Crash Annual 2018 is based on a gaming magazine of the same name that was published here in the UK between 1984 to 1992 and covered all things Spectrum. At that time it was my gaming bible so to speak, it gave me an insight to what was happening in Spectrum gaming world. I remember saving my pocket-money and going around the local streets to wash people’s cars so I had enough money to buy the next issue and eagerly waiting for its release.
Then Fusion Retro Books announced a kickstarter to bring us some of those memories back in the form of an annual. After that successful campaign the Crash Annual 2018 was born, a 120 page hardback book packed with news, reviews and features.
What strikes you first about this book is how closely it follows the design of the original magazine, sure that’s the whole point but this really is impressive, much more that I ever expected, the cover is a reimagined design based on the very first issue of the magazine, expertly recreated by the ever-present Oliver Frey, one of the orignal creators of the magazine.
Essentially the annual is issue 99 of Crash – Chris Wilkins, Roger Kean and Oliver Frey wanted to recreate the original feel good factor the magazine gave, this time delving into the Spectrums vast Homebrew community to create the majority of the content you’ll find inside. Roger agreed to take the helm once more as the editor and Oliver to take charge of the graphical style and Chris to take charge of the reviews.
The annual opens with an editorial from Mr Kean himself, reading that alone gave me goosebumps, memories flowing as I read each paragraph, it was a story about the magazines history, a history for that moment I felt a part of. The layout is exactly as I remember, small summary type reviews that get straight to the point all are accompanied with in-game screenshots as you would expect. On top of the Homebrew games there is the odd section that covers some of the classics, a section aptly named CRASH BACK covers a few of the games that featured 90% plus scores in the magazine and wonders if they would have got 100% today, again this is a fascinating read and thought-provoking and indeed myself and some work colleagues debated this for a few hours.
If I was to have one gripe about this annual it would be a fickle one, there is not enough pages, I am greedy and I want more of this style but for £15 its a must own for any retro fan. The guys at Fusion Retro Books took a risk in reviving this magazine but from my point of view it paid of, big style.
Due to the success of this the team at Fusion Retro Books launched two successful campaigns one for ZZap! 64 Annual 2019 and the other for Crash Annual 2019 – Issue 100 both of which we will review for you real soon.
A must own book for any Spectrum fan, go and get it now.