AP Zero (41K)
|Coverdate May 1991 (as supplement in Amiga Format)
Price Free (with £2.95 copy of AF)
Size 32 pages, stapled A4
Editorial pages 24 (ie, 75% of total)
Ad pages 8 (no house ads)
Editorial staff 6 (inc 2 art)
Editorial contributors 4
EDITOR Matt Bielby PRODUCTION EDITOR Mark Ramshaw STAFF WRITER Stuart Campbell CONSULTANT EDITOR Gary Penn ART EDITOR Trevor Gilham ART ASSISTANT Matthew Williams CONTRIBUTORS Bob Wade, Trenton Webb, Maff Evans, Andy Smith
Features All-Time Top 100 Games 1991 (everyone)
Standard operational procedure (probably jargon from The Man From UNCLE or something) for a new mag is to knock up a 32-page sample to be given away with a high-selling, well-established mag in the same field.
So it was that readers of Amiga Format's May 1991 issue found on their laps the legendary AP Zero. No more, to be honest, than the first AP All-Time Top 100 with an Unrepeatable Subscription Offer that, harshly exposing the first issue proper's absurd free game approach, tempted prospective readers by deducting a breathtaking 45p from the newsstand price of an ish, it nonetheless exactly conveyed the flavour of the forthcoming Matt Bielby Golden Age, proclaiming Rainbow Islands the best Amiga game of all time,* unapologetically championing games so obscure you couldn't get them any more even though the machine had only been out about six minutes, randomly misspelling "licence" and "cutesy" throughout and printing a photograph of a programmer.
AP Zero was, in fact, the first bit of AP put together (not always the case with promotional supplements), with Mark and Stuart joining the fledgling magazine midway through January and the booklet being finished around the end of February. (In between, the new bugs were made to play hundreds of games as research and told that, instead of expecting Macs, they should get used to writing the mag using Protext on their office Amigas. In a historically important AP moment, they utterly refused this cretinous edict.)*
Although the Top 100 list resulted from a complicated voting scheme involving eight reviewers (including whippily corralled spindly mag veterans Bob, Trenton, Maff and Andy) the actual writing was left to those on AP itself. Matt divided the supplement roughly into three sections, making one Stuart's responsibility, one Mark's, and the last Mark and Stuart's.
Uniquely among the AP Top 100s, AP Zero's chart was compiled strictly mathematically, with each reviewer giving every game points out of five and the positions allocated accordingly. (The correct method is, of course, to argue fiercely about the top twenty, then get bored and nominate the rest by turn, thus minimising the blandness of the majority voice. While sitting in The Trinity. All day.)
Terrifyingly, Kick Off 2 came within a whisker of being Number One - only the prompt and proper action of Mark and Stuart in exercising their democratic right to both give it no points at all prevented this calamity - and even with the well-it-was-1991 defence, a lot of the entries ring with an astounding wrongness. (Rick Dangerous! Typhoon Thompson! Rick Dangerous II! Six flight sims! Leisure Suit Larry!)
Cunningly, however, the writers subtly and unsuspectedly managed to convey their petulant misgivings in the reviews. Can you spot which games Mark and Stuart didn't like, readers?
Stuart would also like to point out that the picture accompanying F/A-18 Interceptor - seemingly showing the diving plane cropped badly by a thick border - is in fact a fantastically funny shot of a spectacular into-the-carrier crash that took split-second timing and a hundred or so attempts to capture perfectly using the rubbish screenshot technology of the time (an Action Replay cartridge and Commodore Format's wheezing "grabber"). So that's that finally cleared up, then.
Rarity Value: 7.3
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