A look at the July 1995 issue of British C64 magazine, Commodore Format.
- This issue had no subscriber’s newsletter.
- Want to play House Case that was pulled from this month’s tape? We’ve got it on our brand new Power Pack here.
Commodore had officially discontinued the C64 in April 1994 after twelve years and over 12 million sales, but the news was reduced to a mere foot note when the entire business went bankrupt later that same month. The TL;DR version is that Commodore never really replicated the success of the C64, but the company had also been badly mismanaged. There’s a good summary here.
CF didn’t report on either event back in ’94, probably for reasons of reader morale. But nothing had really changed for users in the UK on the back of this news anyway: after all, machines hadn’t officially been on the shelves since early ’92, when Dixons and others unofficially signaled the end by refusing to stock the machine in protest at Commodore’s confused package offerings and fluctuating price points.
IS THERE A POINT HERE PLS?
But what’s this got to do with July 1995? Well, Commodore were back – kind of – and this time CF were reporting it because of one staggering bit of detail. The company which had bought the rights to the name and brands, German PC manufacturers ESCOM, said they were going to relaunch the C64.
It might sound strange – and indeed, ESCOM’s real prize was the right to produce the Amiga – but the idea was to introduce the C64 as an entry level computer to the newly emerging former communist states which – six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – were beginning to wash about in disposable income.
In the end, ESCOM themselves went bust a year later. Having also purchased UK electronics store Rumbelows, they’d expanded far too quickly. The Amiga name appeared as little more than a badge on some PCs in Western Europe, but that was about it. No Commies for Commies, in short (you are so fired – Ed).
The news nonetheless meant CF had a distinctive, bespoke bit of art on the cover for the first time in a while and the two page news report – indeed, any news at all – gave the month a lift. For a while, at least, C64 seemed relevant again.
AND THE REST?
Well, Sword Of Honour was in for review (and in any other month would probably have had the cover). Germany’s Prestige Entertainment had mashed up The Last Ninja with Barbarian here, and the game was so big and full of little touches that only a disk version worked. In 1995 that was a problem: most CF users were on tape and automatically frozen out of the fun, but this 93% corker is still worth a look if you couldn’t do so back then.
Over in Contact Points, Andrew Fisher was back to look at the Commodore Zone fanzine and some mags dedicated to text adventures; Andrew also pops up earlier in July 1995’s CF to round up some decent C64 compatible printers. But it was the unexpected return of former staffie and Amstrad Action man Simon Forrester (read interview) that is most notable this month. His BASIC tutorial and a roundup of the best games of 1993 hadn’t been teased in last month’s Commodore Format, and unbeknown to readers was indicative of yet another downsizing of the magazine. There’s a real story to this one, though, and we’ll talk about it next time as CF really begins to wind down. CF
ON THE POWER PACK
There are two facepalms on this month’s tape. First is the inclusion of 1984’s classic dustbin man simulator Trashman as PD (it isn’t PD, and its inclusion was thus likely illegal. PD libraries were, though, awash with old commercial games at that point and its inclusion likely innocent). Then there’s the no-show for House Case: in spite of its billing, this neat SEUCK game with a twist was pulled at the last second because Future hadn’t bought enough lengths of tape that month. If you want to play it, though, we’ve got you covered: it’s on our own special Power Pack here.
Finally, there’s Capture. It’s basically a C64 Othello, and an engaging strategy game it is. Nice.
- More issues of CF
- Commodore Format 58 is dated July 1995. It first appeared on Saturday June 17th.