December 1989

The World in December 1989
The biggest news would have to be on the 3rd of December, when Margaret Thatcher, George Bush (Sr) and Mikhail Gorbachev declared the Cold War over. This was back when Britain was still relevant, in large part due to sheer force of will from Maggie. 2 days later she would defeat Anthony Meyer (who?) in a leadership challenge.

In the UK, aside from Maggie’s leadership challenge, we had the privatised water companies going on the stock market, making some people a LOT of money. Labour began its path towards Blairite sanity by abandoning its policy on closed shops. The economy continued to slide, inflation hit 7.8% during the year while growth dipped to 1.7%, with house prices in London falling 10% to an average of £86000 (what I wouldn’t give for prices to be that sane now).

Britain experienced its worst flu epidemic since the 70s with a million infections recorded by December, with hospitals forced to cancel surgery. We did not shut the country down. The estimated death count was between 19000 and 29000.

Elsewhere in the world, the entire Socualist Unity Party in East Germany resigned en-masse, part of the growing movement toward ending Communism and the cold war. In Czechoslovakia, a new non-Communist cabinet was sworn in, and in Chile the first free election in 16 years was held, and Brazil had their first in 29 years. The Romanian revolution began, this revolution would eventually lead to the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu, an incredibly corrupt Communist dictator.

Honestly it’s so odd – the UK’s economy was fucked, but outside of that there was so much hope, so much expectation, the world was throwing off the shackles of Communism and the light of Freedom shone brightly, a beacon of hope to all. This was the end of history, the future would be forever bright and prosperous. And now, look at us. We fucked it.

On TV the big event was Clive James On The 80s, broadcast on New Year’s Eve. In less welcome news, Doctor Who finally ended after 26 years – it would be a long wait for it to return with a fairly shit movie somewhere in the middle.

It’s two hours, it’s from a VHS recording (quality improves dramatically a few minutes in), but it’s totally worth your time. I remember staying up late to watch it – I’m sure some of the jokes flew over my head but I watched it again recently and it was amazing. It puts you right there in the moment, the 80s viewed through an 80s lens.

Elsewhere, the Simpsons premiered on Fox, and would go on to be a huge part of what defines the 90s.

The film charts are fucking GLORIOUS! Ghostbusters 2 at #1, Back To The Future 2 at #2, When Harry Met Sally at #3, honestly three of my all-time favourites, with Field Of Dreams at #4. We’ll never see a chart that good again.

The album chart sees Phil Collins at #1, and I know it’s not fashionable to like Phil, but I do so tough titties. Anyone who doesn’t like Another Day In Paradise isn’t human. Meanwhile, someone was stretching a joke far too thin with Jive Bunny at #2. Kylie was doing her thing at #3 but more importantly, Tina Turner had an absolute banger of an album, Foreign Affair, at #4 with the likes of Steamy Windows, The Best and I Don’t Wanna Lose You, songs which really take me right back there.

The singles chart has Band Aid 2 at number 1. It’s not as good as the first one. Lambada was a bit of a sensation at #5 despite being painfully mediocre – no idea why it was in the charts in December when it was the kind of song you’d hear on holiday in Spain with all the other Brits. It’s a weak top 10, but then that’s how it usually was around Christmas.

The best songs were probably Tina Turner’s I Don’t Wanna Lose You and Madonna’s Dear Jessie.

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

Reviews This Month

Review: Batman

Batman ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 224, in which we get a digitised image, some wibbly text and some scrolly text. The chiptune isn’t bad. So this is Issue 6’s big ticket item, with a million adverts everywhere for the game. Review…More

Review: Ghouls N Ghosts

Ghouls and Ghosts ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 199, another basic one with a simple image, scrolling text and chip tune. Not their most exciting work. So Ghouls and Ghosts is regarded as something of a classic overall, but what of the…More

Review: Snoopy

Snoopy ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 173, a fairly simple menu with a cool picture, some chip music and some scrolling text. The game kicks off with a simple animated intro with some reasonable chip music. That said, it fails to move…More

Review: Super Wonder Boy In Monster Land

Wonderboy In Monsterland ST Format Review My ReviewBefore starting my review, I must deal with the fact that I can’t hear Wonderboy without thinking of this song. For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 214, this one’s quite a simple one with the chip tune and scrolling text…More

Review: Stormlord

Stormlord ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I’m using Automation 225, which gives me a nice bit of chip music and the usual array of scrolly text, in this case with wibbly bars highlighting the text for the application list. We get an interesting explainer from…More

Review: Super League Soccer (this time the right one)

Super League SoccerNo box-art available ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. After my previous fail I hunted high and low but in the end had to settle for which had a dump that appears to be from a more standard (non-scene) release. So graphics are rudimenatary, and…More

Review: Power Drift

Power Drift ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was Automation 311. Not a bad cracktro – a possibly-digitised image of a young lady in her underwear as text flies around, plus the usual scrolly text at the bottom border and…More

Review: Hard Drivin’

Hard Drivin ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was Automation 188. The intro has a pretty decent chiptune accompanying a weird monster, and scrolly text with a graphic equaliser overlaid. It’s not a bad intro, perhaps not anything special…More

Review: Ninja Warriors

Ninja Warriors ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was going to be Automation 319 which comes on 3 disks. The intro was a suitably jolly chip tune with a real emphasis on wibbly scrolling text. I can’t fucking read most…More

Review: Jumping Jackson

Jumping Jackson ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. The crack disk of choice today was going to be Automation 239 but it decided not to work. In the end I went with SuperGAU 325 which has proven more helpful. It’s not got the most exciting intro…More

November 1989

The World in November 1989
The big event was the fall of the Berlin wall. It was such a huge moment, signalling what some thought was the end of history. Following on, Bulgaria ended its communist rule and Czechoslovakia saw massive protests which would end the rule of their Communist Party and usher in elections. It was one of the most momentous times in history but at 9 I didn’t really fully understand its significance. That is a source of some regret, as it now seems that I lived through the peak of Western civilisation without realising it.

In the UK we continued the loss of our own home-grown industries as Ford bought Jaguar. They have become increasingly generic. The House Of Commons was televised for the first time – given we see footage from the commons every day it seems strange now that we didn’t even have highlights. Of course now with social media so much of the commons is just posturing to create that Twitter zinger.

In America the football (soccer to you guys) team qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 40 years.

Elsewhere in the world, the end of Apartheid was drawing closer as FW De Klerk scrapped the Separate Amenities Act

On TV Blackadder Goes Forth broadcast the legendary final episode, a tearjerker if ever there was one, while Byker Grove made its debut on Childrens BBC, alongside Maid Marian And Her Merry Men.

The film charts see the brilliant Shirley Valentine at number one, in which a bored Liverpudlian housewife goes to Mykonos to get away from her husband and ends up learning that fuck is fuck, boat is boat. The rest of the chart is distressingly poor.

The album chart sees Chris Rea at number 1 with The Road To Hell. Erasure briefly hit number one but had dropped back to 5 with Wild, an album which didn’t quite live up to some of their previous greats. The Beautiful South made their debut with a fantastic album, mixing caustic lyrics with uplifting melodies as Paul Heaton moved on from The Housemartins.

The singles chart has some absolute bangers with Lisa Stansfield at #1 and Phil Collins Another Day In Paradise at #2, Martika at 7 with I Feel The Earth Move, and The Mixmasters with Grand Piano at 9 for a dose of house. 808 State came in at 20 with Pacific State further showcasing the strength of dance music.

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

ST Format Issue 5

Reviews This Month

Not-Review: Pro Tennis Tour

So I gave up on Pro Tennis Tour aka Great Courts. I’m having considerable difficulty in returning shots and can’t find a manual to figure out if I’m missing anything in the controls in terms of aiming or anything like that… (a few hours later) So this was from a previous session… The same happened…More

Review: Double Dragon 2

Double Dragon 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. I used Automation disk 219, which also includes Alf: The First Adventure. Yep, a game around the TV show Alf. I might have to try it out for shits and giggles. It’s an ok intro – not…More

Review: Future Wars

Future Wars ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. Automation didn’t have this, nor did D-Bug, so I went with the Medway Boys for this crack. Sadly there’s no intro, much to my disappointment. All you get is this lousy text after running the executable from the…More

October 1989

The World in October 1989
In the UK we had our first World Wrestling Federation event. Rover launched the 200 series, and England qualified for Italia 90 by drawing with Poland. The stock market fell dramatically fuelling fears of a recession, while the party formed from the merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party renamed itself to the Liberal Democrats. They were irrelevant then, had a brief spell in coalition in the 2010s but then faded back to irrelevance. The Guildford Four, wrongly convicted of terrorist activity in 1975. Labour had a 10 point lead over the Tories, but with the previous election in 1987, they would have to wait until 1992 to have a crack at the Tories, and in reality they had peaked too soon. British rail announced YET ANOTHER delay to the Channel Tunnel.

In America the Dow Jones hit a record high of 2791.41 (at time of writing it’s currently 26501.60). The Galileo Probe was sent on its journey to Jupiter (I love shit like that), and the Flag Protection Act came into effect, sparking protests. It was eventually struck down.

Elsewhere, Communism was in decline, with East Germany having to close its border with Czechoslovakia to prevent emigration among other things, with Hungary declaring its Third Republic, marking the end of Communism.

On TV Jeremy Paxman made his first appearance as presenter of Newsnight where he would gain a reputation for a combative style. Michael Palin began his career in travel TV by debuting his Around The World In 80 Days. ITV added a third weekly episode of Coronation Street, contributing to the over-saturation of soaps on British TV. Birds Of A Feather first appeared on BBC1 – it was billed as comedy but it was never funny. It would last for 11 years, and then return in 2014 for fuck’s sake.

The film charts see Robin Williams being fucking brilliant in Dead Poets Society at #1. At #2 was the silly but kinda fun in a cheesy way K9, with Lethal Weapon 2 at #5, and The Fly 2 at #7 (I honestly didn’t know there was a sequel).

The album chart sees a new entry from Kylie Minogue, the difficult second album which saw a continuation of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman formula with some absolute bangers. Tracy Chapman’s Crossroads and Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair follow with Gloria Estefan next, in a female-dominated top 4.

The singles chart has Jive Bunny at #1 but there is at least some decent stuff below with Black Box, Technotronic, Sydney Youngblood and Rebel MC. The big stand-out is of course Billy Joel with We Didn’t Start The fire.

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

ST Format Issue 4

Review: Stunt Car Racer

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

September 1989

The World in September 1989
In the UK our ambulance crews went on strike. Meanwhile, the IRA were bombing and murdering as was their way. Nigel Lawson resigned as chancellor, paving the way for John Major to replace him (and of course he would eventually become PM). The recession gathered pace in the meantime, it was expected to be the worst in a decade.

In America George Bush (Sr) proposed to spend $7.9bn on the War On Drugs in his first televised speech – later in the month 21 tons of cocaine and $12m in cash was seized in Los Angeles. Former president Reagan had fluid removed from his brain. Hurrican Hugo hit South Carolina.

South Africa held the last election before leaving apartheid, confirming FW De Klerk’s leadership. In Asia Nintendo celebrated their 100th anniversary, and Vietnam pulled its last troops from Cambodia.

On TV Peter Sissons took over as presenter of Question Time, and there were a number of really important shows that made their debuts that month. We had Challenge Anneka which would run for 6 years and become something of an institution in the UK, while Bodger and Badger would become a kids TV classic, and finally, one of the greatest comedy series in the world would have its fourth series – Blackadder Goess Forth. It finished with something you wouldn’t expect of a comedy show, a proper tear-jerker, as characters we’ve come to know, love and despise, go over the top of the trenches to certain death.

The film charts see Lethal Weapon 2 on top, and a few decent films from the previous month remain in the charts, but there’s not much fresh quality there.

The album chart features Eurythmics at #1 with their last album for 10 years. While it did get to number one, the singles didn’t perform brilliantly suggesting perhaps it wasn’t a classic. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith made up the rest of the top 3 while the rest of the charts offered little. Max fucking Bygraves at 12 – that tells you something about the British public’s taste.

The singles chart were led by Black Box with Ride On Time at #1, but we also had Richard Marx with the classic power ballad Right Here Waiting and Tears For Fears with the brilliant Sowing The Seeds Of Love. We also had Starlight with Numero Uno which was very much of it’s time but I guarantee it would fill a dance floor now (if we were allowed to go near them anymore). House Music could also be found at #11 with The Beatmasters and Betty Boo. There are some good songs coming up through the charts with the wonderful Pump Up The Jam from Technotronic, Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode, If Only I Could by Sydney Youngblood and Cherish from Madonna (back when she was awesome), while Aerosmith were steadily climbing with Love In An Elevator (songs took a bit longer to work their way up the charts back then).

The Magazine
Issue 3’s theme is violence. At the time the press was in a bit of a moral panic about violent video games, so ST format gave it a bit of coverage. The disk featured Xenon 2 in which you blew up a bunch of aliens so it’s likely they didn’t give any actual fucks about violence.

The news section discusses the new STs appearing at the PC show, with the STE featuring an upgraded 4096 colour palette (vs the STFM’s 512 – though still only 16 on screen at once), a stereo 8-bit DMA sound chip to improve on the STFM’s horrible chip warbles, horizontal and vertical hardware scrolling, a blitter chip and additional game controller ports (which would be on the side of the machine rather than under it – the underside placement meant that one had a hard time getting the plugs into and out of the ports while the idiotic decision to solder them directly to the motherboard meant they were prone to just not working after a while).

More exciting in some ways was the TT, which featured the super-powerful 68030 chip, clocked at 16MHz and packing 2MB of RAM and a 30MB hard drive. The TT had better graphics modes, able to display 256 colours at 320×480 vs the ST’s 16 colours at 320×200, or 640×480 at 16 colours, plus a 1280×960 monochrome option. The STE was intended to be the Amiga-buster while the TT was aimed at business users, but the STE didn’t really have fancy enough graphics modes to threaten the Amiga. The Lynx was expected to hit shops for Christmas.

Microtext offered ST users a gadget to store teletext pages on their Atari STs – surely the most retro thing I’ve said in this entire thread.

We have a review for GFA Raytrace – the ST had raytracing before it was fashionable, though I remember having to leave my machine on overnight to process a single 320×200 image (I recall using something that came with I think issue 8 as a freebie). We also have a review for the Hypercache accelerator board, allowing you to clock your ST to 16MHz by replacing your old 8MHz 68000 with a new fancy 16MHz one. This involves soldering. To be fair, £150 for that probably isn’t bad.

The violence article amusingly predicts the FPS, musing that Operation Wolf is the perfect violent game as “you can see your enemy as you blast him.. to make this type of game better, the display would have to simulate the view taken fromt he eyes of the hero. Then as the gun was drawn level to fire, you could get a full-screen view of the victim’s face. In a perfect world you’d see it crincle with pain and the eyes bulge with fear just before being treated to a liberal spurting of blood.” I’d say the author has some issues.

We Cover The Following Magazine Issues (Click Covers To See Detailed Coverage)

ST Format Issue 3

Reviews This Month

Review: Xenon 2

Xenon 2 ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 133. The menu has some pretty decent music and a nice piece of art along with the traditional scrolly message. Damn this game makes an entrance. Absolute banger of a tune, not the…More

Review: The Games – Summer Edition

The Games – Summer Edition ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 148 which consists of two disks (A and B). The menu has some fancy music, and a typical scrolling text which is weirdly polite and helpful. The game itself is…More

Review: Castle Warrior

Castle Warrior ST Format Review My ReviewSo for this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM. This is from Automation Menu 124, which also features issue 2’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Castle Warrior opens with a well-drawn loading screen making effective use of the limited ST palette, overlaid with a fairly…More

August 1989

The World in August 1989
In the UK the West Midlands Police Serious Crime Squad was disbanded after years of fabricated confessions – the police were not defunded in general, just the rotten department disbanded and replaced with a less corrupt unit. Electronic tagging was introduced, allowing some offenders to be placed back in the community with minimal risk to the public.

In America, for the first time, a privately-owned rocket put a payload in space, a TV satellite. Elsewhere Gazprom (Russian energy production) became a state-run enterprise, and would many years later be used to hold Europe hostage by threatening to shut off gas supplies – a key tool in Putin’s international ambitions. In South Africa, president P W Botha was replaced by F W De Klerk, the man who would end apartheid. Voyager 2 approached Neptune and Triton.

The film charts look pretty damn good. Tum Burton’s Batman at #1 (the only decent one), the less brilliant Licence To Kill at #2, Katate Kid 3 at #3 and Indiana Jones at #4, though the less said about Police Academy 6 the better.

The album chart sees little movement from the previous month, with the only new entry of any significance being Gloria Estefan with Cuts Both Ways.

The singles chart were a tad bonkers. Jive Bunny at #1, which was a mash-up of swing tracks over a video featuring a cartoon rabbit, while at #2 we had Lil Louis’s French Kiss which consisted of a dance track with a woman having an orgasm, followed by more conventional fare from Kylie, Martika and Liza Minnelli (by far her best track), and the wonderful Shakespear’s Sister (You’re History). Outside the top 10 is the brilliant Ride On Time by Black Box and Pure by the Lightning Seeds (who would be bigger in the 90s), London Nights by London Boys was an absolute corker and Days by Kirsty MacColl was another brilliant song.

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

ST Format Issue 2

This Month’s Reviews

Review: Blood Money

Blood Money ST Format Review My ReviewSo, my final game for issue 2 – Blood Money. I couldn’t find an Automation menu for this one so had to use a Superior cracked version instead. This is all running on my trusty Steem 1MB STE. Two other versions didn’t work – it seems to be a…More

Review: Verminator

Verminator ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m using Automation’s Menu 181, on Steem with a 1MB STFM and TOS 1.0. After a lovely Automation intro screen (not strictly part of the game but who cares) we get to a start screen that weirdly requires you to move your pointer around with your joystick,…More

Review: Robocop

Robocop ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m using Automation’s Menu 96, on Steem with a 1MB STFM and TOS 1.0. So Robocop begins with a lovely loading screen with a sampled voice giving the prime directives. It’s worth remembering that at this point sampled sound was rare and quality artwork wasn’t always a…More

Review: Kick Off 1

Kick Off ST Format Review I’d love to know what on earth posessed ST Format to run the review with such a vibrant background, making the review basically unreadable. My ReviewKick Off is, for anyone who had an ST, a game that you already know. You either had it yourself or your mates had it,…More

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 [–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 Review 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

Archipelagos 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