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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved

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Amiga Power logo
 

First issue release date:
Issue 0- May 1991 (16 page supplement in Amiga Format)
Issue 1-April 1991
Final issue release date: September 1996
Publisher: Future Publishing Coverage: Games
Country published: United Kingdom No. of issues: 65
Medium: Paper Status: Dead

Web Address:
Amiga Power
AP2

After this I looked. And behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, come up hither and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
So began the back page of the final issue of Amiga Power, a magazine that drew upon religion, TV, and sport to entertain the reader (it even mentioned the Amiga on occasions). The self-indulgent magazine always had a love/hate relationship with its readers. Most loved it, and the few that hated it were raving mad lunatics who were separated from the rest of society at her majesty's convenience, making its popularity unanimous.

In many ways the magazine drew its spiritual roots from the likes of Your Sinclair and Game Zone. The writers attempted not to take themselves or the market seriously, often ignoring the boring sections of the Amiga market in favour of space filling features on Japanese animation. This attracted criticism from many businesses in the Amiga network, who considered it to be a lose cannon. Amiga Power took a dangerous path on many occasions, leaving a string of lawsuit threats and tarnished publishers in its wake. Its highest point came in December 1993 (AP32) when it managed to annoy thousands of war veterans, as a result of their portrayal of a poppy on the cover to announce the release of Cannon Fodder. Court injunctions were taken out against the magazine by the Mary Whitehouse Committee who attempted to force the publishers' (Future Publishing & Sensible Software) to withdraw Amiga Power issue 32 and Cannon Fodder from sale. The story gained outside coverage, appearing in an edition of the UK-based 'Daily Star' newspaper. The 'newspaper' used the story to reiterate their coverage of video game violence and made several unflattering comments about Stuart Campbell.
Amiga Power quickly recovered from this 'shame', producing a one-off CD32 edition (AP49). In contrast to competitor Cover CDs (a rarity in 1995) the Amiga Power CD featured the greatest hits of freeware games, allowing CD32 owners to see what they were missing (in the gaming sense, CD32 owners were already aware of the lack of keyboard, disk drive, and other 'techy' devices).

Dirty Old Man
In its final years Amiga Power continued to cause controversy, extending its criticism to other Amiga magazines and the Escom-owned Amiga subsidiary. In retrospect, these attacks were poorly disguised attempts to increase sales and could have been easily avoided.  The magazine's criticism of The One Amiga for having a different opinion in their game reviews were particularly childish. However, in most cases they pointed out gross inaccuracies, demonstrating how other magazines and companies were attempting to deceive their readers/customers.
Here are a few of the most well known crimes that Amiga Power accused other magazines of committing:

Amiga Action: Accused them of reviewing incomplete copies of games and, on several occasions, the PC version. Printed screenshots in many of these review validate Amiga Power's accusation. In other words, they were right!

Amiga Format: Even their own sister publication was not safe from accusations that their review standards were poor, based upon a bug found in a particular game that prevented them from getting past level 3. Amiga Format reacted with counter claims that Amiga Power should check their facts beforehand, they had not found the bug because they had used a cheat to play some of the later levels. Amiga Power win for the second round!

Amiga User International: Amiga Power's publishers, Future Publishing took AUI to court for reprinting large chunks of AP reviews as their own. Future Publishing won the case.

Amiga Technologies: Amiga Power were accused of trying to kill the Amiga by Amiga Technologies based upon their negative review of Pinball Mania and Whizz. Why were Amiga Technologies so interested in these games? They were bundled with the Amiga Magic pack and a low score would result in fewer people buying it. In a telephone conversation, Jonathan Anderson (head of the UK Amiga Technologies operation) described Jonathan Nash as 'a nobody'. As a direct result of this and other events, Jonathan Anderson was forced to resign a few months later.

When I get old and losing my pages, many years from now (dum-de-dum-de-dum)

During its life span the magazine gradually evolved from the Matt Bielby "Golden Age", a time reminisced by readers, to the anorexic days of the over-50's club, when it suddenly became a small pamphlet shoddily held together by the dreaded staples. In 1996 Amiga Power shrunk even further to just 68 pages. In spite of the Amigas low standing in the market, there were a few memorable games that became classics, including the fantastic Zeewolf 2 (shame it won't work on my machine). In expectation of its inevitable demise these games were followed by slew of terrible titles. At the bottom of the barrel was the truly awful Kick Off '96 that was 'awarded' just 1 percent.
In this bleak time the Amiga Power staff made it their task to find fun Amiga games that could be included on the cover disk. Many of these games would be fondly remembered by Amiga users, such as the brilliant Gravity Power (a specially commissioned game on issue 50), Super Foul Egg (a Puyo-Puyo clone on issue 58), and the brilliant but misunderstood Knock Out on issue 60.

 As further cuts began to take hold and Amiga Power was reduced to just one disk it broke with the gentleman's agreement that prevented magazines from including full games on their cover disk by including commercial games on their last four issues. This sense of quality was also reflected in the magazine that sought to fill the pages with 'entertaining' features including a six page tribute to Michael "bloody" Caine, a day in the life of a football manager, the AP files and a special tribute to fictional TV show, Canoe Squad.

Amiga Power: A post-modern icon?

Over the years there have been a few magazines that have become beacons for the computer industry. A shining light that is remembered even after the platform that spawned them have died. Amiga Power is one of these, taking its place amongst the likes of Your Sinclair, Crash, and Game Zone. Why will this magazine be remembered? Perhaps it was the sense of fun that it bought to the Amiga. By siding with the reader who bought the games, it never gave any games a star rating (like the Amiga Format Gold) if they were rated over 90 percent. In their opinion it was unneeded - there were only a few games that deserved such an accolade.
An emphasis was placed upon games that were fun, particularly two player games that would create a sense of competition.

Perhaps it made such a difference because it did not take itself too seriously, selling itself to a die-hard game player. In contrast to other magazines, Amiga Power seemed shockingly cultured showing a world of music, TV and ideas outside the Amiga. In this respect it predated the lad culture by showing that games could be cool, utilizing cultural influences, such as Michael Caine, football and the paranormal to entertain the reader.

Its influence can still be seen in PC Zone and the Teletext computer pages, Digitizer (although the latter simply mimics AP style without actually being funny). Perhaps in some form the values that Amiga Power represented has been transplanted to a new generation of titles.

Post-Amiga Power

Since its death in 1996 there have been several attempts to produce a follow up to Amiga Power that would symbolize the spirit of the magazine. For a time a tribute site called Bootleg Amiga Power attempted to continue the AP style, while dispensing with the Amiga content altogether. This was supplanted by several of the original Amiga Power writers, organized by Stuart Campbell and Jonathan Nash, who sought to preserve the Amiga Power content in an online museum. This can be found by visiting the AP2 web site.

Amiga Power Issue 0 Cover (36.9k) | Amiga Power Issue 1 Cover (34.7k) | Amiga Power Issue 65 Cover (133k) | Bootleg Amiga Power Cover (24k)

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Last Update: 1/11/2001


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