Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon, Gary Penn, Roger Kean c. late 1985, 1st floor, 2 King Street, Ludlow.
Crash editorial meeting, King Street, Ludlow, late 1985. From left to right: Julian Rignall, Gary Liddon, Gary Penn, Roger Kean — Image: Crash Online

We're sad to report that Roger Kean, one of the masterminds behind magazines such as CRASH and Zzap!64, has passed away.

Roger Kean co-founded Newsfield Publications in the 1980s alongside Oliver Frey and Franco Frey. Via CRASH (ZX Spectrum) and Zzap!64 (Commodore 64), Newsfield changed the landscape of UK video games journalism, launching the careers of Julian Rignall, Gary Penn, Gary Liddon and Paul Glancey, as well as many others.

Speaking to The Out of Print Archive about the success of the Newsfield days, Kean said:

...it was Oliver's talent that made that possible. We wanted to get away from the all-techie look of the contemporary magazines. Crash — and the others — were supposed to promote the thrill of games playing, so they had to have exciting covers. Also, we wanted to stand out on the crowded news shelves. You'll note that the early covers usually had a face staring out at the prospective buyer — not a usual thing in those days.

Newsfield went into liquidation in 1991, and Kean established Europress, which would launch the likes of Sega Force and N-Force. Kean later worked at the UK arm of strategy guide company Prima Publishing and was more recently involved with revivals of both Zzap!64 and CRASH at Fusion Retro Books.

Kean's passing follows the death of his partner, Oli Frey, who died in August last year.