40 pages, card cover
£2.00 quarterly (£6.00 four issues)
Editors: Simon Cooke, Martin Rookyard
The first thing that hist you when skimming through the issue is the quality of the presentation. Simon works as a professional journalist, and it shows: If there's one Sam magazine you'd show off to all your scornful neighbours, this has got to be it. It beats anything else I've seen, certainly including the copy of Crashed! which their editor was shoving up my nose last April. I mean wow, it's superb.
And then you notice the other outstanding feature - the outstanding features! What more would you expect from these people? An explanation of Sample routines from Stefan Drissen, the man who wrote the most famous MOD player in existance. The lowdown on the Z380 (a high speed, 16-bit processor compatible with SAM's programs) from Martin Rookyard, the man building the accelerator. An introduction to Dalmation, the Sam's very own bulletin board, from the person who operates it. A guide to Sam on the internet, from someone who writes for Net User. And even more articles, from well-informed people who really do know what they're talking about.
Admittedly this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea - these articles get down into some really technical details, hugely more involved than anything you'll ever find anywhere else. Not for beginners; if this magazine had a column called "Machine Code for Wimps" it would not be a five-easy-lessons beginners' guide so much as an in-depth analysis of Windows systems, mouse control and graphical user interfaces. Nobody else has ever tried this approach, but it works an absolute treat, filling as it admirably does a gaping hole in the market. It has been said on numerous occasions that the Sam is a wonderful machine to work _with_, ideal for the somewhat unfashionable "hobbyist" view of a computer user. Based on an idea is the perfect compliment to that sort of computer use.
If you want a magazine full of, and I quote, "good, heavy, technical stuff" then this is undoubtably for you. If you want to know what projects people are getting up to, then this is for you. If you just want an entertaining, informative, interesting, intellectual read, buy Zodiac and then Based on an Idea - this should be an addition to everybody's shopping list, but not in preference to your usual magzines since it covers completely different ground and, sensibly, doesn't try to report the same things which are already in half a dozen other magazines. To sum up, it is a first class production which, given that there is any justice in the world, should quickly go from strength to strength. Unreservedly recommended.