|First issue release
Issue 0- May 1991 (16 page supplement in Amiga Format)
Issue 1-April 1991
|Final issue release
date: September 1996
||No. of issues:
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
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
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,
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
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.
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) |
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Last Update: 1/11/2001