l l


ssentially the rnass-market end of the computer console business divides neatly into lo-bit. 8-bit and handheld machinery. The more bits. the more complex the machine's memory. and more details can be packed into the game (although the extra potential isn't always used). 8-bit machines are the mainstream big-sellers at the moment although handhelds are spreading like something extremely contagious and the middle-rnarket could soon be squeezed between the high-power ‘pro' machines and the cheapish portables. For the dedicated simulation addict looking for something complex and

extremely challenging. the 1’(.‘games '

still probably hold the edge. with the additional advantage that you can use your computer to do more than just play games all day.


Game Gear. Sega‘s Game Boy equivalent will set you back £99.99 and that‘s without any games. For your money you get a full-colour screen. and the option to turn it into a TV with the addition of a £75

adaptor. Unfortunately the batteries I

only last around three hours. so its usefulness as a portable is somewhat limited.

MasterSystem II. No. I don‘t know what happened to Master System 1. This is your basic. plug-into-the-telly console which is a very reasonable £59.99. including the excellent if juvenile free game Alex Kidd In Miracle ll’orld. Full colour and pretty nifty graphics and certainly a cut above the Nintendo NES equivalent in visual terms.

Mega Drive. Shifting from shop shelves faster than the proverbial

w arm bun. Sega‘s £129.99. 16-bit machine is (for the next couple of months at least) the last word in consoles. Featuring stereo sound and fabulous colour graphics. the Mega Drive also benefits from an excellent range ofgames. including the cult Sonic The Hedgehog (usually comes free with the console).

NINTENDO Game Boy. Easily the hippest hand-held machine on the market.


not so much games machine as vital fashion accessory. Despite a pokey black and white screen that requires unreasonably good eyesight. this is amazingly popular. mainly due to the excellent variety ofgames available. It costs £69.99. including a copy ofthe fiendishly addictive Russian moving blocks game Terri's.

Entertainment System. Nintendo‘s mainstream console retails at £79.99. Less convincing graphically than its SEGA equivalent. the NES does have the huge advantage of featuring Super Mario Bros. possibly the most popular computer game ever devised. A huge range of back-up gamesalso helps. . .

Super Nintendo. Not in the shops until May. but early reports suggest it might be advisable to place an order. It‘s a 16-bit machine with superb colour visuals. stereo sound and plenty ofsoftware support. It should retail at around £150.


Home System. The 520 ST is a full-colour home computer with built-in disc drive so you can use all those free games magazines always give away. Also. if you‘re one of those dullards who gets fed up playing games. you can switch to a

spot of home accounting or word processing. lt‘ll set you back £300 for a starter pack with free games. The “MOST-E has twice the memory for reeeeally complicated games and is also ideal for banging out hardcore Techno smashes in your living-room. Ask your local ravers exactly how.

Lynx. A distant third in the hand-held department. It‘s a full-colour back-lit 3.5-inch screen but lacks the software back-up of the Game Gear or Game Boy and at around £80 is overpriced.


For the serious aficionado who wants realistic simulations. lengthy quests and minute details rather than a short. swift jump ‘n‘ shoot game. For £400 you get a fully-fledged home computer with access to hundreds of games as well as all those boring office functions. When you get fed up with this you might as well ask for a loan ofthe US Pentagon Combat Simulation System.



So you're a sad twentysomething who had to put up with Space Invaders and that dullo tennis game when you were a teenager? You‘ve decided it‘s not too late to get into this Super Mario stuff. but first you‘re gonna need some words to lace your games conversation with. or you could look a total dweeb when you visit your local console shop.


Short for simulation. Usually the province of the PC where elaboratelydetailed graphics and features can give you the

belief that you really are bringingthat Jumbo down for a tricky landing at Tenerife on one engine. and I don't like the look of those fire engines on the runway Captain . . .

Shoot 'om up

in the good old Space Invaders tradition. this type of game consists of just blasting everything off the screen as fast as possible with the option of regularly shouting ‘eat lead. alien scum‘. Not for the green beardy peaceniks.


Those vital little extra weapons. tricks.

potions and such like you can collect during a game to keep you alive that little bit longer and postpone the dreaded ‘Game Over' screen.


Short for ‘radical‘. means good. Sounds naff 1 know. but necessary vocabulary. Total

Going ‘total‘ means finishing the complete game. For most of the games you‘ll need to be an acned lS-year-old with circuit boards for brains to do this in a reasonable period of time.


American rock group named after the technical term for those computer graphics that make Mario a. er. sort of cosmic plumber.


Generic term for entities on screen. ie you. your faithful followers. that hoard of mutant hedgehogs swarming towards you.

and the giant animated Sledgehammer which is about to claim your last life. Scrolling

The movement of the screen as you move your character around. Vertical or horizontal or multi-dir’ectional.


Role-playing games. Usually some sort of fantasy nonsense where you become a mighty warrior or wizard or something and journey around meeting strange old gits who offer you complicated advice. Scores high on the naffometcr.

Grey imports

Unauthorised imports of Japanese or I American cartridges of games not available in the U K. Seeing as both Sega and Nintendo seem to have major problems meeting demands in Europe. grey imports can be the only way ofgetting i hold ofcc rtain games. Sometimes they are cheaper as well.

The List 13 26 March 1992 7