Zzap! Editorials 1987

Issue 21 - January 1987

Issue 10 Cover


I suppose it had to happen. An issue without a Sizzler or a Gold Medal (well - there is Bard’s Tale from Ariolasoft but that’s a role playing game so it doesn’t count). Surprisingly, very few games arrived for review in this issue, and what did arrive was fairly mediocre, as you can see.

Christmas is just around the corner and so much exciting software was promised. But as I write (the end of November is rapidly approaching), none of it is complete and won't be ready for several weeks. Most disappointing. I remember something similar happened this time last year, only the situation wasn’t quite so dire. Still, I can hardy blame the software houses for wanting to make sure they get it right this time. I wouldn’t want to see a glut of disappointing 'rush jobs'. And I’m sure you wouldn’t either.

Ah well, at least it bodes well for the next issue in which we should have reviews of (promises permitting): Gauntlet, Tenth Frame (the ten pin bowling simulation from Bruce and Roger Carver, who also wrote Leader Board), Championship Wrestling, Ikari Warriers, Space Harrier, Scooby Doo, Cyborg, Labyrinth, Aliens, High lander, Judge Dredd, Avenger, Lightforce, and Spy vs Spy III - Arctic Antics, amongst other things. Plus some news on Terra Cresta, Top Gun, Short Circut, Great Escape and Cobra, We shall see.

But until then . . . have a very Merry Christmas and an equally nice New Year.

Issue 22 - February 1987

Issue 22 Cover


It seems that the Christmas Special disappointed a few readers - sad, and surprising, as a lot of effort went into what I felt was a substantial festive read. Still, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. The lack of games reviews however, was unavoidable. We reviewed every new piece of software available before our deadlines. How could we review games that didn't exist at the time of writing? As for the price. . . well, unfortuntly that is entirely out of my hands. Hopefully this issue will impress, what with a staggering 53 pages of reviews - encompassing 44 Commodore 64 games in total! Now that's what I call 'more games reviews than any other magazine'. . . there are a few 'exclusives' (for what they are worth). But then more often than not an 'exclusive' review is all down to correctly calculating the opposition's editorial deadlines... or just using the ‘EXCLUSIVE’ head line. When it boils down to it, every single same we review in this issue is looked at for the first time in ZZAP! So there. An issue full of 'First Looks'! (Holds thumb to nose.) Nyah nyah.

Surprisingly, we were flooded with software for review this issue - over SEVENTY games arrived within the space of a few weeks! Unfortunately we didn’t have time to review them all. . . But with the flood came much flotsam and jetsam - mostly bitterly disappointing or mediocre conversions and tie-ins. I suppose I could have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of software, or maybe it’s abject cynicism on my part. . . There again, there seems to be rather more mediocrity around at the moment. Let's hope things aren’t going to stay this way throughout the year.

Issue 23 - March 1987

Shadows of cynicism cast in the light of experience?. .

Issue 23 CoverHas the quality of games software deteriorated over the years? Or is it simply standing still? There again - did it ever progress?

It all started with the appearance of black and white, hand held video games featuring such delights as ‘tennis’ and 'football' - simplistic, but playable games with equally simplistic graphics and sound. Families gathered around their televisions, captivated and somewhat overawed by the hi-tech thrill of it all.

Within months, the cartridge based consoles arrived - notably the Atari 2600 which spawned cheaper, inferior imitations. These consoles offered better graphics and sound, and (more importantly) more variety than their 'predecessors’. . . but at a price - around £40 a cartridge.

Months passed. passed. And then . . . the advent of the home computer boom.

(Sir) Clive Sinclair's DIY ZX80 was the first home computer to make its mark - not as a games machine, but as a break-through in home computer technology. It was the appearance of DIY and ready-made ZX81s that inspired commerical software - cheap, cassette-based games. The ZX81 offered no graphical marvels - it was also slow, devoid of colour and sound, and initially the software available wasn’t much of an improvement over the games seen on the ageing black and white hand-held consoles. Clones of arcade games such as Break Out, Space Invaders, Galaxians and Pac Man appeared in abundance and were well received by those either lacking the time or money to frequent amusement arcades, or unable to afford a cartridge based console. Original games were few and far between - but it didn't matter. The technology impressed, as opposed to the quality of the software. Everyone was happy.

Commodore's VIC 20 brought improved graphics, colour and sounds - but it was overshadowed by the release of the Sinclair Spectrum and the BBC Micro. The VIC (apologies to any German readers) suffered due to its comparitively high price - and small memory. Commodore offered some software support in the form of clostly ROM cartridges - mostly clones of arcade games. But despite being unrestricted by the VIC's pitiful 3.5K memory most of these cartridges offered too little for too much. Potental innovations came with Jeff Minter - undeterred by the VIC's memory restrictions and unperturbed about doing his own thing. But sadly, his self indulgence was generally scorned and ignored and the flow of unoriginal software prevailed.

The somewhat highbrow BBC boasted a larger memory and many unusual, impressive features. It also boasted a high price tag, lower than that of the Atari, but not low enough. . . The Spectrum was considerable cheaper, more user-friendly and sold extremely well, despite reports of unreliable machines and erratic delivery. Games software ensued - predictably, in the form of arcade clones.

These newer machines were powerful, but this advantage only brought about more accurate versions of arcade games - original games were still few and far between.

By this time the full-colour, arcade-quality-sound, ("blah,waffle") Atari home computer had been knocking around for a few years, as any self-respecting Atari owner will no doubt go to great lengths to tell you, ("waffle, blah"). However, most Atari software came in the form of Atari's rediculously (?-IB) expensive ROM cartridges - more often than not, mediocre arcade conversations that failed to reflect the capabilities of what was, and still is, a powerful machine. Needless to say, the Atari home computer was largely ignored - its high price put it 'out of reach' for the casual consumer, and there were many cheaper cartridge-based consoles available which offered much the same. Perhaps if more attention had been paid to producing cheaper, original, quality software for the Atari, and if the machine itself had also been significantly cheaper, than original games would have appeared sooner and consequently affected the quality of software today.

The Commodore 64 hit the streets, boasting synthesiser quality sound, high-resolution graphics and colour. Most importantly, the C64 offered 'sprites' - a feature previously only seen in arcade games, allowing objects on the screen to pass over background without it being erased. But the C64 failed to make a significant impression - until its price dropped and sales boomed, inpiring arcade clones aplenty.

The whole business of writing and marketing computer games has moved forward over the years, and has become a more formally structured and conventional 'industry' that operates in the field of entertainment. Clones are now known as 'offically liciensed conversations' - in a comparatively short period of time the fotware scene has changed very little, although the methods of production and distribution have 'matured'. But the quality of the products now being shipped hasn't developed in parallel to the machinery that puts games in the shops. To my mind, the software industry is stale. It has been running around in circles like a headless chicken.

At present, there is far too much run-of-the-mill software available - spawned by licensing deals that take the form of television and film tie-ins or arcade conversations. Despite the effort involved in producing such games, I feel that little or no thought goes into actually designing them. Most film and television tie-ins fall into four tried, tested and exhausted categories: shoot 'em up, arcade adventure, beat 'em up and platform game. Sometimes a composite game offered a mix of the four basic styles. All unoriginal and far from innovative. Over 100 licensed conversations and tie-ins have been released to date. . . and to my mind very few tie-ins have been representive of the theme of the original on which they are based. When it comes to arcade conversations, software houses spend money to avoid thought and effort - all they have to do is produce a competent copy of a game that has been tried and tested in the arcades, and in general the arcade game manufactors have been dressing up old, basic concepts with increasingly sophesticated hardware - more thrills than thnilp.

The investment required to buy a licence takes a chunk out of the budget for a project, and this, in combination with the fact that a publisher with a licence is assured of a respectable level of sales, means that there's less money and less impetus behind the development of the game itself. Wholesalers, retailers and consumers are probably going to buy a lot of copies of a licenced game - especially if the release is timed to 'circumvent' the deadlines of monthly review magazines. So why bother going to all the trouble and effort of being innovative? Innovation involves risk, and the lower the risk the better the project appears to the commercially-minced publisher.

Take a few recent examples of uninspired tie-ins:

The cartoon series Scooby Doo features a group of bungling kids (and their dog) who continually stumble across crimes and mystaries which they eventually solve by accident. Elite's computer game however is nothing more than a platform and ladders game with beat 'em up overtones.

Tarzan swings through the jungle, wrestles alligators and lions, chases the bad guys and gets captured by tribes of ignorant natives - but he always manages to escape and save the day by using his animal friends to his advantage. However, the computer game turns out to be a run-of-the-mill arcade adventure that follows an uninspiring course: explore hundreds of screens, find and use objects and beat up a few natives in the process. Sadly, this is hardly representative of Edgar Rice Burrcughs 'Tarzan'. The Jungle Swinger is merely planted in another uninspiring game; another in a long line of formulaic arcade adventures.

Judge Dredd is a character with immense protential for an outstanding computer game. But this potential was not utilisied in the slightest - after the game had spend many months in the development stage, I was disgusted to see that Melbourne House had produced nothing more than an unimaginative and glorified platform game, which complete fails to capture the character of judge Dredd as seen in 2000AD. What is the point of spending money on a licence if you largely ignore the potential effect your investment can have on the content of the game itself?

Highlander is a prime example of a 'stock' game taken of the shelf of ideas and written after a licence has been acquired - with a few minimal changes to the graphics it could have so easily been Star Wars, Robin Hood, or even 2000AD's Slaine. Sure, the film Highlander features sword fighting, but there's a lot more to it. Are the fight sequences suitable or innovative enough material for a computer game? Hardly, as it has been done so many times before. Most television series and films don't provide suitable material for a computer game - so why bother? But tie-ins seem to sell well, as the market statistics show. The real question is why do people continue to buy poor games that are dressed up with a licence and a neat illustration on the inlay? By now, I would have though game buyers would have worked out that a tie-in, more often than not, is likely to be an excuse for a poor game. Predictably poor software, that achieves predictably respectable sales.

The overall style and content of Jeff Minter's next game is predicatable, but only in that it will be a shoot 'em up. The difference is, Jeff always attempts something new - something innovative. The quality of his games hasn't gone downhill - he's 'slipped up' with Mama Liama, but in many ways it wasn't a decline in quality. Unlike a lot of new games, Minter's output isn't highly derivetive of existing product, it is influenced by the games he pays, but only superficially.

The deriviate - almost clone like approach taken by most companies is A Very Bad Thing. Worse still, presentation seems to be having a disproportionate affect on reviewers and purchasers opinion of games without them realising. That's not to say all well presented games are poor, but presentation goes beyond the game itself - advertising, reputation of the company in question and chart position all subconsciously bias an opinion.

I would like to think that ZZAP! hasn't fallen into this 'presentation trap' - there may well have been a few mistakes, but then even three people offering opinions are occasionally prone to error. It has been suggested by some in the software houses that we could be out of touch with our readership. This is a possibility - it seems that chart positions and sales often conflict with our opinions. But should we be reflecting opinions or guiding it to some extent? Our reviews are intended as guidelines - they should not be taken as gospel, and it is worrying when we hear reports that High Street multiples want to see the ZZAP! review of a game before deciding on the number of units to order.

But what makes a good game? Does it matter that a game is unoriginal or lacks innovation as long as those who buy it are content? Are software publishers merely catering for the demand that is there?

There is the odd ray of light. Now and again, someone comes up with an original concept or an original treatment of a theme. The trouble is, within a few months clone upon clone appears and another 'new genre' is bludgeoned to death, diluted and absorbed by the ideas-starved sponge that the software industry has become.

Unfortunately, software houses will continue to release repackaged version of the same old thing, if that is what the customers appear to want. Is this really what YOU want - or is it all you can get?

Issue 24 - April 1987

Issue 24 Cover


I'm not usually full of joy this late in the schedule, but I’m always will ing to make an exception. . . so will you join me in welcoming two new members to our ranks. . .

First, we have Steve Jarratt ("I used to be an industrial chemist, y’ know") - a 24 year old from Tividale, lust outside Birmingham ("I’m not a Brummie"). Steve is working on ZZAP! as of this issue providing reviews and comments ("Yep, I’ve got a degree in chemistry"). And just for more inquisitive among you. . . his interests include driving very fast ("but not illegally - honest") in his Fiesta XR2, and science fiction films and books ("my girlfriend's called Claire, by the way and she’s absolutely gorgeous"). He also paints - mostly fantasy pictures, and occasionally takes photographs. He adores ten-pin bowling ("Tenth Frame's dead good"), and listens to Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, and Simple Minds ("well, I did listen to Oueen a few years back, but I'm much better now"). Steve’s favourite films are Blade Runner, Close Encounters and Aliens, and his all-time favourite computer program is Mercenary, closely followed by The Sentinel ("I used to play Elite a fair bit") and Jack Attack. Arcade-wise, Steve enjoys Hang On, Mr Do's Castle and Xevious ("the conversion was appalling"). He dislikes very little (he’s such a chummy Brummie - "For the last time, I’m not a Brummie").

Coming soon to save the day for ZZAP! Strategy fans is Phillipa Irving, hot from pages of our sister magazine CRASH. Currently studying for her history degree beneath the lofty spires of Oxford, our own University Challenge will begin as soon as she receives her 64 and disk drive. Not content with filling the late (well he always was) Mr Masterson’s shoes, Phillipa will also be helping the White Wiz by providing a valued second opinion from tme to time. Thriving on debate and controversy, Ms Irving will be only only too glad to indulge in correspondence with any or all of our many adventure fans. Welcome aboard Phillipa, and the best of luck.

Issue 25 - May 1987

Issue 25 Cover


It’s about time we blew our own trumpet. . . the latest available ABC figures show that ZZAP! 64’s sales have risen to an average of 67,728 per month - and they're still climbing! We’re not going to rest on our laurals though, over the next few months we’ll be introducing a host of new and exciting features. There’ll be regular articles on hardware and programming (with a novel twist) - plus the reappearance of the strategy section. Other future attractions include a variety of unusual , but relevant in depth features - starting next month with a look at what tie-ins have to offer. By overwhelming popular demand, Terminal Man will also be back as of next month, joining Tarnara Knight to provide further diversity. But don’t just accept these changes, help us to continue improving your favourite Commodore magazine by filling in and returning the questionnaire on page 35.

And if you’re worried about a decline in standards - don’t be. ZZAP! 64 will still be ZZAP! 64, but with a little extra - we’re still dedicated to the Commodore 64 software scene, and will be covering games software in our usual thorough, informative and unbeatable way.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been working on a system which will allow us to have more colour screen shots - as you may have noticed, this issue has more then its fair share. Who knows - before long we may well have the first ever full colour issue of ZZAP!

Next month’s issue will cost £1.50. instead of the usual pound. But before you start rushing out to cancel your order from the newsagent, this is a one off increase - to cover the costs of including a cover-mounted cassette. This little extra will include playable demos of forthcoming releases from some of the major software houses - well worth an extra 50p! Sorry about the lack of the Compunet Page this month (normal service resumed next issue), and sorry about the non - appearance of Phillipa’s strategy column (a small problem with her disk drive) - but if you have any complaints about this or anything else in ZZAP!, then put pen (or typewriter ribbon) to paper and let us know, We’re here to help each other, Have a good read. . .

Issue 26 - June 1987


Issue 26 Cover. . . and welcome to another issue of ZZAP! - arguably the most varied and colourful to date.

Summer has arrived early here in Ludlow, with the sun making an unannounced appearance and mercilessly unleashing its radiation upon our weary brows. Predictably, the heat enticed droves of camera-clad American tourists to fill the streets, and quite unpredictably Julian Rignall recently got engaged to our ever - effervescent Editorial Assistant Glenys Powell. Congratulations are undoubtedly in order.

On a lighter note. . . Budget software appeared in abundance this month, with Firebird’s recent deal with Activision/Electric Dreams making all the difference - you can expect to see over two dozen Activision classics making a reappearance within the next month or two, all at £1.99. We won’t be re-reviewing any titles (Master Of The Lamps, RMS Titanic and so on), but we are reviewing titles released before ZZAP! appeared. For example, in this issue there are reviews of HERO, Decathlon, Pit fall II, River Raid and Zenji - all quality
releases, surprising as it may seem. And there’s more to follow.

Also from Firebird on the Silver label comes Zalyx - a reworking of the old Atari arcade game Qix. It doesn't look up to much - and may well be dismissed because of this - but it's addictive beyond belief. Even Lloyd came out of his closed to play - and had to be forced to get back to answering the Rrap.

As for next month. . . First Star’s Spy Vs Spy III is finished and should be with us in time for review in the next issue as should Palace Software’s Stifflip And Co and Ocean's Mario Brothers and Top Gun. We should also have news on Simon Nicol’s follow-up to Crary Comets - entitled Mega Apocalypse, and featuring four channel sound with digitised speech. Sounds interesting.

I hope you enjoy the contents of this issue and of the cassette stuck on the front - please let us know what you think, and whether you would like to see a repeat performance later in the year. Until next month then. . . have fun, take care, and keep ‘em peeled.


Issue 27 - July 1987

Issue 27 Cover

Photo of Ciaran Brennan


It was recently reported in Computer Trade Weekly - the software industry’s major trade newspaper - that software prices may tumble to £5.95 before Christmas. Software Projects announced last month that they are dropping their prices to £5.95 - but will the rest of the market follow suit? Is this really good news?

It’s possible that a drop may provoke a decline in quality, especially when you consider how much money and development time goes into many full-priced products. Less profit will be made, so development costs will have to decrease - will the quality of future products therefore decline in a similar fashion?

Such a decrease should also serve to reduce the number Of tie-ins, as it would prove difficult (or almost jmpossible) to recoup the cost of buying a licence when selling a product for £5.95. This is probably a Good Thing, the quality of licensed software has rarely been high enough to justify the increased price. There again, the £9.95 price tag may well be used solely for licensed software and arcade conversions. We shall just have to wait and see.

This month Ciaran Brennan moves Up (or down?) the ranks as he becomes ZZAP!’s Assistant Editor - and apart from reading through Julian, Steve and Paul’s scribblings, he provides a few helpful comments.

And next month sees the return of pork-boy himself - Gary Liddon (gasp). The techno tea-boy returns with his ‘bit in the middle’, and will once again be reviewing all things technical and providing useful hints and tips. We’ll also have reviews of Ocean’s Head Over Heels, Mastertronic’s Milk Race, US Gold’s Metrocross, Gremlin Graphics’ Thing Bounces Back, Palace Software’s Stifflip And Co, Ariolasoft’s Challenge Of The Gobots, and Imagine’s Mag Max - amongst other things. So be there, or be somewhere else...
Garys Sig
Gary Penn

Issue 28 - August 1987


Issue 28 CoverAfter 27 issues here at ZZAP! Towers, it’s time for me to say goodbye as I leave to risk life and limb on a daring secret mission. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on ZZAP! for the last two and a quarter years, and thank you for your support - it certainly wouldn’t have been the same without you. This is by no means a final departure, as I will be back from time to time to keep you Informed of various developments in the Commodore world - but until then it’s goodnight from me. . .
As of this issue, ZZAP! is in the capable hands of my good friend and colleague Ciarán Brennan - so It’s over to you, Ciarán. . .

Hello there, Athough l’ve been slaving away here in ZZAP! towers since last October I’m still a relative mystery to most of you, so let me introduce myself. I was born in 1964 in Dublin’s fair city, and left a couple of years ago to see the world (so how did l end up in Ludlow?).

Having originally been brought into clean up the mess left by the CRASH reviewing team (they called it reviews), I soon realised the intellectual superiority of the Commodore owning public and took the earliest opportunity to move across to ZZAP! Now that I’ve been given supreme power over your favourite reviewers (albeit with a little help from Mr Rignall who is to be my assistant), I intend to see to it that your favourite Commodore magazine continues to leave the opposition trailling in our wake.

Finally, some of you have already written in to comment on my receding hairline, but I’d lIke it put on the record that I’m not balding. . . . I have my hair cut this way!

Now for some more serious stuff. Due to extreme exam pressure Philippa Irving has had to temporarily shelve the Manoeuvres section, but don’t worry strategists - she’s back next month, refreshed and ready to go.

Photo of Gary PennThe questionnaire has thrown up some unusual results, and true to form we are taking great heed of what you have to say. Overwhelming popular demand means that next month will see the return of the Readers’ Challenge, so start writing in If you would like to take part (not forgetting to include your age, phone number and choice of game).

Another small change is the removal of the VALUE rating from the end of our software reviews. This is a general Newsfield policy decision, taken because it was felt that the OVERALL rating should be a sufficient pointer to a game’s value, and therefore that the VALUE rating was redundant. Watch out for other tweaks in future issues.

That’s enough for this month, have a good read and we’ll see you again next month - - Gazless but unbowed!
Ciarans Sig
Ciaran Brennan

Issue 29 - September 1987

Issue 29 Cover

Photo of Ciaran Brennan


This has been a remarkable month here an ZZAP! towers. After a slightly slow start, the flow of software eventually picked up at such a rate that by the end of the month we were inundated with vast quantitles of quality software. When was the last time we had a Gold Medal and three Sizzlers in a single issue? What makes this activity all the more spectacular is that it has come so close to this year’s PCW show - an event which usually causes a severe software drought.

Speaking of the PCW show, this year’s tenth anniversary bash
promises to be the best yet, with a number of special promotions and new releases promised.

From our point of view, one of the show’s major events will be the launch of Newsfield’s new magazine The Games Machine. This exciting mullti-user periodical is being produced by two of the company’s most experienced and talented journalists, Graeme Kidd and Gary Penn, and promises to take a fresh and innovative look at the field of electronics entertainent - a must for any computer owner. Tune in next month for more details, or see us at stands 3046 and 3047 National Hall, Gallery Level) at the Olympia.

This month has also been interesting from my own personal point of view. Apart from the minor inconvenience of my house burning down, I’ve also become an uncle for the first time (congrats to my sister Deirdre, her husband Vincent and Adrian the sprog!). I’ll talk to you again next issue -but after a much quieter month I hope.

Ciaran Brennan

Issue 30 - October 1987


Issue 30 CoverIt’s that time of year again where the Audit Bureau of Circulations reveal the sales figures for the first six months of the year. And though we’ve never been ones to sample our own trumpets, we’re always prepared to allow the figures to speak for themselves.

Better still, we’ll let the opposition sing our praises, as a certain Mr Pratt from EMAP Publications has recently said the following with reference to ZZAP! . . . ‘We recognise some of the devices by which they’ve done so exceptionally well and quite frankly we’ll be taking some leaves out of their book.'

This is very gratifying (after all imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), but I can't help feeling that it's a pity that they can’t come up with a few ideas of their own.

Anyway, back to business. This month sees yet more changes in your favourite Commodore magazine, not least of which is the introduction of a special budget section. For some time now we have felt that budget games neither need nor deserve the same in-depth coverage as other software. For this reason we will now be covering lower-priced games in a separate section, without the extensive ratings which are now exclusively devoted to full-priced software.

Another development is the arrival at last of our long promised Play By Mail section. Brendon Kavanagh kicks off this month with a brief guide to the rudiments of the genre, and month by month he’ll be bringing us the latest developments in the world of postal gaming.

This month also sees the last adventure section hosted by The White Wizard. After a career with ZZAP! which stretches back almost to the beginning, the bearded one is off to cast spells and hexes in pastures new - we wish him well . . . but watch out for his successor next month.

Speaking of corpulent technical writers (were we?), Gary Liddon would like to apologise for the fact that his humourous asides are missing from this issue - this temporary absence is unavoidable because Gaz is hard at work writing the world’s greatest trousers joke for a forthcoming episode of Terry and June. Don’t worry though fans, the gluttonous guru will be back next month with his 'bit in the middle’. Almost as an afterthought, Gaz also wishes to say sorry for a teensy mistake in last month’s section. . . three lines after the label ’SM’ in the second listing. #3 should have read #7. We hope that didn't cause you too much inconvenience.

Hold it! Before you rush off to read this fun filled issue, let me tell you about a few things which will be coming up over the next few months. Our next issue will contain a glorious 3-D section, the specsal glasses, and a fabulous tips supplement as well as a host of other features. ‘And how will they follow that', I hear you cry. Easy, the following month’s ZZAP! will contain a once-off collector’s
issue of 2000 AD, and a 16 page supplement on the latest generation of 16-bit computers - don’t miss it.

That’s it for this month, Be careful I out there, and look me up if you make it to the PCW show.

Ciaran Brennen

Issue 31 - November 1987

Issue 31 Cover

Photo of Nik WIld


This month sees yet more changes at ZZAP! towers, as advertising assistant Nik Wild realises a lifelong ambition by making the quantum leap to the editorial floor.

Nik is a former yobbo skinhead who was once the hooligan element of Bridgnorth Football Club’s supporters. A local lad with a youthful visage, he is of an unclassified age (‘I’m not telling’), but is still silly enough to drive a £400 Morris Ital (‘it’s a wreck which has done 98,000 miles - the highest score I’ve ever achieved’).

His educational qualifications include a diploma in business studies ‘ with a distinction’ - and a totally useless ‘O level’ in banking.

This rural yuppie’s interests include listening to music (‘I saw Stevie Wonder in concert, but he didn’t see me’), cracking excruciatingly bad puns, watching stereo videos (‘on my - shouId have gone to Radio Rentals - telly’) and painting (‘one of my pictures was shown on ‘Animal Magic’). He’s also a sci-fi film buff, and enjoys watching Alien, Aliens, Terminator, Blade Runner and The Wrath of Kahn - but his all-time favourite is Superman (but we don’t hold that against him).

Although being a keen games player (‘I love Dropzone, Mercenary, The Last Ninja, and Out Run. . in the arcades’), Nik is first and foremost an adventurer. . . in fact he’s solved 58 of them! But his real claim to fame is his Blue Peter gold badge which was awarded for his superb model of a Life Boat.

From that one dimensional character we switch to this month’s biggest talking point - the 3D tips supplement Turn to page 59 and gasp in amazement as all of your favourite Pokes, Tips and listings leap off the page at you. Remember to keep the glasses though, as they will come in handy in later issues.

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish. . .

Ciaran Brennen

Issue 32 - December 1987

Issue 32 Cover


At the moment ZZAP! is just like a a badly written soap opera - it can’t go through a month without some major upheaval. This month’s installment sees the departure of Ciaràn Brennan, who’s decided to make a a pilgrimage to the Great CD Player of Forest Gate. It’s a long and perilous journey, and I’m sure you’ll all join us in wishing him the best of luck.

So now there’s a different idiot at the helm. Still, it’s not all bad news - this months’ ZZAP! is packed with goodies, and contains a fabulous 16 page Judge Death comic strip, a Predator feature and previews of the latest US Gold arcade conversions. If that isn’t enough, there’s also a 16-Bit supplement featuring reviews and previews of the latest Amiga and Atari ST games, and a wealth of Commodore 64 reviews, including THREE Gold Medal games and FOUR Sizzlers! What a a month!!

If you think that’s good, wait until you see next month’s amaz ing Christmas Special! As well as a huge arcade feature, extra playing tips, a retrospective look at 1987 and a comprehensive compilation round-up, we’ll be giving you advice as to what to ask Santa for Christmas, naming the ten worst and ten best computer games of all time and looking at what 1986 has to offer. There are also a heap of competitions planned with top prizes including an amazing remote control television and video, a BMX bike, a chance to partake in a hovercratt race and the opportunity for ten readers go to war in the Combat Zone. Don’t forget the regular features, reviews and previews either.

See you next month, that's as long as I don’t get shot, Paul doesn’t marry Lofty and Steve doesn’t wake up and find it's all been a dream...

Julian Rignall

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