2000AD Prog 295: “Die, Dredd!” Look out – there’s a “jimp” about! Zarjaz news for video gamers – inside!

Fresh from last prog’s star pin-up of Dredd, Ron Smith’s back for a Judge Dredd cover showing a scene from this prog’s story.

Tharg’s Nerve Centre elucidates what the great news for video gamers mentioned on the cover is all about – it’s later in this prog… Apparently (according to one earthlet) a recent government survey revealed that the Beano was the favourite children’s comic. I can’t imagine why the government would conduct such a survey so would guess it was actually conducted by somebody else. DC Thompson, perhaps? Tharg lays the blame for the Beano winning at the feet of the Dictators of Zrag. Speaking of which, another earthlette wants to know who the Zragians actually dictate too. Tharg says all will be revealed in a future prog. I don’t recall that happening yet, but there’s still time for a future prog to tell such a tale (unless it has run already, and I’ve just forgotten).

Sam Slade, Robo-Hunter: Play it Again, Sam! Part 4 by Alan Grant and Ian Gibson. The Human League swarm the streets and start killing robots. After we’ve seen just how bad they are, they turn their mallets, harpoons and burning crosses in the direction of Hoagy. Slade steps in to protect his robot, though is disarmed by a spiked club thrown in his direction. Things aren’t looking good for Slade but then the robo-cops turn up en masse – is this the first time he’s been glad to see them? Too late for Hoagy though, who has been smashed to pieces. Brit-Cit National Song Year on YouTube and Spotify. This is shaping up to be a strangely varied playlist, by the way…

An advert for Orb-It. It’s some kind of puzzle toy – the first being, what’s the puzzle you’re meant to be solving? I kind of remember the look of this thing but not having had one, that’s all I remember thirty eight years later.

Harry Twenty on the High Rock by Gerry Finley-Day and Alan Davis. Time for a montage as Harry and his cell-mates carry on their parts of the plan to construct a space capsule to escape the High Rock and parachute down to Earth in. There’s just one problem – how are they going to get their hands on the fuel? An encounter with Twenty-One Toady gives Harry an idea as the Warden’s pet snoop has the virtual run of the Rock. Next time he’s cleaning around the gym, Genghis and Harry ‘accidentally’ knock him out and through judicious use of synthi-grease, padding and home-made contact lenses, Harry disguises himself as Toady. I’m not totally convinced, but let’s run with it – the cleaning equipment includes as visor that slides down over the head anyway. Now all he has to do is get to the shuttle fuel store and back before Toady wakes up.

That news for video gamers? It’s a new feature called Action Video. It starts off with two data files on two of the three home video systems which dominated the market (Atari and Mattel Intellivision) and a few paragraphs on computer games on the horizon, including one for the Atari based on E.T. Yes, it’s that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial game – the one which had a limited development time to rush it on to the shelves for christmas, had vast numbers overproduced and ended up with the burial of three quarters of a million unsold and returned cartridges and the crash of the United States games industry the following year. This game is sometimes blamed for the early end of the lifecycle of the console it was on, though this article says Athe Atari VCS is about five years old and dated as it is. Pretty amazingly the price of the Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back game in 1982 is roughly the same price as console and computer games now.

Judge Dredd: Jimps by T.B. Grover and Ron Smith. So, remember that story where some of Mega-City One’s top criminals meet once a month to try to plan the perfect crime? We’ve seen two of the regular meetings already – one came up with the idea for Blobs while the next month saw them lamenting the failure of their plans. Not far off a month later in publication date we’ve got another monthly meeting. I’m really hoping future meetings also match up (there’s only a few more to go after this one though). As you can probably tell from the title of the story – as long as you know that Jimps is short for Judge Impersonator – this plan involves using criminals disguised as judges to roam the city unhindered. A few teething problems lead to some emergency meetings, not to mention the deaths of the jimps involved, the first gang due to using the wrong kind of gun and getting shot by judges, the second lot killed by a crazy who wanted to bag some judges. The last attempt sees Dredd pass by and order them along to deal with a bank robbery. Being cheap hoods instead of highly-trained judges, they don’t even last seconds. Dredd keeps getting in the way of this perfect plan – something has to be done about him, but there’s at least one more story before that happens.

Rogue Trooper: Fort Neuro Part 5 by Gerry Finley-Day and Cam Kennedy. Rogue travels through the heavily battle-damaged, chem cloud-shrouded wastelands between Frank and Lim-ee sectors encountering what I believe is an Amok Nort battle-droid along the way (it’s not named here though, so I could be wrong). We’re given a bit of a time frame in a flashback sequence to the early days of the war – here’s how it goes so far: the war starts, Fortress Neuropa is one of the first targets. After some time has passed, all contact with the outside is lost. A bit later all contact between Frank Sector and Lim-ee sector is also lost, so that Robspierre doesn’t know if the Lim-ees have been affected by siege madness. Rogue turns up at Lim-ee sector and they already know who he is, just as the Franks did. Just how long ago was the Quartz Massacre? Did that also take place in the early days of the war? Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this once before and I’ll be mentioning it at least once more when we’re given a solid time frame. Anyway, in best Future-Shock twist ending fashion, it looks like the Lim-ees are still Fort Neuropa’s toughest fighters, but we only see their helmets (not festooned with historical hats). Then they step forward through the chem clouds and we see they’re wearing… British holiday camp redcoats. Why yes, Hi-De-Hi! had been running on British TV for the past two years. Why do you ask?

Tharg’s Time Twisters: Ultimate Video by R. Preston and Casanovs Jr (those links are to old collected editions which are probably pretty difficult to get hold of these days – and only cover the Alan Moore Twisters in to the bargain). J.C. Lees owns a video company (as in they sell the futuristic version of VCRs or DVD players) and has a cat called Tiddler. What would be great is if there was a motto about how the machines were so simple that a cat could operate them (Tiddler does appear on a billboard outside the offices). The reason I say this is because one of Lees’ employees comes to him with a time travelling video machine – if you have a video recording of an actual historical event then you can travel to that event. The machine has a master switch on the machine in the present and a remote control that can be carried in to the past, anything touching the remote when activated will also be returned to the present. Trapping his employee in a certain death situation, Lees roams the timelines, causing disruption and having fun at other people’s expense (and usually their lives). The bit where that motto would have come in handy is when Lees drops the control while taunting victims of a fishing boat disaster and the cat activates the master switch (because it’s a video that the cat can operate), leading to Tiddles having a fishing net full of fish all to themselves. It’s like a call-back, but with nothing to call back to.

2000AD Star Pin-Up: Tharg’s Droids: No 6 in an occasional series – Art Robot Belardinelli by Robin Smith. More in the next paragraph!

Grailpage: I was sorely tempted by Cam Kennedy’s battle-ravaged wasteland but have to go for Robin Smith’s image of Belardinelli – it’s got so many nice touches – a pack of synthetti, Chieffy, Ace Garp’s animated scarf, a model Speedo Ghost hanging from the ceiling. Love it!

Grailquote: TB Grover, mobster: “It’s all that Dredd’s fault! Every time we try to pull the perfect crime, he sticks his chin in! We gotta do somethin’ about him some day!”

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