Published on June 14th, 2023 | by Tim Chuma

ZZAP! 64 Annual 2023 Review @Retro_Fusion

ZZAP! 64 Annual 2023 Review @Retro_Fusion Tim Chuma

Summary: Happy 40th Birthday to the Commodore 64 and happy trails to Oliver Frey, artist for many issues of ZZAP!64 all featured in this issue.


Happy 40th C64

So to the last of these and I have finally finished all of the annuals I ordered on the Kickstarter. Annual means it takes you all year to read doesn’t it? Actually I was reading these in bits and pieces t work while reading other books and did not want to rush through them as I would be sad if I read them all at once then had to wait months and months for more. This way it is not as long until the Kickstarter for 2024 launches.

As with the CRASH Annual the loss of Oliver Frey hangs over the annual and there is the editorial and also a special with Jaz Rignall talking about his favourite ZZAP! 64 covers and how much he thought of Oliver as an artist. There is also a special farewell at the end of the issue with a photo from his studio.

You can be sad that Oliver Frey is no longer with us but also happy that he was able to contribute and had such a long career, even getting to see his work enjoyed by a new generation with the relaunch of the magazine and fully supporting the Kickstarter project with extra bonus artwork.

Now having read all of the annuals I can see that while they may seem they have similar themes to them and structure there are differences to them. The newest one for me and the one I knew the least about was the Amtix annual as I had not seen anyone with an Amstrad although they were popular in Europe. The toy collecting annual actually ended up becoming sort-after as it sold out fairly quickly.

Being the 40th anniversary of the Commodore 64 there is also a special 40th anniversary section in the annual with a bunch of people who were involved in the scene back in the 1980s and today saying what the machine meant to them.

There is a lot of variety in this book so you don’t get bored which I found with another annual they had everything in blocks which does make it easier to assemble the magazine, but it is much more boring to read.

The best thing about finally getting to the end of the last of the annuals is that has inspired me to have another go at doing another photo magazine myself and put some more of my own writing in it instead of just photos.

I would recommend this one to fans of retro gaming in particular 8bit gaming machines and the Commodore 64. Well worth having a look as the publisher is soon going to launch a service where you can read the digital versions if you do not want to have to pay extra for postage which can add up pretty quickly especially if you get all 6 annuals like I did.


Book details:

Managing Editor: Chris Wilkins

Art & Illustrations: Oliver Frey

Adventure Editor: Colin Bell

Guest ZZAP! Writers: Robin Hogg, Ian Osborne

Contributing Writers: Mat Allen (reviewer), Simon Butler, Andrew Fisher (Prof Brain Strain), Graeme Mason, Paul Morrison (reviewer/proof reader), Chris Wilkins (reviewer), Christian Simpson (Perifractic)

Publisher: Fusion Retro

Published: December 2022

Format: A5, 120 pages, hard cover



Features –

VIC-II² – how you can have a PAL or NTSC C64 in the same unit at the flick of a switch.

The ZZAP! Interview – Jazzcat interviews Mr SID on his Sonic the Hedgehog port

Cassette 50 Charity Compilation

The Making of a Sixty Clone

Happy 40th Birthday

Commodore 128 – What went wrong?

Final Fight – An Early Reviews

Cover Memories – Jaz Rignall on his favourite 5 Oliver Frey ZZAP! 64 covers



The Editorial

ZZAP! Back

ZZAP! Creation

The Games That Weren’t – But Now Are

Cover Game Crackers

Phil King’s A-Z

Art Gallery



About the Author

Writer, photographer, artist and music fan from Melbourne, Australia.

Back to Top ↑