Thursday, 22 September 2016

Amtix magazine and Games Day '86

Growing up, I was allowed one magazine a month on top of my regular pocket money. In my early years I opted for the Beano, and later The Punisher, before moving on to proper mags like Zzap64. My trusty Commodore and it's slightly ropey tape deck saw me through the 1980s in style and by the end of the decade, 8-Bit computer games were my main hobby.

That was until I bought my first copy of White Dwarf.

Despite my love for '80s GW, I still have a very soft spot for the 8-Bit era, and the journalism produced in support of it. The glorious painted front covers the Newsfield Publication magazines used (Zzap64 and CRASH being sister titles), the zany, irreverent humour within and the whiff of anarchy that seemed to hang heavy around the authors of these mags. Much the same qualities that would later attract me to White Dwarf.

One magazine I do not recall reading (or even seeing) was Amtix. A rather short lived title devoted to the third best home computer of the '80s - the Amstrad! Luckily for me, Matthew Bloomer (a fan of this blog) clearly was and had been hunting online for classic issues relating to old school software. Flicking idly through December '86's issue of Amtix something distinctly Oldhammery caught his eye.

A short show report about Games Day '86. Let's have a look!

Oh, the days of grainy black and white photography! How we are spoilt in these digital days.  On this first page the legendary Nottingham Player's Guild scenery catches your eye almost immediately, as does the astonishing Mega-City below it. Any glimpse of these ancient scenery pieces is inspiring and I just wish they had been in colour.

Of greater interest perhaps, is the short interview (and it is very short) with Gary Chalk

There are a few more GW related references on the second page. I will leave you to hunt them down yourselves. But of particular interest to me are some of the closing words in the article. When speaking on the gaming phenomenon (and fantasy role-playing really was a phenomenon back then, lest we forget) the author felt that the hobby was beginning to feel stagnant. That something fresh was required to breath new life into the scene.

Little did he know that a game called Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader was just around the corner. A game that would breathe new life into tabletop gaming and go on to conquer the world, long after the last Amstrad slid off the production line.

To close with one of Matthew Bloom's thoughts then. If we can find a tiny slice of Games Workshop history in an old Amstrad computing magazine - what else is out there?

Get looking!



  1. Happy memories, I recall attending Games Day around this time (either 86 or 87) and playing in the 'competitive' WFRP session (later published in WD - the one with the pygmies and a floating pyramid). I had a great time but was one of the younger ones there. It was competitive with a small c (like so much back then) as the aim seemed to be to have fun rather than actually win anything! Much to my surprise I later got a certificate in the post saying that I had won the competition! I'm still not sure if they just sent those out to everyone that participated!!

    1. Do you still have the certificate? That would be a thing to see, eh? Was your prize just a scrap of paper or did you get a fat stack of WHRP supplements with it? (:

  2. I also followed a similar route: Dandy, Transformers, 2000ad, The Punisher, Zit, etc. For irreverent humour, Your Sinclair was amazing - their hand drawn maps of games were superb and I could lose myself in them as easily as the photos in Warhammer Fantasy 3rd edition or White Dwarf. I remember a trip to a zoo quite vividly, not because of the animals, but because I took my new copy of 3rd along for the trip.

    1. Ah, Zit! Such a erudite and sophisticated read. Only the other day I was musing forlornly about the death of the computer/video game press. There were some great reads out there once. Now all we have are the likes of DigitalSpy. ):

  3. For me (at the other end of the empire), it was Look and Learn and then White Dwarf. 2000AD was very hard to get hold of, but it did make it around the world.