December 1990

The World in December 1990
The UK had a remarkable event as workers from the English and French sides of the Channel Tunnel met for the first time, a project which had run way over budget and way over time, but has since proven to be pretty useful. The first British hostages were released by Saddam Hussein. Poundland opened its first shop (honestly I had no idea it was that old). Tony Adams (Arsenal central defender) was sentenced to 4 months in prison for drink driving. The last coalmine was closed in South Wales.

The US news unemployment hit 6.3%, and the Space Shuttle Columbia had a short mission that really didn’t go brilliantly. Otherwise not much going on in America it seems.

Elsewhere in the world Helmut Kohl won the first federal election since German reunification. Slobodan Milosovic was elected as president of Serbia. This would not go well. In Albania the communists announced free elections with other parties allowed to stand, signalling the end of communism there. Slovenia voted for independence. All in all, a bad time for communism continued, but also seeds were sewn for future conflicts and atrocities.

On TV Britain got its first foreign language channel – it was Greek, surprisingly. Channel 4 premiered Wallace & Gromit’s A Grand Day Out. Otherwise not much to write home about – December is traditionally a quiet month.

The film charts saw Teenage Mutant Ninja (Hero in the UK) Turtles at #1, but it would soon be replaced by Home Alone. The chart is absolutely dreadful.


The album chart is entirely populated by greatest hits collections, reflecting people buying shit albums for their parents. Christmas is a dark time for albums.

The singles chart is a mixed bag. Vanilla Ice tops the chart with Ice Ice Baby, Cliff ‘Not a pedo’ Richard is at #2 with some absolute drek, and Madonna is at #3 with one of her weakest singles, one that signals her trying-too-hard-to-be-shocking phase which would be a feature of her early-90s output. Weirdly The Righteous Brothers have two songs in the top 10 (and it wasn’t a common occurrence in those days) while Emmerdale (British soap opera) star Malandra Burrows had a terrible song in at #11. On a more positive note there’s the excellent All Together Now by The Farm and Unbelievable by EMF. There’s also Wicked Game by Chris Isaak at #12 which peaked a week earlier at #10, far below where it deserves to be.

This Month’s Magazines

ST Format Issue 18

Reviews This Month

Review: Golden Axe (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 399, Fuzion 23, Pompey Pirates 64, SuperGAU 402, Vectronix 281/828 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review So we’re bringing out the big guns.…More

Review: Pang (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 427B, Flame Of Finland 48, Pompey Pirates 65, SuperGAU 473/805, Vectonix 35/112/801 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review I’ll start with a confession…More

Review: Badlands (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 392, Flame Of Finland 48, Medway Boys 102, Pompey Pirates 69, Vectronix 417/667 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review Continuing our run of…More

Review: Toyota Celica GT Rally (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. The usual suspects didn’t work, getting stuck with joystick controls not working, but there’s a Pompey Pirates crack available within the TOSEC collection found on…More

Review: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 383A, Fuzion 20, Medway Boys 98, Pompey Pirates 60, Vectronix 219/904 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review Making our way through the wonderful…More

Not-Quite-Review: Nitro (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 377, Flame Of Finland 45, Pompey Pirates 61, SuperGAU 476/809, Vectronix 192/342/814 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review This game did not score…More

Review: Speedball 2 (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 400, Fuzion 30, SuperGAU 374/541, Vectronix 593/785 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review In many ways there’s really bugger all point in me…More

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 http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-super-league-soccer_11454.html 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

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