Zzap! 64 Annual 2019 is out now, and Zzap! is back after way too many years away, and it was possibly the greatest home computer magazine for the best 8-bit machine out there… the Commodore 64!
Of course, there were two sister magazines in both Crash – for the ZX Spectrum, and Amtix – for the Amstrad CPC, but those were inferior and irrelevant to the C64 owner back in the day, with its SID chip for music and VIC2 for the graphics!
The book itself is around 128 pages and in full colour with glossy pages. I say ‘around’ as I never really consider counting the inside back cover etc. Artwork on the cover and inner front cover has been done by Oli Frey who also did the artwork for all three publications and looks great. When the annual was first sent out, it was requested that the cover not be shown. However, we can include the image with the book being out a few weeks now. Thing on a Spring has returned to the margins and so has Rockford, adding character and jokes to some pages.
This follows the format of Zzap! 64 before it included Amiga, and everything you remember is there from the Zzap Tests (Reviews), which do have Gold Medals and Sizzlers right down to The White Wizard and his adventure section. Thankfully, there aren’t as many adverts as the old publications which would see the last eight pages or so used for advertising, as well as numerous pages throughout the magazine.
We have articles in there from industry veterans like Mel Croucher (below) and Simon Butler, and there is also a feature on the making of a new game called Sizzler, by Trevor Story, who has made some great C64 games the past few years – The Darkness and Organism to name but two. It is an interesting read, and I can honestly say I have felt right at home with this annual.
One thing I do find quite amusing is Page 3… There is a paragraph on Game Over by Dinamic, and the controversy which hat surrounded the original artwork. It is quite right to choose Page 3 given the subject matter and the imagery!
The annual contains approximately 30 reviews for games which have come out over the past few years, as the burgeoning C64 scene continues. There will be omissions, understandably, given how many titles have been released, so they will have had to pick and choose content and what they wanted to review. Talking of reviews, Julian ‘Jaz’ Rignall has returned also adding his personal thoughts to a fair few of the reviews like he did back in the ’80s & ’90s.
The only glaring omission is the fact there are no hints, tips or pokes for any of the new games… well, bar a few small tips at the end of The White Wizard’s adventure section, but that is it.
I am really pleased to see a new issue of Zzap! 64 – Everything is there and in the same place as many years ago. It has taken me back to my childhood and reinforced how much I love my Commodore 64. I REALLY hope that they do another annual next year, and cover the missing game reviews, as well as anything else new in the world of the C64. I also think that Chris Wilkins and the team should maybe give Vinny from the Freeze 64 fanzine a shout to see if they could publish his cheats and pokes for the newer games.
If you were a Commodore 64 user then the 2019 Zzap! 64 Annual is a must have!
Check out the full Facebook album of hi-res photos here!
ZZAP! 64 Annual 2019 is out now from Fusion Retro Books. It’s £15, or £25 if you want a copy signed by Roger Kean and Oli Frey!
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!