Colin The Publisher wasn't always Colin The Publisher, of course.
Before leaving to publish some Dungeons And Dragons-y mags which folded almost immediately, then joining ("Michael Jackson" - Ed) and turning it into a pale shadow of an AP rip-off, Colin was plain Colin Campbell...
... AP Deputy Editor in the mid-to-latter stages of the Matt Bielby Golden Age.
During this time, Colin was given US Gold's horrid SSI RPG Secret Of The Silver Blades to review, as the magazine approached deadline. The review wasn't forthcoming, however, and as deadline day arrived, Colin himself was also nowhere to be seen.
It later transpired that he'd decided to spend the day (a balmy August one) travelling around Bath on an open-topped tourist bus drinking beer with some loud friends from the advertising department (instead of, for example, working for the magazine that paid his wages on the most hectic and important day of the entire monthly cycle), but at the time no one on the AP team was aware of this fact (since Colin hadn't told anyone).
Thusly, it eventually became apparent at around 3pm that Colin wasn't coming in, and that someone else would have to review this complex and slow-moving game in around two hours. As most junior member of staff, Stuart landed the poisoned chalice. Not a fan of horrifically tedious orc-slashers at the best of times, the put-upon Staff Writer looked at the game with an unforgiving eye and awarded a mark of 8%.
Stuart The Staff Writer
Secret OTSB review, AP06
I'm sorry if any D&D fanatics out there think I haven't spent nearly enough time playing this game, but it's my life and it's too short to waste any more of it on unadulterated rubbish like this. Actually, that's a lie. I'm not sorry at all.
Later, on calm and sober reflection, I took another look and decided that I'd been a bit hasty, and that a fairer and more realistic score, with the benefit of hindsight, would have been 5%. I'm such an old softy - "Give 'em the benefit of the doubt," that was my catchprase.
Unaccountably, given the game's empirical poor quality and utter irrelevance in the grand sales-figures scheme of things, and the huge and fawning six-page USG feature prominent in the very same issue, US Gold went completely tonto at this point.
Head cheese Andrew Chorzelski vowed publicly to get Stuart fired from his job (but ended up losing his own first), and USG refused to send AP games for review, include us in press release mailouts or talk to us on the telephone for the next four-and-a-half years. It really was as simple, and as ridiculous, as that.