The Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K was my introduction to computing - at the tender age of 13, Santa Claus brought me Sir Clive's latest machine for Christmas and I can honestly say it was love at first sight.
When pocket money allowed, I adjourned my Speccy with gifts - mostly with the latest games and sometimes even new hardware to extend the machines capabilities.
I read Newsfield's Crash magazine, a magazine that I craved each month to find out what was going on in the world of Spectrum gaming and to see what awesome cover the infamous Oliver Frey had conjured up that month.
Those years with the Spectrum as my friend are ones I look back on with enormous fondness and to me was my golden era of computing and Crash magazine goes hand in hand with the happy memories I have of the computer.
Roger, Oli and I have worked on a number of books over the last 3-4 years and we have talked on many occasions on producing a magazine - so this year, with the success of the new ZX Spectrum Next, we thought it would be a great time to create issue 99 of Crash - a magazine held dear by the Spectrum community.
To make it a little more special, we wanted to create it as an annual - so in hardback and having the feel of the annuals that we used to read back in the 80s and 90s such as Beano and The Dandy.
Roger agreed to take the helm once more as the editor and Oli to take charge of the graphical style of the issue as well as creating a brand new cover in the style of the early issues of Crash.
The annual will be hardback only and come in at 112 pages and will be in full colour throughout - the first for a Crash issue.
We have decided to keep the cover a surprise so that when the book arrives on your doorstep in early November this year, it will be the first time a reader of the annual will have seen it.
What we will find inside will be recognisable to any fan of the magazine - we have many reviews of the games from the last 20 years or so, with a small number receiving the coveted CRASH SMASH award. Many of the reviews have been written by the fans of the Spectrum - very much like the schoolkids of the day in Ludlow, who themselves loved the Spectrum as much as we do today and lovingly reviewed every game.
We also have veterans of the gaming industry contributing - Simon Butler for example, who worked on many hits for Ocean Software adds his views on the best art to appear on the Spectrum by fans:
Others who are contributing include Jas Austin, who is providing a developer diary of his Rexconversion for the ZX Spectrum Next, Steve Wetherill who will be doing the same for his Nodes Next game and Philip and Andrew Oliver who will be talking about the 'next' new Dizzy game that will be appearing on the Spectrum Next.
There will be a brand new JETMAN comic strip - illustrated by Oli with the story written by Roger.
New adverts for the latest games in the homebrew scene will be littered through the issue - here is one designed by Mark Jones (ex Ocean Software) for the game Dingo that he contributed graphics to.
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