Categories
C64

RIP Oliver Frey

ZZAP!64 Issue #50: Speedball

Back in the day, magazines were a huge part of the computer scene. Each machine had a dedicated magazine, and if you were lucky, more than one.

I bought my Commodore 64 in 1989, but I had a Speccy 48K before that. A company called Newsfield published a magazine called Crash that catered to the interests of the Speccy, and also one called Zzap!64 for the C64. The transition from Speccy to C64 meant moving from one magazine to another of course. One constant in both worlds was Oliver Frey’s amazing artwork that graced the covers of both magazines.

My favourite is probably the cover of issue 50 of Zzap!64, the first issue of that magazine I ever bought, but he painted so many others it’s hard to choose.

Choose I did however, as I bought a number of prints off his website in late 2021. I bought the Speedball print featured above, as well as the Retrograde and Elite covers. I’m awful for hoarding things and I still have the tube the prints came in with what is probably Oliver’s writing on it, or maybe his partner, Roger’s, who knows?

All this is to say I’m a huge fan and admirer of Oli’s work. So it was with great sadness that I read that he passed away at 7:55 this morning. He was only 74. Thank you for the art, Oli. My condolences to your partner, family and friends.

Categories
C64

The Commodore 64 Book – 1982 to 199x

Several months ago my old C64 buddy, Andrew Fisher, emailed me to tell me about his new book, The Commodore 64 Book – 1982 to 199x. At the time his email fell through the cracks in the Thunderbird inbox and was destined to remain unanswered until I received a reply from another friend, Iain Black, curator of The Def Guide to Zzap!64 to a recent email I sent him. He asked if I had heard from Andrew so I went digging and found Andrew’s correspondence.

I’m glad I did. I just visited his site and ordered my copy of his book. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it and poring over all the reviews and little nuggets of retro goodness. If you were ever a fan of the C64, I think you owe it to yourself to splash out the couple of quid this books costs so you can bore the pants off your significant other, your work colleagues or friends with hopelessly antiquated nonsense from 20-30 years ago!

For the Speccy fans, there was The ZX Spectrum Book – 1982 to 199x but unfortunately only 1000 were ever printed and it’s sold out.

c64 golden years

In 1982, the Commodore computer company launched its new machine – the Commodore 64.

Twenty five years later, that machine is still going strong with new games and thousands of users worldwide.
To tell the story of the best-selling home computer of the 1980’s, writer and Commodore 64 fan Andrew Fisher looks back at around two hundred of the top games and how the industry has changed. From the pioneering third party companies like Electronic Arts and Melbourne House, to the homebrew software of the new millennium, the story of an 8-bit computer (and its remarkable sound chip) is a nostalgia trip for games fans.

Yes, difficult as it may seem, but people are still coding on the C64. I presume most of them work on emulators and I remember reading a forum post from a young guy who had never owned the machine but wanted to learn 6502 assembler. The C64 Scene Database lists almost every single demo produced and new ones are being added all the time. Not bad for such an old machine eh?