After nearly ten years of YS in various forms, and with the circulation rumoured to be around the 3,000 mark, Future Publishing decided the time had come for YS to close down. Rather than let the magazine slip silently away just like the other magazines had done, Future allowed one last special issue - an issue that would fittingly round off the life of a truly legendary magazine.|
Issue 93 was The Big Final Issue - as the cover subtly informs you! Editor Jonathan Nash did a fine job, treating this as an "end-of-term" edition, rushing around getting various anecdotes from YS staff past and present at a staff reunion, whilst also having an office Chaos tournament with the current YS team.
The final issue was a bit of a corker as a result. The 68 pages made it the largest issue for a long time, but that had to be subsidised by having no cover tape (for the first time in years!) and also pushing up the cover price to £2.95 - an astronomical price for a magazine back then.
The features were plentiful, including The YS Story, the astonishingly large Complete Guide To Everything that listed the YS reviews since its inception, a guide to YS lingo, and a look back at game which had release problems, as well as those which didn't manage to make it to the shops at all. Ultimate's Mire Mare and The Great Giana Sisters have had a mythological status ever since.
Hoping to set the remaining YS readers on a firm footing now that the magazine was disappearing, there was also a feature on fanzines together with more details about the fledgling emulation scene.
Then there was one last tribute to all of the YS staff, past and present, a last ditch effort to resurrect the Save Our Speccy campaign, then, finally, the pages numbers counted down to the end of the magazine and YS faded off into the sunset... "Our Work Here Is Done"
YS was the last ever Spectrum mag to be published, so this issue really marked the end of the Spectrum's market viability, although the Spectrum and SAM live on in small user groups - unfortunately, these are getting smaller and smaller with each passing year. Using a real Spectrum or SAM nowadays is now in the domain of the hobbyist.
Although YS wasn't perfect, and didn't cover everything that was released for the Spectrum and SAM, it covered everything that was important. This included the QL, the 128+ and it's incompatibility problems, Amstrad's takeover of the rights to the Spectrum, resulting in the +2 and +3, as well as the crap +2As and the stillborn PC 200. But love or hate Amstrad, they should be praised for saving the Spectrum in 1986 and keeping it alive for the next seven years. The SAM, through all it's problems, was a great computer that sadly arrived a year or two too late to make a real impression on the industry. Now both machines have very little support - if you're after one of them, your best bet is try your local car boot sale, or an online auction site.
Of course, the Spectrum and SAM lives on regardless of whether or not they are being made - you can now get Spectrum and SAM emulators for your computer, and Spectrum games themselves are stored in dedicated archives that are publicly accessible via FTP or the Web. As new online services arrive, new platforms are found for a touch of nostalgia. There are now online video players with plenty of Sinclair and SAM related footage including my own documentary on the Sinclair-related games scene. Handheld devices, be they PDAs, mobile phones, and even portable music players can now be used to play Spectrum games. Decades may have passed, but the Spectrum and SAM will always be remembered in new and interesting ways. Who knows what the next few decades will bring?
But, in my humble opinion, nothing will ever beat the memories associated with the Spectrum because it represents my childhood and reminds me of everything that happened in the 1980's. And now that PCs and consoles have taken over the whole games market, there'll never be another machine like the Spectrum.
This entry concludes The Your Sinclair Rock'n'Roll Years. It was fun to put together and, writing on the eve of the YSRnRY's 10th Anniversary, I hope that you think that all the effort was well worth it.
For those of you who stumbled upon this website via a stray web search and decided to stick around: stick around a little longer. Have a look around the Sinclair emuscene. See how people have celebrated the machines in their own ways, be it remaking games, designing new hardware, or coding new games, right through to the more creative side where people have made videos, written books, scored music, and some have even drawn paintings and made models. All this surrounded by enthusiastic friendly people who will help you through encouragement and support. It can be a very rewarding hobby, and so different to everything else that's on offer.
Above all: Enjoy!
|-- Nick Humphries, August 2007.|