The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

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Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge

MykeP joins the CSSCGC Remake Challenge with this re-imagining of Derek Jolly‘s cult hit, Top Shelf Challenge.

Top Gear Challenge!

Top Gear Challenge!

For those of you living under a rock for the past fifteen years, the original TSC had you playing as a spotty teenager in your local branch of John Menzies, trying to get a shufty of the jazz mags without the built-like-a-brick-shithouse of a newsagent catching you and throwing you out of the shop by your ear. Should you succeed you were rewarded with some gratuitous 8-bit nudity which we can only assume Derek didn’t enjoy searching for on Altavista.

The game was such an unexpected success that Derek released a number of cash-in sequels, the last of which had you searching for porn stashes in the bushes. The other sequels nobody remembers anything about. One of them may have been in colour.

Menu screen

Menu screen

Needless to say, Myke has upped the stakes with this remake and tried to make it into the game it should have been. Rather than the original text-adventure style, we now have the entire shop layout graphically presented, with the shopkeeper reading the Racing Post between checking for shoplifters and spotty oiks. Other customers come and go through inter-dimensional time portals. The layout of magazines on the shelves are randomly generated, although alas it’s not possible to walk around – I assume you’ve already figured out where the magazines of interest are and if you wander off you’re likely to only end up flicking through Gardener’s World or Your Sinclair or something. (I normally hide Sinclair User in the pages of Playboy to avoid embarrassment – Ed)

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

You also play as Jeremy Clarkson. Yes, this is called Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear – erm, I mean Shelf – Challenge for precisely that reason. Instead of browsing through Razzle you’re checking out the hotties standing next to a highly-polished supercar. Quite why the newsie frowns upon this is not explained, as it’s not 18-rated stuff. Perhaps the young Jeremy gets his cock out or something.

Anyway, once the coast is clear merely pressing a key is enough to whip What Car? Magazine off the shelf, and get an eyeful of the glamorous scantily-clad leggy blonde draped over the bonnet of a Ferrari, in glorious Chunk-o-vision.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

Yes, it may be a bit of a shock, but Myke has gone for high colour chunky pixels comprising non-naked ladies, as opposed to the excessive higher definition albeit monochromatic everything-on-show visual feast of the original. As a result, even if everything was on show you wouldn’t be able to tell what it was that was being shown – it’s like Myke has employed Mary Whitehouse to pixellate the naughty bits and, of course, she’s determined the entire picture is objectionable.

This is what you see if you activate "safe mode".  Filth!

This is what you see if you activate “safe mode”. Filth!

Despite this, there’s even a “safer for work” mode. As an employee in a modern office, I can assure you that every desk these days is equipped with a ZX Spectrum. You wouldn’t want to get caught playing MykeP’s UDG Strip Snap, but this – oh, yes – it’s as office-friendly as you can get.

I’m not entirely convinced about the historical accuracy of this game. Jezza’s getting on a bit now, and it seems likely that he was well into his twenties by the time these cars were released. Also there’s a National Lottery logo on the door of the shop, which sets it in the 1990s at the earliest.

Get out of my shop!

Get out of my shop!

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge is everything the original should have been, and less. The original worked, because it was a game that promised risqué content without the tedium of playing poker against Sam Fox. This improves the core game, but manages to remove the main reason why you’d want to play it.

Score: 1 nipple out of two (if you squint a bit)
Download: .tzx

Jeremy Clarkson’s Punch A Top Gear Producer Simulator

Never let it be said we don’t have our collective finger on the pulse here at Sqij Towers. Only seven weeks since the Punchygate incident and two-and-a-half weeks since Andrew Green sent in this highly topical game, and here’s the review!

Unlike Dave R-Tape and his “Geff Capes”, Andrew doesn’t pussyfoot around – this really is Jeremy Clarkson. Look!

Jezza1

The effect is better if you stand on the other side of the room and take your glasses off, but that’s definitely the best Chunk-O-Vision rendition of Jeremy Clarkson I’ve seen all day! And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s a short beepy rendition of the Top Gear theme (a.k.a. Jessica by the Allman Brothers) which contains more bum notes than, erm, a load of five pound notes with butt-cheeks drawn on them. (Nice anal-ogy! Ed.)

If only the game was as enjoyable. You are Jeremy Clarkson, and you’re hungry and angry – hangry in fact – because some selfish producer hasn’t managed to rustle up the half a cow’s arse in between two bread vans you ordered for lunch. There’s only one way to settle this – act like a spoilt three-year-old and punch them in the face. The producer is sensibly cowering over the other side of the screen, but luckily you’re armed with one of those boxing gloves on an extendable arm you’ve only ever seen in cartoons. All you need to do is whack him in the head and you’ve won – perhaps if you hit him hard enough you can have produceur a l’orange for dinner.

Jezza2

This started out as an enjoyable BASIC game – I particularly liked the oversized Clarkson head graphic – but it’s actually quite tricky, as the producer has the astounding ability to teleport up and down at will. Punching him in the legs has no effect either, and when I first played the game I couldn’t land a single blow to the head, making me wonder if it was possible to complete it at all. However I kept going for a full minute, and finally felt the immense satisfaction of socking some poor sod in the face for no good reason apart from the size of my ego/bank balance/willy (delete as appropriate).

I could get used to this! *clicks fingers* Oi, Chris*! Fetch me my dinner NOW!

Score: 376 inaccurate punches out of 377.

Download .z80 here.

*either of the Sqij Towers Chrises will do. Or Myke. Not sure about deKay though, the last time he made me a cup of tea the milk tasted a bit off…

The results of the 20th CSSCGC are in!

It’s 2016 now, surely I don’t have anything left to do now I’ve passed the baton on to this year’s host. What do you mean, I haven’t chosen this year’s host yet? Of course I have, it’s…  oh bollocks.

Ladies and gentlemen, the results of the 20th CSSCGC are now in. I was going to do this in a Eurovision stylee, but we’ve had enough nul points in this competition already, so on to the categories. Fanfare! Drum roll! R Tape loading error, 0:1!

“Best” Game

SOFD01

So many to choose from! From the drugged-up cocaine binge of catmeows‘ Line Overdrive, to the obsessive attention to detail in GReW‘s Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D, you lot really do have far too much time on your hands. But for me the game that came first (f’nar), the one that ended up on top (oo-er), was Sex On First Date, an utterly realistic (as far as I can remember, it’s been a long time) s(t)imulator by Gabriele Amore, which was impressive on so many levels – it was written in machine code, featured great Chunk-O-Vision graphics, and even boasted a sexy font. Sqij Towers’ BloodBaz was impressed too, because of its 100% MACHINE CODE-ness: “I like coding in assembly and like doing it native rather than using toolkits for that bare metal feel.  However this game had a different kind of “bare” in mind and made me laugh quite a bit.  I’m sure the objective of a first date isn’t to re-enact a poor quality 1970’s porn star, however but the sentiment is there!  Just need some 1970s porn-music to go with it.”

Who knew sex with a rubber could be so much fun? Well done Gab! And quite an appropriate winner too, as today is Valentine’s Day! (Erm, no it’s not, except on Baker Island, and nobody lives there. Ed.)

“Worst” Game


Honey4

Look, they’re all crap! However Simon Ferré‘s buggy, slow, BASIC piece of chod Honey I Shrank The Screen has to take the (arse) biscuit. The eye-watering loading screen, the tiny playing area, the topsy-turvy key combination, and the sheer sloth of the thing… given a choice between playing this game ever again and inserting habanero peppers into one or more of my orifices, I think I’ll take the chilli enema. Well done Simon!

“Best” Graphics

Sex On First Date was a contender here too, as were Gab’s other two games Stickman Olympic Challenge and Training Of The Warrior, Guesser’s Advanced Screechy Seagull Torturing Simulator (apparently p13z did the graphics, but I can understand why he wouldn’t put his name to the whole thing), and pretty much everything by Sqij Towers’ very own Myke-P. My personal favourite was Myke’s Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge, with graphics which, if Ocean or Hewson Consultants had seen them back in 1987, would’ve at the very least passed on Myke’s phone number to the head of Mastertronic. Yep, they’re that good. But what about all those Chunk-O-Vision extravaganzas, I hear you cry? Never fear…

“Best” Chunk-O-Vision Game

PointPirate8

There were loads of funky chunky games to choose from this year – GReW‘s Swingball Wizard, most of Gab or Myke’s games, almost everything produced for the ZX81Simon Ferré‘s cat squashing simulator… but MatGubbins has this category pretty well sewn up. Almost any of his games could’ve won, but my favourite was Point At A Pirate, which was elevated from simple gambling game to one of the most fun entries of the competition with the inclusion of those fantastically colourful and detailed characters, including pixellated Emilia Fox with no clothes on. Rrowwrrrr!

“Best” Sound

EV01

I have to say I loved the concept of Sunteam‘s R-Type for the Blind, and nearly gave it the “Best” Sound gong on the basis that the game contains very little else other than sound (same goes for deKay’s BEEP) but I couldn’t deny the effort that Sqij Towers’ very own Chris Young put in – I’m sure if Mozart was alive today he too would have downloaded a load of Midi files off the internet and converted them using Midi2AY, instead of learning to play the piano. So Europe-Vision 2015 it is!

“Best” ZX81 Game

Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3DAn almost unanimous vote here for Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D by GReW – a game so realistic that when I played it I’m sure I could hear a mechanic sucking his teeth in and going “It’s gonna cost yer mate”. I did like Angus Gulliver’s Advanced Toaster Simulator too – what is it with ZX81s that brings out the advanced simulators? Whatever next, Advanced ZX81 Simulator? Oh.

 

Keyword Challenge Winner

lentils-titleSo many to choose from that it’s almost impossible. R-Tape’s VERIFY THE PIE OR NOT was a particular favourite (almost a year on and I still can’t get rid of the taste of tarpaulin and sellotape), but I feel MatGubbins has to take the prize again here, with his trilogy of CAT-based games, not to mention such delights as LENTILS FOR SATAN and CLINT AND FORESKIN (both of whom, incidentally, are supporting Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts on their worldwide tour this year).

 

CSSCGC Remake Challenge Winner

Maria_Whittaker_Strip_Snap.z80_3
I nearly awarded this to Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge again – in the words of BloodBaz: “This game doesn’t need any introduction.  It has everything – good graphics, great back story and a lot of fun!”. (Fun? Was he even playing the same game?)

However it didn’t contain nearly enough digitised pictures of 1980s models for my liking, so Andrew Green is the winner here, with his

remake of Maria Whittaker Strip Snap. Hubba hubba!

Crap Idea Generator Challenge Winner

EasterBunny01

The, by Myke-P. OK, so it was the only entry in this category. Anyone would think Myke wanted to host the CSSCGC again. Well don’t worry, he’s not.

 

 

 

 

 

“Best” Celebrity Tie-In

Jezza1

Another tricky category – this year we had Stephen Hawking, Wally, another Wally, a whole host of “slebs” in Strictly Come Dancing, and, erm, Archer Maclean (I think he was the bloke in Monarch Of The Glen who wasn’t Richard Briers). I was going to award this to Geff Capes’ Number Crunch, but then I remembered that Geff Capes (unlike Geoff Capes) isn’t a celebrity at all. However, the three different Jeremy Clarkson games were all suitably crap in their own way, and I can’t choose a “winner”, so the authors will just have to fight it out amongst themselves.

“Best” Machine Code Game

Beef4

We were spoilt for choice with machine code games this year, but my vote goes to the original BEEF by Uncle “Jonathan” Chicken, a platform game that would almost be good enough for inclusion on a Beau-Jolly Computer Hits compilation if it didn’t keep skipping screens.

 

 

 

“Best” Adventure Game

Trunk05

Alessandro Grussu’s The Trunk wins by default – it was the only adventure in the whole competition. Not that it’s a bad game as such, and not being able to do anything at all makes a refreshing change from being stabbed in the left nipple by Edwin, The Goblin King of Huddersfield or whoever it was I was usually trying to avoid in all those adventure games in the 1980s.

Most Pointless Entry

LazyClint2

It would be unkind of me to say “all 81 of them”, – I thought it would be a toss-up between MatGubbins’ AND IT CONTINUED TO RAIN, Fly Catcher by Patricia Routledge’s Octopus Smells Musty, and BloodBaz’s RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAND(Oh, do shut up. Ed.), but then I remembered Mat’s LAZY CLINT, a game so utterly without purpose that I couldn’t even be bothered to review it properly.

 

Best Convolution in a game

MarginalPain3

Here’s what BloodBaz thinks of R-Tape’s maze game: “I’ve nominated this award to Marginal Pain due to the huge amount of time that it takes to render the playing maze prior to the game start.  This is something that a 12 byte machine code program could do in a quarter of a second, however Mr Hughes (in his infinite wisdom) decided to in half a dozen BASIC statements line 870.” Other nominations in this category include Eye GamblerGuess My Wait and Watching Paint Dry, all of which I would recommend if you want a boring Sunday afternoon to become even more longer and boringer-er.

 

 “Best” Game Featuring a Cat

PLOT_TO_GO_TO_AND_RUN_OVER_THE_CAT_title.tzxQuoting BloodBaz again. You can tell I’m bored of this now, can’t you? “I was going to nominate Fly Catcher until a letter came down from management on the 43rd floor to tell me that ‘featuring a cat’ doesn’t mean ‘title contains Cat in the title’.  Shame really as it smells of all things Sqij.  Therefore I am nominating Plot To Go To And Run Over The Cat because I like the chunky graphics and you get the save the cat with your horn.  Rosco The Cat 2: Egyptian Hi-Jinx was a second place entry for me.” Personally I would’ve gone with Next Cat Up Or Down, but what do I know, eh?

 

“Best” Loading Screen

AllLoaders

This is the very final category, because you lot have been pestering me for the results for six weeks, to the point where I’m utterly sick of this competition now and just want to hand it over to Gab and whoever else we can rope in to help him with the CSSCGC2016. There were so many fantastic loading screens that if I try to choose one I’ll be here until next February. Myke helpfully knocked up a collage of all the loaders in one go so we Sqij reviewers could compare the things. What do you mean “it’s a bit small, isn’t it?” Sheesh, you lot are never satisfied. Well then, I’ll award it to Dave Hughes’ Driver, because after over a year of doing this shit, I look exactly like this bloke:

I assume this is a self portrait, or "selfie".

I assume this is a self portrait, or “selfie”.

 

Post-competition waffly bit

And that’s it! I’d just like to say a HUGE thank you to my co-reviewers: Myke-P, Chris Young, BloodBaz and DeKay, for all their help over the last year. A HUGE thank you to everyone reading this and those of you who commented on the games. And the HUGEST thank you of all to this year’s crap game authors… here goes, in order of how much time they wasted on this shit over the last twelve months:

MatGubbins (this year’s most prolific author, with 14 games), Chris Young (9 games), Simon Ferré (9 games), sunteam (8), Andrew Green (5), Dave Hughes (5), unclechicken (5), GReW (4), Myke-P (4), Gabriele Amore (3), PROSM (2), absinthe_boy (1), Alessandro Grussu (1), Antonio Silva (1), ben soundhog (1), BloodBaz (1), Bob Harris (1), catmeows (1), Colin Woodcock (1), David Pagett (1), deKay (1), Guesser (1), Insert Coin (1), and Jamie Bradbury (1).

Thank you, and goodnight! (It’s eleven o’clock in the morning, you dolt! Ed.)

– Lee

Fracas

As the BBC are still toying with a replacement Top Gear line-up* it’s been over two months since the original bust-up on which this game is based and nearly a month since Sqij Tower’s finest; Chris Young actually submitted it.

The game begins with an Unsatisfactory logo followed by the proud exclamation; “presented in Chunk-o-vision… a trademark of MatGubbins, used under license.” Tricia from Accounts tells me that MatG’s cheque is in the post, however, can I ask that he lets us know before he cashes it as we’ll be a bit short this month after leespoons took ‘advantage’ of completely inappropriate web-marketing opportunity.

* My money is on Coleen Nolan, Janet Street-Porter and Jamelia from Loose Women.

Offensive? Oo-eck!

Title screen

 

Back in 1985 Pete Moreland (then still at Beyond Software) bet Mike Singleton that he couldn’t get the Speccy to move around screen-sized sprites convincingly. Two years later Dark Sceptre was published, at least one Sinclair mag reviewer was rushed to hospital with palpitations and Commodore briefly considered recalling early Amiga 500 models in order to completely overhaul the graphics chip.

A few years later and Pit Fighter, followed by the even more commercially successful Mortal Kombat, popularised the use of poorly digitized sprites in arcade fighting games. In fact, when the home computer ports appeared, CU Amiga’s John Sloan nearly wet himself after seeing Sonya Blade’s pixelated bouncing bits!

So, as you can imagine, when this entry appeared in the Sqij inbox featuring poorly-digitized-full-screen sprites I went stark raving mad and had to go into therapy for several weeks – hence the delay in this review (Clever – Ed.)

Croeso i Gymru

Welcome to Wales

 

The screen fills with multi-coloured Chunk-o-vision™®©(pat. pending) blocks which, it turns out, are meant to represent Wales. I’m guessing it’s South Wales specifically because I’m originally from the North and it’s pretty much shades of brown and grey up there!?

A positively monolithic Jeremy (or is it Ian ‘Lovejoy’ McShane?) introduces the scene causing a perfectly measured quantity of offence finished off with a topical quip.

As the game-proper begins we find ourselves (for we play as Clarkson) on the left about to face off against an oddly orange and pink member of the production team. Disappointingly there’s no verbal exchange between the two before the ‘fight’ breaks out.

The keys are O, P and Space**, but you’d best hold them down (or turn up your emu speed) because the price we pay for such large sprites is that things move pretty sluggishly.

** O and P do what you’d expect and Space initiates the one and only fighting move in the game – a sort of lazy prod to the opponent’s abdomen.

Punch Out!

Jeremy gets one in

 

Much like my own UDG Fighterz effort, as long as you get the first punch in, you can pretty much get away with holding down the Space key until your opponent is KO’d – resulting in some hot FLASH action and a verbal warning!

We also get to visit Italy (featuring a vaguely recognizable Tower of Pisa, no less!) and then Canada before, inevitably, Mr C gets his marching orders from Sally in HR…

Victory in Wales!

Victory in Wales!

 

Now I don’t mean to brag, however, I completed this one-handed on my first go whilst drinking a cup of tea. (Okay, okay, form a queue and I’ll sign autographs at the end.)

Curious as to whether it was even possible to lose I tried to experiment (slowly) by walking into my opponent (and not attacking,) and edging back from him one step at a time in an effort to make him feel comfortable enough to put a jab in.

Occasionally he would land a punch, however, if I have one criticism of this game it’s that I’m not even sure the producer is up for this fight? In the end I had to stand there, motionless, for nearly 5 minutes before he finally put in enough hits to floor me. What a wuss!

Oinsin's Revenge

Lost in Italy!?

 

I would have liked a BEEPER rendition of the Top Gear theme and a food-themed Pirate Insult-esque mini game prior to each bout to set the scene – but I’m just greedy.

I don’t think there’s any denying that Mat Gubbin’s Chunkels™ are gathered together in an altogether more attractive manner***, but for sheer ambition I think Chris has done us proud on this one.

*** Translation: He does prettier pictures

 

Score: More Kelly Clarkson, than Jeremy!

Download .tap here.

Downloads

Here follows a handy list of direct links to all the games, in order. Or you can grab the whole lot in a zip file here.

  1. Strictly Come Dancing – The Game by Colin Woodcock
  2. Geff Capes’ Number Crunch by Dave Hughes
  3. Mummy, Where’s My Bra? (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  4. Boil an Egg (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  5. R-Type for the Blind (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  6. Advanced ZX81 Simulator by Simon Ferré
  7. The Amazing Thinking Brain (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  8. Where’s Wally?  by Simon Ferré
  9. REMventure (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  10. Marginal Pain by Dave Hughes
  11. Eye Gambler by Andrew Green
  12. Watching Paint Dry by David Pagett
  13. The Amazing Thinking Brain 2 (alternative .tap file) by sunteam
  14. Return Ink To Move Cat In To A Bin by MatGubbins
  15. Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D (ZX81 only – zip file containing .p and .tzx file) by GReW
  16. Verify The Pie Or Not! by Dave Hughes
  17. Tongue-Tied in the Dungeon by Simon Ferré
  18. Australian Typing Tutor by Simon Ferré
  19. RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE by BloodBaz
  20. Line Overdrive by catmeows
  21. The WoS Forum Experience by sunteam
  22. Rosco The Cat 2: Egyptian Hi-Jinx by Jamie Bradbury
  23. Advanced Screechy Seagull Torturing Simulator by Guesser
  24. Clint And Da Crabs by MatGubbins
  25. Piss in a Pint by MatGubbins
  26. And It Continued To Rain by MatGubbins
  27. Clint And Foreskin by MatGubbins
  28. Lentils for Satan by MatGubbins
  29. Achievements by Chris Young
  30. Stephen Hawking’s Advanced Wheelchair Flight Simulator by sunteam
  31. Crap Idea Generator by Simon Ferré
  32. Gardener of Doom by Dave Hughes
  33. Grand Prix 2015 by Myke-P
  34. Honey I Shrank The Screen by Simon Ferré
  35. Lazy Clint by MatGubbins
  36. Farage’s European Invasion by Chris Young
  37. Point At A Pirate by MatGubbins
  38. Optical Illusions by Simon Ferré
  39. BEEP by deKay
  40. Flickin Clint – Snot On My Cat by MatGubbins
  41. Next Cat Up Or Down by MatGubbins
  42. Put The Cat Out by MatGubbins
  43. Plot To Go To And Run Over The Cat by Simon Ferré
  44. Jeremy Clarkson’s Punch A Top Gear Producer Simulator by Andrew Green
  45. Bloodlust by Chris Young
  46. Prints Lined Paper by MatGubbins
  47. Paint The Line Red by MatGubbins
  48. Come Come Mrs Pickford, Its Only A Vegetable by unclechicken
  49. Guess My Wait by Bob Harris
  50. Fracas by Chris Young
  51. BEEF by unclechicken
  52. BEEF II by unclechicken
  53. Total Clint by MatGubbins
  54. Wizzard by unclechicken
  55. Eurovision 2015 by Chris Young
  56. Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge by Myke-P
  57. European Flag Quiz by Chris Young
  58. 1D 1D Tetris by Chris Young
  59. Maria Whittaker Strip Snap by Andrew Green
  60. Papel, Pedra, Tesoura (Rock, Paper, Scissors) by Antonio Silva
  61. Alan Turing’s Octal Challenge (ZX81) by GReW
  62. Driver by Dave Hughes
  63. Sol Postman – Inter-Planetery Courier by Chris Young
  64. Advanced Toaster Simulator (ZX81) by absinthe_boy
  65. Stickman Olympic Challenge – 100 Seconds Hurdle (alternative “up to 100 Seconds Hurdle” version) by Gabriele Amore
  66. The Trunk by Alessandro Grussu
  67. Sex on 1st Date by Gabriele Amore
  68. Advanced Anne Frank Simulator by unclechicken
  69. Fly Catcher by PROSM
  70. The Training of the Warrior by Gabriele Amore
  71. World of Global Interational SwingBall by GReW
  72. Arcade Attacks! by Insert Coin
  73. Blobby, Mr. by Simon Ferré
  74. Kamikaze Karaoke Shootout (plus Xmas Trak Pak) by Myke-P
  75. European Sandwich Hunt by Chris Young
  76. Archer Macleans Poo by Andrew Green
  77. Russian Roulecode (ZX81) by PROSM
  78. Protect and Survive: Threads: The Computer Game by GReW
  79. The Ultimate Games Designer for the ZX Spectrum by Andrew Green
  80. The Easter Bunny has to water the garden with a bad cough by firstly figuring out the controls (ZX81) by Myke-P
  81. Advanced Bridge Building Simulator by ben soundhog
©2015 Sinclair Research Ltd sqij.co.uk