January 1990

The World in January 1990
In the UK Labour had amassed a 12-point lead over the Tories which put mounting pressure on Thatcher’s government. In many ways Labour blew their wad a bit too early as the Tories would retain power for a further 7 years, but I’ll save the spoilers – suffice to say the year would get quite interesting politically in the UK. We also had a hurricane, not quite on the level of the great storm of 1987. Overall January was a quiet month in the UK though, with not much happening.

In US news, Manuel Noriega surrendered to US forces, Time Inc and Warner Communication merged to form Time Warner, and Douglas Wilder became America’s first black governor in Richmond, Virginia. The skipper of the Exxon Valdez (of the famous oil spill) went on trial for negligence. Meanwhile George Bush made his first State Of The Union address, proposing the US and USSR make deep cuts to their militaries. McDonalds opened in Moscow.

Elsewhere in the world Poland withdrew from the Warsaw Pact and began abolishing state socialism. Bulgaria’s national assembly voted to end single-party rule by its communist party. Similar happened in Yugoslavia. The pace of this change was, in retrospect, astounding. It does show that once a collapse starts, it can move very very rapidly, and that is something we in the west should be aware of.

The first internet access companies for commercial users started selling access in the US and Holland – the internet was still several years away from becoming mainstream – I wouldn’t get to use it for another 6 years (and that was on the single connected machine at school).

On TV Mr Bean made his debut on ITV, sadly he would never be funny. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles made its debut on BBC1, and Baywatch made its debut on ITV. Tissue sales soared.

The film charts saw Parenthood with Steve Martin at #1, and Turner & Hooch at #2, as Back To The Future 2 remained a huge hit at #3. Kylie Minogue’s The Delinquents featured at #4 but I’ve never heard of it, and the other new entries are something of a mystery.

The album chart sees Phil Collins at #1, followed by Kylie, Jive Bunny, Tina Turner and Jason Donovan. A very 80s chart to open the 90s.

The singles chart saw New Kids On The Block at #1 with Hangin Tough while Kylie had a new entry at #2 but there was some hope with the 49ers at #3 with Touch Me and Mantronix at #4 with Got To Have Your Love showing the ongoing rise of dance music, with D-Mob at 7 also putting in an appearance, along with the fantastic Got To Get by Rob N Raz ft Leila K.


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

ST Format Issue 7

Reviews This Month

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

Review Fail: Star Wrek

Star WrekNo box available ST Format Review My ReviewFor this review I’m running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62 instead of my usual 1.04 (which only works on STs). This didn’t have a scene release but thankfully exists at http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-star-wrek-the-voyage-of-ussless_11381.html. Star Wrek got 15% which is the lowest score I can remember seeing in…More

Review: Chase HQ

Chase HQ Before we go any further can we all just agree that this is one of the best bits of box art ever? It made me want the damn game. ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running Steem with my usual 1MB STFM (tried an STE but it did not go…More

Review: Skate Tribe

Skate TribeNo Box Image ST Format ReviewNo ST Format Review My Review So this one’s a little bit different. This is a game that came free with ST Format issue 7, made in STOS. It doesn’t seem to have had a commercial release, having come 2nd in a competition. Let’s see if it’s any good.…More


Other Magazines (January 1990)

Other Magazines (January 1990)
Taking a little detour I thought it might be nice to pick up bits of interesting content from Zero and The One. I won’t be able to go all the way with The One since the ST variant is a bitch to get hold of, but hopefully there’ll still be some decent content to be had.

The One’s cover focuses on Midwinter, though they’ve chosen to represent it with a peculiar hand-drawn bit of artwork on their cover. We have the news that Peter Johnson, who programmed Wizball, Robocop, arkanoid and others had decised to quit game development, choosing to make soundtracks for videos for pregnant women…. ooooookay.

Some news on coming releases – Count Duckula was getting his own game, No Sax Please: We’re Egyptian. The TV show was fantastic so I’m sure the game was shit. World Champion Boxing Manager was also slated for release, and Coktel Vision (makers of the Gobliiins games) had a game around the Paris Dakar rally scheduled – incongruously it seemed to have a section between levels where you watch a belly dancer. They don’t make em like that anymore. We have previews for Treasure Trap which was still some way from completion if I recall – a game that intrigued me, but that itch was scratched by the Cadaver demo. Codemasters were planning their Fruit Machine Simulator – an ill-advised purchase by my parents which thankfully didn’t turn me into an addict. Meanwhile CRL planned to release Trump Castle – not a game where you explore a castle populated by an evil Donald Trump, instead a gambling game set in one of his casinos – you can find it on Automation 202 if it interests you.

It looks like it was made in GFA Basic. They charged £19.95 for that. By far Trump’s worst crime.

Other previews include Cloud Kingdoms which looked pretty interesting back in the day, while Psygnosis were previewing The Killing Game Show which I swear had a long way to go til release. In terms of reviews, they have Midwinter 1 which gets a glowing 4-page review with a 95% rating, thanks to its innovative gameplay and incredibly impressive graphics, both in filled-vector and bitmap form. There’s also an Amiga release for Super Cars, the brilliant top-down racer (well the sequel was amazing on the Amiga at least – I never played the first). Interestingly no ST magazines touched it – the only review I can find is half a page in Ace where it gets 790/1000. Other reviews include P-47 Thunderbolt (70%), Cabal (81%), Chaos Strikes Back (94% – astonishingly ST Format never reviewed it), Lost Patrol got 73% (I remember seeing all those ads with photorealistic graphics and being blown away by them – never got my hands on the game though, I think I missed the review and didn’t realise when it was already out), Dragon’s Breath got 89% (coming soon in STF).

Zero’s cover focuses on a preview of a game called Awesome, which I can honestly say I’ve never heard of. Previews include Ramrod (never heard of it), BAT, Thunderstrike, Wings Of Fury, Tusker, Resolution 101, Escape from the planet of the robot monsters, Unreal (not that one), Conqueror (Virus/Zarch with tanks), Dragon’s Breath, F19 Stealth Fighter, etc.

Reviews cover Their Finest Hour (sequel to Battlehawks 1942 – i’m keen to play it) on PC which gets 94%, Space Ace (Amiga) which gets a generous 80%, X-Out gets 91% on the Amiga, Supercars gets 89% (also Amiga), Star Trek V gets 76% (PC), Xenomorph (Dungeon Master in space apparently – Amiga) gets 89% and looks genuinely interesting but looks like it was never covered by ST Format so I might review that when we get to May (which appears to be when ST User reviewed it). Operation Thunderbolt (Amiga) gets 85% though gets described as a bit morally dodgy due to its depiction of a fictional not-quite-Libya and blowing up cats and dogs, Chaos Strikes Back gets 92% on the ST (I’d review it but it’s hard and I’m too crap to do it justice), Chase HQ gets 79% which is perhaps a tad generous, while P47 looks a bit tedious but scores 75%.

Not sure how much demand there is for this extra bit – it takes a fair bit of time to do so I might just limit it to checking the magazines to see if there’s a game ST Format misses that I need to cover.