|★ GAMES ★ SALONS ★ AMSTRAD EXPO: Vive l'Amstrad! ★|
|Amstrad Expo 86|Amstrad Computer User)||Games Salons|
In the UK Amstrad is the No 3 computer, although it is rapidly rising to challenge those at the top of the ladder. It's a different story in France, which has a funny television system, reducing the impact of Commodore and Sinclair computers which needed to be heavily modified to work on the French Secam system. The native computer is a Thompson, but even that is No 2 to Amstrad.
The first Amstrad computer show was recently held in Paris, under the auspices of Amstrad magazine. As with the London shows, Amstrad Expo was an overwhelming success -1,000 people were locked out on the first day.
The show may not have been as big as the London ones but there was just as much enthusiasm. The Joyce is a much more expensive machine in France (around £600) and was not nearly as popular as the Arnolds. This is surprising because 1*8256 has an azerty keyboard as beloved by French typists.
We had expected to see a lot of translated English software and some pretty ropey French software (the Ed's xenophobic attitude). What we had not expected was some red hot home grown stuff. The best game we came across was Le 5eme Axe, which is reviewed in this issue. Other games of note were Crafton and Xunk, which is shortly to go on sale here from PSS and Warrior, a disc-based dungeons and dragons.
Music was very popular. There was a large display of Midi synths and a couple of Music System type composing packages. Pinball machines are much more popular in France than in the UK. Macadam Bumper has already crossed the Channel, while the Cobra pinball game has stayed put. Cobra demonstrated their game to good effect by building an Arnold into a pin table.
Despite the heavy (French) accent on games there were some more serious applications. A 464 on the Amstrad stand was running Minitel - the French cross between a telephone directory and Prestel.
The best bargain at the show was DBase II, an advanced database language which sells for £390 here but the price for the French version was a mere £70 for exactly the same thing save the translated prompts.
The show was spread over three days. It was good to meet so many enthusiastic Amstrad owners in a place where Amstrad is the No 1 computer manufacturer.