News

All Ace Reviews Added - 2017-08-15 16:20

Well that was certainly a quick turnaround, but it certainly helped that the latter issues of Ace had no Spectrum reviews - after Issue 42 (March 1991) there were none at all.

C&VG next. Along with Sinclair User it was, if memory serves me correctly, the only magazines that covered the entire history of the Speccy.


Ace Reviews - 2017-08-09 11:26

The first 9 issues of Ace magazine added.

A lot of Ace reviews aren't exactly specific to the Spectrum version but sort of coalesce all versions into the same review (there are still reviews dedicated to the Spectrum version though, generally where only a Spectrum version existed). However, the SPOT database, and therefore WoS's Infoseek database, have plenty of titles with a review referenced but they are definitely not Spectrum reviews at all - although a Spectrum version of the title certainly exists. In fact the only point of reference to the Spectrum in the review is the Release Box which details when or if a version is going to be released across the various micros. A good example of this is Issue 8's Gee Bee Air Rally, which was certainly a Spectrum game, but it's obviously an Amiga-only review.

I've therefore taken the decision not to include these reviews.


Site Updates - 2017-07-17 12:52

Each game/review now has links to the following external resources:

Infoseek

Spectrum Computing

ZXInfo

Spectrum 2.0

The Tip Shop

Many thanks to Einar Saukas for suggesting these.

The disclaimer that appeared above every Your Sinclair review has now been replaced with a more generic disclaimer.

The Awarded page (Crash Smashes, YS Megagames, etc) has been updated so the lists are now accurate. It was previously using an out of date award flag.


Sinclair User Complete! - 2017-06-20 14:22

After more than 15 years of work the main objective has been finished - wahoo!! This objective was to get the four main Speccy magazine reviews OCR'd and into a database. With Sinclair User now completed (with a bit of indecipherable text unfortunately), this means Crash, Your Spectrum, Your Sinclair and Sinclair User are all present. Logic would state that I give it a rest for a while but there are a multitude of other reviews that can be added - Ace, C&VG, The Games Machine - I think a non-Speccy format magazine should be next...


Sinclair User Reviews - 2017-04-12 14:39

Issues 77 to 101 added.


Sinclair User Reviews Added - 2017-02-23 14:40

Issues 62 to 76.


Sinclair User Reviews - 2016-11-14 14:26

Added all reviews from issues 53 to 62.


Sinclair User Reviews Added - 2016-09-09 17:02

Added all reviews for Issues 43 to 52.


All Reviews - 2016-07-05 14:42

There is now a link in the Magazines section to view all reviews at a glance via the opening character of the title - numeric/A/B/C/D/etc. It will list all reviews for the title where there is one along with quick links and the Overall score.


Crash and Your Sinclair now definitely complete - 2016-07-01 17:11

By adding two reviews for Issue 3 and short of another thorough check Crash's reviews are completed. The two missing reviews were a couple of hardware:

Trojan Light Pen

Format 4 Kit

Your Sinclair was a little more bitty than Crash. A couple of reviews that were duplicated have gone, budget reviews of Uridium and Soccer Q were missing the review text (although everything else was present) for some insane reason and the final outstanding review of Firebird's The Hive has finally been added. There is tiny bit of text missing from one of the Pictures but I'm going to live with that...


Sinclair User Reviews Added - 2016-06-28 14:23

Issues 32 to 42.


Sinclair User Reviews Added - 2016-04-15 12:34

Issues 29 to 31 uploaded.

Also a minor update to some of the publishers pulled from the Infoseek API mirror. Some title references had a blank Publisher which were allocated to an "Unknown". Further in the API result was a Manufacturer which was more or less the same thing so they've been updated to that instead.


Update - 2016-03-22 16:53

A rather large update to report today. Using a mirror of the Infoseek API (thank you so much whomever hosts http://search.kolbeck.dk, I owe you a beer) I've managed to cross-reference things so that the ZXSR database entries have been updated to whatever is stored in Infoseek. This means that Titles, Publishers, Authors, Year of Release and Prices have all been updated and are far more accurate, so that will have implications on Searching. There's still some more work I can add that will give a heck of a lot more information per Title and that's currently in the works. I've no real intention of keeping the ZXSR database as up-to-date as Infoseek will eventually become, primarily because there's not much point as all reviews ended in about 1993.

Secondly the first 28 issues of Sinclair User reviews have been added. Immediately obvious is the gap between Issue 1 and 8 and that's because the Speccy didn't exist (or at least reviews) until November 1982 so there couldn't have been any reviews! That VU-3D review is obviously wrong.


Stats overhaul - 2016-03-15 15:25

A complete re-write on statistics storage and generation, which was looong overdue, is complete. There's no hacks to it like before and it is now instantaneous. Result!!


New reviews added - 2015-11-24 14:14

After a page-by-page trawl through Your Sinclair and Crash I identified a few reviews that were missing, all of which have been added (for example Cyrox in issue 17 of YS). Whilst at it, also included are reviews that I didn't consider as reviews initially but are really. That means a fair number of reviews from Crash's TechNiche have been added along with a multitude of compilation reviews and things such as Crash Backs. These are visible via the Magazines menu link (look towards the bottom of the page) but unfortunately that page is crawling at the moment. A fix should be available sometime tomorrow - it's a database indexing issue that I'm struggling to locate.

UPDATE: Found the problem with the indexing so it's back up to speed again.


Crash Readers Awards - 2015-07-23 17:04

Has been overhauled so it's less of an error-strewn mess. Also lists the placing it got for each award.


New Server - 2015-07-07 14:17

The site has been moved to a new server and therefore is accessed by a new IP address. Doesn't appear to be any speed issues thus far...


Crash Living Guide - 2015-07-03 17:20

All Crash Living Guide reviews (of which there were 916 over issues 1 to 4) have been added and will return in a Search result. A dedicated page will be added later.


A fresh new look - 2015-01-29 14:29

I hope you all like the major new overhaul - I thought it was about time :-) It wasn't much of an update in reality, merely that a forked version of Bootstrap was applied and a few things tidied up to render prettier.

One of the things I've been meaning to do for a while and that's consolidate the Search into one place rather than specifically on the Search page. So in the menu panel on the left, the Search is always available. That's also going to get some TLC over the coming months, but at the moment it still only searches on Title, Publisher and Author.

Within the Magazines section the "Awards" have been listed per magazine - so all the Crash Smashes, YS Megagames, etc. This is still a WIP.

And finally in the Magazines section, the Crash Readers Awards. Again, another WIP, but you're able to search by year and they'll display exactly like the normal Search results. This will be tarted up too.

As always, any feedback is welcome chrisnbourne_at_gmail_dot_com


Crash Smashes, YS Megagames, etc - 2015-01-28 13:58

Rather belatedly a page has been added that displays those titles that were "awarded" by the magazines. Crash Smashes, YS Megagames, etc are all listed by mag. It's a work in progress and will be tarted up eventually. Quick links in the menu system have also been provided.


Site Update - 2014-06-19 13:56

Firstly a vast amount of Your Sinclair reviews that were previously denied have now been re-granted access. At a rough count, there are around 250 reviews still denied.

Secondly the number of unqiue titles that are searchable now stands at 24,963. This was due to a refresh from WoS's Infoseek data.

Thirdly, the search page now renders an inlay image for every title that has ever been supplied an image to WoS (they are not deep-linked BTW). This is 5.5k+ unique titles. These images are also hyperlinked.


Speed increase! - 2014-06-18 12:49

A little bit of database jiggery-pokery has sped up the Stats page considerably. It's now almost instant (emphasis on almost :-))


Happy New Year!! - 2013-12-31 23:18

So we say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in 2014. A Happy New Year to all Spec-chums and I sincerely hope you all prosper in the coming twelve months.

Jet Set Willy is 30 years old this year, as is Daley Thompson's Decathlon, Knight Lore and Underwurlde. In 12 months time Marty McFly has actually hit the future. Unless something amazing happens there is still no sign of the flying car but who would have thought in 1985 we would have devices in the palm of our hands that would be our recording studios, our entire record collections, our medium for connecting ourselves to the entire planet. The world has become a much smaller place. Sadly the ability for mass communication, which should have made a peaceful planet, still hasn't stopped the same old shit from happening from when I was a kid. Still there is always hope...

My eldest daughter reaches double figures next year. Maybe her generation can make less of a balls-up of it than we have.


Website Updated - 2013-04-25 14:09

A bit of a major overhaul today.

The Your Sinclair reviews have been re-added but only those that I OCR'd myself. However those that weren't I did all the Blurbs and Screenshot text myself so they have been included.

The Magazine links now render MUCH faster, as do the Games and Reviews.

Searching is a considerable factor quicker too, but the biggest beneficiary has been the stats. Rather than taking minutes to render they now take a matter of seconds.


Sluggish... - 2013-04-10 23:45

The site appears to be slow since the update yesterday and I apologise for that.

I'm attempting to find the cause, well, I know it's a database issue since the update yesterday, but it really shouldn't be happening as the indexes and keys are spot on - there must be something I've missed!!

Please just bear with it for the next few days. The same problem occurred when the Your Sinclair reviews went online at the start of the year, and I did some database magic that resolved it. Just wish I could remember what I did!!!!


Your Spectrum Reviews - 2013-04-08 14:06

Every Your Spectrum review (388 in total) has been uploaded. Fairly rapid process for these, started in the New Year (2013) and fully completed by April. Sinclair User next...


Optimisation of site - 2013-04-05 17:13

Hopefully everyone should notice certain pages being a LOT more responsive now. It's been on my to-do list for, well, since day one, and that's to remove all unnecessary ViewState. Thats been applied on the Magazine pages, the search and the review display itself. So mobile devices should render a hell of a lot quicker now!


YS Reviews Taken Down - 2013-01-20 17:05

Unfortunately an issue has arisen with some of the Your Sinclair reviews that was quite correctly brought to my attention. I have used various sources to allocate the review text, not all of them from OCR'ing and one source was a website who's owner had been given written permission to use the reviews whereas I have not. So temporarily I have taken down all YS reviews, they will all be back at some point.


Your Sinclair Reviews - 2013-01-19 19:32

Yup, all of them have now been added (apart from the SAM reviews, I may add them in later). So that's 2156 reviews in of which there are some missing due to the text (or the picture text) being illegible and some others that need some review scores adding which I'll upload next week.. If anyone could help, the reviews with the illegible text are: Ramparts - Issue 30 (need the picture text), Licence To Kill - Issue 45 (picture text again), Kick Off - Issue 50 (pic text), Price Of Magick - Issue 8 (all of the review), Mindstone - Issue 10 (all of the review), Hive - Issue 15 (some of the review text is caught in the page fold of the scan). Any help gratefully received! (chrisnbourne_at_gmail_dot_com)


Comments Removed - 2012-07-16 16:40

As with the Guestbook, too many spammers were hitting it and I just don't have time to administer it. It wasn't really used anyway, but we did get one game author posting about a game that they weren't associated with.


Guestbook removed - 2012-07-16 16:35

Removed the Guestbook functionality as it's only ever spammed anyway.


Database Indexing - 2012-02-24 14:18

Added better indexes to the database structure which should hopefully speed up the site a little.


Stats Page - 2011-05-05 14:47

Small update to improve the speed that the Stats page displays. Previously everything was calculated on the fly which when SQL was the backend database was fine, but SQLite is understandably slower. Therefore every 3 hours the stats are refreshed (apart from the last 10 viewed games/reviews) from scratch and it's the first person who lands on the stats page after the 3 hour time limit is up that is the unfortunate individual who generates them!


Anniversary - 2011-03-31 16:14

Dang! Just realised I missed the sites first birthday. Anyway, many happy returns to it!!


Comments - 2011-02-11 14:03

Added a Comments shortcut to the left menu.


Stats - 2011-02-10 14:37

Added some stats back into the left menu.


Site Updated - 2011-01-15 15:35

You've probably noticed that the site has changed completely and not necessarily for the better cosmetically ;-)

I'm attempting to make the sites footprint a lot lower and it tied in nicely time-wise with the database engine update, so all superfluous css, javascript, AJAX has been removed.

It should hopefully be a bit more straightforward to get to the reviews now but if anyone has any problems you can email me.

One casualty has been the stats which will appear again soon...


Database altered - 2010-12-30 10:57

Since day one the web site database has been run from SQL Server and although this has huge benefits (primarily data access speed) it has the ultimate disadvantage of being entirely unportable and utterly reliant on the website having access to a SQL Server engine!



Therefore I have decided to use a portable database structure, in this case SQLite after testing a few alternatives. The original Access database is far too slow and although the SQL CE (Compact Edition) allows pretty much exactly the same portability as SQLite, it's newer technology and requires development in an IDE I don't own! So SQLite it is...



There may well be some speed issues as it is undoubtedly going to be slower as the optimisations of SQL Server have gone, however I believe it will be fast enough.

If you notice any connection issues, slowness, bugs, etc, please contact me at the email address in the Contribute section of the site.


Infoseek Integration Update - 2010-11-24 17:36

As mentioned on the 08/11/2010 the database had been updated to allow the use of Infoseek ID's if known. That was just a small subset at the time, now all of the appropriate Infoseek data has been imported into the database. So the amount of software titles has tripled from just under 7,000 to over 22,000! All publishers, authors, titles and release years have been updated to that stored in Infoseek. Many, many thanks to Martijn van der Heide of WOS for his help and extracts!


Magazine Stats - 2010-11-19 14:18

Updated the Stats > Magazine Stats page so the reviews for each game are listed under each Magazine Issue Name. Games are directly linked to the review.


Infoseek Integration - 2010-11-08 15:09

The site has been integrated with the Infoseek (World of Spectrum database) ID's so that a URL search can be performed as long as you know the Infoseek ID. For example http://www.zxspectrumreviews.co.uk/Search.aspx?wosid=0000001 will give you the result set for A Licence To Kill. The two databases are nowhere near a 1:1 so there will be many Infoseek ID's missing from the ZXSR database. I'm working on getting in as many as possible.


Banners added - 2010-08-27 14:00

Banners are the parts of the Crash reviews where they would make some daft comments appropriate (or not in many cases!) to the game. Maybe a developer mini-bio or a top ten something or others! They've been in the database for years but were never displayed in the reviews. Fixed!


Completion!! - 2010-08-27 13:00

Well almost. Apart from 3 reviews that for some reason are missing, the Crash reviews are finally completed. They still need a final once-over and the picture blurbs still need to be added but almost 10 years slog is all but finished!!


Reviews Added - 2010-08-18 13:52

Crash Issue 96 reviews complete.


Reviews Added - 2010-08-11 13:11

Crash Issue 97 reviews complete.


Reviews Added - 2010-08-10 21:08

Crash Issues 94, 95 and 98 added


Magazine Stats - 2010-07-21 11:37

Added a little more functionality to the Magazine stats page. It now lists all magazines where the issue has reviews (so all of Crash) and list each game reviewed underneath each. Clicking the game will take you directly to the review.


Reviews Added - 2010-07-19 13:50

Crash Issues 91 to 93 reviews added.


Jonathan Smith (Joffa) - 2010-06-27 15:00

On the 26th June 2010 the sad news filtered through that the legendary Speccy programmer, Jonathan Smith (aka Joffa), passed away after a long illness. Joffa was truly one of the great 8-bit programmers always producing technically fantastic and supremely playable coin-op conversions and other arcade games. A very shy and caring man he was always ready to give a helping hand or advice to those who wanted it. I never met the man but I conversed with him many times on the World of Spectrum forums and he was always willing to talk about his games and never once came across as having an ego. Rest In Peace Jof, the worlds a poorer place without you in it, but you leave a lasting legacy with your fantastic Speccy games.


Reviews Added - 2010-06-25 15:00

Finally Crash Issue 63 is fully finished! Also full upload of Crash Issue 90 reviews.


Banned IP's - 2010-06-12 12:00

Hmmm. Seems like a couple of users are insisting in posting a load of porn and other dubious links into the comments. Well their IP Addresses have been banned from the site indefintely and hopefully they won't be back!


Reviews Added - 2010-06-11 12:49

Crash Issues 87 to 89 reviews added.


Reviews Added - 2010-05-07 14:04

12 reviews added for Crash Issue 86


IIS Error - 2010-04-03 14:22

Occasionally the site has been hanging which a bit of digging revealed to be a SQL pooling error within IIS. Made a quick fix by turning off pooling completely which has an impact on the speed of the site, but that impact is negligible.


Small Update - 2010-04-03 14:20

Noticed that the Crash Reviews were not displaying the extra review comments due to a bug. Now fixed.


Site Live - 2010-03-26 14:18

Officially put site live on 26th March 2010.