Picture the scene... having started to read YS with the June 1987
issue (and starting on a high-point as it was the one with the Head
Over Heels double-page review), and then reading C&VG from the November
1987 issue, my sources of Speccy news were few.
I wasn't completely green, though. The local visiting funfair used to
have the original Hang On machine which everybody used to crowd
around. Being a sucker for gimmicks, the fact that this game had
handlebars on the front went a long, long way in spite of the fact
Justified and Ancient / KLF
Ahhhh, Sixth Form memories a-plenty this was played to death on the radio in the run-up to Christmas 1991. (3:43)
that I could only complete a few stages. When YS's Slots Of Fun arcade
section covered Super Hang On, I was intrigued, but could never find
Can you feel the excitement?!
And then the November 1987 issue of YS appeared. I had one of those
little moments of pure joy which you have dotted throughout your
childhood: little things which seem nothing on the face of it, but
which make your heart beat that little bit faster as you start to
cotton onto just what it is you were seeing.
Not only were there previews of 720 Degrees and Combat School (other
games that Slots Of Fun got me excited about), but also a simple
paragraph and screenshot of Super Hang On. A few pages on and there
was a double-page teaser advert from Electric Dreams saying that the
game wasn't that far off. That small Future Shock preview set the
scene for the oncoming Christmas. After a few months getting to grips
with the idea of a Spectrum games market, I was hooked on hype, so I
buckled myself in and started to enjoy the ride. Other people had
Kylie and Jason, I had Ocean and US Gold.
For once the hype did not lie - OutRun got mediocre reviews on release, whereas Super Hang On briefly held the title of "Best Driving Game". On the arcade, however, OutRun beat everything hands down.
Blackadder's Christmas Carol
The very start and end of the show, plus some BBC Christmas 1989 continuity. A bit of classic Edmund and a very small snippet of wimpy Edmund. Or have I got this Christmas Spirit thing the wrong way round? (7:50)
For some reason Electric Dreams changed their ad campaign midflow and went with this double-page ad.
You see, for some reason shortly after discovering computer magazines, I used to collect adverts for coin-op conversions. I was always hooked onto coin-ops ever since seeing my first Space Invaders machine whilst being dragged around the country by my parents when on holiday. I remember playing game after game of Pacman, Pengo, Frogger and Carnival on the various ferries we went on whilst on driving holidays to France, and as the holidays were just driving and churches and chateaux, this ten-year-old kid's memories of the time tend to be of the arcade and pinball machines in the bars we'd eat in along the way.
BBC1 Christmas Day 1987 promo
Just in case you thought I suffered from rise-tinted spectacles, here's the joys we had to look forward to on television on the big day in 1987... (4:19)
And with the discovery of computer magazines, I suddenly had "posters" about coin-ops on-tap. OK, so they were just ripped out pages from magazines (and even just cut-outs of artwork within those pages) which were then stuck up onto my bedroom walls replacing the jaded Smash Hits and Look In posters which were there beforehand. As the years passed, the walls would get fuller until there was nowhere left to go - and my mother put a firm kibosh on the idea of sticking posters on the ceiling.
So I hung posters on bits of string whose ends were stuck on opposing walls. Clever, eh?
Unfortunately gravity had different ideas and in the end I just had to put up with the idea of taking down old posters when new ones turned up.
As advertising stepped up towards the end of the year as the Christmas hype cycle gained momentum, especially with the bigger name coin-ops featuring heavily, the hype became an important part of my Speccy experiences, and combined with the massive preview features in the magazines, I was quite giddy with excitement as a kid back then. The YS Rock'n'Roll Years was created in an effort to show that excitement, but I don't think any amount of web pages or videos will sum up the sheer joy and expectation that I experienced back then.