Kati Hamza (Issue's 43 to 50)
Kati joined the Zzap! team from issue 43 (November 1988) until issue 50 (June 1989).
Here's a few questions I asked Kati in April 1999 and the answers (makes for better reading!)
Name : Kati Hamza
Age : 33
Present Occupation : Freelance project manager
What were you doing before Zzap and where did you go from it ?
Before Zzap! I worked on Crash, which was cool, but not as much fun, and before Crash I was a student, studying English literature. After Zzap! I worked with Gordon as a freelance journalist and wrote for a whole bunch of other computer mags, but I switched to book and reference CD-ROM publishing after a while and now I am a freelance project manager and editor.
How do you view your whole experience with Zzap, was it just another job or was there something special about it ?
Two things made it memorable: it was my first 'real' job and it was fun. The people were nice, you could make up silly ideas for features and competitions, and you could get away with saying things like gadgy and ngaah waagh a lot.
What was the general atmosphere in the office, did everybody get on or was there any "disagreements" between the team?
Naw, we mostly got on. Though I used to get annoyed when Lloyd Mangram borrowed my clothes.
Was there ever any pressure from advertisers when you'd give one of their games a bad review and were you always allowed to give your honest opinion of a game?
Yep, I do seem to remember one or two people complaining a bit about their reviews, but it wasn't too bad. Mostly the advertising people dealt with that side of things, and it was important to Newsfield for us to give an honest opinion - I think we did.
About Llyod, was he a real person or as has been suggested, was he just a front for whatever members of staff at the time were doing the letters page?
Poor Lloyd. He always used to get upset when people didn't think he was real. He tends to sneak around and merge into the background - maybe that's why no one believes in him. I haven't seen him in years, but I know he's lurking somewhere.
Can you explain the whole firing instance and the events surrounding it. How did you all manage to get fired at once?
It happened quite quickly, as these things tend to do, without much real warning. I think it was mainly because Newsfield had certain ideas about how they wanted their magazine to be and we had different ones. In retrospect, we were young and a bit hot-headed and Newsfield's owner's had quite an adversarial management style - the two didn't combine all that well! But I'm happy about the way things worked out. I liked Zzap! but I wasn't happy in Ludlow and it gave us a chance to move away and try something else.
I'm sure you've been asked this many times before, but off the top of your head, what C64 games were your favourites and would any of them make it to your favourite games list today?
Umm... Dropzone, Zenji, Tetris, Paradroid, Montezuma's Revenge. Tetris would probably still be on my list... and I miss Dropzone.
Back when I was a kid, I loved playing computer games, especially on my C64, but these days I rarely play any games at all, PC or console. It is all rose tinted nostaliga or were games really better back then or maybe it's just because I've grown up now!? I ask because you were an adult (sort of! :) ) back then, so you should have a more balanced recollection of how it really was.
I think you're right - games were different then, in that you could have a really clever game based on a very simple idea - like Paradroid or Spindizzy or The Sentinel. In some ways those were 'purer' computer games because they were based on activities (like absorbing blocks, or binary duels between droids) that you could only do with a computer and that involved doing something innovative with your computer's pretty limited capacities. That's different from modern games, in which computer capacity doesn't seem to be a problem, and which draw on lots of other media, especially films.But, given the choice, I have to say I'd opt for Zelda over Dropzone any day - I think some of the new games are excellent. You should try them!!
What are your opinions on emulation, do you see any harm in allowing people to play and read about games from up to 17 years ago?
Not really - if these games aren't being played any more on the original machines, it just adds to their lifetime which doesn't seem like a bad thing.
Anything else you would like to add, about Zzap or the C64 in general?
Just that I really enjoyed working at Zzap and, like everyone else, wonder every now and again what happened to Maff.
I'd like to thank you very much for taking the time to fill this out and contributing to the very important process of collecting and storing the history of Zzap! and the C64.
Thanks for asking :o)
Be sure to also check out more facts on Kati from issue 44 and "Ten things you didn't know about KH" over at ZZAP!Back