This month in... The Games Machine '88
Not a game as such, but the latest book from William Gibson, "Mona Lisa Overdrive", was about to hit the shelves. To mark the occasion, the Cyberpunk theme would be visited several times in this issue.
What was billed "the first mass-market desktop-publishing (DTP) packag"' was launched by mouse manufacturer AMS for PC-XT and AT compatibles. It featured a mouse, a handheld scanner and software - all for only £447.35....
Commodore announced 600,000 Amigas sold worldwide (40,000 in Britain), which was considered "satisfactory." Meanwhile, Nintendo had booked not only many of the stands at CES but also most of the hotel rooms where the show was to be held - a pretty good indication of who was "winning."
- Mel Croucher took a look at the seedy underbelly of the increasingly popular Bulletin Board scene. Aside from a couple of heartwarming tales of people finding love, there were the concerns of the proliferation of obscene material, hate speech, weapon trading/making and people just being complete dicks. There had been calls to increase monitoring, but it was becoming more and more difficult as the number of people using the services grew. The more things change...
- The implications of the new CD-ROM technology were examined. It seemed unlikely that consoles or personal computers would be harnessing CD drives any time soon as they just didn't have the RAM to make it worthwhile. At that point even streaming video was out of the question due to the slow data rates and lack of grunt to handle decent compression.
- TGM spoke to Rare about the PC Engine, which was due for release in Britain. Rare had taken delivery of a unit in December and had had some people working on it. The overall impression was very good, but Chris Stamper pointed out that they were still committed to Nintendo (and indeed that commitment remained until Microsoft bought them).
- Marshal M Rosenthal visited the CN Tower in Toronto to check out the "Tour of the Universe" experience. The show made use of 70mm large format film at 60fps, hydraulics, and a sophisticated sound system to - apparently - impressive effect.
- The proliferation of new labels (i.e. existing publishers creating new labels for specific markets) was examined. The fact that it was still perfectly possible for entirely new publishers to be successful was mentioned, though it came with a warning: "Unfortunately, as industries mature their veins grow taught and it becomes increasingly difficult for newcomers to break into the business. So, if you hanker after starting your own software label, now might well be the best time."
- The names of hardware and software companies, along with games were put under the microscope in a rather silly piece. One amusing bit: "'Top Ten Hits' is probably the worst software house name around because it's so transparent, and 'Code Masters' comes a close second."
- Mel Croucher gave a round up of his suggestions for which camcorder to buy.
- The rather new SciFi genre of Cyberpunk was outlined. References included the obvious "Blade Runner", "Neuromancer" and "Max Headroom", and also Walter Jon William's "Hardwired" and John Shirley's "Eclipse".
- Prism Leisure Corporation had two new games on the way "Artificial Lives" and "Hot Shot". Prism also teased an upcoming game designed by Mike Suitin who had been a stage manager for shows like "Hair" and "Jesus Christ Superstar", as well as the designer on many of Pink Floyd's psychedelic backdrops. It was originally designed as a stage show which never made it to theatre, but a 2 hour soundtrack had been recorded which was performed by Elaine Page and the cast of "Hair". "'The Kristal' will be a graphic and sonic masterpiece." I had never heard of this, but perhaps that's not surprising.
- The excellent "Hawkeye" from Thalamus (developed by Boys Without Brians).
- The third instalment of Melbourne House's "Lord of the Rings" adventures was revealed (though with no details and I'm not sure it was ever released - unless they were referring to "The War in Middle Earth".
- "Barbarian II: The Dungeon of Drax" from Palace was due in August.
- Domark's "The Empire Strikes Back".
- Julian Gollop had formed a new company, Target Games, and their debut release was to be "Laser Squad".
- "Legend of the Sword" Rainbird - ST 91% "Legend of the Sword is most enjoyable to play, there are many locations - all with a graphical representation - and plenty to do."
- "Interceptor" Bob Dinnerman/EA - Amiga 92% "Interceptor combines the realism of flight simulators with the fast action of Top Gun (the film) fighter combat extremely well."
- "Earthlight" Pete Cooke/Firebird - Spectrum 81% "...Earth light is a compelling challenge, if not quite in the Tau Ceti class."
- "The Great Giana Sisters" Rainbow Arts - C64 82% Amiga 78% "Addictive gameplay, however, turns this into one of the better German releases available in the UK."
- "Gauntlet II" US Gold - Atari ST 93% "... US Gold's best product to date."
- "Dark Side" Incentive - Spectrum 48/128 & ST 93% "Dark Side, quite simply, is top class and certainly the truest arcade adventure yet seen."