Unbelievably, it’s true. The stupid “passing of time” has defeated us and 1990 is no longer ten years ago. Commodore Format turned a quarter of a century old on September 20th, 2015. Here, whilst you weep for your lost youth, I wanted to talk a bit about why CF was so ace and the future of this site.
I first got a Commodore 64 in the summer of 1990. My Dad had fluked a competition in the local newspaper, believe it or not. He’d won a C64c. One warm June morning – the last day of school, I remember – the post van appeared at the end of the drive. I can still see him walking towards the front door with the box that changed my life. It was the World Cup Pack. The datasette didn’t work properly (surprise!), and it came with utter crap like Adidas Championship Football. But I didn’t care. I finally had my own computer.
And then, weeks later – theatrical timing, really – my friend told me about Commodore Format launching. It’s really weird what you recall from years ago. I remember seeing the magazine in WH Smith for the first time. I have such a clear memory of CF1 on the shelf and the awful orange carpets Smiths used to have back then. You can read the rest of my own CF story here, but the point is that the magazine was a huge part of owning a C64 for me. A time anchor in my life. And I figured I couldn’t be the only one.
When I started the Commodore Format Facebook page in the Spring of 2013, it was because I was very surprised that there was virtually nothing about the magazine online. There’d once been a scans website, but it had vanished. There were a few torrents of the mag, and the occasional forum thread. But that was it.
It didn’t seem right that it was forgotten.
I wanted to tell the stories behind a publication which unquestionably lengthened the C64’s commercial shelf life in the UK and was a very important part of childhood for a lot of younger fans – often those who’d had a machine handed down to them from big brothers, or those whose families could finally afford a home computer for them (by 1990, the C64 was down to £150).
The response was immediate: 30 Facebook “likes” within the first hour of telling Lemon 64that the page existed; 24 hours before the first CF writer (Andy Roberts) appeared. The first ever Facebook post was a picture of the Mayhem In Monsterland 100% cover. Andy’s comment below it – a little snippet of what the office really thought about the review score – was a tiny taster of what would become.
I moved all the content over here in Spring 2014. That allowed me to archive all sorts of cool stuff like the covers and Power Packs and run lengthy, exclusive interviews and features. Between its launch and the Autumn, over 5,000 unique people visited commodoreformatarchive.com.
There have been articles by the old CF staff. There’s been lots of unseen stuff, like Mike Roberts’ first ever drawing of Roger Frames. There’ve been three new Power Packs, FFS! In short, the last two years have been amazing.
And there’s still more to come. Two more editors to get in the bag (Karen Levell’s agreed to talk to us next month) and a chat with CF‘s publisher, Greg Ingham. And a lot of stuff we don’t want to spoil, too.
My life’s changed in the last year or so, with a move back to full-time journalism and my first child due in January. So there’ll be times in the future when the site won’t be so active. Many of the stories have also been told, and told perfectly, by the people who were there and we don’t want to kill the memories by retreading old ground for the sake of it. We’ll only ever update if something’s new and interesting. But rest assured, this site will stay in business for as long as you keep wanting to read it.
The people who work on this site are all like me – they grew up in small towns and it felt for many years like Commodore Format was some sort of dream. There was nobody else to share the memories with. Now we know that many thousands of you loved and remember it too. Technology and the internet have almost certainly ruled out the chance of something like CF ever appearing again. But that same tech’s allowed us to come together and make sure the happiness it provided and its legacy isn’t ever forgotten.
Happy birthday, Commodore Format. Neil Grayson, Editor. September 2015
SITE EDITOR Neil Grayson
ARTWORK Christopher Heppinstall (banner, social media memes) ● Johnnathan Taylor (Power Packs) ● Cameron Davis (The Mighty Brain)
CONTRIBUTERS Andy Roberts ● Simon Forrester ● Mike Roberts ● Frank Gasking ● Cameron Davis ● Russ ● Christopher Heppinstall
POWER PACK MASTERING, LOADER AND PROGRAMMING Richard Bayliss
YOUTUBE GAMEPLAY VIDEOS Paul E Moz http://www.theywereourgods.com
THANKS Steve Jarratt ● Scott Weir ● Khristian Rainford ● Dougie Badger ● And all theCF staff who’ve taken the time to be interviewed.
This website is dedicated to everyone involved in the making of Commodore Format. You made us happy. Thank-you.