September 1990

The World in September 1990
In UK news York City’s David Longhurst collapsed on the pitch during a 4th Division (now known as League 2) match and died. Meanwhile the CBI predicted a recession as Chancellor John Major and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher denied one was on its way. It was very much on its way.

The US news Pete Sampras won the US Open at the age of 19. While never the most interesting chap he would go on to be a huge force within his generation of tennis players, winning multiple Wimbledon titles among other honours. The 1996 Olympics were awarded to Atlanta (Georgia), George Bush threatened to use force to remove Iraq’s forces from Kuwait and later met FW De Klerk at the White House in recognition of the changes happening in South Africa re Apartheid.

Elsewhere in the world, in Myanmar (aka Burma) orders were put out to arrest Aung San Suu Kyi among other political dissidents. She would be prisoner for 15 years, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and would then go on to become every bit as ruthless as those she campaigned against. The first Pizza Hut opened in China, the poor bastards didn’t deserve such horrors (seriously, who wants a pizza that’s 90% grease?).

On TV we saw the first UK broadcast of The Simpsons, debuting on Sky One (which most people didn’t have as satellite TV wasn’t very popular due to being so expensive – we mostly stuck to the standard 4 terrestrial channels in the UK). Thundercats returned to the BBC but all scenes where Panthro used nunchukus were cut out. The 1000th episode of Neighbours was aired in the UK, and it’s worth noting that Neighbours was hugely popular in the UK at the time. BBC 2 had the debut of Star Trek The Next Generation. BBC 2 also saw the debut of Rab C Nesbitt, in which an incomprehensible Glaswegian in a string vest confused the English. Oh and Have I Got News For You also made its debut on BBC2, a satirical news quiz still running today, though it’s lost much of its spark. Heil Honey I’m Home, a comedy featuring Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun managed one episode before being cancelled. More episodes were filmed but never broadcast.

The film charts had rather contrasting films at the top, with Memphis Belle (a fictionalised account of a B-17 Bomber Crew’s final mission in WW2) arriving at #1 to displace Die Hard 2. At #4 we have Crazy People, a fun film with Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah in which Dudley is declared mad, goes to a nuthouse and the inmates develop advertising campaigns. Other highlights include Total Recall hanging on at #8 with Gremlins 2 at #9.

The album chart sees George Michael at #1 with one of his weaker albums Listen Without Prejudice. The Three Tenors were at #2 still riding the World Cup fever, and we had the likes of Elton John, Michael Bolton (retch) and Phil Collins in the top 10. Mariah Carey’s debut album also made an appearance, though I don’t know any of the tracks on it.

The singles chart saw The Joker by the Steve Miller Band hit number 1 16 years after its initial release due to appearing in a Levi jeans advert. In more interesting news, KLF got to #5 with What Time Is Love and Dee-Lite were at #2 with Groove Is In The Heart. Betty Boo was at 6 with Where Are You Baby which wasn’t quite as good as Doin The Do.

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

ST Format Issue 15

Reviews This Month

Review: Cadaver (Bitmap Brothers)

ST Format Review My Review The Bitmap Brothers were absolute megastars of the 16-bit era, a team of developers known for taking established genres and polishing them to perfection to create masterpieces. Their first, Xenon, was a simple but technically fairly accomplished shooter, and they followed that with Speedball, their first effort at future sports.…More

Review: Rick Dangerous 2

ST Format Review My Review So the first Rick Dangerous was a bit of a surprise. ST Format didn’t even bother to review it until its later budget re-release, while ST Action waited til over a year after the budget. The One gave it 88% at the time, CVG gave it 87%, and Amiga Format…More

Review: Leisure Suit Larry 3

ST Format Review My Review Leisure Suit Larry 3 – Passionate Patty In Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals is the third game in the Leisure Suit Larry series and the last one to be primarily keyboard-driven. For those unaware, Al Lowe’s creation is a slightly desperate man approaching middle-age, a balding virgin in the first…More

Review: Simulcra (Craftgold)

ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running a MiSTer FPGA box with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.62. I’ve chosen Automation 386, and I’ve been rewarded with this lovely frog. There’s a nice loading screen with some reasonably decent chip music – the image chosen almost harks back to an earlier ST…More

Review: Venus The Flytrap

ST Format Review My Review For this review I’m running a MiSTer FPGA box with a 1MB STFM, running TOS 1.02 as the STE seemed not to go down too well. This is my first review using this setup, so apologies for any issues. For this one I used Automation disk 332, a low-key affair…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

September 1988

The World in September 1988

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.

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