3. Playing the game

Sometimes, Gary Liddon's a riot of fun. When this one was taken he was a bit worried about the tea, howeverReviews play an important part in a magazine like ZZAP! and the integrity of the reviewing On the ball Julian Rignall turns up for workteam is paramount. Before reviews can be compiled, the games must be played through. A room is set aside specially for this purpose with several mach i nes, cassette decks and disk drives permanently at the ready. The team Gary Penn. Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon, Sean Masterson and Paul Sumner each take their turn to see the selection of games up for review. Sometimes, and if required, playing sessions go on until the early hours of the morning. Gradually, a picture is is built up in each reviewer’s mind as to the merits of each game, but before the writing can begin, some argument must take place over the ratings, since The finished figures are an amalgam of their opinions in an attempt to provide the best balance.

Sean Masterson is a very strategical person (we know because he's the only one who can read a British Rail time table), but we're not sure whether he's all that bright (because he keeps getting lost on British Rail) Paul Sumner stands no nonsense when he's in to do a review

4. Writing the Reviews

Nuts by kind courtesy of KPDuring the games playing phase, it is mutually worked out who will actually be responsible for writing the introduction section to each review effectively being the review’s author. Gary Penn and Roger Kean tend to be the ones who take the separate elements - intro, three comments and ratings and compile them into the finished article.

ZZAP! is all electronic. The main writing is done on Apricot xi computers using Superwriter as a word processing package, but as there aren't enough Apricots for everybody, we also use portable, battery or mains operated NEC keyboards. These take up to 12K of written information, and the contents can be dumped to the hard disk in an Apricot within a few seconds.

Generally, the reviews are the first to get written, but at the same time special articles are also being done by whoever has been assigned the task. This sometimes means interviews over the phone, sometimes a trip out complete with micro cassette recorder and camera, and sometimes it means members of a software house visiting our premises.

Streetfightin' Sue (beloved sis to Carol (Aggie) Kinsey) gives Jaz Rignall a lesson in Karate to demonstrate a particular confusing move in WAY OF THE EXPLODING FIST. As you can see, much research goes into the reviews. A corner of ZZAP! Editorial. On the left Gary Liddon watching the NEC work, while Gary Penn discusses a serious spelling error with his Apricot.

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