Do all you people (Oops, sorry about that) at YS need your eyes tested. (Sorry T'zer didn't mean you... kiss, kiss, kiss). (This is gonna have to stop you know. Ed) From all the hullabaloo I've been reading in your illustrious mag about the infamous Lenslok system, things must be bad.
Since I received my belated Christmas pressy, a copy of Art Studio and being at an age when I should know better (31 to be exact!) I was a bit worried about all the problems other people have had with the system. But, lo and behold, upon using the program I've never been locked out and always get through at the first attempt (touch wood, touch plastic, touch metal, touch silk undies etc etc). And even when I took the program to a friend's to show him how good it was, t still had no problems even though he has a 26 inch telly. What's wrong with the lot of you?
Yes, we're back in the land of Lenslok - and the saga continues. Stranger still, there seems to be some sort of mystical connection between Lenslok and T'zer...
We, of the "Teresa Maughan Appreciation Society (See what I mean! Ed) and Amalgamated YS Readers Fan Club" (yes, I'm sorry but it is the right way round), Plymouth Branch, have noticed that some of your readers seem to be having a few problems with the Elite Lenslok. It is hoped that the following set of instructions may go some way to solving the problem...
Where do I put my leg? Who do you think I am? Mr Fantastic. Well, okay I am but this would give Houdini a hernia. Even the next reader's gone a bit wonky ....
I'm writing in with a piece of advice to any reader having trouble with Elite's Lenslok.
1. It doesn't work on tellies over 18 inches.
2. You don't have to adjust the size of the security picture if you have a 14 inch TV.
3. Don't break your Lenslok - I waited two months for a new one!
First it works on big tellies and now it doesn't. Who can you believe? Let's see what's in the next letter...
I got a copy of Elite when it first came out and had all the problems. However, six months later a friend of mine (hello Peter) got a copy after I'd warned him not to because of Lenslok and he had no problems.
So, he lent me his lens and it worked. After a phone call to Firebird I explained the fault to Mr Tony Beckwith and he said I had one of the faulty lenses. I posted it back to Firebird and a working Lenslok, a poster and a badge came back. My advice is, get in touch with Firebird.
Dudley, W Midlands
Sound bit of advice that. So we did. Tony from Firebird told us that there had indeed been a few problems with Elite's Lenslok - a master of the understatement is Tony. Each Lenslok has a clear plastic tab on it with either the letter A or B stamped on it. If you're a version A owner you should have no problems. But if you've got a version B it won't work - not surprising really as it's the Lenslok for another game. But if you send it back to Firebird, you'll receive a new Lenslok plus, wait for it, a piece of software for your trouble. If you're still having trouble, Firebird has an updated instruction leaflet that you can send off for. Or see an optician? Though it looks as though it's too late for the next poor soul. Shell-shock...
I'd like to praise the excellent Lenslok system. I recently bought the Tomahawk Lenslok and think it's well worth the measly £10 that I paid for it. I'd willingly pay double this amount for such a beautiful piece of plastic, and what's more, there's a free game supplied with it.
Already I can see great uses for the Lenslok, such as bracelets, earrings and two of the plastic wonders can be joined together to make a really triff pair of sunglasses.
PS Would T'zer like to model my new line in Lenslok bikinis?
In a what? With eyesight like that, it's a wonder you can use Lenslok at all! Ed
THE ONE AND ONLY...
Twenty years ago, four young lads from Waiverhampton got together and formed a group. They had to struggle at first but by the early '70s they were becoming well known around the world, and today they still are. In this country alone they have had 27 top 50 singles, six of them number ones. Over the years they've gained quite a following (Stray dogs and the like? Ed) Who could they be, I hear you ask? Why, Slade, of course. (Letters, YS ). And who am I? Why, the Slade fan. (Why indeed! Ed)
And for your information, there are thousands of us worldwide, not just one! Now Ed, you and the gang know all about the Speccy; that's why you produce the best magazine for Speccy owners. So, try and keep your witty (?) replies to readers' letters on the subject of computing, ditto the mag and leave Slade, Iron Maiden and others to the music press.
Best place for 'em. I'd even stick them in the trouser press but I doubt if their' flares would fit. And as for there being thousands of Slade fans, that's about as likely as Ozzy Osbourne keeping a budgie for anything but breakfast! Bleurgh... Ed
Through your magazine I would like to thank MicroWorld Computers in Huddersfield. I saw their advert for a repair service in the last issue of Your Sinclair and sent them my broken Interface 1 on the strength of it. I then prepared to wait weeks, if not months for its return, but within the same week it came back, fit and healthy once more, with a guarantee for three months. I think that such speed and efficiency surely deserve a mention.
If only the same could be said of all Sinclair repair centres...
Now that I've sent my microdrive back to Sinclair twice, I just had to write to you.
The first time I sent it back (in its box) was just before Christmas last year. It came back, minus box, just before the New Year. They said they wouldn't replace it.
Being the New Year, I forgot all about it. Until last month, that is.
I sent it again with a stern letter saying I wanted it repaired and proof of purchase etc. Now it must be repaired, I thought.
I've just received it back today with a letter and a note. The note says it'll cost me £20 to have it repaired (under guarantee!) and just listen to the letter:
'Please find enclosed with this letter your non-Sinclair product.' Non-Sinclair! Has Sinclair gone completely potty? They even nicked the top half of the polystyrene.
C'mon, it's an easy mistake to make. After all, you are talking about the man who mistook the C5 for a car. Chortle chortle. Ed
ON THE WARPATH
I'm writing in response to an item called Argy Bargy that appeared in Frontlines in the April issue. In it, you make some very biased and churlish comments regarding the new PSS strategy game, Falklands 82, even describing it as 'sick'.
I recently bought the game and I've played it several times. I'm a very keen wargame enthusiast and I can't find anything remotely sick in the game. Indeed, it's quite a good, if rather simplistic, representation of the war in the Falklands. What I fail to understand is why this game should be any sicker than any of the other available computer wargames, some of which are truly excellent, such as Arnhem, Desert Rats, The Bulge and so on, and all of which portray actual battles. It seems to me that if you were to take the trouble to examine the game you'd find it very enjoyable.
And, of course, when we did review the game last month we found it both enjoyable and rather good. But a game about the Falklands does pose a few uneasy questions that were touched on in that review and aren't easily answered. I don't know why a game about a recent war feels different from one about Arnhem, but it does. Has anyone got any ideas? Ed
WHAT'S UP MADOC?
In your review of the 128K Speccy you asked for a list of games that crash on the new Spectrum. So far, I've discovered the following: Elite, Cylu, Match Day, Rambo, Mikie, Confuzion, Spellbound, TLL, Cyclone, Nodes Of Yesod.
According to the leaflet that came with the machine, Elite, Mikie, Rambo, Nodes Of Yesod, Spellbound should all be compatible. Rather strange isn't it?
St Asaph, Clwyd
I presume that the leaflet's referring to the 128K versions of these games, with added sound and in some cases, extra rooms. But as usual I can't check it out 'cos the leaflet's not to be found even after a thorough search of Castle Rathbone. Bet the Bumpry's eaten it. Ed
I walk into John Menzies, see YS 4, pick it up, buy it, exit shop, hop on bike, ride home, enter house, make coffee, read YS pages 3 and 4. What's this I see? Making fun of Blue Peter. How dare you. I mean not many people in the world could make a nuclear bomb out of a loo roll, squeezy bottle and double sided sticky tape (for speed, of course). If you don't print this in your megacool mag (what a creep, eh?) then I'll make you eat some of Simon Groom's home made banana and steak soup (with chips).
Yummy, my fave, especially the variation that's left out in the garden for a week and served with a light sprinkling of diced earthworms. And here's one I just happen to have made up before I started the letters page. Oh no, that's the papier mache Blue Peter presenter. Oh well, down the hatch. Ed
SCREAMING YAB DABS
I've just bought Yabba Dabba Doo and I've found a colossal bug in the program. To get Wilma to follow you, you have to touch her several times but when she's on the screen with the Dino Hire or the Bronto Gas she's inside the buildings and it's impossible to get your hands on her. And that means you can't finish the game. Is there any way out of the problem other than killing yourself and hoping she doesn't move into these screens?
You are in a bit of Barney Rubble, aren't you. My advice is to get completely Flintstoned and go straight to Bedrock. Anyone got any better ideas? Ed
| STAR LETTER|
THE JOY OF STICKS
I feel l must answer Paul Chaney's letter about the joystick review in YS 2. I hated the Formula 2. It was like holding a dead goldfish. Also, if you look, you'll see that the Formula 1 got eight out of nine hits but the Formula 2 got only six hits. But, if you add the totals they draw with 67 out of 90. And as to holding the Formula 1, I hold it by the middle finger and thumb, so there.
Now to the next bit.
Quickshots have almost identical insides to the original Atari joystick. You know the little white plastic ring breaks after a year if you're lucky sooner if you're not. My mate's been through four Quickshots. They go in one direction sooner or later, usually the left first.
And the Gunshot is just a clone. But have you noticed that almost everybody except Kempston tries to persuade you to buy them. Another friend of mine was told by an assistant in Dixon's West End branch (see, I name names) that Kempston had gone bust and that he ought to buy a Quickshot.
Next bit. Strong arms? It just so happens that I could've been in Commando but I had a cold and Arnie got the part. As for my hands, they have around 13,000 million nerve cells, 60,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries connected to them but no hosepipes.
And now the answer to the burning question of the day. A Bumpry is... a spelling mistake. It should be a Bumfry - a small furry animal that lives in the mountain regions of Scotland. It is the cuddly version of a Yeti.
Lastly, my life has completely changed since appearing in Your Sinclair (see photo).
To settle this dispute I have consulted the definitive tome on this matter in the library in Castle Pathbone. The Natural History and Strange Behaviour of Furry Creatures and other Phenomena beginning with the Letter B by the eminent zoologist Herr Doktor Professor Ernst Knocknies of the University of Heineken and translated into the mother tongue by A Lady with a dedication by the explorer Sir Richard Gonfra-Burton to her glorious majesty, Queen Vic (Licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises). (Damnstadt 1854):
Bumfry. (Bumfrius bumfriflus) A small furry animal, rarely seen by humans as it is restricted to the remoter regions of the tiny Sporran Isles on the west coast of Scotland.
Bumkin (Yokellus yokellus) A country creature often seen propping up farm gates and pub bars. Lives on a dice of straw.
Bumpry (Bumprius bumprius) Though related to the genus Bumfrius, the Bumpry is in fact a spelling Mistake, most often found in computer magazines of the next century.
For a definition ofthe word computer please consult my forthcoming volume. Modern Machines and Mechanical Automata beginning with the letter C.
Time Travel Strip Cartoon Girl - Unexpected Boob
I claim my trainspotter award for noticing the continuity error between issues 3 and 4. In the milliseconds between being spotted and shot at the girl has rapidly gained a pair of trousers! And not before time in a magazine read by impressionable youngsters, as well as myself.
Sssshhhh. Look, here's your trainspotter award if you promise not to tell everyone about it. Well, how was I to know that when I asked for a strip cartoon, the artist would take me literally. And anyway, if you were being shot at by an eight-foot robot wouldn't you prefer to take it in your strides? Not that I'm letting on that Leta and the strange case of the appearing trousers has anything to do with the comments in the next letter. Ed
GIVEN THE BIRD
Now I don't want to sound like an old stick in the mud but have you heard of sexism? I'm a 21 year old female computer fan with a 48K and lots of games. I feel that I'm in a bit of a minority because of my age and sex and I appreciate that a lot of what you do is aimed at teenagers.
I have to protest at your blatant sexism. It's not entirely the fault of the mag - a lot of software houses seem to think all their characters except those to be wooed or saved must be male. I have great difficulty playing Hampstead because I'm supposed to be trying to become a Hampstead man. But the mags should avoid sexism. Your female reviewers are a start but it's not enough. It was the cartoon in the March issue that prompted me to write.
The classic argument against my pleas for equality is that most computer fans are male; I know - the London Computer Show had one woman there - me! I'm sure there are plenty of girls/women who feel left out of things. So, how about it? Two requests. First let's have a bit of equality in the mag. Second, let's have a bit of feedback on this letter from male or female readers.
Well, I'd go along with both your requests. Can you imagine what T'zer would do to me if I didn't! But, okay I must admit that at one stage the cartoon did get a bit near the knuckle - and certain other bits of the body. Ed
I saw to my horror in the April issue that the major software houses don't want budget software games in their chart. Why?! Is it because of the recent improvements in the quality of budget software? The game that immediately springs to mind is Spellbound which is currently beating such prestigious games as Elite. In my opinion all the games should stay in the one chart even if it does put some of the more expensive games to shame.
Fair enough, but you can see their point of view. If you were one of the great new groups of the Eighties how would you like to appear in the charts alongside that geriatric combo collectively known as Slade? Not that there's much chance of that happening, of course... Ed
Here's the tale of my 128K Spectrum. I purchased the machine from my local branch of Dixons after the salesman assured me that it was totally compatible with all the existing software. What's the point in upgrading to anything else? Nicely packaged. Comes with two free Ocean games. Both load first time. The picture quality is far superior to the 'old' Speccy. The sound is brill, almost like there's someone in the machine with an organ. Now let's try the old faithful 48K games, all of which work okay on my old 48K model with RAM turbo interface, which is recommended for the 128K in their accompanying leaflet.
Ocean's Match Day's the first to be tested. Appears to load okay. Players run out of the tunnel then... CRASH! Eighteen yard areas all over the pitch. Try without the joystick interface. Works okay on keyboard mode. Frank Bruno's Boxing next. Oh dear... the ring appears then crashes. Same without the joystick interface. Now I'm getting really concerned. Try all my games. 60% load okay and play with the keyboard and joystick interface. Other 40% either fail to load at all, or crash with joystick interface attached. I decide Tomahawk will be the ultimate test. It fails to load in 48K mode, falling over during the first block of program! Is it the tape? Out comes the old faithful. Loads first time.
What about the other peripherals? Timex printer. Okay in 48K mode. Not in 128K mode. Mannesmann Tally MT+ printer with Tasman 'B' interface or ZXLPrint III interfaces. Okay in 48K mode. Not in 128K mode.
Microspeech. Useless. Can't even get into 48K mode with it attached. Let's try to be cunning - copy the RAM of the old 48K model and copy it onto the 128K in 48K mode. No, even that didn't work. Out come the monitors, disassemblers etc. RAM is different. No instructions on how to use the RAM disk in 128K mode. Let's find the printer buffer in 128K mode. Three days later, I'm still looking. I've taken my machine back and got a refund.
Conclusion If you already own a Speccy and are looking for an upgrade - Don't buy it!
It's always so nice to hear from an unsatisfied customer. Nothing better than a good slagging off to liven up the letters page. Still, it's a bit naughty if there are shops claiming complete compatibility for the new machine but you can't really blame them when Sinclair itself was maintaining the same line until a few weeks ago. Ed
I don't know whether to address this letter to Letters or Hard Facts since it's (yet another) complaint.
Why is it that microdrive owners can fork out the Nelson Eddies and buy a flashy box to keep their cadridges in while I have to make do with a plastic box that those Ferrari chocolates come in - you know, those fancy round ones wrapped in gold foil.
I know that it's just the right size, holds fourteen Wafas and even keeps them in three different partitioned parts - arcade, adventure and a small utilities partition. And because it's transparent, you can mark the side of the Wafa with an identification label so that you can find the one you want without opening the lid of the box!
BUT - it's inexpensive, readily available (after Christmas- mum's/dad's/sister's/brother's/girl/boyfriend's (Ed's? Ed) present) as well as compact, stackable and prevents the disposal of unrecyclable waste.
Equal rights for Wafadrive owners!
The social stigma of it all. Bang goes the chance of cucumber sarnies with Her Maj and you'll probably be drummed out of the Brownies for this. Ed. Why is my auntie a biscuit? Because she's been a Wafa so long! Troubleshootin' Pete
CHEAP AT TWICE PRICE
Who else spotted the subtle change in the price of Your Sinclair? Instead of costing 95p it now costs only 95p! Hmmm... even more reasonable I think.
Should jolly well think so too. I mean, do you know how much creative effort goes into writing words like 'only'? Ed
I have a question for you (one of you). Which editor writes all the silly comments? When I look at the list on the last page of your mag, which is almost as long as the 9.09 inter-city Amsterdam-Paris train, I see thousands and thousands of editors. I wonder what these people are doing all day - though I realise that calling yourself editor is a good way to push up your pay.
M de Bruijn
Rotter(Too right you are.
Ed)dam, The Netherlands
Look here, it's me that does all the work round here while the others swan around trying to stay awake. Prod Ed. Huh, I'd like to see what'd happen to all those words without my artwork. Not that it'd be such a bad thing if we lost a few here and... Art Ed. Like yours for a start - get back to your paintbox. If it weren't for me this mag would grind to a halt. Dep Ed. Zzzzzzzzzzz. Ed
In YS 4 you reviewed a program called Arcade Dream by Generation 4. Please could you send me their address so I can order a copy.
Wetherby, W Yorks
Nope. And by now you'll know why not. But just so you don't feel a complete and utter twerp (not that I'm suggesting you should of course - well, not much), you'll be pleased to know that you weren't alone. There's our next reader and his mates, plus the distributor who rang up because he'd been plagued by calls and wanted to sell the program, plus the twenty-six complaints received by the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Manchester, plus the hundreds of calls that drove our Stella on the switchboard crazy...
A couple of my friends and I have a number of games designers but we've found them hard to master and too limiting. Then with great excitement we read through April's issue of YS with the review of a new game designer called Arcade Dream. It looks like our dream has come true. But before we go and spend our money, can you please send us more details and a copy of the games you created. If this isn't possible, perhaps you could do a Digi'T'ape compilation of them.
Hang on a minute, I must be potty. (Finally realisation dawns! T.P.) Arcade Dream could've been a real winner...
Okay, so I fell for it. Martin the Mug reads the review of a fantastic new games designer in the April issue. Great, he thinks, must find out the address of Generation 4. So, Martin the Mug dives for the nearest phone and rings YS.
"Hello, is that YS?"
"Have you got a phone number for Generation 4?"
"Oh, that was an April Fool."
"The review was an April Fool."
"No I'm not, but don't worry, you're not the only one."
One extremely embarrassed Martin the Mug quickly puts the phone down.
Well done YS. I suppose it was just too good to be true!
If only we'd had the foresight to collect some cash for it...
I was very impressed with your Scoop review of Arcade Dream. In fact, I was so impressed that l decided to buy it as soon as it came out and also buy a mouse. As I program in machine code I could see what a tremendous feat the production of such a versatile program was - the fact that it could stimulate a Tomahawk-type game alone was brilliant considering it took Digital Integration eighteen months!
However, a few features struck me as being odd; how could a complex game in Gargoyle-style take eighteen minutes to make? Why was the version number so strange? Why did they have the special effects? How could all the game types be stored in 48K etc etc.
On the eve of buying a mouse I had another think. Then something clicked. They wouldn't, would they? In the index you put emphasis on the fact that the game was an April game. On closer inspection, the version number of 0.10486 was like 01/04/86 which just happens to be April Fool's Day! And, funnily enough, one of the reviewers was Esther Monday which sounds awfully like Easter Monday which just happens to be the day before April Fool's Day.
I had been conned by Your Sinclair and it nearly cost me £70. It was certainly a disappointment.
Golders Green, London
One small point, hate to mention it really, but we don't have a product! Troubleshootin ' Pete
Well done! Great April Fool joke - but it was too easy to tell that it was an April Fool. It looked quite real, thanks to the hard work of someone (Me! T.P.) designing the game and development 'screens', but I was immediately put on 'Joke Alert' on seeing the programmer "Mat Schmidt" credited. (Sprechen Sie Deutsch, Matthew Smith?)
PS Gollum was... he was. Sorry - I can't remember.
Details, details. A hundred thousand copies at £14.95 a throw, that's... wahay...
Nice try sunshine, but it doesn't wash! What's that? Scoop, eh! Dream come true, eh! Who are you trying to kid? A new package that comes out in April. Article written by Easter Monday, sorry Esther. Nice try at an April Fool but not subtle enough» Programmed by Mat Schmidt, sure it was, Messer Schmidt more like.
A month from now I could be sitting round a pool in Rio sipping tequilas wiv me old mate Ronnie...
You can't fool me, you know! I'm your only intelligent (well, intelligentish) reader. I spotted the April Fool and no it wasn't Troubleshootin' Pete.
It was a dead giveaway if you ask me (which I know you didn't). An April release... Generation 4 (come on, what's the fourth month? What an Anorak!)... version 0.10486 (April 1st 1986)... Esther Monday (Easter Monday?)... But you really gave it away with the title Arcade Dream. If you rearrange the letters, add some and take some away, the resulting phrase is April Fool. Bet I was the only one to spot that! (As it 'appens, yes! Ed).
It's a great mag, so keep it up and ignore my dad if he says that it's a comic. I'll have to stop now, as my knees are getting sore!
Splot Nitbum alias Mark
April Fool? What April Fool? Look out next month for details of where to send your cheques... Ed
| SMALL PRINT Can you tell Dave Underhill to stop calling your mag "fairly rapid" - it means triffic! |
Certainly not. You carry on, Dave Ed
Guess what, the other night I was watching Chance In A Million on my black and white portable TV when way down the credits I noticed the name Peter Shaw. It couldn't by any chance be the one and only T.P.?
Troubleshootin' Pete on the telly? Now that would be a chance in a million. Ed
How old Teresa Maughan?
Laup Tnac (Are you a bit
backward or summat? Ed)
Ferryhill, Co Durham
Old Teresa Maughan fine, how you? T'zer
My dad says, "Please perpetuate your paranthetic predilection." Rough translation - keep on using the brackets!
Andrew D Ray
Please apprise your pater that I applaud his syntactical sesquipedalianism. Rough translation - ((((())))))! Ed
Does Rampack wobble ruin your eyesight?
I'd be able to tell you if I could see my Speccy T.P.
I had a great deal of fun with my cut out Trainspotter in YS 4. Unfortunately, I have an IQ of 4 and cut his arm off! What I'd like to know though, is how did you know I look like that?
Well, we did say it was just a bit at 'armless fun! And for those of you who want to see what Stephen looks like with his clothes on, here's a trainspotter that we've already prepared Ed