Crash (magazine)

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The cover of Crash issue 1 (1984)
Issue 1 cover
EditorRoger Kean (Feb '84 - Aug '85)
Graeme Kidd (Aug '85 - Mar 87)
Roger Kean (Apr '87 - Sep '87)
Barnaby Page (Oct '87 - Mar '88)
Steve Jarratt (Apr '88 - Jul '88)
Dominic Handy (Aug '88 - Mar '89)
Stuart Wynne (Apr '89 - May '89)
Oliver Frey (Jun '89 - Mar '91)
Richard Eddy (Apr '91 - Oct '91)
Lucy Hickman (Dec '91 - Apr '92)
CategoriesComputer games magazine
Circulation101,483 (at its height)
First issueFebruary 1984
Final issue
April 1992
CompanyNewsfield Publications Ltd
Europress Impact
CountryUnited Kingdom

Crash was a magazine dedicated to the ZX Spectrum home computer. It was published from 1984 to 1991 by Newsfield Publications Ltd until their liquidation, and then until 1992 by Europress.


Crash was initially launched in 1983 by Roger Kean, Oliver Frey and Franco Frey as a mail order software catalogue[1] that included several pages of reviews.[2] It then launched as a magazine in February 1984, maintaining its focus squarely on Spectrum gaming. Kean and the Frey brothers would continue to be involved with the magazine throughout its lifetime.


The July 1985 cover caused controversy at the time

By October 1986, Crash boasted regular sales of over 100,000 copies.[3] Its ABC figure of 101,483 copies a month for the period of January to June were claimed by the magazine to be "more than any other computer magazine in the country by all accounts".

Editorial content[edit]

Much editorial content (for example, the previews and responses to readers' letters) was credited to Lloyd Mangram, a fictional character, although written by members of the editorial staff.[4] Mangram was depicted visually in the magazine by a sketch of a man wearing a paper bag over his head with holes cut for eyes. This was in stark contrast to the magazine's practice (more common in later years) of accompanying each review with a small likeness of the writer. Lloyd Mangram's contributions made frequent references to his ancient Hermes Typewriter.

Crash included the occasional column which seemed unusual for a computer magazine. Its first year saw the launch of both the Lunar Jetman strip (written and illustrated by John Richardson, based on the character from the games by Ultimate Play the Game) and The Terminal Man, an original piece of fiction written by Kelvin Gosnell and illustrated by Oliver Frey. Later years would see a brief revival of The Terminal Man, as well as Mel Croucher's comic story Tamara Knight, both of which ended mid-run due to poor reception. After the closure of Newsfield's short-lived lifestyle magazine LM, Crash also featured video reviews for a period, a strongly debated move.

Crash readers awards[edit]

Starting in 1984, the magazine published an annual readers awards article, based on votes from the readers.

Winning games
Year Best overall game Best adventure Best platformer Best shooter Best simulation Best graphics Best advert
1984[5] Daley Thompson's Decathlon Lords of Midnight Monty Mole Ad Astra Fighter Pilot Sabre Wulf
1985[6] Elite Red Moon (Time and Magik) Dynamite Dan Commando Tomahawk Fairlight
1986[7] Starglider Heavy on the Magick Dynamite Dan II Uridium TT Racer Lightforce The Great Escape
1987[8] Driller The Pawn Auf Wiedersehen Monty Zynaps Gunship Driller Game Over
1989[9] Batman - The Movie Myth: History in the Making Operation Thunderbolt Cabal
1990[10] RoboCop 2 Lords of Chaos Turtles

The genres were replaced in 1989 with categories such as Best Coin Op conversion and Best Budget Game.

Rival publications[edit]

The August 1985 issue of Crash featured "Unclear User", a spoof on rival magazine Sinclair User. This led to a successful injunction being taken out against the magazine, with copies withdrawn from newsagents and an apology published in the following issue.[11] Many issues had already been sent to subscribers, however.

By 1989, Your Sinclair regularly came with a free covertape containing a complete Spectrum game plus demos. Crash, which had included occasional demo covertapes but still lagged behind in circulation, relaunched in June of that year, including a free covertape with a number of complete games as a regular feature. This came at the expense of page count and editorial content, both of which fell dramatically in 1989. (The December 1988 issue had 212 pages; by June 1989 this was down to 36 pages, although some of this reduction is attributable to the seasonal release nature of games.)


The final issue published by Newsfield was October 1991. Following their liquidation, the magazine was relaunched by Europress in December, continuing until the final issue in April 1992. After this, Crash was bought by EMAP, publisher of Sinclair User, who merged the two magazines. In practice, this meant little more than the appearance of the Crash logo on the front cover of Sinclair User for several months.

Cover art[edit]

Crash was notable for its distinctive cover art, mostly by Oliver Frey. The magazine Retro Gamer has acknowledged this by reprinting Crash's first cover as a poster and a selection of Oliver Frey artwork as a calendar.[12] Much of his work was published in book form for the first time in 2006.[13]

The cover of issue 18, July 1985, which depicted a female warrior with a man on his knees in collar and chains was considered a bit racy by some shops who moved it to the top shelf. The cover of issue 41, June 1987, was a particularly violent image depicting two barbarians fighting, with one about to slit the throat of another. The picture was deemed too strong by W H Smith and that issue was relegated to the top shelves.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CRASH Catalogue 2 - Index". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  2. ^ "The History of Crash - Issue No. 1". Nonowt eZine X. Retrieved 2006-04-04.
  3. ^ "The History of Crash - Issue No. 33". Nonowt eZine X. Retrieved 2006-04-04.
  4. ^ Lloyd Mangram at the Spectrum FAQ
  5. ^ "CRASH 12 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  6. ^ "CRASH 27 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  7. ^ "CRASH 38 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  8. ^ "CRASH 51 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  9. ^ "CRASH 75 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  10. ^ "CRASH 87 - Readers' Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  11. ^ "Unclear User - apology". Crash - The Online Edition. Retrieved 2006-04-05.
  12. ^ Omega (June 24, 2005). "Retro Gamer Zzaps Back To The Future!". Generation G.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Roger Kean (2006). The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey. Thalamus. ISBN 1-902886-06-2.
  14. ^ "The Magazine Game", Edge issue 102, October 2001

External links[edit]