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Best issue of a game/computer magazine ever?


Anne Summers
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PXL_20210930_090343818.thumb.jpg.34377e3b2eb389f86930ed1c435ae36a.jpgA new addition to my little collection of 80s/90s games and computer mags that I was particularly excited about fell through my door this week. The January 1991 edition of Amiga Format. 

I snapped it up when it appeared on eBay because it's the first edition of AF that I had - it came on Christmas morning together with my A500. I went on to buy every issue for the next 3-4 years. As a game mag, it's not that great (their reviewing is very inconsistent, and skewed very heavily towards the 74%=average school of reviewing). But it always entertained me because it had a good balance of games and the more serious stuff like art, music and programming, that I also liked dabbling with. 

 

This was a fantastic issue, with 300 pages. In hand, it feels more like an Argos catalogue or something than a games mag. It has a proper spine and is printed on really nice glossy paper. I seem to remember that it was reported AF was selling in the hundreds of thousands each month at the time, so I guess Future could afford to push the boat out. I remember spending hours and hours reading this magazine, whenever I couldn't get at my actual Amiga during the first few months I owned it - at school, in the car with my parents etc. 

 

Most of the pages are crammed with text, and as well as Amiga stuff there are a couple of more general interest articles (one on the future of technology and gaming, and one on robotics) that I remember finding very informative at the time. There are some dodgy predictions, of course, which is always one of my main reasons for enjoying reading old magazines. ("Predictions the games market will polarise into console and PC products are exaggerated").

 

There's also an article about 3D graphics that mentions Pixar - four years before Toy Story, and talks about them as creator of productivity software for the Mac, which I thought was interesting. 

 

Oh, and perhaps one of the most amazing things - it had a demo of Lemmings on the cover which I'm pretty sure would be the first place that most people would have seen that game. It was fantastic and I never finished it, even though it only has three levels, because the last level is ridiculously hard! In fact it's almost impossible as it requires some very split second timing. I never really got into Interphase, which is the complete game they also gave away this issue, though. 

 

Anyway - the question - in the robots feature, there's a reference I've never understood. I remember puzzling over it as a 13-year-old and now, 30 years later as a middle-aged man, I still don't know what it's referring to. In the article on robotics (highlighted in red in the pics I'm about to attach to this thread) it focuses for a while on robots in movies. It says "Most of all, if a boyfriend or girlfriend gives you a piece of robot that looks like a skull, have it melted down and move to another city." What film are they referencing here? 

 

Does anyone else have an all-time favourite computer or game mag issue? (no? just me .... ok...).

 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, ianinthefuture said:

Terminator?

That was always what I thought but - apart from the robot skull it doesn't really relate to anything that happened in T1, and this was 3 years before T2 came out so no one knew Cyberdine were going to create Skynet from leftover parts of Arnie. 

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9 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

That was always what I thought but - apart from the robot skull it doesn't really relate to anything that happened in T1, and this was 3 years before T2 came out so no one knew Cyberdine were going to create Skynet from leftover parts of Arnie. 

Yeah it didn't sound right/sounded too obvious, but worth a pop.

 

T2 was 1991, by the way. Still well after that issue came out, though.

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I honestly can't think of a favourite issue. Too many mags, too many memories, too many individual snippets floating around my brainpan. Two spring to mind as candidates though:

 

Issue 48 of Amiga Power, one because it was the last issue I remember buying - it marks the point I did finally give up on the Amiga and move on to consoles. And two because it had Frontier: First Encounters in it, claiming it was coming to Amiga (it "was" at the time, mind) and begging us to believe the PC screens might look anything like the finished Amiga version. They weren't lying, they were working on faith, and it looks silly in retrospect.

 

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Then there's Play issue 17 (which I got the cover mixed up with issue 8), which I remember reading cover to cover while waiting for my mum to have laser eye surgery in Manchester. Of the seven games named on that cover, five are up there with my favourite-ever PS1 games. Decent hit rate. I mean, the Resi 2 they're previewing ended up as Resi 1.5, but as with AP above you can't really blame them.

 

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@Anne Summers I also remember that issue of Amiga Format really well. Not just for the Lemmings demo, which my parents loved, and played much more than the final game. There was something exciting about those big, seasonal issues of Amiga magazines during the system’s imperial phase years, and not just the content. Going from a relatively thin issue the previous December to a telephone directory the next, that was very positive sign if you owned an Amiga, as it emerged from being the also-ran to the ST.

 

Totally agree that AF’s games reviews were crap, though – shame, as I’ve always liked the “leisure computing” angle of AF and competing magazines, throwing together games coverage and all the other stuff in an entertaining way. First time I’d ever heard of now-familiar things like CGI and the Internet were reading AF or ACE or similar publications.

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2 hours ago, Stoppy2000 said:

It's this issue of NMS for me. Bought it on a family holiday so it bizarrely sticks in the memory. I think there are even holiday pics where it makes a cameo. I was reading anything about MK2 I could find...Nintendo-Magazine-System-Issue-23-Magazine-1994-NMS.jpg.47db54f21fd06782ab216980cdaa5f6a.jpg

 

I had the first 24 of these in mint condition in a box. Stupidly binned them bout 20 years ago. Oh and mortal Kombat 2 , I spent 65 quid on that. All saved from my 4 quid 50 a week paper round!

 

Also stunt race FX was over hyped rubbish! :)

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7 minutes ago, bplus said:

I had the first 24 of these in mint condition in a box. Stupidly binned them bout 20 years ago. Oh and mortal Kombat 2 , I spent 65 quid on that. All saved from my 4 quid 50 a week paper round!

 

Also stunt race FX was over hyped rubbish! :)

I bought MK2 as well. It came on my birthday I think so I used birthday cash. Worth every penny!

Agree on Stunt Race FX - really poor. 

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That Lemmings demo was incredible. It was the talk of the office for a week. I played the full game whilst soothing my newborn daughter who kept me up at night. She was 31 recently.
 

Purely for selfish reasons I’ll pick the Zzap issue which feature my game APB on the cover. With bonus officer Bob giving the finger. It was also my only Zzap Sizzler, I also scored 16% and 36% for other games which I prefer to forget.

 

image.thumb.jpeg.32c0f2a22960663784dff42191f4d8ae.jpeg

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9 hours ago, MagicalDrop said:

DC-UK issue 11, purely for the cover disc 8-)


No no, for cover discs it's got to be SSM Issue 31 with Panzer Dragoon Saga Disc 1

image.png.fb20742c76423087a164494cbab95764.png

 

Or maybe the issue with Christmas NiGHTS...!

 

8 hours ago, Ketchup said:

Just look at this cover. Look at the characters and games included. Probably one of the best, most exciting years in gaming too. Just looking at it now im excited to look at these games!

CVG176b.jpg

 

I definitely bought that issue! What a great time in gaming.

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18 hours ago, Stoppy2000 said:

It's this issue of NMS for me. Bought it on a family holiday so it bizarrely sticks in the memory. I think there are even holiday pics where it makes a cameo. I was reading anything about MK2 I could find...Nintendo-Magazine-System-Issue-23-Magazine-1994-NMS.jpg.47db54f21fd06782ab216980cdaa5f6a.jpg

 

On a sidenote if anyone can find a PDF of this magazine I'd be very grateful.... NMS seems very hard to find on any online archives....

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Stunt Race FX is fucking astounding. Those handling models. The weather changes. It's a game that gets a lot of play in our house.

 

MeanMachines-Magazine-Issue12-Cover.jpg

 

https://archive.org/details/mean-machines-magazine-12

 

I'm just looking through Mean Machines issue #12 (Sept '91), at the import shop adverts more than anything. Deary, deary me... I really wish I could wire transfer £500 to ten-year-old me somehow. Even just £200.

 

Also, a shocking management of finances by those directly in charge of my Christmas and birthday expenditure. No wonder I became so pushy from around 1992 onwards. I remember my mum asking my nan, who I lived with, to stop me from buying these magazines because all I ever did at the weekends was go through and beg for stuff out of them all the time.

 

If only I'd paid more attention to Preston having an amazing imports shop, and being only 25 minutes drive away. I know we had it quite hard, but still - that makes it worse because money could have been much better spent by slightly more knowledgeable parents. FFS.

I almost feel like messaging my mum on Facebook right now and complaining, with photos and red circles drawn all over. Obviously I'm not that much of a tit though. It's also easy to forget that £200 for an import Super Famicom is something like £440 in 2021 money.

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8 minutes ago, Fallows said:

Sonic Adventure was a thing back in 1996? Wow. Didn't know that.

 

Wait. That's got to be December 1998, right? But then, Lara being a "new face"?, "Zelda 64"?

 

It does look more like 1996 than 1998 in the image above!

 

But the higher-res version here shows that it is 1998:

https://magazinesfromthepast.fandom.com/wiki/Arcade_Issue_1

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Amiga Power 44 (December 1994) for me - I remember reading it on the way back from school via the newsagents and it had previews of Mortal Kombat 2 and Super Streetfighter 2 with reviews of stuff like Cannon Fodder 2, Theme Park and Sim City 2000. I felt reassured that my Amiga 1200 would get decent games for a good while yet, which didn’t really turn out to be true, but that was the peak for me and the only time a particular issue of a magazine stuck in the memory. 

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This issue of ACE:

 

ACE_Issue_53_1992_Feb_0000.thumb.jpg.7d86fd2db1f677d09dc8c586936d5792.jpg

 

Because of that review of Monkey Island 2 (penned by a young Garry Whitta, no less).

 

I thought MI2 was the most amazing looking thing I'd ever seen. Coming from a humble Speccy and an Atari ST it was a bit of an eye-opener.

 

Absolutely shite cover on that mag though ;) 

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3 hours ago, MikeJ said:

Amiga Power 44 (December 1994) for me - I remember reading it on the way back from school via the newsagents and it had previews of Mortal Kombat 2 and Super Streetfighter 2 with reviews of stuff like Cannon Fodder 2, Theme Park and Sim City 2000. I felt reassured that my Amiga 1200 would get decent games for a good while yet, which didn’t really turn out to be true, but that was the peak for me and the only time a particular issue of a magazine stuck in the memory. 

I feel similar about AP issue 42; with it’s three mighty coverdisks and loads of pages of reviews, it felt the Amiga was still going to be around for years to come. Rather than the start of the twilight years it actually was.

 

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2 hours ago, Protocol Penguin said:

I feel similar about AP issue 42; with it’s three mighty coverdisks and loads of pages of reviews, it felt the Amiga was still going to be around for years to come. Rather than the start of the twilight years it actually was.

 

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I think I missed that issue (for shame) but yes - there are some great titles mentioned and it seemed like good times indeed. Within a few months we had a magazine with half the page count and staples in the middle.

 

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Total issue 5 for me, purely for sentimental reasons. It was the first gaming mag I ever bought. I was stuck on Maniac Mansion on the NES and this had a full guide which helped me complete it.

 

By devouring the rest of the mag I learnt about the Super NES and was hooked from there on. It helped I was the perfect age for Total (it was aimed at kids).

 

In later years I appreciated Super Play and N64 Magazine much more. They were the best but Total issue 5 always has a special place for being the first.

total 5.jpg

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