Re: Reviews

By John Crane, Jeff Hales & Phil Williams

Originally published in EUG #60

Coaxing EUG readers to write reviews of old and new products, during my time as editor, has been extremely trying. Apart from myself, there have been just a handful of contributions for the column I hoped would become the magazine's most engaging feature. Yet the short letters below have at least convinced me that this feature's observations are being read and, dare I say it, enjoyed by some. However, with now well over fifty or so reviews penned by me alone, I find it impossible to believe all wholeheartedly agree with all of my sentiments. So if you have any feedback similar to these, please get in touch and get your point across.

Dave Edwards

MICROBALL

As a fellow games-player, I have to take issue with EUG's recent review of Microball in EUG #58. The P key routine bug mentioned (which I cannot reproduce on my version, by the way) is not the only bug in this title. If the ball is travelling at speed and comes into contact with the green borders on the edge of the pinball table, it goes inside them and gets stuck there! And, because ESCAPE is disabled and no other key returns you to the start, you just have to press BREAK and reload the whole damn thing.

Also I strongly disagree that the game realistically simulates an arcade hall pinball table and I'm no addict. The ball's forever swinging from side to side like a upside-down pendulum! It takes an age to get to the bottom where the flippers are.

Phil Williams

HOW TO USE YOUR COMPUTER

Thanks for the review of How To Use Your Computer video in EUG #59. It brought back some memories. I actually remember watching the Me & My Micro series on TV with Fred Harris and as I recall the presentation style was not dissimilar to the afore mentioned video.

I actually got hold of my own copy of the video in with a job lot of Elk stuff I bought. I used to have an old top loader VCR (ex-rental from Granada), the sort you have a job to lift by yourself, with a mono audio (phono) out jack. Whilst I struggled to persuade a cassette recorder to record this suitably to be re-played to the Elk, I did manage to get the Elk to accept the output straight from the VCR and so was able to save out to disc. There's an MPG program included which is quite useful, and which I still use occasionally!

John Crane

UGGIE'S GARDEN

Whilst browsing through the BBC game sites recently, I found where Uggie's Garden could be downloaded and, remembering EUG praised it for its screen and sprite designer, set about transferring it to a 5.25" disc and playing it on my BBC B.

Having once designed some Repton screens for the Impact Games Club, my intention was to relive the experience for a few hours trying my hand with this new game. As noted, it wasn't easy to find out exactly how the package worked without an instruction manual, but eventually I thought I'd done it.

Four hours or so later, I'd designed what I considered a very hard screen, requiring the two characters to 'race' each other round. Of course, I saved and tested the smaller problems one at a time. But at the very end of the design stage, I saved for the last time and, at the prompt "Lock file (Y/N)", I must have accidentally pressed Y, thinking it would just save the file with the L attribute.

I have to warn you all that it doesn't! My masterpiece, on which I'd spent the best part of a day, was ruined in that one second. I had made a mistake and it was impossible to get the last 'diamond' on my screen. But the editor wouldn't let me load it in to change it any more.

I think this feature is ridiculous and vastly inferior to the "Edit Code" option of the Repton suite. If I, with all my experience, made it then others will too and it exasperated me to the point that I don't think I will ever try to use the editor again.

Please draw it to the attention of any interested EUG readers.

Jeff Hales