Zzap! Editorials 1986
A MERRY CHRISTMAS & A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
Here at ZZAP! Towers in Shropshire’s deepest Ludlow (recently voted ‘Oddest place in
the world for a computer mag’) we are slaving unselfishly away over the February issue whilst hoping very much
that you all enjoy this Christmas Special Edition of ZZAP! 64. There’s quite a bit in it, as you will no doubt
see, but some of it I take no responsibility for! I was asked to write the text for ‘Inside ZZAP! Towers’, for
instance, and I did what I (modestly) thought was an interesting piece about how we put ZZAP! ‘to bed’ (at least,
I thought it was), but The Team went rather over the top with the photographs and you’re not to trust them one
bit (both team and pictures that is)!
ZZAP! IN THE EAST!
I ought to take this opportunity to welcome new ZZAP! readers in the Far East. Under an exclusive
licencing deal, an edition of ZZAP! 64 is being printed in the Far East and distrubted there and in Australia.
It’s just about exactly the same as the European edition, but the good thing about it is that it should go on sale
only a matter of days after the British version. Up to now, Malaysia and Australia have had to wait almost two
months before getting their ZZAP! issues, which has left readers there a bit behind the times. It should also (hopefully)
make it possible for competition entries to just about arrive in time for closing dates!
GOOD STUFF, BAD STUFF
It’s a fine way to kick off the New Year, isn’t it? A letter complaining ( see RRAP!) that I said unfortunate things about Commodore software leading up to Christmas (when I'm sure I didn’t really, but I’ve replied in Rrap, so no more on that), and here we are with the most divisive issue of ZZAP! I think I can remember. By which I mean at one end there are some really excellent programs, and at the other end, some Of the worst we’ve seen in ZZAP! Towers. What’s happened to the reasonable middle? Review journalism should attempt to be constructive rather than merely clever at the expense of the product reviewed, but at times it’s hard to be so when faced with games that no one can quite see any point to. Well you’ll no doubt make up your own minds, but there’s quite a bit of fairly savage critism in the pages of this issue. However, there’s also some criticism of a different kind from a new face in the pages of ZZAP! Art critic Brigitte Van Reuben joins the ZZAP! Compunet watchers to look at some graphic wonders we’ve picked up off the net. This is the first UPLD from the net to the pages of ZZAP! but there’ll be lots more in future issues One of the more interesting pages in Compunet’s ZAP CLUB is ‘Shadowspiel’ - a new column that defies description - in fact it defies most things, but at least the Shadow (who sees all for he moves by night) tells the truth at least, HE says he does. If you’re not on the net yet, better get moving...
PULLING THE PLUG?
News that Commodore are shutting down their Corby factory and stopping manufacture of the 64
in Britain hardly comes as a surprise to anyone following the spate of official denials that any such thing was
about to take place. We all know that the best way of informing the world of an impending action is to deny out
of the blue that you intend acting.
After approximately five years. the games software industry seems to have come of age.
Whether this is seen as a Good Thing or a Bad Thing is a matter of opinion, and judging by ZZAP! Rrap letters,
the opinions differ very wideIy. At The outset, games were usually written by lone programmers in back rooms, amateurishly
promoted and the companies which emerged were under capitalised and often poorly run by people with little business
sense and even less time to devote to things like ‘sales’ and ‘purchase’ ledgers. aged debtors lists and bank statements.
NOW WE’RE THE BIGGEST!
You know that it isn’t like anyone at ZZAP! to boast (apart from JR of course) but go
on let us just have one little boast for a change! The latest figures for magazine sales have just been published
by ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations). These are the average monthly sales for the period July to December 85,
and they show that ZZAP! 64 is now the leading magazine in the field, with a greater number of copies sold per
month in Britain than any other comparable title
ZZAP! - THE CORRUPT ONE
In a recent edition of the trade paper Computer Trade Weekly (Week of April 21st) Commodore Computing
International publisher Antony Jacobson launched a blistering attack on ZZAP! 64 and CRASH. In the introduction
to his piece he says, ‘The issue I have to hand of Zzap 64 has 37 pages of reviews and 14 pages of competitions....
(not so much yawn as ‘yuk’).
BRITAIN'S BEST SELLING FLUFFY LOLLIPOP MAGAZINE -
Anthony Jacobson, Commodore Computing International
Yep, the lollipop season is definitely here, the heat of the halls at the 7th Commodore
Show had everybody sucking drinks on sticks, and back at base in Ludlow, June and the Carnival arrives with hot
weather and hordes of lollipopsucking tourists. ZZAP! owes a deep debt of gratitude to the publisher of CCI for
pointing out to us that there’s more money to be made from talking about lollipops (even fluffy ones) than from
boring old computer games. Apart from an issue packed with helpful hints on how to suck the various flavours (starts
page 202), corn parisons between the frozen and sticky - sweet varieties, things you can do with the sticks once
sucking is complete and vital first aid tips for frozen lollies that come apart at the seams on the first bite
- apart from all this, there are a few more reviews (of computer games) than usual.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE HOUSES GONE?
other members of the ZZAP! crew, I attended this year’s Commodore Show at the Novotel, London (last year I was
stuck in Ludlow coping with the just com pleted move of the editorial team from Yeovil). The ZZAP! stand certainly
proved popular, never more so than at those times when a programmer happened along touting a completed or part-com
pleted game for appraisal. It was surprising how many there were, and the quality of ideas as well as competence
on offer, much of it still looking for a publisher. Considering the dismal turn out of the software houses at the
show, some of the hopefuls must have been annoyed at not being able to demonstrate direct to a possible publisher.
But they were not the only angered ones, many ZZAP! readers complained that there was nothing see. Such a laissez
faire attitude to what is, after all. The Commodore Show of the ye ar is not only annoying - it’s alarming. I know
the cost of stands is high, and everyone is planning their constructions for the much bigger Personal Computer
World Show in September, but ignoring the punter in this way is positively dangerous. Let’s hope the situation
and the attitude improves, otherwise many a software company may end up with nothing left to do but suck fluffly
A CHANGE AT ZZAP! TOWERS
This month sees an interesting developement and a move. The Good News is that Gary Liddon
- no, sorry, that's the Bad News. Okay. Bad News first - the Bad News is that Gary Liddon is leaving ZZAP! He hasn't
resigned and (surprise, surprise) he hasn't been sacked. The fact is he's been compromised by being appointed Technical
Excutive of a new software house which means ZZAP! can no longer use his services in the game reviewing department.
Has the quality of music on 64 games improved recently? Is there more of it? Can there be more?
Can it get any better? Has the limit of the SID chip been reached? If any of these seminal questions have been
worrying you of late, then turn to page 40 and read through THE MUSICIANS' BALL. Following on from the social success
of the Superstar Challenge, the ZZAP! team asked along several well known computer composers for a round table
discussion (actually it was an oblong tabel because we don't have any round ones which occasioned the usual problem
of etiquette that King Arthur's round table so cleverly avoided - who's ego gets to sit at the head)?
In last month's ZZAP! I announced the retirement of Gary Liddon from our reviewing team - he's
now happily ensconced in the depths of North London helping get Thalamus, the new software house, underway. He's
been partly replaced by 18 year-old newcomer Richard 'Dick' Eddy, a Cornwellian (or is it Cornishman?) who hails
from Helston. Dick’s really an Amstrad man, but as a nifty joystick wielder and arcade player, he was pressganged
by the gang and then seduced by the wonderful Commodore graphics - at least until AMTIX! needs him back.
|'Expert: computer games promote violence 'The
humble video game is rivalling video nasties for its adverse effects on children.'
THE CANBERRA TIMES, FRIDAY, JULY 18, 1986
Crazy, but true. The Media Studies Centre manager for the South Australian Education Department, Mr Paul Gathercoal, feels that computer games are promoting bank robberies, the killing of police officers, drug-taking and even masterbation! According to a newspiece in the Canberra Times, in which Mr Gathercoal condemns Ocean's Frankie Goes to Hollywood for encouraging pill-popping, the problem will worsen more in the next decade. What problem? Do computer games really induce people to commit felonies? I certainly don’t believe this is the case - unless individuals such as Mr Gathercoal continue to make these perverse connections between computer games and acts of violence, then what sounds ludicrous may well become reality. In a similar vein: For many years now Mary Whitehouse has been campaigning against violence on television and pornography as a whole. And yet, when asked on a late night television chat show if she had seen examples of pornography material to substantiate her beliefs Mrs Whitehouse admittedthat she hadn’t because she didn’t want to see such things. How can she condemn something she hasn’t seen? By means of over-the-garden-fence gossip? Admittedly, Mr Gather coal has seen what he is condemning. But he is condemning a product of his own fertile imagination. Perhaps people like Mr Gathercoal are attempting to satisfy their consciences by condemning perverse fantasies akin to their own? Popping pills in Frankie Goes To Hollywood? To be honest the thought had never crossed my mind, and I doubt such an idea even crossed the minds of those who bought the game.
Mr Gathercoal goes on to say that 'any kid, four or five years old, old enough to carry the money into a computer software shop, could buy Strip Poker and play it in the privacy of their own home, completely legally. If it were a film or a video tape, that would be an offence’. Ah, but if it were a film or video tape then it would be far more explicit and demand less imagination. Can you honestly imagine a five year old child sitting in front of his 64, playing with himself instead of his newly purchased Strip Poker? Can a child really be affected by an unrealistic arrangement of chunky pixels enough to actually commit a crime? I've never heard of such an incident. I will be very surprised if such an incident does occur in the future.
‘Johnny, why did you kill three policemen and rob a bank?’ ‘Well your honour, l’ve been playing this game called Cops ‘n’ Robbers. . . . It sounds like yet another storm in a tea-cup.
One other thing : if you fancy a free Split Personalities poster - an A3 version of the early Splitting Images advert - then send an SAE to Domark and they will gladly send you one, stocks permitting. There are only 500, so you’d better get a move on . . .
'NOW WE'RE BIGGER STILL!
(. . .I aIso buy Zzap!, but I really hate reading it . . .)
As you may have noticed (unless you always turn to this page first), this issue of ZZAP! has
undergone minor cosmetic surgery. We thought it was time we made a few changes, so this 'new look’ will develop
over the next month or two into a full face lift (no jokes about dimples or beards, please).