"A king's castle is his home."
AN INTERVIEW WITH CIH OF THE NEW "MAGGIE" TEAM
by Richard Karsmakers
As "Maggie" some time resurrected from the dead, I thought it
was worth while getting into touch with them on a somewhat deeper
level. Finally, "Maggie" has become what it should have been
always. Not that it was actually very bad before, but everyone
will have to agree that it's gotten loads better ever since it
isn't done by Germans anymore.
The editor of the new "Maggie" is a chap who goes through life
by the acronym of CIH. I reckoned it would be interested enough
to interview this guy - after all, he's the editor of what is
probably one of the very best ST/Falcon disk magazines around.
More remarks on "Maggie" as such can be found in the "Disk
Magazines" department, elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS. Now,
let's get kickin', and see what kind of guy he is (apart from the
fact that he has the weird tendency to double-period a lot of
Chris Holland (CIH)
CIH - see above, not much of one really..
Position in Group:
Editor of the one and only 'Maggie' diskzine.
Date of Birth:
1st Nov 1964.. (Which just puts me the right side of 30..)
Place of Birth:
Fulford, York (England)..
What school are you at right now:
None!! I pretend to work..
Hobbies other than computing:
General lunacy and silliness, going out to places and friends on
weekend trips, window shopping, musical appreciation, slagging-
off television, occasional drinking..As it happens I do quite a
lot on the computing side socially as well..
Do you have any children:
In that sort of "Possibility-of-children-arising" situation, I
take the usual sensible and rubber-based precautions!
Describe your character in a few keywords:
A well-rounded paranoid schizophrenic??? (No.72 in a series of
What computer did you start on:
It was the unsurpassed ZX81, that sexy little black case, the
four-chip design, the membrane keyboard, all when computing was
still novel to most people and so much more fun, we all used to
walk to school barefoot etc..
When did you take over 'Maggie':
Last Easter.. (About the same time I got my Falcon although the
two were not initially connected.. )
How did you convince Delta Force to let you do it:
I did not need to! Delta Force had finished production without
telling any of their contributors after issue ten, Mike Schussler
turned up with the source code at Easter, and as the only point
of contact still there, is very happy for us to carry on.. The
rest of Delta Force are now past caring anyway..
What was one of the first things you wanted to change about its
There were no explicit 'changes' we really wanted to make, but
obviously were keen to limit the excesses of issue ten in
future.. The only other major thing we wanted to do was to
provide more coverage for developments on the Falcon from a first
What did you do prior to taking over Maggie:
I was the most senior surviving regular contributor, having been
in there from issue two, and still there when the body-bags of
other writers were being carried out. I did quite a lot of games,
more demos in later issues, and the odd utility / hardware /
humourous bit, in short, almost everything to some degree or
How is an issue of Maggie put together. Any rituals involving
'Bubble Bobble', 'Super Sprint', and Plantiac perhaps:
Erm, I load in 1st Word, and get down to it... The Shamen 'Boss
Drum' CD is a good one to turn up loud and write to.. Ditto
Talking Heads 'Once in a Lifetime' CD.. The actual writing
process is pretty mundane, apart from the strange and
unforgettable Rutland Water trip in issue 12, which was a sort of
realtime article.. I actually stay away from strong drink when
writing as it does not help, and depresses any will to write down
into the floor.. The actual 'putting-together' is a more social
occasion, but just boils down to lots of computery things again..
Who does what (Coders, Graphics, intros):
The actual issue compilation involves my collegue in crime
Richard (Felice) and a huge untidy pile of disks.. The last issue
was actually done at another friends isolated 300-year old
hilltop country cottage in Wales.. Graphics have been lately
supplied by a very good ST/Falcon artist and contact Kev.. (K-
Klass of the Lemmings) Intros have been a bit thin on the ground
lately, but for a future issue a guy called James is doing a nice
one with STE enhancements, also a demo version of his own virus
killer as a Maggie exclusive in our current issue..
What do you think is your target audience:
We're not that selective really, just anyone who gets usefulness
or pleasure from Maggie.. We are hoping to pick up more Falcon
owners, and have opened links with the Falcon Owners Group here
in the UK for this purpose..
Will Maggie become Falcon-Specific in the near future or will it
remain downwardly compatible:
I have been toying with the idea of a totally revamped Falcon-
specific shell.. If such a thing were to come about, we would
continue with the present Delta-Force shell program for the ST-
owners still out there.. In other words, separate ST and Falcon
issues of Maggie.. We looked at the Delta Force shell source, and
it is not amenable to heavy modification without a top-to-bottom
rewrite, in which case we might as well get a new Falcon-specific
shell anyway.. I hear that the Disk-Busters are doing a Falcon-
Specific shell, which is great, but abandoning the ST completely,
which I'm not so sure about.. Falcon owners are still relatively
thin on the ground,, and I would not like to lose the existing ST
readership who have no immediate prospect of upgrading to a
Falcon.. Having said that, I look forward to seeing the new shell
when it is ready..
What particular aspects of Maggie are you particularly (or
perhaps not very much) proud of:
I am pleased to be reasonably on the ball in matters Falcon-
related, and hope to have some kind of regular coverage on the
developing Jaguar scene as well.. I was very pleased to be in
there doing reviews for Falcon stuff, when most people were still
on the 'Whither the Falcon' stage of things.. I am less happy at
the decline of Maggie as "The 'zine for the scene" although
realising that (a) The ST-Scene has largely died anyway, and (b)
that Cult status is by definition, a shortlived and transitory
thing.. Maggie these days is a stronger and more unified
production then it has been for a long time so I am damn pleased
with each new issue..
Will Maggie concentrate on Coding, Demos and computer-related
matter in the future too:
Probably, but there are moves to diversify, with reviews on non-
ST formats, such as the Lynx which is having a bit of a revival,
obviously the Falcon as much as possible, some PC stuff as well..
Also more personal and humourous reflections will spring forth
from my diseased imagination, and at least some
music/film/tv/book-type reviews.. And if anyone else wants to
write any fiction, they are more than welcome to... Maggie these
days, tends to reflect the views and opinions of one or two
people like myself, and is going more in the direction of ST NEWS
in that regard.. I don't foresee a return to the early days where
lots of different writers of variable quality were involved..
What would you be doing if you didn't do Maggie:
Well this is one of the great 'lost opportunities' as far as you
were concerned.. Originally, I decided to stop writing for Maggie
after producing articles for issue 11, taking the view that this
should be an official 'farewell' issue with Mike Schussler.. Then
subsequently doing stuff for 'HP-Source', another ex-Maggie
person's own venture into the diskzine world.. What actually
happened is that a lot of articles were written, Delta Force gave
up on Maggie without telling us, then 'HP-Source' itself died-off
as well.. If Mike had not turned up with the Maggie source when
he did, my ravings may well have been directed in the direction
of ST NEWS! As it is, this interview file is the first and
probably only effort for the near future..
Favourite recent film:
Cliffhanger, a great funny film, even if it wasn't intended to
be.. 'Unforgiven' was pretty good as well..
Least favourite recent film:
Jurassic Hype, more patchy and annoying and reflecting a
sickeningly all-American desire for 'Family values' at the
expense of a fully developed story line.. Why does every
Spielberg film seem to have two kids "Cute" and "Loveable" and a
concerned mother in it???
Great quote about Jurassic Park:
Gloria Hunniford, a BBC Radio 2 Disk Jockey and extremely
tedious minor celebrity at the premiere showing in the UK:-
"It's really great, you can't tell where the animatronics
(Special FX) end, and the real dinosaurs begin!!!"
Vegetable brain or what?!?!?
Favourite all-time film:
Any of the Clint Eastwood, early 'Spaghetti Westerns' Life,
death, and women in tight blouses.. Or 'Starwars'.. Or 'Dirty
Favourite recent book:
My address book! I admit to not reading as much as I used to,
and suffer an attack of vagueness at this point.. It certainly is
not Douglas Adams latest, 'Mostly Harmless'.. I am looking
forward to the next 'Red Dwarf' novel though..
Favourite all-time book:
A much harder choice, I could name a dozen sci-fi books, but the
one of the most influential on how I think now, due to me picking
it up at a critical time in my development was George Orwell's
'Animal Farm' which convinced me revolutionary communists were
insane twats when I was a tender twelve years old..
Depeche Mode (I suffered from Ultravox-itis, that early
'eighties disease as well!) There is a place for Pink Floyd as
well, a thing which started with my dad's record collection.. I
quite liked U2 up to Live Aid in 1985 when they just did music
and before they got the hype consultants in, and the black floppy
Right now, a young lady called Bjork is forcing her way to my
attention with her very unique voice..
I'm not too much of an individual performance judge in this
Favourite Keyboard mechanic:
Overwhelmingly the short french bloke Jean Michel Jarre, except
for 'Waiting for Cousteau' which is only useful for ripping
Best CD's bought in the last six months:
Depeche Mode's newie, 'Songs of Faith and Devotion'..
'Chronologie by J.M.J..
Favourite photo model:
I don't really have a strong opinion here, ones with little or
no clothing on I suppose..
Favourite ST Paper/disk magazine:
With paper, the choices are a bit limited these days, 'Format is
the glossiest, but 'ST-Review' seems to be better informed and
more upfront about the Falcon.. For the specialist side of
things, there is always ST-Review, but expect great things from
the Falcon Owners Group own paper publication - I will be writing
for it soon...Diskzine-wise, I am a major fan of ST NEWS (As
modesty forbids me to suggest Maggie..)
Favourite Computer Musician:
For a long time, it was Count Zero, but Jess of the Overlanders
recent (and SID-Channel) stuff is way, way ahead now..
Favourite Computer Game:
(All-time.. 'Elite' on BBC micro..) (16-bit.. 'Carrier Command'
on the ST) (Platform.. 'Rainbow Islands' on ST) (Arcade..
'Asteroids', 'Defender' a strange 3D polygon game called 'I
Robot', 'Galaga'.. All of those in the days when arcade games
were real arcade games and not just 50 million clones of 'R-type'
or 'Mortal Kombat') Others.. 'Thrust' on Commodore 64,
'Dropzone', 'Rescue on Fractalus', 'Spindizzy'.... Lots of others
Least Favourite Computer Game:
Too many to be really specific, but isn't it interesting that
really crap games started on 16-bit... The biggest waste of time
in my opinion was a game by Domark called Hydra.. (Which was
reviewed some time ago..) This had a crude and blocky sprite
scaling routine and virtually zero gameplay, and no incentive to
go on.. I would also direct some heat in the direction of
Psygnosis, originators of the practice of enthusing about the
fifty zillion layers of parallax scrolling in their mega-game to
deflect any awkward questioning of the gameplay (or total lack)
until it was too late.. (They seem to think the Jaguar overpriced
at £200... Fine, let's see their next game for sale at £20....)
It's another 'Pick from the whole world and take your time'
question isn't it? Robin Williams is very good, but too rich and
Hollywood for my vote.. Ditto Clint Eastwood... Ok, it has to be
Kenneth Williams who played the toffee-nosed characters in the
'Carry-on' series of films, especially Doctor Tinkle in 'Carry on
Doctor'.. This is a better question for Felice, who would
probably write you an article on the subject.. In terms of
fanciability, what about the magnificent Catherine Zeta Jones..
Favourite Painter/Opera singer/poet/whatever:
Oh dear, a 'culture vulture' question.. Well painting and poetry
have both got to be sparse and over-specialised, and inaccessable
to the general population, Opera is never over until the fat lady
sings.. (So they say...) That leaves 'whatever' as a category..
My favourite author is Spike Milligan, genius and clown....
Aha, this is easier.. I can happily cope with most kinds of
food.. A favourite is the good old traditional transport cafe-
style English Egg and Bacon breakfast, with chips and baked
beans.. I can happily eat most kinds of Indian and Chinese food,
Pizza's, Roast dinners, Spagetti bolognese, sausage stew, chile,
barbequed fillet steaks, hamburgers.. (List goes on to page 94..)
Coffee, especially fresh filter coffee, tea, coca cola, (with
whisky in it..) Cognac, a special kind of rum (95.5 proof) called
'Pussers Rum' which was the rum ration served on Royal Navy ships
up to 1970, which I would be happy to put into competition
against 'Plantiac'! (Pussers Rum - Hangover guaranteed!)
No specific answer.. All countries have their good and bad
points, and all could be made a lot better, if the pricks running
(or ruining) them were kicked against.. Having said that, I would
like to live in something like Mid-Wales (for scenery) with
tropical beaches and decent computer shops and bars..
What do you like/dislike about the Falcon, Atari, PC's, Jaguar:
About the Falcon, it is the best home computer around, but Atari
are failing to back it properly.. I am annoyed at the shift in
their position from promoting a general home/multimedia machine,
to one where only specialist applications are going to be catered
for.. You may not get many games because of the lack of numbers
on the ground, Spacejunk is a specific example which is now only
on PC CD-ROM, the developers having abandoned the Falcon code.. I
worry that it may become another under-supported Mega-STE type of
machine for commercial software, although a more healthy
demo/PD/Shareware scene seems to be happening..
Atari, great as innovators, but a total disaster on sales and
marketing (cliche answer). A particular problem here in the UK
seems to be their rather 'flexible' attitude to delivery dates..
After three months of procrastination without proper explanation,
quite a lot of people decide to go elsewhere for some reason..
This does not unfortunately seemed to have changed much at the
moment even with Jaguar.. When Darryl Still announces something
will happen, you know it actually won't work out like that..(or
at all! - Why does he bother? Is he pissed off if he says
something and is overruled by head office (Atari US), or is he
just a congenital liar!?!?) Software companies are resisting
taking on the Jaguar for precisely those sort of reasons..
PC's.. I am ambivalent to these.. There is some great (games)
software for them.. Take today (30th December) for example, I was
round the house of some PC-owning friends who had the successor
to 'Castle Wolfenstein' called 'Doom'. This ran at high detail
with tons of texture-mapped graphics and loads of detail, on a
high-powered 486 machine only though.. However the cost of owning
one of these things is horrendous (If you want to do things
properly with a 486/50mhz or above processor, 16-bit Gravis
Ultrasound card, a fast VESA local bus graphics card, 250MB hard
drive etc..(*)) I am also appalled by the idea that the PC should
be the only home computer.. Half your time on a PC is spent
coping with incompatibilities raised by differing video/sound
cards and memory configurations.. So much for the PC as a
"Standard" (Ho hum..)
(*) And that is without mentioning another £150-odd for a CD-
ROM, which quite a lot of new PC releases will need..
The reason why new PC games require such a meaty hardware spec
is that most games are written in high-level languages, the PC
being a pig to program in assembly language.. For example, 'Doom'
is entirely written in 'C', albeit a highly optimised game-
developers version of the language.. Even demos on the PC are
written like this, arguably the top PC demo at this time is one
called 'When Dreams Become Reality' by a Finnish Group 'Future
Crew' and this is done in Turbo-Pascal with little bits of
assembly language!!! What couldn't you do with a 486 if it did
not have the shit Intel call a processor!?!?!? Who knows?
Jaguar... YESYESYES!!! Absolutely no fault to find with this, as
long as Atari don't fuck up and decide that 'market saturation'
should consist of two dozen units only, for the whole of Europe
to be found on sale at the Virgin megastore, Tottenham Court
road, London.. Wait until the 'proper' launch in spring..
Some words to react to:
The man who started it all, I believe he got 'Maggie' going as a
response to the 'death' of ST NEWS all those years ago.. I am
still on good terms with him and just about in touch.. He has
totally given up the scene now, and has not been active for some
time.. I think he is finishing school, because they keep people
in school in Germany until they are 28 or something.. He is very
talented, but lacked the commitment and willpower to see things
like 'Maggie' through..
I have an extensive collection.. Oh you want a serious answer do
you? I am not in favour of outright censorship, although with
things like kiddie-porn, this is not a situation involving
consenting parties and I am not in favour there.. Another problem
is that it can become repetitive and boring, and ultimately
unstimulating.. Referring to the issue 10 episode, anyone trying
to read all of that would have gone into a coma long before
finishing.. For disk-zines, it is an irrelevant and useless
genre.. You could easily get into a longwinded 'erotica'
(acceptable) versus 'Pornography' (Unacceptable) argument.. So I
Nope, I'm not a heavy metal person at all.. Sorry.
Power, hahaheehee, Power!! But seriously folks, it is like being
a proud father at the birth of each and every new issue.. (Can I
have this bit in the hidden article section in case anyone I know
happens to see this??) (No, ED.)
There is some feedback from readers abroad, but nothing from
anyone in the UK though.. This has been cited as a prime factor
in stopping STEN from going on, and I would not be surprised..
This kind of passivity suggests a generally uncritical approach
to recreational computing by a lot of people in this country,
which is why software producers get away with murder so much of
the time.. (Having said that, there has been some very recent
feedback from people who have read other diskzines which
mentioned the recent issues, I specifically mention yourselves
and STEN at this point..)
As said above, I am against this. There is too much in the world
today, from the worst kind of dictatorships to the current and
sad idea called 'Political Correctness' where it is assumed that
if 'bad' language is suppressed, then the problems it relates to
will magically disappear.. They don't..
Oh ha ha, I am in the right place to ask about that, being a
member of the official Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
appreciation society ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.. You can read about some
of our recent adventures in Maggie 13, at the event called
Our relationship with STEN has steadily improved since they
chose to point out their stand on the issue 10 'Adults only'
section.. Indeed, a thumbs up to our issue 12 was given, and it
is with sorrow on our part that we note their departure..
This has been suffering from advanced anorexia lately with
reference to the page-count.. It seems to be the underdog of the
glossy stable of Future Publishing (Confused metaphor, I know! A
crap metaphor too!) Attention to detail is not one of their
strong points either, putting it politely..
A world in pieces more like!! It just depends how hard people
resist the idea of world peace!! The people with guns are having
too much fun to want to stop.. I mean, they might have to go out
and get a proper job and help clear up the mess!!
Head up to Scotland, keep going North until it runs out, go
'splash', swim a bit then turn right.. The coastline you bump
into should be Norway..
Piracy killed the software star? But are users on the Amiga and
PC any more honest? I don't think so.. Piracy will need a lot
more determination and outlay in future.. Console cartridges can
be copied onto disks, but at a price (depends if you balance an
initial outlay of £3-400 against games at £50 a time..) CD-ROMs
are presently immune to copying.. Will FAST be able to cope with
the inevitable counterfeiters that will arise if software prices
don't come down as a result of a piracy-free enviroment, as
promised by software companies in the past?? In our own immediate
(Falcon/ST) enviroment, more of an effort should be made to
support those people still in this part of the market..
(Software companies have suggested in the past that piracy has
forced prices higher than they should be.. If they now get a
piracy-free enviroment, say on PC CD-ROM, will prices actually
drop, or is it safe to assume they have been lying through their
back teeth with regard to this one?!?!)
Present state of mind:
One I thought of... Very very tired after doing this textfile in
one continual sitting...
And with that let's leave this textfile..
Thank you, Chris. I am already looking forward to the next issue
of "Maggie", but for now I'll just have to settle with issue 13
that I'll now get down and read for the review to be found
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.