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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
In UK news the England cricket team was unable to play India due to several players being refused visas for involvement in South African cricket during apartheid. Margaret Thatcher made her infamous Bruges speech opposing moves to transition the European Economic Community to a federal Europe. It would take 32 years for us to extract ourselves from a federal Europe.
The US news mostly concerns finishing third in the Olympic medals table behind USSR and East Germany. Nothing suspicious going on there at all. In more positive news, Space Shuttle flights were resumed.
Elsewhere in the world Lillehammer won the right to host the 1994 Winter Olympics and Hurricane Gilbert tore Jamaica apart.
On TV Radio 1 made the switch to FM broadcasting, while channel 4 was forced to drop its invitation to Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein leader and terrorist) on a talk thow. Some excellent kids TV debuts with BBC1 giving us Stoppit and Tidyup along with The Snorks, both of which would surely give kids nightmares, while ITV gave us the magnificent Count Duckula – a cartoon from the creators of Danger Mouse about a vegetarian vampire duck voiced by the wonderful David Jason.
The singles chart is.. well it’s ok – the standout tracks for me are Teardrops which is an out and out banger, and The Only Way Is Up by Yazz.
The best movie in that chart is undoubtedly the magnificent Beetlejuice, if you haven’t watched it, please do.
We Cover The Following Magazines Released This Month
ST/Amiga Format Issue 4 focuses on video digitising while offering reviews of games still bearing some of the hallmarks of their 8-bit origins.
Stunt Car Racer ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 117. The menu has a cool picture of Garfield, but more importantly some rather excellent chip music, along with the traditional scrolly message. I fired up the menu, enter my name…More
In UK news Gazza’s transfer record didn’t last long as Everton paid West Ham £2.3m for Tony Cottee. A couple of weeks later Ian Rush would break that record again with a £2.7m move from Juventus back to Liverpool. In more exciting news, pubs were now allowed to stay open all day.
The US is light on news, with the main event being the Republicans nominating George Bush Sr as president (we didn’t call him that then but with George W Bush later becoming president we have to distinguish between them somehow).
Elsewhere in the world Burma had a massive uprising in which thousands were killed, and Al-Quaeda was formed. The Iraq-Iran war ended in ceasefire, ending a bloody conflict which had been disastrous for the middle east.
On TV there was an infamous incident on Top Of The Pops. Traditionally bands would mime to each song, and All About Eve had prepared to do so but the backing track was not played through their monitors leaving them standing there not knowing what was going on. They would be invited back to play live the next week.
UK film charts aren’t 100% reliable but Comint To America seems to be at #1. At least Police Academy 5: Why Are We Still Making These had been displaced from #1. Probably the biggest US release was Young Guns, and.. well that’s about it. A quiet month.
The album chart has Now That’s What I Call Music 12 at #1. For those unfamiliar the Now series was a compilation of the hits of the day, a good option for those who couldn’t afford to buy singles. Another compilation Hits 8 as at #5 demonstrating the popularity of the format. Kylie was at #2 and Fairground Attraction were at #3 while Michael Jackson was at #6 with Bad (which had been on the chart for nearly a year) to give us some quality.
The singles chart isn’t bad – the brilliant The Only Way Is Up by Yazz is at #1 while Kim Wilde occupies #4 with You Came.
We Cover The Following Magazines Released This Month
ST/Amiga Format issue 3 sees a number of fairly unusual games, not quite as out there as issue 2 but still reasonably odd.
Better Dead Than Alien Better dead than alien is a vertical shooter akin to centipede or space invaders. The marketing and title screen try to give off a B-movie vibe but that never really makes a difference to the game. I used a mouse although you can use a joystick or the keyboard. The mouse…More
Arkanoid II – Revenge Of Doh So there is some kind of story, and it’s told in a slightly star wars fashion over some wibbly warbly chip-tune bollocks, but fundamentally it doesn’t matter. This is a breakout clone. A good one, but nevertheless a breakout clone. For what it is it’s solid – the graphics…More
Whirligig (aka Space Cutter aka fucking kill me this game is fucking awful) Review I had a little look into Whirligig at https://www.atarilegend.com/games/games_detail.php?game_id=96 and noted that the game was designed and programmed by Mike Singleton – a name I recognised instantly. He was responsible for Midwinter 1 and 2, two of the greatest 16 bit games ever…More
The World in July 1988 In UK news the Piper Alpha oil rig exploded in the North Sea leading to over a hundred deaths. Paul Gascoigne (aka Gazza) was the first £2m footballer, moving from Newcastle Utd to Spurs, a legend of a player beset by so many demons who would eventually try to go fishing with Raoul Moat. Paddy Ashdown was elected leader of the Social and Liberal Democrat Party who would later become just the Liberal Democrat Party – a party who these days are neither liberal nor democratic.
The US shot down an Iranian passenger plane in a dreadful international incident, overshadowing the awarding of the 1994 World Cup to the US. The Democrats nominated Muchael Dukakis as their presidential candidate. It didn’t go well.
Elsewhere in the world the USSR voted to end the Communist Party’s monopoly on economic and non-political power signalling the beginning of the end of communism in Eastern Europe.
On TV The Flying Doctors made its debut on BBC1 – not quite as popular as Neighbours but it still gained a following. Less excitingly, Countryfile made its debut and is still going today. On ITV Wheel Of Fortune made its first appearance, and would last far longer than it really should.
UK film charts aren’t super-reliable but it looks like Police Academy 5: The Joke’s Worn Thin was at #1, pushing Crocodile Dundee 2 to #2 – the rest of the chart is far from memorable. There are actually some awesome US releases – the tentpole hits are Short Circuit 2 and Die Hard, but less well known but also brilliant are Arthur 2 and the Pet Shop Boy’s wonderfully experimental art film It Couldn’t Happen Here which just happens to have the greatest fucking soundtrack known to man, and a dummy talking about existentialism. A true joy to behold.
The album chart has improved with Tracy CHapman at #1 and Kylie Minogue’s debut at #1, and I don’t mind Billy Idol’s greatest hits album at #3, hell Barry White at #5 is alright by me.
The singles chart has Glenn Medeiros at #1 with a shit cheesy ballad. More positively Salt N Pepa were at #2 with Push It and Tracy Chapman at #5 with Fast Car, while Everything But The Girl were at #6 with I Don’t Wanna Talk About It. It’s a bad chart overall though.
We cover the following magazines released in June 1988
ST/Amiga Format issue 2 sees things ramp up with a few interesting reviews.
This is a review covering a game from ST/Amiga Format Issue 2 – the August 1988 issue (so actually out in July). Corruption I’ve never played a text adventure. Well, a brief bit of fiddling with Hitchhiker’s Guide, but that’s about it. Indeed my adventure gaming expertise mostly consists of lots of Monkey Island, Leisure…More
This is a review covering a game from ST/Amiga Format Issue 2 – the August 1988 issue (so actually out in July). Sentinel Sentinel is a very strange game. To explain it as simply as I can, you are on a 3D island, and there is a sentinel which if it sees you will drain…More
This is a review covering a game from ST/Amiga Format Issue 2 – the August 1988 issue (so actually out in July). Captain Blood I’ll start with Captain Blood as I have a little bit of prior experience with it, albeit on an Amiga. Wait, what? But I had an ST, that can’t be right.…More
The World in June 1988 In UK news 80000 people attended a concert at Wembley in honour of Nelson Mandela. English fans were arrested in West Germany due to hooliganism while the national team went out at the grou stage, finishing the group bottom. Gay rights activists invaded BBC news during the 6 O’Clock bulletin.
The US news wildfires spread through Yellowstone, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released to US cinemas and well honestly there’s not much else of interest.
Elsewhere in the world West Germany hosted Euro 1988 while in Estonia there were 100,000 strong demonstrations – they were still a couple of years away from freedom.
On TV Channel 4 aired ‘A Very British Coup’ – a fictional account of the deep state working against a Labour (left wing for non-brits) government, leading eventually to a military coup.
The UK film charts saw Crocodile Dundee 2 at #1 which I personally enjoyed but I get it’s not universally loved, with Throw Mamma From A Train and Three Men And A Baby among the other highlights. Among films released in America this month, the big hitters are probably Big, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Coming To America.
The album chart seems to have a compilation album called Nite Flite at #1, while Hothouse Flowers are at #2 with People and Fleetwood Mac occupy #3. The dirty dancing sound track occupies 6, while More Dirty Dancing was at 10. I’m not joking. It seems hardcore music fans were not buying albums.
The singles chart is a little light on quality. At #1 there’s Doctorin The Tardis by Timelords (a crap novelty record) while the abysmal Bros occupied #2 with their biggest hit I Owe You Nothing. There is at least the wonderful Aztec Camera song Somewhere In My Heart at #8 making it’s way out of the chart, and Erasure’s Chains Of Love is at #11 making its way up the chart. Oh and there’s Belinda Carlisle’s wonderful Circle In The Sand at 13 heading out of the chart too.
We cover the following magazines released in June 1988
This issue was the first and didn’t have many game reviews but it’s the start of the journey.
Both of these reviews are from ST/Amiga Format Issue 1 from July 1988 – as such this is a very early set of reviews and I hadn’t yet sorted the format out for all this stuff so the quality is perhaps a little below the rest of the site. However, the videos are new (May…More