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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
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The One for 16-bit Games: October 1988 - April 1991

Cast your mind back to September 1988. What do you remember about this period? The SDI debate? The music? While these were gaining attention, the 16-bit market had been steadily growing. Both Commodore and Atari had launched their second generation 16-bit machines (A500 & A2000) and were attracting a stream of game players. To tailor for this market EMAP launched 'The One for 16-Bit Games'.
For just £1.50 the reader would receive a 116 page multi-format magazine that covered the emerging Atari ST, Amiga, and PC games market. At the time the ST was gaining most attention, while Amiga had to settle for ST ports a few months later. In third place the PC was getting a cursory glance. It would be at least five years before anyone would take the PC game player seriously. After a few months the magazine began to reflect a change in the 'old' order - games were reviewed that took advantage of the Amiga hardware, and the ST was beginning to look like the poor relation.
The One for 16-bit Games, March 1989The One for 16-bit Games, May 1989 The One for 16-Bit GamesThe One for 16-Bit Games 
A look at the magazine during 1989 reveals it to be the year of announced, but unreleased games. Issue 8 (May 1989) previewed the upcoming film and game, Watchmen. This was based upon the Dave Gibbons' graphic novel of the same name. To celebrate this announcement, the cover featured the famous blood-stained 'smiley' badge. The design was later used by the acid house label 'Summer of Love'. The film was later cancelled and the Ocean game was put on indefinite hold. There was also a brief mention of US Gold's 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'. This news was followed by the announcement of classic titles such as 'Atomic Lunch', 'Randolph the Robot' (and its revolutionary two-button joystick), and 'The Flaming Carrot: Armed and Ludicrous'. Perhaps they were cancelled for sounding stoopid!
Despite the number of titles that failed to appear, The One recorded 1989 as a time when the quality of games produced had vastly improved. In August, Rainbow Islands scored a respectable 94 per cent, beating Xenon II by one mark. The Americans were also showing the world how to make games with the release of Spectrum Holobyte's 'Falcon: The Mission Disks'.
In addition to the dozens of game reviews, the magazine bought an unique perspective to many of the hot topics of that period. In a two page article on Artificial Intelligence they revealed that the world expert on soya beans was a computer. Their approach was different and more entertaining as a result. The industry obviously agreed with this assessment voting The One for 16-Bit Games "Magazine of the Year" in February 1990.
The award did not make the writers complacent. In June 1990 the magazine went through its first major redesign. The changes were brutal, dropping regular features that were unpopular and changing the layout and appearance of the magazine. The original logo confused many readers, causing them to believe the magazine was called 'O The NE for 16-Bit Games'. This was changed to a more user-friendly motif (that can be seen at the top of the page).

The One May 1990  The One for 16-Bit Games, February 1991
By 1991 the ST and Amiga market had blossomed, resulting in the appearance of dozens of single format titles. The One for 16-Bit Games found itself competing against both Amiga and ST titles, and losing. The decision was made, in a publishers' meeting, to split the magazine into two platform-specific titles- 'The One for Amiga Games' and 'The One for ST Games'. PC games coverage was relegated to the recently launched PC Leisure (later renamed PC Review). The magazine had evolved to the changing market and was ready to fight on a whole new level!

Back to The One Index
Forward to The One for Amiga Games


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