take place immediately. This time Stuart was more confident - his pique raised by the humilation of defeat- and he launched into line after line of glorious colour, an effect not dissimilar to that achieved by certain beverages in Ursa Minor. By half way he was well ahead of his previous effort, and at the end of the allotted period, he totalled 2,630 points and 50 lines. A slight disappointment - but I was convinced that a gauntleted cuff around the ears of the Hamza-thing would do the trick.

Nonetheless, with using arrogance, the scrawny femimine creature launched into a flurry of shape-twirling activity, creating a repulsive pattern of sick-coloured shapes, piling on the points like the mad woman she is. Dismay struck again! By the end of five minutes, she had acquired a substantial 3,258 points, and another 59 lines - aaaaargh! I drowned my sorrows in a few snorts of Flash Old Pecullar.

As punishment, Stuart faces the full brunt of the Girly-One's hardest magic. . .The Challenge was effectively over, but the third game took place anyway. Stuart excelled himself in attaining the highest score of the day - 3,459 points (63 lines) - and managed to defeat the Strange One, whose final total was merely 9 points behind: 3,450 (81 lines).

It was not enough to spare my misery. I despatched the pathetic Flint-based creature back home, his arms plied high with a £30 software voucher, a free T-shirt and cap, and some free games thrown in to boot; as for me - I had to endure the misery of mocking from creatures with an IQ of sub-100. A few skillfully-placed electrodes resolved that situation - but, be warned, it had better not happen again!

. . . and ends up attracting flies for a living

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