1. How do I get out of here?
This is the most common question I'm asked, and by far the most sensible. If you want to swim back to the Zzap! Contents page, click here. If you want to leap, salmon-like, to the Commodore 64 section of this hopeless site, click here. If you want to beach yourself on this lamer's home page, click here. Alternatively, try tickling various parts of my body.

2. Did Lloyd Mangram really exist?
That's the first time anyone has ever asked me that. It was all so long ago now, and we tank-based creatures have such short memories; however, from what I recall, Lloyd was not a real person (nor, before you ask, was he a fish). He was invented by writers on the peculiarly-named Spectrum magazine, CRASH, before unleashing his talent for verbal abuse on Zzap! Some claim his poisonous outpourings where honed by whoever happened to edit the magazine at the time; recently however, I came across a photograph which claims to be of the real Lloyd. I am not sure what to make of this. A lovely hat, perhaps.

3. Was Gordon really that fat?
Yes. Here is the evidence.

4. Are the old Commodore 64 games as good as modern PC Games?
The only games I ever enjoyed were adventures—it was all my fins were really fit for—so I'm in no position to make an informed comment. However, after consulting my friend Herman the Pterodactyl, I have agreed to release the following statement: "A few C64 games have stood the test of time, and are just as enjoyable as the modern releases; most haven't, and aren't."

5. Who was...?
Who was what? Don't ask me vague questions like that. They get on my gills.

6. OK... Who was Chuck Vomit?
That's easy. Chuck Vomit was none other than that mad mistress of mirth and merriment herself, Kati Hamza. Wasn't the likeness obvious? And while we're talking about characters in the adventure section, the White Wizard was a fish fancier called Steve Cooke, The Harlequin was marine maestro, Nik Wilde, and... I forget the rest.

7. What are your all-time favourite C64 games?
The one I really enjoyed was Fish, though I never managed to get out of the bowl; and I did play some of the Codmasters games. However, if it's Gordon Houghton, Kati Hamza, Paul Glancey or Robin Hogg's favourite games you're after (though I don't know why you'd want to bother), click here.

8. Was there anything else in Ludlow beside the Zzap! offices?
Yes: an off-licence where Gordon stocked up on crisps and sweets. Also, a boarding house called Mary's, where most reviewers ended up living at some time or other; a restaurant called Aragon's that served pizzas and programmers, and a castle—not one of those nice, small plastic ones, though.

9. Whatever happened to Julian Rignall?
This kind of information was covered in depth at Maff Rignall's excellent Where are they now? site, before its sad demise. However, as an alternative, you can visit my friend the pantomime horse's Where are they now? page, which is laid out in a nice table, and is a lovely green colour, but has little else going for it. Incidentally,
if you know the whereabouts of anyone not on either of those lists, contact the fat one.

10. Can I have a short answer to this question?

11. Were there any reviews you regret?
Indeed there were—in particular a rather fishy product called Hawkeye, by Thalamus. A high-80s game, if you were in a good mood and feeling generous, but no way a Gold Medal. I will take that review with me to Davy Jones's Locker. Or I'll forget it in seven seconds' time.

12. What were you doing before Zzap!?
I have a memory of being inflated, and of waking in a place called "Ludlow"; but before that it's all a blur. Gordon Houghton was bumming around his home town of Blackburn, after a thankfully brief stay at university; Kati Hamza did the same, but immediately preceded Zzap! by working for an advertising company in Shrewsbury; and Paul Glancey was helping people in a software shop in the north-east. I can't be bothered to tell you about anyone else. It's way past my feeding time, you know.

13. Why was there no Katakis cover tape on issue 42?
I have no idea. I was relaxing in the Mediterranean at the time. However, I am informed that Activision, holders of the official R-Type licence, thought they had a case for legal action against US Gold, publishers of Katakis, an R-Type style game. To cut a long fillet short, the Katakis cassette was regarded as promotional material, was pulled from the magazine, and was replaced by the miserable Time Tunnel. Pity Paul Glancey—he had to deal with it all.

14. "Maff Evans"—a pseudonym, surely?
Your suspicions are correct. Maff's real name was Aloysius de Gruchy. And while we're talking pseudonyms, Paul Sumner started life as a guy named Dominic Handy, who later edited CRASH. He acted as an 'extra' Zzap! reviewer during staff shortages.

15. How would you describe your time at Zzap!?
Lovely. And special. A bit cheeky, too. Hairy in patches; soft and squidgy in others. In all, an experience no young fish should be without. If you want anyone else's opinion, check out the Zzap! Towers pages, if this idiot has bothered to put it online yet. Which he probably hasn't.

16. What were your least favourite C64 games?
I found it difficult to load up many CRL games without laughing... Dragon's Lair on cassette stank like a week-old dead squid... The Prince, a rare budget game from Firebird, was just plain bad... There were so many... If you have a top 5 worst games list of your own, send it in and I'll get El Gordo to put it up on the C64 page.

17. Who was the nicest programmer you met?
Martin Walker. I don't know anyone who said a bad word about Andrew Braybrook, either.

18. What was the first Zzap! issue you ever bought?
The one with Gauntlet on the cover (20). Then I bought all the back issues, complete with maroon binders, and continued to collect Zzap!s until I had a complete set from 1-50, all in pristine condition. Then I realised I couldn't read, so I threw them all away.

19. What happened to The Terminal Man?
Rumour has it that a) Oli had the flu and was too exhausted to continue; b) an unfavourable Zzaptionnaire (a bit like this one) suggested that The Terminal Man was unpopular; c) he had tremendous work commitments anyway; d) a piranha damaged his drawing finger. Whatever the truth, you can see some scans of this fine piece of graphic artistry at The Def Guide.

20. Which was your favourite issue? What was your favourite part of the magazine?
Don't think you can sneak two questions past me like that: I may be inflatable, but I'm not an airhead. Luckily for you, the answers are easy, so just this once I'll let it go... OK. Favourite issue: Christmas 1988. Even Gordon did some work on that... And favourite part? Aside from the reviews, the Scorelord. A great character, though sadly fictional.

21. When did you first encounter the Commodore 64?
1984, when I was a mere haddockling, gliding my way through the briny.

22. Why did Zzap! include Amiga games?
Because we couldn't get the software for free any other way... Hang on, that wasn't it. It was because we felt the C64 reviews were running dry, but the Amiga wasn't yet established enough to have its own magazine. We hoped that Zzap! C64/Amiga would eventually spawn two separate mags, Zzap!64 and Zzap!Amiga... They told me to say that.

23. What's your opinion on emulation?
There's nothing like the fresh smell of the ocean spray; emulators just don't come close. However, the Commodore 64 emulation scene is pretty good. See the C64 page for details.

24. Who wrote Issue 50's editorial?
Not the Fat One, that's for sure. His original editorial and masthead (that's the bit detailing the staff) were usurped moments after his departure. Sadly, both are now lost and El Lardo is unable to recall them, like so much else.

25. Did you enjoy the shows, such as the PCW show?
Yes. There were never enough ants' eggs or fish flakes to go round, of course; but it was an enjoyable experience meeting the people who read my efforts. Gordon only attended one show, but describes at as 'lovely'. Kati doesn't remember any of it. It's sad to see someone in such a state of denial.

26. Why did most of the staff continue on in the games industry after Zzap!?
It was all they were qualified to do. I tried suggesting they do some real work for a change, such as sucking food off the sea bed, but the only thing they were any good for was waggling a joystick and tapping a few keys now and then. Get a career, I told them—but would they listen? No.

27. Will there ever be another issue of Zzap!?
Funny you should ask that, because Old Blubberbut was involved in the Zzap! 107 Project. This was a 36-page special put together by a group of fans from all over the world: it was packed to the gills with reviews of recent software, a few fishy features, and piscine regulars such as the Scorelord and the Rrap. Click on the link to find out more; though frankly, I think I've already answered your question more than adequately.

28. Do you have anything else to add?
No. Do you?


Return to the top


Click here to go to the Zzap! Contents Click here to go to the C64 page Click here to go to The Burrow home Click here to go to The Burrow Home Click here to go to the Commodore 64 page Click to go to the C64 page Click to go to The Burrow home page As a former editor's assistant, I am often asked 'Why didn't you leave Zzap! much sooner?' Unfortunately, my lawyers have advised me against giving an answer to this question, on the grounds that I don't have one. However, there are many questions about Zzap! which I can answer; and what's more, I'm going to. And this page is the proof: everything you ever wanted to know about Zzap!, apart from the things I've left out because I didn't know you wanted to know them. Incidentally, if you do have any more questions, you can email me courtesy of that fat git who cleans the tank out:. If I know the answer, I'll stick a reply on this page as soon as I can.
—Ken D Fish