Designed as a distillation of all the best games magazines that had gone before it (namely Crash, Your Sinclair and Zero), AP was the market- leading Amiga games magazine for almost its entire life, despite having fewer coverdisks, fewer pages and fewer "exclusives" than all its main competitors. It launched in Spring 1991, and closed with a valedictory final issue and a Viking funeral five-and-a-half years later.
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 1 - February 1992
A "personal" letter from the editor (or more often, whoever he offloaded the job to, citing "pressures of work" or having to wash his hair that night or something) included with subscription issues of the magazine. I was last out of the door on a number of occasions, and so had to write several subs letters, collected here for viewing by non-subscribers for the first time.
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 2 - March 1992
Another one. Of them. (Incidentally, this phrase is one of AP's trademark jokes. AP is the only mag I've ever worked on as a permanent member of staff, and so all the articles in this section of World Of Stuart tend to include running gags and references which will probably make very little sense to those who didn't read the mag at the time. Er, sorry.)
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 3 - April 1992
You'll be pleased to hear that we managed to shake off most of the Queen fans by the end.
WE'RE GONNA HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME TOGETHER - October 1992
By general consent one of the finest AP moments of all time, this feature was in fact the result of a calamitous multiple failure in game delivery. In an issue already beset and delayed by nightmarish legal problems over the cover image, several of the main review games in that month's issue of the mag were pulled at the last minute by the publishers, resulting in a huge gaping hole in the middle of the magazine where several thousand words of copy should have been. After a frantic lunchtime brainstorming session, we came up with the idea for a feature saluting all of our favourite things about Amiga games, and I machine-gunned out the first 7,000 words or so that afternoon. More sections (though not included here) were added by a colleague, and the entire feature was turned round by the art department more or less on the spot, saving the day. I think the title comes from a Velvet Underground song, but I can't remember. (As a special bonus for longtime AP fans, this reprinting includes a section which didn't appear in the finished piece. Though it's not an especially good one or anything.)
THE CHAOS ENGINE REVIEW - December 1992
Prompted publishers Renegade (who we'd had a few run-ins with previously over marks we'd given some of their games, like the terrible Magic Pockets) to take out a page-high advertisement in trade newspaper CTW consisting entirely of the words "SO GOOD, EVEN THAT BASTARD STUART CAMPBELL LIKES IT". Apparently the original phrasing was less friendly.
INTERNATIONAL RUGBY CHALLENGE REVIEW - April 1993
One of the reviews which brought AP a libel suit (unsuccessful) after we compared the game to several global atrocities. The final mark of 2% was chosen when we decided that it actually sounded worse than 1% (which comes across as a flippant novelty sort of mark, whereas 2% sounds like you mean it. Not that that stopped me giving two games 1% and 0% later on).
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 4 - May 1993
The subs letter job fell to me again when the mag's new editor Linda Barker was taken very seriously ill. Thankfully she recovered and reappeared to grateful subscribers three months later (though her reappearance in the mag itself was largely nominal).
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 5 - June 1993
At this point, our work (on sister mag Your Sinclair) was done.
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 6 - July 1993
"At £299 for what's basically a full-spec A1200 with a CD-ROM drive bolted on to it, we're expecting a big success."
WIZ'N'LIZ REVIEW - September 1993
It was deadline day, okay?
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 7 - November 1993
Linda's appearances in the mag were still fairly intermittent at this stage, so the subs letter fell to me again from now until I left the magazine, whereupon colleague Jonathan Nash took over and raised the artform to a whole new level, so respect due there. (Except he now informs me that the lavishly-illustrated style he adopted was in fact pioneered by Linda Barker during her time on Your Sinclair, so respect withdrawn again and transferred to Linda, its rightful owner.)
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 8 - December 1993
The previous issue (see WE'RE GONNA HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME TOGETHER) had been, thanks to the cover problems, almost two weeks late in reaching the streets. The word near the end of the letter has been destroyed in wars between different PC word processing programs.
DANGEROUS STREETS REVIEW - January 1994
An incredibly bad A1200-only beat-'em-up which pioneered Commodore's insane-yet-deliberate policy of putting really awful games into Amiga bundles, on the grounds that it would make people who'd just bought an Amiga go out and spend more money on some decent games.
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 9 - January 1994
The old "blank paragraph" routine makes a comeback.
MICROCOSM REVIEW - February 1994
A truly terrible game which all the other Amiga mags nevertheless gave massively high marks to, mostly on the grounds that it ran on a new format (the ill-fated CD32). This review spawned the AP catchphrase "You useless, cretinous morons."
SUBSCRIBER'S LETTER 10 - February 1994
My last subs letter before departing for the green fields of Saffron Walden, as Development Manager of Sensible Software.
APOCALYPSE REVIEW - March 1994
Spawned AP's ("Humorous replacement for a rude word" - Ed) joke, which ran in various subtly-altered forms until the mag's demise..
YOU CAN'T SAY THAT! - April 1994
Bit of a sore point, this one. Originally conceived by my colleague Cam Winstanley in the wake of the Apocalypse piece, this was a satirical piece about censorship, illustrated with ancient oil-paintings of nudes and with every possibly-contentious word blacked out with big orange boxes (marked here with XXXXXX). However, Cam's first draft was (unusually, for he was AP's Feature King) awful - po-faced and flat - and I completely rewrote it, and added several new sections which made up half of the final word count. However, before the feature was published I left the magazine, and it ended up being credited to Cam alone. It then went on to win the company's Feature Of The Month award, and Cam got treated to a slap-up company dinner. Grr.
JAMES POND 3 REVIEW - May 1994
Rubbish would-be Mario clone.
BREATHLESS REVIEW - January 1995
Doom - but on the Amiga.
PLAYER MANAGER 2 EXTRA REVIEW - February 1995
Offside-fixated football management game.
READY FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP - May 1995
A feature about movie-licence games.
LEAVING HOME - date unknown
A feature about life in the real world. Originally came in five parts, also featuring departed AP figures Tim Norris, Jonathan Davies and Dave Green.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO... GAME DESIGNING? - date unknown
A feature continuing a long-running AP satirical series, but this one never actually made it into print (and in fact was never finished).
KICK OFF 96 REVIEW - July 1996
A review of the worst Amiga game of all time, from the last-ever issue of AP. At the end of the review, I was shot dead by a firing squad. That'll teach me.