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Disk Magazine Reviews
by Jailbird/Booze Design


I've never seen a demoscene chartsmag on the C64 before, so after it was announced, I was eager to see how will it be done on our platform. Perhaps I expected much more, but all in all I'm very satisfied with its debut. The outfit is Mermaidish, her fine taste on old-school design is just great, but the listings' textdisplayer is killing my mind, as it's quite slow. The charset is a bit odd, wonder why, it reminds me of the good old ZX machines.

Although seeing TRSI as one of the best groups, Spiderman as the best movie, the Alpha Flight website as the second best, or Yeti on the coders chart makes me wonder if the voters were sober while filling those sheets. Well, at least I have a good laugh. Would be great to see more 64 sceners voting.

"ROCK'N ROLE #27" by ROLE:

The Intro:

After loading the mag, the first thing I run into is a simple, oldfashioned intro where I was let to know about the group behind the mag. Looks to me more like a crackintro, don't really understand it's, erm... Role, but the poem certainly made me smile. Space.

The Outfit:

Lucky sceners we are, the magazine's *new* outfit is following the l8 80s-concept of the intro, when no one knew about proportional fonts or bitmaps that don't look like made in 30 minutes. Black background, menu separated to two columns, 8x8 chars, flashing colours all over, and a common multi logo by Mac on the top. Briefly, every technical data we need to know for getting into the mag's deep is stuffed into one screen. Not really elegant, reminds me a lot of the main menu of "Arachnophobia". There is no IRQ loader present, but instead we can enjoy in different musics for each chapter. The charsets are also changing time by time, that feature was probably intended to help the mag being much more exciting for the charset-lovin' readers. In the time of loading text into memory you can enjoy in a mirrored "Rock'n Role" logo by Mac and a "Loading" logo by Commander, which - I guess - was so hard core to do, that after all it deserved the "CMR" tag. The chapters are fullscreen (40x25), all written with fixed 8x8 charsets which is consequently decreasing the readability sometimes. The most annoying thing is the page-counter that shows up inbetween two pages as a separate screen instead of f.e. putting it to the border or reserving a free line for it.

The text:

Typical for "Rock'n Role": more than 5 articles that are something like 3 pages long are holding space separately. "Friends", "Enemies", "The Leader", "Experience", "Diskmagazines" could be as much exciting when putting them into one huge article and calling it f.e. "Behind The Scene". Sure, this way, for the first sight it seems we are dealing with a "stuffed" magazine, but that's not the case. Despite the chaotic leading, I enjoyed the interview with Carcass, and "The Making Of..." or "The U.K. Scene" were either fun to read. The English is decent all the way from the beginning to the end.

All in all, the whole mag is a matter of 15 minutes of reading. In fact, if you jump over the chapters like "News", "Addies" or "Charts", that not all are interesting, I'd say it gets off 5 minutes more.

Instead of quick releases with weak textual side, I'd suggest much bigger breaks between two issues, concentrating more on the articles.

"ROCK'N ROLE #28" by ROLE:

...And meanwhile I was writing the latter review, the following number of "R'n R" came out. I was expecting no changes design-wise, and so it happened, or should I say: NOT happened since the last issue. The articles are still fun to read (especially the interview and various sceners' thoughts about the scene's future) but they're really short, the magazine reminds me more of a newsletter that is hard to navigate. I'd prefer a more user friendly outfit. The contrast of the white letters on a black background is too high, it especially hurts your eyes when the text is (only God knows for what reason) underlined or - even worse - animated. Sure it looks neat, but with not forgetting we're dealing with a textual medium, it should be comprehendable and easy to read, which is not the case here. A music menu would be also fine, for those who are not satisfied with the only option of music-listening where you are forced to stay in a certain article as long as the music lasts.

I was measuring the time of reading this time, all in all a little more than 15 minutes without the pages I already mentioned that I jump over. And I'm not a fast reader.

Interesting although, the chapter that suppose to hold the reactions is called "Enemies". Makes me wonder how's Commander dealing with people criticizing his magazine. Neither I think someone should get a title of a "guest editor" just because of answering to a question in two sentences. The main editor seems opsessed with credits, but that's not news it you're a regular CSDB-forum visitor... ;)

My conclusion stays the same as for the last issue.


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