Published on February 7th, 2022 | by Tim Chuma
CRASH Annual 2022 (2021) Review
Summary: A great catch-up for the ZX Spectrum scene over the past 12 months if you have not been following the bi-monthly issues via the patreon. Worth a look if you are into retro as it is.
I enjoyed the last year’s CRASH annual so much that I ended up going in the Kickstarter pre-order that this year had CRASH/ZZAP and FUSION in it if you got the early adopter’s perk. The annual has gone A5 this year in keeping with the regular Patreon editions that I passed on since postage to Australia takes so long it would not be worth getting it twice a month. The A4 version was available but it is merely the A5 version blown up and would have doubled the cost of my order.
From what I hear the annual is now also in the UK shops which is great since there used to be a lot of them in the 1980s and 1990s. For this issue there are 90 pages of the best of the Patreon issues during the year and 30 pages especially for the annual.
There is a great variety of different things in this issue related to the ZX Spectrum and also the Next in the form of new games, old games and features. Even though it is an 8bit system, it does still have an active scene and people who are developing new games and software for it.
The ZX Spectrum always seemed very English even more than the Commodore 64 that it had somewhat of a rivalry for back in the day. A lot of the collectors these days were kids in the 1980s and early 1990s who could never afford to get all the games or were missing parts of their collections so there is a lot of nostalgia caught up in the scene.
I did enjoy the behind the scenes parts of the issue with the tid-bit dropped that ads for the magazine were put in London gay scene magazines in the early 1980s, at least a few decades before the “pink dollar” was invented.
Also pleasing to see was the part about the Portuguese ZX Spectrum scene as previously the magazine did seem very Anglo and UK-centric. The Blast Annual also had a lot more stuff from Europe in it if you are interested in the wider scene.
It is a good magazine to pick up and put down so you can read it at your leisure and not have to rush through it. I ended up reading it about 10 pages a day while I was doing training at a new job as I had an hour for lunch and not much to do (the Werribee line is too bumpy to read on).
If you have an interest in retro gaming and the 8bit scene then I would recommend this annual as a great sampler of what went on in the scene in the past 12 months. The publisher is now doing more magazines and also has the FUSION magazine that is more general retro gaming and collecting.
Editor: Chris Wilkins
Adventure Editor: Collin Bell
Playing Tips Editor: Nick Roberts
Staff Writer: Lloyd Mangram
Page Design and Layout: Chris Wilkins, Nick Roberts, Colin Pool
Reviews Editor: David Saphier
Cover Artist: Oliver Frey
Contributors: Simon Butler, Gordon King, Paul Davies, Martyn Carroll, Craig Turner, Pedro Pimenta, Ian Osborne, Graeme Mason
Publisher: Fusion Retro Books
Format: Hard cover, A5, 120 pages, colour
Genre: Gaming, Retro Gaming, ZX Spectrum, UK retro gaming, European gaming
Crash Back – Paul Davies looks at CRASH Christmas issues 1984 to 1991 (in two parts)
Crash Investigates – Various deep dives into ZX Spectrum games
Cover Crackers – Feature on the covers of Spectrum games from 1982
The CRASH Interview – Paul Davies talks to Evgeniy Suhomlin
Sinclair Next-Cellerated – Running retro games from the 48K on the NEXT
The CRASH that almost was not – The tale of issue 3 of CRASH
ZX Portuguese – The ZX Spectrum in Portugal
Lucy the Editor’s Dirty Deed – April Fool gag in the last issue
CRASH Back Review – A game released after CRASH finished its run
Nick Robert’s Playing Tips – Old-school POKE code and other tips
Adventure Trail – Interview with Davide Bucci
Software House Capers – An in-depth look at Ultimate Play the Game
Simon Butler’s Screens – Digital 8-bit art
CRASH Chat – Interview with Steve Wetherill about his favourite Spectrum games
ZX Spectrum Next – A recap on the progress of the Next leading up to and after its release