Hi-Ho Silver Lining

AP32 to AP50 (except AP49)

Amiga parent company Commodore's legendary anti-astuteness was perhaps best demonstrated by the short, vivid life of its CD-based 32-bit console, the CD32.

From the horrible Prisoner-telephone joypad to the notorious five-years-out-of-date Shock-Haired White-Coated Scientist Watching Robot Assistant Exploding From Sheer Excitement Of Testing CD32 Instead Of, For Example, Showing Any Of The Games You Could Buy television advertisement, every decision regarding the machine was tackled with the sense of a hammer-stunned rooster.

Taking advantage of its A1200-in-a-biscuit-caddy design, games companies shovelled any old A1200-compatible crap on to the console and stuck a tenner on the price, often - incredibly - not bothering to use any of its six buttons so you still had to use "up" to jump. Those who understood that they needed to add new levels or features to their any old A1200-compatible crap or - no! But yes! - make new games, instead largely elected to stick on a FMV intro and look pleased with themselves. Magazines gave these games high marks anyway and recommended their readers invest in a CD32 unhesitatingly, which, thanks to Commodore's unastonishingly useless grasp of the console market, cost £300.

Nevertheless, AMIGA POWER wanted to help. (We were lovely like that.) We'd been trying to set up a CD32 review section for a while, but were hampered by Commodore's flat refusal to send us one of the consoles; one of our longer-running gags was the "we-haven't-got-a-CD32-and-so-had-to-review-this-CD32-game-by- sneaking-into-Dixons-at- the-dead-of-night-and-using-theirs" one which ran for about a year after the release of the ill-fated machine.*

The truth of the matter, though, was that we did actually have a CD32. Stuart stole one. This helpfully led to Hi-Ho Silver Lining, the aforementioned special review section (or, more accurately, "pair of pages"), in which the happy-go-lucky Dep Ed would decreasingly cheerfully collate all the shovelware ports and (bit of a giveaway this) have better ideas than the publishers about what they could to do to improve their CD32 sales without spending any extra cash. (For example, bundle their latest thoughtlessly ported game with its long-forgotten prequel, which (as far as we know) never happened.)

Hi-Ho Silver Lining lasted a surprising 18 months (piloted forbearingly after Stuart left by Paul Mellerick, who didn't even get to review the occasional real actual proper CD32 game because we'd put those in the normal Reviews section for fairness) but, effectively, never had a chance. This foreshadowing doom can be witnessed in the inaugural Hi-Ho ish, AP32, where the plucky column appeared on the contents page under the flourishingly zappy title, "CD32 Software Update."

All a bit of a shame really, because it WAS possible to knock out a decent CD32 game if you put your mind to it - Defender-in-3D funky-soundtrack Guardian was number 3 for two consecutive years in the Official AP Top 100, for example. It's just that, largely thanks to Commodore's stupefying ineptitude - oh, and greed - barely anybody bothered.

The section somewhat tellingly didn't appear in AP49.

A one (of it)
A CD32. Yesterday('s news before it even appeared).