This month in... TGM '89
This month saw a new "bigger and brighter" look for TGM.
Excitement was growing for the impending release of the Konix Slipstream megaconsole. Costing a mere £149 it was due to go on sale in Autumn and would be able to read software from standard 3" disks as well as cartridges. Disks were looking like the preferred format due to being much cheaper to produce - customers could look forward to paying only 15 quid for games. The CPU was previously thought to be an 8086, but it was now revealed they were going with a 68000. This would be accompanied by 4 customised co-processors and an "extremely fast" (70 mips) blitter. Peripherals lined up for launch included the hydraulic chair and 3D helmet.
In other vapourware news, Atari promised a sub-£100 console built with ST technology for the middle of the year. Not to be out done by announcing products that would never see the light of day, Commodore announced a new Amiga/PC hybrid - the 2000AT. The machine would feature an IBM PC-AT emulation mode to enable it to run all PC software, and would cost £1500.
US Gold managed to grab the rights to publish Lucasfilm games in the UK from Domark.
Boots refused to stock System 3's "Last Ninja 2" after the software house put rubber shurikens in 25,000 "limited edition" copies of the game. Other retailers were reportedly removing the offending items by hand or placing warning stickers on the boxes.
Problems came to light with Amstrad's new Spectrum +2 (known as the +2A). Due to a change in the positions of expansion slots and a lack of 9V output to power peripherals, many 3rd party add-ons could not be used. To make matters worse, changes to the OS resulted in incompatibilities in some software. Amstrad's woes didn't end there: customers who forked over £343 for a new Sinclair Professional PC 200 discovered MS-DOS, the GEM 3 environment and GW-BASIC were missing from the package. This was apparently due to a delay which would be rectified soon, but that probably wasn't much comfort to those who found themselves with effectively useless computers.
Audiogenic were to try to attract more women by publishing "cuddly games" and sports simulations with female athletes as sponsors. "I think the whole aura that surrounds computers is male-oriented. Even when you have got women involved they tend to get desensitised and brainwashed," observed Managing Director Peter Calver.
Printer prices were set to rise significantly - up to 47% more - after the EEC ruled that Japanese manufacturers were unfairly undercutting European and American competitors.
VAT came into effect in the UK this month.
Sony, Panasonic and Sanyo had all released new MSX 2+ computers in order to compete with the Amiga & ST. Technically they were impressive in someways (19268 colours), but less so in others (the CPU was an 8-bit Z80). There was no date given when they would be available in the UK.
After having to pull copies of their side scrolling shooter "Katakis" from the shelves due to legal action for similarities to "R-Type", US Gold revealed the German developers (Rainbow Arts, with Factor 5 handling the Amiga conversion) were hard at work rewriting it so it would be totally legal. Factor 5 changed the gameplay and levels "slightly" and the game was re-released as "Denaris".
- Marshal M Rosenthal attended the Commodore show in Philadelphia. The vibe at the show was extremely positive, with a lot of excitement for the potential of the Amiga machines. Judging by what was on show, it seemed that this was the dawning of a new age for artists in particular. The C64 was represented, but had been very much relegated to the side lines.
- "The Gift of the Guppie" was the title of an article by Mel Croucher which looked at some recent examples of stupid gizmos for gullible people with too much money.
- Rob Steel took a look back the adventure game highlights and lowlights of 1988.
- A rather odd piece on "PCA" from The Electric Ephemeiris which was a fully feature astrological application. Some alternative software was mentioned as well as reading material.
- A look at the technical details of the upcoming SAM Coupe machine which could run much Spectrum software while boasting 256K RAM, 64 colours and 7 channel sound.
- With the Konix Slipstream, rumoured Sega Megadelve [sic] and Nintendo II machines due to hit the high street in the coming months, TGM pondered what it would take for a new machine to be successful against such stiff competition. Could Acorn turn the failing Archimedes around? Did the SAM Coupe stand a chance?
- "RC Pro-Am" Rare - NES 85% "Heavily into Nintendo for some years now, Rare haven't lost any of their brilliance or innovation."
- "Speedball" Bitmap Brothers/Imageworks - Amiga 86% "Speedball takes the general format of computerised team games and adds gratuitous violence and speed. Result: things go at a hectic pace, the ball rebounds all over the arena and game-flow is only hindered by the computer occasionally selecting the player who isn't nearest the ball."
- "Last Ninja 2" System 3 - C64 93% Spectrum 89% "Overall, Last Ninja 2 would make an excellent addition to any arcade-adventurer's collection."
- "Laser Squad" Target Games - Spectrum 84% "Through the combination of tactical play and arcade graphics, Laser Squad certainly stands out from the rest."
- "Total Eclipse" Incentive - Spectrum 91% CPC 92% "Total Eclipse is the best yet from Incentive. The puzzles, tricks and traps of an Egyptian tomb merged with the incredibly atmospheric 3D solid graphics of Freescape make it a magical experience - a program not to be missed."