The Amstrad User

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The Amstrad User (TAU) was published in Australia by Strategy Publications in Mount Waverley, Victoria (not to be confused with Strategy Software in Tasmania that produced Computing With The Amstrad - Australian Edition), with the first issue coming out in February 1985 (@ $3.00 per issue) and the last issue being December 1990 (71 issues in total).

To start with, it soley covered the Amstrad CPC 464, then the CPC 664 & eventually the CPC 6128. As other Amstrad computers were released the magazine covered them all. At its peak, the range the magazine covered was: CPC Range (464, 664, 6128), PCW Range (8256, 8512, 9512), PC Range (1512, 1640, 2086, 2286, 2386, 20, 1286, 1386, 3086, 3286 & 386SX), PPC (Portable) Range (512 & 640) and the ALT (Laptop) Range (286 & 386SX).

It was an independent publication, originally sourcing and writing all it's own articles and content from writers mostly within Australia. As this became more difficult with time, it set up agrements with Future Publishing and Database Publications to reprint content from their respective magazines - Amstrad Action, 8000 Plus and CPC Computing (formerly Computing with the Amstrad).

It had a fairly conventional layout and design and each issue included things like games reviews, type-ins, game cheats, an adventure section, software reviews, hardware, basic & machine code tutorials, CP/M and letters to the editor. It generally separated CPC only content from PCW and PC content - however sometimes articles were published that were generally applicable to all of the Amstrad machines.

The magazine was also available on tape for Amstrad CPC users, and it included any type-ins that were in that issue plus bonus material. This was on a subscriber only basis and the tape was never directly sold with the magazine.

The magazine was widely available throughout Australia and New Zealand from 1985 through to the end of 1990. It was also available to the general oceania region - nearby countries such as New Caledonia, Brunei, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Singapore, Tonga, Tokelau, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands - although on a more limited and not as timely basis. It was a reasonable sized magazine. Early issues being around 32 pages, with the magazine peaking at 72 pages. Most issues though, were 64 pages.

Strategy Publications also had a physical shop, in which you could walk in and buy back issues of the magazine, software, hardware etc. Advertising for The Amstrad User was also supplied with Amstrad models purchased in Australia which mentioned that The Amstrad User was Australia's best selling magazine packed with reviews, programs, hints and user group information. A separate page had a subscription purchase slip ready to go for you.


1991 - Magazine overhaul

After issue 71 (Dec 1990), The Amstrad User became known as The PC Mag plus The Amstrad User with January 1991 being the first issue @ $4.50 per magazine (issues were no longer numbered). It still contained Amstrad CPC/PCW/PC content and was obviously trying to appeal to the broader PC clone market (IBM Compatible owners) - rather than specifically just the Amstrad. This was a hard decision the Editor said here in Issue 71 - Amstrad Australia in Sydney had dropped the CPC range (along with the PCW8512) by 1989 and was refusing to import them (including the CPC plus range - which had the effect of the general Oceania region missing out on the CPC Plus range) or support them - even though the parent company in the UK had pulled the plug on the CPC range, they were still releasing CPC Plus models. Amstrad Australia decided instead to concentrate on the PC compatibles market. It was a simple case of mathematics - rapidly declining CPC market and a rapidly increasing PC Clone/Compatible market. For the magazine, this was reflected by the change in the message seen at the top of the magazine - it started out as "The magazine for PC Beginners" and eventually changed into "For Amstrad, IBM and other PC Compatibles beginners" - although, there was content that was not necessarily only for beginners.

The magazine started out at 64 pages and eventually became 48 pages. Amstrad content was approximately 20 pages and this was a mix of CPC & PCW content - so it was obvious that CPC content was a lot smaller than it used to be. CPC content continued to shrink over time. The magazine ran until September 1991 (9 issues in total) with Strategy Publications ceasing to produce the magazine around then due to obviously declining magazine sales, declining Amstrad software/hardware suppliers, declining advertising revenue and of course the declining popularity of Amstrad machines coupled with the rise of other PC compatibles (and other magazines). It is unknown if Strategy Publications completely ceased operations, changed their name or merged with another publisher.

Note on the scans: Some of the issues are scanned in full - all pages and some just have the table of contents, news, letters, game cheats, game reviews, adventures and other CPC relevant sections (type-ins, software/hardware) only. Generally most PCW/PC content & advertising has been skipped - unless CPC content happens to be on the same page.

Magazine Scans

The team at The Amstrad User released a collection of type-ins and programs in the late 80's called High Energy Programs for the Amstrad. It contained programs that had appeared in previous magazines and also new material.


In addition to the above online scans, entire PDF's can be downloaded from the forum here


CPC Power lists all the programs and utilities that appear in the magazine and you can download some of the programs.