Ex ZZAP! star Gary Penn was deemed a big enough name to be mentioned on the cover – but they forgot to put his name at the end of the Exile review.

It’s when you start to look back at what happened in the months Commodore Format was published, as we always do in this part of the website, that you really begin to appreciate just how long ago it all was. The serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is the stuff of horrific legend now, but it was only towards the end of July 1991 that the police even knew what he’d been doing. Yugoslavia, a country that no longer even exists, was at war with Slovenia this month. The big movie of July was another all-time classic that you’ve probably now seen too many times on late night TV: Terminator 2. And number one in the British charts for almost the entire time was Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do.

Issue 10 of Commodore Format was on the shelf in WH Smith, and was the first issue to be produced without Steve Jarratt. He’d taken well deserved leave after CF was confirmed as the most successful Future Publishing launch to date: it was one in the eye for those who raised eyebrows at the very thought of a new C64 title in 1990, and two in the eye for ZZAP! 64, who blinked this summer and dropped their Amiga coverage in the face of new, strong competition.

WHEN I’M 65 

This month’s news pages confirmed that Commodore was working on another machine. In the face of the previous year’s C64GS disaster – a console which was by now selling at less than the price of some game cartridges – they needed a hit. But the C65 seemed just as confused. Was it a souped-up C64 or a cut-down Amiga? Who was it for? In the end, nobody. The machine was never released, but the prototypes now go for thousands in every currency on eBay. Not that you can play anything on it, unless you switch it to C64 mode. Bizarre.

On the beautifully illustrated Paul Kidby cover was Exile, a staggering piece of software which rated at 97%, second only to Mayhem in CF’s top ten scoring games. Former ZZAP! 64 star Gary Penn wrote one of the best reviews Commodore Format ever published, in our opinion: it’s a thoughtful, calm dissection of a thoughtful, calming game. If you’re interested in Exile, you can read our full feature on the game here.

Over the page, Gremlin’s C64 conversion of Amiga classic Switchblade was decent enough, even if the two-tone red’n’black graphics left it feeling a bit Amstrad CPC. And speaking of conversions, Extreme had been phenomenally popular on the Spectrum and received rave reviews – especially for its graphics. A straight port to the more powerful C64 wasn’t so successful, though, and it actually rates in our all time bottom ten. Does that say more about the C64 or the Spectrum? (Read our Extreme feature here)

The Power review
The Power was a cool puzzler, most famous for its music rather than gameplay. Did CF really have to title that box “A Spacca’s guide”, though? Surely a case of office “banter” ending up in print. It’d cause a Twitter storm now…

American fantasists Mindcraft unleashed two games into the UK this July: The Magic Candle and Keys To Maramon were both disk only affairs, doomed to failure in our C2N obsessed nation. But it was nice to see something as different as role playing games, and CF reckoned they’d both take weeks to finish – not something you can say about many 8-bit titles.

The novelty continued with First Star’s Security Alert, a sort of point and click robbery simulator (really!) and Demonware’s gemstone puzzler Gem-X, featuring cute anime girls before the SNES saturated the games market with cute anime girls.

Eclectic was the word for the month, really. Summers in the 80s and early 90s were traditionally times when the major softies would take it slightly easier, which meant smaller labels pushed out more interesting things at a time when they thought they’d be noticed. The lack of spaceships and platforms was refreshing, and the quantity of games even during a designated “quiet time” most reassuring. And with an Early Warning scanner lit up with new releases for later in the year, C64 owners could play outside knowing there’d be plenty to see them through the winter months. CF 



A playable demo of Exile’s first level was just the ticket. It frustrated younger readers, but it wasn’t a game for kids: if you go back to it now, you might see what the fuss was about. Anarchy was more traditional stuff, another Hewson shooter – but by far the star of the month was Park Patrol. Activision’s quirky 1984 game saw you playing a park ranger tasked with keeping his grounds clean and rescuing people from the river. There’s nothing like it, and even now you can play for a stretch.

Topping off the month was a demo of F1 GP Circuits, Idea’s overhead racing sim’. READ THE FULL POWER PACK FEATURE HERE

  • More issues of CF
  • Commodore Format 10 is dated July 1991. It first appeared on Thursday June 20th. 


    • I’m having a blast reading these old issues……i remember them all first time around, its really cool seeing them again.
      I stupidly sold the Pred Head around ten years ago to a collector for a couple of hunder quid. Really wish I hadn’t. I also sold my C64 with all of the magazine cover tapes, another stupid idea 😭

      Liked by 1 person

      • Really common story though, don’t feel too bad. It’s usually either that or people’s Mums throw it all out 😭


  1. Oh gosh, one of my favourite issues. I still remember sitting in my nan’s kitchen reading this and just wishing, hoping that just maybe one day I would get to play the full Exile.


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