A look at the January 1993 issue of Commodore Format magazine, for the C64.
1993! The year of change. By the end of it, Commodore Format would be unrecognisable and C64 software almost impossible to find on high street shelves. But you’d be forgiven for not believing such a thing in January: Trenton Webb – celebrating one year as editor of the magazine – is chipper in the editorial, noting in his amusing Enid Blyton tone that the twelve months ahead looked “spiffy”. And in fairness, CF28 hardly looked like a magazine covering a dying machine: there weren’t just games to talk about, there were some real heavyweights. A sports license, a movie tie-in and even Lemmings.
Cover star Nick Faldo’s Golf romped home at 93%, with Clur noting the game’s impressive speed and how “the more you play the better you get. And the better you get the more you want to play”. Like First Samurai, Creatures 2 and others in the previous year, Nick Faldo proved that the games might be getting less frequent but the quality was better than ever, as coders used their years of experience to wring the last drops of juice from the C64.
The Kim Basinger movie Cool World arrived in Breadbin form this month, and a great idea (you’re armed with a fountain pen, fighting against the cartoon doodles!), says Clur, is almost a great game: ultimately, it suffers from the confusion that spoiled the movie. You can read about both Cool World and Nick Faldo a bit more in our Christmas 1992 roundup here.
TELL ME ABOUT THE FEATURES
Trenton’s mission to fill the gaps where reviews used to be with cracking specials paid dividends again this month. The Q+A section, Face To Face, chatted to Commodore Format publisher Greg Ingham. He’d been the man that decided to green light CF because “we believed there were legions of C64 fans that weren’t being served well by existing titles…and we were right, because people flocked to buy CF“. Then there’s the absolutely wonderful piece called Dizzy On Trial, where Commodore Format’s Dave Golder pitches against Codemaster’s Richard Eddy in an argument over whether or not the ovoid one’s games are any good. “He’s old fashioned, predictable and deadly dull”, says Dave. “He’s not past his sell-by date”, responded Richard. “Otherwise we wouldn’t still be selling his games”. It’s a, er, cracking (you’re fired – Ed) piece on a polarising set of games.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
By 1993, Lemmings had been ported to pretty much every system you can imagine except C64. Why that is the case depends on which set of tales you believe going back almost 25 years: certainly, it was started on and abandoned by at least one set of programmers before the job landed with Alter Developments. We’ll come to the ins and outs of the game later in the series as it arrives for review, but this month’s first look smacks a bit of just wanting to fill a page: the game’s described in some detail but who didn’t know what Lemmings was by this point? What we wanted to know was how the C64 version looked and the tiny screens provided gave away little. In reality, as we’ll later discover, the programmers weren’t too sure how it would turn out at this point either.
And let’s not forget Mayhem, which was by now a few months into production. In their regular diary, the Rowlands brothers explain how the game will look so good: by flicking very quickly between one colour and the other – so fast the eye can barely distinguish – the boys will be able to “create” colours never seen before on C64. It was looking good. Very good…
WHAT MONTH IS IT?
This January issue was actually published on December 17th, so some Christmas content spilled over from the previous month. The Roger Frames Christmas Carol themed cartoon is an utter joy, featuring caricatures of CF staff of old, and the Power Pack featured a little Christmas themed demo. All great stuff, for sure, but would have been far better suited in the December issue. There are likely boring logistical reasons behind it, but the Christmas content doesn’t fit well in an issue that’s otherwise looking forward to the New Year.
But at least there was one to look forward to. Whilst this month’s Your Sinclair had only one new game to review and was a third of CF’s size, the C64 was still – just about – looking forward. Irrespective, Commodore Format certainly was: we’re still not halfway through our story. See you next time. CF
ON THE POWER PACK
There was a playable hole of Nick Faldo’s Golf to go with the month’s rave review, which was a nice touch. The budget classic Reckless Rufus, reviewed last month, also had a playable demo to try on this month’s tape. Locomotion was a demo of a very cool puzzler that involved getting trains to the right stations by manipulating the points. Air sim’ First Strike and a PD christmas demo that would’ve felt more at home on last month’s tape were joined by a fixed version of 5th Gear. It had first turned up on Power Pack 7, but crashed if the tape was knocked or stopped. D’oh! Here’s a long read with more about this tape.
- More issues of CF
- Commodore Format 28 is dated January 1993. It first appeared on Thursday December 17th.