Zzap! Editorials 1988

Issue 33 - January 1988


Issue 33 CoverA very warm welcome to this years ZZAP! Christmas Special - which is positively bursting at the staples with news, previews, features, competitions and some more 3D sections - so dig out those special specs that were given away with issue 31!

A new arrival this month comes in the shape of Dan Gilbert, who has jumped into the position vacated by Nik Wild, who recently left ZZAP! to become Assistant Editor of THE GAMES MACHINE.

Dan originally formed half of Commodore User's Play to Win team, but has decided 'to move on to better things'. Hailing from the sleepy village of Heathfield, East Sussex, he is 19 years old and drives a clapped out Talbot sunbeam (it's cheap and it works - honest').

His impressive array of qualifications include French, German and Economics, which he studied because he wanted to become a Eurotunnel Train driver ('what do you mean? I hate the idea of the Eurotunel'). A keen computer gamer (surprise, surprise(, Dan enjoys playing beat ‘em ups (‘Fist is my favourite’), loves the Ultima series (‘they’ve got unbelievable depth’), and partakes in a little lnternational Soccer every now and than (‘all the others make me as sick as a parrott. Brian’). He’s also a keen adventure player, and co-wrote a book called The Adventurer’s Handbook (‘I solved the adventures, and Mike Gerard published the solutions’) and also enjoys athletics, playing squash, basketball, and badminton (‘I used to be a mega-sports person, you know’). Other interests include watching films ('Alien is brilliant, and AirpIanes I and II are tremendous’), listening to very loud music on his three hi-f i systems (‘I upgrade, but keep forgetting to sell the old models’) and occasionally partakes in some very amatur photography ('nudge, nudge’) using his Canon T-8O (‘it’s very flash, and virtually Idiot proof’).

Right, that’s enough for now - I hope you enjoy the magazine. Before I go, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and an equally Happy New Year. See you in ‘88

Julian Rignalls Signature
Julian Rignall

Issue 34 - February 1988

Issue 34 Cover


We’ve kicked-off the New Year with the first of a regular monthly round-up of Amiga software. Before you Commodore 64 owners get up in arms and write in to say that ‘this is ZZAP! 64 and not ZZAP! 16-Bit’, I’d just like to say that there won’t be any reduction in review space for your favourite 8-Bit machine. To be honest, the way forward is with the 16-Bit machines, and it would be stupid not to realise that, but ZZAP! will continue to put the Commodore 64 first. As far as we’re concerned. the future is looking, if anything, brighter for the 64 - every month somebody out there proves that you can teach an old dog some spectacular new tricks!

Already, 1988 is looking like it’s going to be a great one for the 64, with a steady stream of post Christmas games already arriving at the office, including Garfield, which arrived a couple of hours past our reviewing deadline, Epyx’s long-awaited Sub Battle Simulator, Infocom’s new Border Zone, Rastan Saga from Ocean and Gremlin Graphics’ Masters of the Universe. We’ve also got some very promising games to look forward to in the coming months, including Predator, Gauntlet II, Cascade’s Vietnam war game, 19, Microprose’s Project Stealth Fighter and the one I’ve really been waiting for - Impossible Mission II. Looks like it could be a Happy New Year!
Julian Rignalls Signature
Julian Rignall

Issue 35 - March 1988

Issue 35 Cover

Young Paul Glancey


If you’ve already flicked through the pages of this month’s mag, you might have spotted a new face - he’s 18-year-old Paul Glancey, a Geordie from Newcastle-Upon Tyne who has joined ZZAP! as a reviewer.

He’s a very enthusiastic games player (he wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t) and has a big software collection (‘they’re all original’). His favourites include Wizball, Buggy Boy, Encounter, Elite and Merce rwy, ‘but I like anything really’. . . His big claim to fame is that he used to go to the same school as school as Ned Tennant and Sting (so he keeps telling us), and he once saw Mirandhina in the street! Wow!
Julian Rignall Pic

Connections with the famous aside, he enjoys soothing melodies and is keen flim buff with an affinity for sci-fi, good comedy and classic French films. . .

I hope you all make him fed very welcome!
Julian Rignalls Signature
Julian RignalI

Issue 36 - April 1988

Issue 36 Cover


Honestly - You let one new reviewer into the building, and the next minute everyone's wanting in! One who did manage to scale the walls, and has now become a permanent addition to the ZZAP! office (we can't fit him back through the door) is a certain Gordon Leslie Houghton, who hails from Blackburn in Lancashire. He recently graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English (but we don't hold that against him) and has come to Ludlow to apply his literary bent to writing reviews.

He used to be the sporting type, but has now joined the Lounge Lizard Elite, and saves his energy for the odd joystick waggling session and the occasional jog- cum- wobble to the sandwich shop, where he often shows an impressive turn of speed.

When it comes to loading things into his 64, Spindizzy, Sentinel, Dropzone and Wizball are often his first choice, and when he's tired of wibbling his joystick he's usually found with his nose in a book - something pretentious like Medieval religious literature. His walkman oft rings to the sounds of the Smiths, Rush and Philip Glass (although not at the same time), while his cravings for soap operas usually result in him ogling Michelle, getting into Prisoner Cell Block H and visiting Neighbours. He also enjoys watching Woody Allen and horror films ('the more gore the better') and driving his girlfriend's Citroen 2CV through walls ('that's what comes from having a dice with a Robin Reliant'). His exemplary tea-making is also appreciated around the office...

With that, I bid you farewell - until next month.

Julian Rignall

Issue 37 - May 1988

Issue 37 Cover


There seems to be much paranoia at the moment, with many thinking that the new 16-bit micros are going to instantly replace the Commodore 64. This is ludicrous. With all the noise and hype created by the machine manufacturers and owners, it's easy to lose all sense of perspective. Over the last few months I've looked to the 16-bit micros expecting some new game concepts worthy of their fast processors and custom chips. I remain disappointed. With only one or two exceptions, the bulk of 16-bit games are rehashes of old 8-bit ideas, with superb graphics and sampled sounds slapped on top. To me, the Commodore 64 is leading the way when it comes to new ideas - Driller, the up-and-coming Echelon, Apollo 18, Nebulus, Soko Ban and Deflektor are recent examples that inject new life and innovation into the computer game format. The 64 boasts a huge range of games, including the incredibly engrossing Lucasfilm range brilliant simulations, puzzle games, shoot'em ups and arcade adventures with incredible depth. If it's playable games you're after, you can't do any better than the 64, and at the rate new stuff is being churned out, the future is looking very, very rosy indeed. With such a wide array of supporting titles, who's going totum their back on the machine? Eventually the Commodore 64 WILL be supemeded by the 16-bit machines - but in how many years?

On the 16-bit front it would be nice to see something like an Elite which utilises the full graphics potential of the machines, AND is backed up with an original and engrossing game with depth. Perhaps Damocles will go some way to starting a trend of games deserving of a truly '16-bit' label, but I don't think we'll be seeing any truly stunninggames (stunning graphics and sound maybe) for some time yet. Until then, I should think that the trusty old Commodore 64 will keep on surprising us...

Julian Rignall

Issue 38 - June 1988

Issue 38 Cover


It's that time of the year again, the so-called silly season' when software production drops, and programmers start work on projects that are scheduled to finish just before Christmas! This year is no exception, and this month sees a distinct drop in the number of reviews. Mind you, this doesn't mean there's a slump in the quality of software (although it's true to say there are a couple of screaming turkeys), with Impossible Mission II acquiring a Gold Medal award and Alien Syndrome scraping Sizzler status.

Those seeking fame and fortune have two opportunities to achieve their ambition. If you're a nifty joystick-wielder, why not enter the National Computer Games Championship? If you've got any gamesplaying talent and are able to stay cool under pressure, you've got a great chance of winning - take it from me!

The second opportunity comes in the form of the The PC Show Art Exhibition. It's a competition aimed specifically at those who enjoy painting with pixels, so if you have some computer pictures, why not send them off. You never know, your work could well be displayed at the PC Show in front of more than 60,000 people! More details are available on page 51. Finally, after a year with ZZAP! Steve Jarratt (for reasons best known to himself) has decided to switch alliances to the Spectrum and wander off to edit ZZAP!'s sister magazine, CRASH. Even though he's a traitorous toad, I'm sure you'll join me in wishing him all the best for the future. Anyway, enough for this month - the Sun is shining, and I want another go of Impossible Mission II...

Julian Rignall

Issue 39 - July 1988

Issue 39 Cover

Return of the Clone Part II

No doubt you've already discovered Another Day At The Arcades: The Book - I hope you like it! One thing that struck me when I was putting it together was the distinct lack of new ideas coming trom the manufacturers of video games. Most of the dedicated games released over the past six months fall into two categories: clones or sequels. Clones are the more abundant lust look at the range of Kung-Fu Master, Ghosts 'n' Goblins and Rolling Thunder rip-offs covered in the booklet. It has to be said that they're fun to play, but I for one find their appeal very short-lived - the graphics and sound might be different, but the gameplay is the same...

On the other hand, I confess that I find many of the sequels absorbing and worthy of more than a few ten pences - particularly Blasteroids, which I play whenever I can. Other enjoyable games in the sequel category include Arkanoid, Return of the Invaders (a report on that gem in the near future), PacMania and Galaga '88. I suppose the reason why they're fun is that they're rehashes of game ideas which haven't been used for years - so it's almost like playing something new! However, there's nothing to beat an original game - it gives you a chance to get the old grey matter working as you get to grips with the concept and suss out new gameplaying tactics; playing a clone, or indeed most sequels, just involves adapting old strategies.

I'd really like to see some new game formats - I, Robot, Eugene Jarvis' creations (including Joust, Robotron 2084 and Stargate) and Qix were imaginative products. If you could combine that sort of new idea with today's amazing hardware, you could end up with some incredible new games. Here's hoping! I suppose the best thing to do is wait for CD-I entertainment to takeoff - I think that'II be a real breeding ground of new ideas. More of that at a later date, though.

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish ...

Julian Rignall

Issue 40 - August 1988


Issue 40 CoverIf you've been glancing through the pages of this month's ZZAP!, you'll have noticed the absence of its longest serving member, Jaz. After 39 issues with us, he felt it was time to move on, and is currently engaged in freelance work in the software industry, some of which is for our chums 'n' rivals at EMAP. I'm sure you'll join us in wishing him well in his future career. So - this month's ZZAP! has been brought to you by Paul 'why aye man' Glancey (who's now taken over the Tips) and myself, with some help from our irregular contributor, Paul Sumner. You can rest assured that that we won't let the quality slide - in fact, we've got plans for larger, more colourful and far more comprehensive issues. You may notice one or two cosmetic changes in the next two or three months, which we hope you'll like - we're attempting to bring in more screenshots and even more in-depth reviews than we've already got. In this issue, there's an all-new information page ('The Word'), in which we're going to bring you a little more than just news - keep an eye on it... In addition, there's a new ZZAP! Definitive Guide - an occasional feature designed to give a run-down of the greatest games around: turn to page 54 for more information! Last but not least, the ZZAPBACK is now declared permanent: ZZAP! is just about old enough to take a retrospective view of the golden oldies to see exactly how they would really fare today. Next month, there are going to be even more changes for the better, including more features, a Harlequin with maps and a MEGA TIPS SPECIAL, (our friendly neighbourhood Geordie is beavering away at this very moment). In fact, the quality of Tips is improving all the time, with ace maps, helpful hints and plenty of POKEs. Underneath the facelift the old ZZAP! remains, always striving to provide the most thorough and entertaining reviews, previews, letters and features. Well, that's about it for this month - if you've an opinion about any part of the mag, write in: even if your views aren't aired by Lloyd in the Rrap, we'll take them into consideration. Gameswise, it seems the Summer slump is on its way out - of the 33 games reviewed this month (excluding the Amiga round-up), there are TWO Gold Medals and one superb Sizzler. Read on...

Gordon Houghton

Issue 41 - September 1988


Issue 41 CoverThis has been a bit of a hectic month in ZZAP! Towers - we’ve gained a new reviewer (Reviewer Profiles Inc below) and we’ve lost a film planner. Film planning is the incredibly mysterious department in Newsfield where a group of hag-like crones sit around a cauldron full of paints and cast eldritch spells to create all the colourful tints you see in the magazine (well, that’s how they explained it to me - I don’t really believe them, though).

Anyway, the result of this badly made up story is that for two to three months, there’s going to be a teensy-weensy tadette less variety in the colour of some sections. It's not all bad news, however - by Christmas time we should have installed a new film planning system, which allows more colour and more freedom with the magazine design than ever before - the amount of available colours with this machine is something ridiculous like 3,000,000.

In addition, you should regularly see more of ZZAP!, starting with this month’s 156 pages, which are sagging with a sack full of screenshots, ripe with a roister-doister of reviews, pregnant with a pint glass of previews, bulging with a budgie cage full of budget games, chubby with a Cheddar Gorge full of the Challenge and... er... I’m getting a bit sick of this alliteration, any way.

Right, just before I introduce the new wacky ZZAP! reviewer, there’s a couple more things. First, there’s no Amiga Action this month; but before the pro Amiga lobby start groaning, it’s because next month there 's going to be a mega Amiga special, which heralds the introduction of full Amiga reviews in ZZAP! - more about that next month. Don’t let it put you off all you die-hard 64 fans - there’ll be no less space allocated to reviews of 64 games; if anything, with a larger magazine, there’ll be more space...

Secondly, in this Issue... By popular demand, the Baudwalk has gone, but Mel Croucher fans should turn to the Future of the Software Industry on page 32. Fans of mad ‘n’ wacky Paul Glancey should flick through to the 32-page Tips Special, starting on page 63 (thanks to Markie, Wayne, Yvonne and Mel in our over-worked Art Department for drawing all those maps...); alternatively, skip over a couple of pages to The Word, and you’ll discover things you never knew about the small-but-perfectly-formed Geordie. . .

Now the bit you’ve all been waiting for. This month sees another victim roped into ZZAP! Towers - Matthew ‘Maff’ Evans, who has crawled all the way from sunny Flint in North Wales, and is blessed with a broad Scouse accent. His favourite phrase is unprintable but it begins with s- and ends in -hite. Although at first he was a bit reluctant to join us, a cup of PG’s tea brought him round. His interests include music (‘There’s music, then there’s life’), SF films and Stephen King novels; he can’t drive and he recently spent two hours walking around Portsmouth in the rain. His favourite games include Wizball, Dropzone, Bubble Bobble and International Basketball (in twoplayer mode: ‘it causes fights between me and my mate’). At any rate, I’m sure you’ll all make him feel as welcome as six bags of iced buns when you haven't had any breakfast.
Gordons Signature
Gordon Houghton

Issue 42 - October 1988


Issue 42 CoverWell, they both came at the same time, really. I caught chicken pox in the first week of this month's schedule - A bit of a pointless disease - it just sits there for about two weeks, makes you itch like a pair of horse-hair underpants and then gets lost. Now all I've got to look forward to is shingles - great. Not that anyone has been at all sympathetic (boo hoo) - tell someone you've got the pox and they wither run like hell or make a big thing of covering your reviewer's head in the magazine with spots.
Gripping stuff so far, eh? Not quite as gripping as an army of crabs at a naturist convention (by the way, did you know that crabs can jump up to sic feet? No. All right, they can't). Nor indeed as gripping as this month's cover mounted cassette - a playable level of the Sizzler-rated game from GO!/Rainbow Arts, Katakis. Next month should be even better (is this possible?), with an action-packed level of one of the most polished shoot 'em ups you'll ever see, and a level of the Gold Medal rated Hawkeye thrown in.
The cost of all this? Just 25p extra per month to you, John. We're hoping it'll become a regular occurance - it's meant to tie in with the current or recent issues, and should include something of the game of the month, with some extras thrown in. Even if you don't like the game, you'll get a free cassette each month, to play with as your fancy takes you (well, within legal limits). By the way, if the cassette doesn't work, return it to our mail order department at the Gravel Hill address, marked 'ZZAP SAMPLER RETURNS' and they'll send you another one (if you include your name and address - they're not psychic, you know).
The other thing you've probably noticed about this issue is the introduction of full Amiga reviews in ZZAP! We thought long and hard about this, but the overwhelming tide of letters in the Rrap finally convinced us. In any case, we're the last Commodore-only magazine to include Amiga reviews, so we're hardly doing something controversial.
Rest assured that there's going to be no less space devoted to 64 stuff; and as you'll no doubt have noticed, with the free PC Supplement this month, it's another 156 page issue, packed with 37 game reviews. A couple of new things: the Rrap is back to its old seld, and there's a new "Release round-up' in the Budget pages (see page 112 for further details). . .
So it's welcome to the Amiga - and it's definitely been worth the wait. Playing Starglider 2 and Carrier Command actually forced me to go out and buy one! At last we're getting games which really utilise the machine's full potential. . . In fact, I think I'll get on with constructing that neutron bomb in Starglider 2. See you at the PC Show, if I haven't blown up a planet before then. . .
Gordons Signature
Gordon Houghton

Issue 43 - November 1988

Issue 43 Cover Is it a fish? Is it a werewolf?
No - it's Maff 'monkey-boy' Evans (God what a pratt!)
Is it Groucho Marx or Deputy Dawg? Give her another meatball and she'll tell you


It’s all change this month as as we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new. ZZAP! 43 marks the advent of a new stage for the magazine - no doubt you’ve already ready noticed the slight alteration to the name. However, even though the name’s changed, the content of ZZAP! remains the same: still the best selling Commodore magazine around, and now even bigger to accomodate the Amiga. Cor blimey, guv’nor, spit in my eye, etc. etc. .
So what happened to that cassette last month? Well, for the full story, turn to page 8, and the Word - there are legal reasons involved! The rest of the news this month is a bit more normal! We bid a fond farewell to Glenys Powell, who has now gone to live and work in Brighton (lots of nice pebbly beaches there): our cuddly results page is now less cuddly for her loss, and there aren’t half as many teddy bears around the office. Oh well. . . Taking her place as Editorial Assistant (ie, the person who does all the hard work) is Vivien Vickress. . I hope you don’t all write to her to complain!

No hiding under a bushel for these spring chickens of the software industry. (Paul's outfit - $45, Small Man at C&A)On an even happier note, our reviewing team is now complete! Say welcome, if you will, to Kati Hamza, who has come over from our sister magazine, CRASH to be our Assistant Editor and reviewer (amongst other things). She likes to describe herself as a scatter brained, fastidious, madcap kinda gal who likes nothing better than wiping her nose on other people’s sleeves. She wears heavy-duty boot-ettes and on off-days sports raggedy Smiths and Suzanne Vega T-shirts, accompanied by an occasional brace or two. Normally she dresses like a sane humanoid - but then, ZZAP! is never normal, is it? She’s got a brain the size of a planet (and Marvin’s tempera ment to match), having got a degree in English from the dreaming spires of Oxford. We won’t hold it against her since, she’ll probably punch us all in the gob.

This month’s mag boasts five features, including a HUGE Amiga section, a new adventurer (Chuck Vomit - a violently offensive Troll), another round up of rereleases, a Def Guide to Shoot ‘em ups and a feature on the new Anglia TV Knightmare series. If that isn’t enough, we’ve also reviewed over 50 games! Sorry to all those who are missing Manoeuvres, but we just didn’t have the space.

Till next month then, and an absolutely MEGA Christmas special, ta-rar. Oh - and I hope you'll like the new editorial page, showing slices of low-life in the Towers this month. Well - it’s different, isn’t it?
Gordons Signature
Gordon Houghton

Issue 44 - December 1988

Issue 44 Cover This is a photo of (delete where appropiate): 1) An imbecille who shouldn't have been let in 2) A baboon 3) God
Yes, readers, here he is! The one, the only, the office photographic-type man, Caaaameron Pound. Give us a smile next time, will you Cam?


Christmas has come early this year - advertising won’t be so hot next month so this is THE BIG ONE for 1988. We hope you like it (cue diabolical laughter).

Meanwhile, put your big fleshy fins together, if you will for the last of the additions to our staff. No less a celebrity than the famous Ken D. Fish has agreed to make occasional contributions to these greasy and stain-smudged pages. Just who is Ken the Fish?! I hear you ask. Well, if you turn to pages 176 or 191 you'll find out soon enough. He’s going to become something of a regular on the Results page, and he may take on one or two other projects if the workload gets too heavy for the rest of us.

Other news this month is that we’ve been moved right to the top of ZZAP! Towers. We can now see perfectly over rows of ancient Ludlovian houses to the fields and cows beyond. In fact, on a clear day from my window I can just about see the bridge under which Chuck Vomit lives. At the same time pigs are flying over the man in the moon and sprinkling him with faery dust.

If you look at the Hopper Copper review on page 48, you may notice that the Overall rating has been missed Out. Due to the wonders of modern technology, we can now insert this here for your delectation -a cut-out-and-paste version of ZZAP! Here goes. . . uuugh uuurrrgh! nyyyhghaah! . . .

Budding policemen (and everyone else) steer clear.

That’s better. Anyway, that’s just about it for this moon cycle. Keep your eyes peeled for those 7 Sizzlers and 2 Gold Medals - we’ve had a a brilliant time reviewing this month, I can tell you Nebulus and Bombuzal were just fantastic! What more can I say? - as you can see from the Contents, we’ve got 228 pages packed with features, competitions, regulars and more games than we’ve ever reviewed before! See you next month: we’ll be a bit thinner but just as stupid.
Gordons Signature
Gordon Houghton

Mini Zzap Logo
Back to Zzap!64 Main Page

Previous Year
Back to 1987

Next Year
On to 1989

Mini C64 Logo
Back to the Main C64 Page