July 1989

The World in July 1989
In the UK we started to see the first signs of a forthcoming recession as house prices dipped, falling for the second successive quarter, having doubled over the previous 3 years. Labour continued to increase its lead over the Tories in the polls, in many ways mirroring current events with the media hating Thatcher and Tories proving shy – we would have another 8 years of Tory government.

In America Seinfeld debuted while Oliver North was fined $150k for his involvement in Iran-Contra. The B2 Stealth Bomber made its maiden flight (and what a sexy bit of kit it was) and Robert Tappan Morris Jr became the first person to be prosecuted for releasing a virus. Oh and the Game Boy came out. This machine was incredibly underpowered compared to most of the hardware of the day but its portability combined with an impressive library of games which focused on gameplay over technical matters led it to be a massive success.

Elsewhere in the world, South African president P W Botha met Nelson Mandela face to face for the first time – an early step toward ending the cruelty of apartheid. In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest – she would be released in 2010 to much fanfare, only to prove to be every bit as bad as the old regime.

The film charts feature Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Burbs and the absolute classic They Live. What a fucking chart!

The album chart is a mixed bag, with Soul II Soul’s debut featuring a couple of excellent tracks, Appetite For Destruction still there along with Transvision Vamp’s Velveteen, but there’s also Simply fucking Red and Jason Donovan. Oh, and fucking Clannad. Who the fuck was buying that shit?

The singles chart had the brilliant Back To Life from Soul II Soul, but it also had Sonia, one of Stock Aitken and Waterman’s many talentless drones. The Pet Shop Boys were there at 5 with a song (It’s Alright) which was sadly a bit preachy but it was still fundamentally an absolute banger. The rest.. not a great time for music. The late 80s and early 90s were frankly a bad time for music in the UK.

On TV we had the first episode of Interceptor on Channel 4. It’s brilliantly bonkers.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month (Click Through Images For More)

ST Format Issue 1

Reviews This Month

Review: Navy Moves

Navy Moves ST Format Review My ReviewThe kit for this was latest version of Steem SSE, selecting a 1MB STFM with TOS 1.00 (the release which ran in all of the gaming machines until the STE came out later in 1989). My first attempt used Automation’s menu 180. Other releases are available, such as that…More

Review: Bloodwych

Bloodwych ST Format Review My ReviewSo to get this up and running I fired up the latest version of Steem SSE and chose a 1MB STFM with TOS 1.00 (the release which ran in all of the gaming machines until the STE came out later in 1989). My first attempt used Automation’s menu 122, which…More

June 1989

The World in June 1989
In some ways June 1989 was the beginning of the end of Thatcher’s government as Labour won its first national election in 15 years (winning most of the votes in the European elections). In China the Tianemen Square protests reached their finale, with the military set against civilians in a fight the civilians could never win. Tank Man would prove himself a legend.

News is otherwise quiet though China’s news is seismic enough all on its own.

The film charts feature Road House at #1, Beaches at #3, Childs Play at #4, the rest of the chart is fairly mediocre.

The album chart is fairly weak, with Jason Donavan still at #1, Queen at #5 with one of their weaker albums, really it’s hard to find anything to recommend.

The singles chart has Jason Donovan at #1 (Neighbours really was a hit factory in combination with Stock, Aitken and Waterman). The standout tracks are Soul II Soul’s Back To Life and Guns And Roses Sweet Child Of Mine, and maybe Manchild by Neneh Cherry. Acid House continues its ascendency with D-Mob at #11 with It Is Time To Get Funky.

On TV John Craven presented his last ever Newsround, but otherwise not much happened.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month (Click Covers For More)

ST/Amiga Format Issue 13 (last ever issue)

This Month’s Reviews

Review: Weird Dreams

Weird Dreams ST Amiga Format Review My Review Weird Dreams begins with a fairly decent intro by 1989 standards, though sound is limited to chip warblings, and then we find ourselves in a room with pink things wandering around and a dangly pink dildo moving around that will kill you if it hits you (in…More

May 1989

The World in May 1989
In the UK, Margaret Thatcher hit the 10 year milestone as Prime Minister, she would not be in the job for much longer. A divisive but hugely important figure in British politics, she reshaped the nation and battled the unions to restore order to British society and modernised a country that had previously been the sick man of Europe. Among the left however she was mostly known as the milk snatcher, due to taking away free school milk.

In football Liverpool beat Everton in the FA Cup final while Arsenal won the first division (which is now known as the Premier League) – they beat Liverpool courtesy of a goal in the last minute of the last game [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_0–2_Arsenal_(26_May_1989)].

In the US, Disney World opened its doors for the first time, Oliver North was found guilty of criminal charges in the Iran Contra affair, and the Magellan probe was launched towards Venus. Elsewhere, the first McDonalds in the USSR began construction in Moscow, and in China the Tianemen Square protests continued with a crackdown from the Chinese government.

The film charts are truly awful – to the point I’m going to skip it entirely. Click if you dare.

The album chart is a mixed bag with Jason Donovan at #1, the brilliant Simple Minds at #2 (though not with one of their better albums), the god-awful Clannad at #8, actually the charts are horrible. Please let the singles chart be better…

The singles chart has the wonderful Kylie Minogue at #1, something I’m ok with as she’s the sexiest woman alive. Queen are at #3 with one of their weaker tracks while London Boys sit at #4 with a brilliant song you’ve probably never heard…

.. and we see Holly Johnson and Transvision Vamp rounding out the top 10. Acid House starts to make an impact on the charts with The Beatmasters and Who’s In The House at #11.

Not much happened in the world of TV – May was a bit of a dull month in many respects.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month

Reviews This Month

Review: Battlehawks 1942

Battlehawks 1942 ST Amiga Format Review My Reviewhttps://www.starehry.eu/download/simulation/docs/Battlehawks.1942-Manual.pdf As a kid I absolutely loved Battlehawks. It came in a beautifully designed box with a ring-bound manual (see link above) that was a really fascinating read, weighing in at 144 pages. Controls aren’t too complicated with mouse or joystick steering your plane and fire/left-click firing your…More

April 1989

The World in April 1989
Probably the biggest event of April 1989 was the Hillsborough disaster, in which 95 people were killed at an FA Cup Semi Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The Sun would go on to make itself unwelcome forever on Merseyside by blaming the fans with support from the South Yorkshire police. That Liverpool fans were also involved in the Heysel disaster in 1985 seems to go unnoticed, and my own experience of Liverpool fans is that they tend towards drunken violence and arseholery. The month was plagued with strikes as the London Underground was paralysed and workers building the Channel Tunnel went on strike over pay and working conditions.

In Scotland Margaret Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax was introduced as a new way for councils to tax their residents. This would go on to cause national rioting once it made its way to England and Wales. The tax was considered unfair because it was a flat rate based on the number of residents rather than the previous basis of land value, which meant that 5 poor people in a hovel would pay more than 1 person in a mansion.

In America 300000 demonstrators marched in Washington to legalise abortion. I don’t know enough of the topic to say whether it was peaceful or not. It doesn’t seem that much else was going on in America at the time.

In Poland, Solidarity was legalised, allowing participation in the coming election, precipitating the overthrow of Communism in Europe. In China protests started in Tianemen Square. They would not end well.

In film we see The Dead Pool at number 1, Twins hanging on at 3 to fund Arnold Shwarzennegger’s Humvee habit, Rain Man hanging in at 7 and Naked Gun at 9. Lower in the charts we see Terry Gilliam’s Adventures of Baron Munchausen at 13 and Tom Cruise trying to recreate the success of Top Gun with Cocktail at 14.

The album chart sees Deacon Blue on top, followed by Simply Red. Strong entries include Madonna’s Like A Prayer at 6 and Guns and Roses Appetite For Destruction at 8.

The singles chart saw the Bangles on top with Eternal Flame, Simply Red with If You Don’t Know Me By Now at #2 (clearly the public was keen on sloooooooow stuff), but thankfully Madonna’s Like A Prayer (#3) and Paula Abdul’s Straight Up (#4) showed the public didn’t completely lack taste. Jason Donavan had sadly slipped from #1 to #6, just ahead of the brilliant Transvision Vamp hit Baby I Don’t Care (#7) and Donna Summer’s banger This Time I Know It’s For Real (#8). Holly Johnson at #9 with Americanos was another strong entry. Overall I’d still class this top 10 as waaaaay better than any in 2020. That the rest of the top 40 included Guns and Roses Paradise City and International Rescue by We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It further illustrates the quality out there.

On TV we had the infamous incident on Going Live where someone rang in to abuse Five Star..

.. while John Snow would join Channel 4 News, replacing Peter Sissons, ready to become famous for his Swingometer and Game Of Thrones.

We Cover The Following Magazines This Month

ST/Amiga Format Issue 11

Reviews This Month

Review: Vigilante

Vigilante ST Amiga Format Review My ReviewAs you can see in the review above, ST/Amiga Format gave Vigilante 70%. Still graphics were rated 3/5, moving graphics 3.5/5, and lasting interest 3/5. These are scores that indicate the game isn’t completely horrible. I have to ask what kind of crack Mark Higham was smoking. The game…More

Review: Archipelagos

Archipelagoshttps://www.gamesdatabase.org/Media/SYSTEM/Atari_ST//Manual/formated/Archipelagos_-_1989_-_Logotron_Entertainment.pdf ST Amiga Format Review My Review My expectation is that this one will have something in common with Sentinel, which I played and enjoyed earlier. Reading the manual and seeing talk of draining energy from stones does little to dispell that expectation. Specifically I need to destroy an obelisk, which requires that I destroy…More

March 1989

The World in March 1989
News for March 1989 is somewhat sparse. Time merged with Warner to become Time Warner, George H W Bush banned import of certain assault rifles, and the Exxon Valdes spilled 240000 barrels of oil into the sea. At the oscars, Rain Man won best picture, with Dustin Hoffman picking up best actor and for best actress Jodie Foster won for The Accused. The quality of the competition was poor. The 12 nations of the EC (as it was then) agreed to ban production of CFCs by the end of the century to solve the big environmental scare of the day, holes in the ozone layer.

In film we see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dani De Vito as Twins holding top spot ahead of Rain Man and Dangerous Liasons, Terry Gilliam’s Adventures of Baron Munchausen pops in at #6 (a film I’ve never seen – I adored his other film Brazil though), and the rest of the chart is pretty uninteresting.

The album chart sees Gloria Estefan on top, deposing Simply Red from top spot, Texas arrive at #3 with Southside (from which the hit I Don’t Want A Lover is taken), Sam Brown holds on at #6 while we have greatest hits from Bananrama and the Style Council and Michael Jackson’s Bad spends its 81st week in the charts. Roy Orbison is not in the top 10. The singles chart too is mercifully free of Roy, with Jason Donovan taking a break from Neighbours to have a number 1 record, followed by Madonna’s magnificent Like A Prayer, a shit charity record at #3, a fantastic Donna Summer hit at 4, the brilliant Stop from Sam Brown at 5, the also fantastic Straight Up from Paula Abdul at 6, then absolute shit from 7 to 10, but overall it’s a good chart with some absolute bangers. Other notables include Guns and Roses with Paradise City entering at 21, We’ve Got A Fuzzbox And We’re Gonna Use It with International Rescue (seriously it’s a banger) at 23, and Marc Almond and Gene Pitney finaly heading out of the top 40 at 39 after 10 weeks.

On TV we had the 2nd Red Nose Day, a day on which comedians go on TV and yell at us to give money to charity. Mike and Angelo made its debut on ITV, as did Children’s Ward. March was quiet for new content however.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues This Month

ST/Amiga Format Issue 10

Reviews This Month

Review: Ultima V

Ultima V ST Amiga Format Review My ReviewDownload manuals So, reviewing Ultima 5 is something that would ordinarily take a fuckload longer than I have spent on games so far, so this is going to be more an exploration. In a way many of these reviews have been an exploration of how I cope with…More

Review: Barbarian II

Barbarian 2 My ReviewSo I thought it would be worth giving Barbarian 2 a quick look. I would however contend that its best feature is the box in which the game comes, which at least has the advantage of tits. Everyone loves tits. After a bit of loading we arrive at the warrior choice screen,…More

Review: Zak McKracken

Zak McKracken ST Amiga Format Review My Review Zak is the second release from Lucasarts using the Scumm engine, as later found in the Monkey Island games, Sam and Max, Grim Fandango, Day Of The Tentacle, etc. Classics, every one, but this is that rare thing, a Scumm game I’ve never played before. For anyone…More

Review: Populous

Populous Check out that box art – it’s a cut above the standard of the time and really helps the game stand out on the shelf. EA had a budget and could really splash out on quality artwork and marketing. The ad looks pretty damn cool too. It’s all in keeping with the EA house…More

February 1989

The World in February 1989
In Britain, with its most recent addition of a 4th channel on terrestrial TV back in 1982, Sky TV broadcast its first satellite TV service in Britain, eventually introducing the nation to WWF, The Simpsons and MTV and fundamentally changing the way we watch TV – now instead of only 4 channels of crap we had hundreds. Meanwhile, ITV got its rival to Aussie soap Neighbours, airing Home and Away for the first time and on the BBC Eastenders killed off Den Watts.. or did they? Following last month’s protests by British Muslims over Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, in Iran the Ayotollah placed a fatwa on him, condemning him to a life of uncertainty – the first high-profile case of what would become an ongoing pattern culminating on events like the Charlie Hebdo attacks. The last Soviet column left Afghanistan, and the first GPS satellite went into orbit paving the way for us to all become lazy bastards dependent upon Google Maps to get around.

The film charts were pretty good, with the utterly wonderful Naked Gun on top spot, Die Hard at 2, Arthur 2 at 3, Cocktail at 4 (ok so that’s not so good). In albums there’s a lot of movement week to week, but for the week I’ve picked we have a mix of the Fine Young Cannibals, Roy Orbison (twice), Gloria Estefan, New Order, Mike and the Mechanics and Elvis Costello. Definitely an eclectic mix, but overall vastly higher quality than you would find in the chart now. In the singles chart we find that Marc Almond and Gene Pitney have made it all the way to number 1, the excerable Michael Ball at 3, but some genuine bangers present like Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative, Morrissey’s Last Of The International Playboys and Holly Johnson’s Love Train.

We Cover These Magazine Issues This Month

ST/Amiga Format Issue 9

Review: Crazy Cars 2

Crazy Cars 2 ST Amiga Format Review My ReviewCrazy Cars 2 opens with a still image using stippling effects to give the impression of more colour than was actually present and a sampled tune rather than the usual beepy chiptune fare. However, that’s about as good as this game gets. This game is terrible (sorry…More

Review: Dragon’s Lair

Dragon’s Lair ST Amiga Format Review ST Format Review (July 1990) Cheating As you can see I’ve included both the early ST Amiga Format review and the later ST Format review so you can get a sense of the evolution of the magazine and how it reviewed games, and also because I’m kinda cheating by…More

January 1989

The World in January 1989
The UK was pretty quiet, with the only notable events being Muslims protesting in Bradford against Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, burning his book, a harbinger of things to come and a lesson we failed to heed. On the international stage, it was the end of the Reagan presidency as George H W Bush was sworn in as the 41st president of the US. Meanwhile, Ted Bundy was busy being executed after being convicted of murders in Florida, ending a devastating trail of murder.

In the world of film we saw Red Heat taking the top spot from Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, while Young Guns also proved a hit. Short Circuit 2 was looking like a solidly successful sequel to one of my favourite 80s films, while Roger Rabbit hung in there. The rest of the chart was serviceable. In music we see an album chart headed by Erasure with the utterly wonderful The Innocents, containing A Little Respect, Ship Of Fools and Chains Of Love, Kylie continued to ride high, Roy Orbison was strangely popular, far too many greatest hits albums proving that even then album sales were mostly about old people, Bad was in its 71st week in the charts, and Enya had a record in the top 10 which is surely as good a reason as any to commit suicide. The singles chart was mercifully better, despite being headed by Kylie and Jason. Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance at 3 is still an absolute banger while Inner City hang on with Good Life, while Mike and the Mechanics Living Years is still pretty strong and the Fine Young Cannibals do their thing with She Drives Me Crazy. An absolute gem at number 10 with the first socially-distanced single as Gene Pitney and Marc Almond worked together across the atlantic without the internet to deliver the fantastic cover of Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart. I absolutely love it. Finally we have Waiting For A Star To Fall by Boy Meets Girl, the most 80s song in that chart with a truly 80s video to match (the mullets are amazing).

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues Released In January 1989

ST/Amiga Format Issue 8 covered scanners.

Reviews This Month

Review: Baal

Baal ST Format Review My ReviewBaal is a run and gun, with a graphical style that is typically psygnosis, with hints of Shadow Of The Beast which would come years later. Speed is maintained by having quite a small window for gameplay, and this proves effective as the animation is crisp, though it does noticeably…More

December 1988

The World in December 1988
December 1988 was an eventful month, with probably the most famous (for those of us of a certain age) moment being Edwina Curry’s outrageous assertion that most British eggs had salmonella. Egg sales were affected badly. This was however only the 2nd most shocking thing about Edwina Curry, as it later came out that she’d been shagging John Major (British PM for a while). Later that month we’d have the Clapham junction rail crash, and finally we’d have the Lockerbie plane crash (which would later be shamefully copied by British country sheep and shagging soap Emerdale).

Looking at the film chart (https://www.25thframe.co.uk/charts/box-office.php?chart=19881209) we see the utterly brilliant Who Framed Roger Rabit at number 1, proving the British public had great taste, though we let ourselves down with Willow at number 2. Scrooged with Bill Murray was however a better effort (primarily because Bill Murray in his prime was unstoppable). The rest of the chart is unremarkable as we see A Fish Called Wanda slowly sliding out of the charts.

Looking at the singles chart (https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/uk-top-40-singles-chart/19881211/750140/) we see that Britain actually has fucking awful taste. Mistletoe and Wine from the definitely-not-a-pedophile Cliff Richard at number 1 because who doesn’t love a shit Christmas song, followed by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan with Especially For You cashing in on the public’s inability to tell the difference between actor and character (they played a couple in the Aussie soap Neighbours), followed by Suddenly by Angry Anderson which was played at the wedding of the characters Kylie and Jason played in Neighbours (the show was HUUUUUUUGE in the UK back then and any Neighbours star could pretty much guarantee a pop career). A decent EP from Erasure (ok one good song, Stop), some utter shit from Bros, the excellent dance hit Good Life by Inner City and then Phil Collins singing a song he put out for Buster, and then it gets REALLY shit. Status fucking Quo.

The album chart (https://www.officialcharts.com/charts/albums-chart/19881211/7502/) was no better, with Now 13 at number 1, followed by Cliff Richard (Nooo!) and the lovely but not yet great musically Kylie, lots of greatest hits and compilation albums and honestly there’s little there I can muster enthusiasm for. Dark times. No wonder we needed decent games to make life worth living.

We Cover The Following Magazines Released in December 1988

Reviews And Articles About This Issue

Review: Untouchables

Untouchables ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #223. We get treated to some tits. Thanks guys, I’d say that makes this the best menu yet. The music is shit but who cares, we…More

Review: Ghostbusters 2

Ghostbusters 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #442. That seems quite late vs the other games in this issue so the question is was it delayed because they couldn’t be bothered because…More

Review: Warp

Warp ST Format ReviewSee previous post My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. This game got a release on an Automation disk – menu #285. This menu features lots of wibbly text, and it takes some doing to figure out the buttons to get each game, but I…More

November 1988

The World in November 1988

A more full monthly post will come in due course.

We Cover The Following Magazines Released This Month

ST/Amiga Format Issue 6 is a musical issue.

Review: Rocket Ranger

Rocket Ranger Note that the game requires use of a copy-protection code wheel which has been brilliantly recreated at https://www.oldgames.sk/codewheel/rocket-ranger (UK release) and https://www.oldgames.sk/codewheel/rocket-ranger-us (US release) if you want to play along. Note that they are different. Cinemaware have a particular style, their games often graphically excellent and featuring an array of minigames. Rocket Ranger is no exception to…More

Review: Powerdrome

It’s likely you won’t have heard of Powerdrome, the EA racer from 1988. It’s not enormously well-known but it’s a little something different from the norm at a time where most of what was being released was platformers and shooters, with most racing games being Outrun-clones. 3D filled vector racing games were certainly unusual at…More

October 1988

The World in October 1988

Musically it was a mixed month. Erasure had A Little Respect, Kim Wilde didn’t trust strangers and Womack And Womack were still in the top 10 but the rest of the top 10 singles were awful. In the albums the Pet Shop Boys released one of their weaker 80s efforts, Kylie clung on, and the rest was absolute dirge. Films were better, Good Morning Vietnam with Robin Williams at his best, Buster (not cool to admit liking it but I do so tough titties), and the wonderful Beetlejuice still clinging on.

We Cover The Following Magazines Released This Month

ST/Amiga Format Issue 5 is an art-focused issue

Review: Elite

Elite Elite is a game that most people will already know about, a space trading/combat game set in a miniature recreation of the universe. This version crams 8000 planets in 8 galaxies into 512k of RAM – a feat that I can only assume involves some use of procedural generation. Elite 2 would go further…More

Review: Super Hang-On

Super Hang-On Super Hang-On is another game that came with my Atari ST in the Power Pack. (yeah I’m using a pirated version) ST Format ReviewBefore I start my review, here’e ST Format’s take on the game. My ReviewThe power pack came with Super Hang-On and Outrun. Outrun had the glamour, the Ferrari, the multiple…More

Review: Star Goose

Star Goose Star Goose came with my Atari ST in the Power Pack, one of a huge selection of games. While not as big a personal hit as Nebulus, I did enjoy it at the time and it’s good to revisit and see how it’s aged. ST Format ReviewBefore I start my review, here’e ST…More