The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

it's crap! In a funky skillo sort of a way.

Tag: Dave Hughes

Driver

David “Dave” Hughes sent us this little gem, a tribute to Rally Driver, a game which garnered a helpful review of “A HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE”.

With praise like that for the inspiration behind this piece, we wonder how Dave will manage to top that.

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

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

It starts off normal enough, with usual options offering to “refine” my keys, choose my colour or – somewhat optimistically – “let the fun begin”.

Where's the nearest key refinery?

Where’s the nearest key refinery?

Obviously I opted to let the fun begin, not expecting any fun whatsoever. I pushed and held ‘O’ to avoid the big mass of green concrete heading in my direction and instantly the screen looked like this:

Crashed.

Crashed.

After that mistake, I let the fun begin again and went a little lighter on the keystrokes. It was still virtually impossible, as it turns out that even tickling the Speccy’s keyboard with a feather is enough to shoot the car over to the other side of the screen. Added to that the accelerate/brake keys do no such thing – they just shoot your car up/down instead of left/right. I’m not sure the gear button is even connected to anything, if it is it just makes the screen scroll marginally faster and as such should be avoided.

This is as far as I got.  It's about one full screen below the starting point.

This is as far as I got. It’s about one full screen below the starting point.

In the interests of academic research, at this point I decided to load up the original Rally Driver. I was expecting (not having read the review I quoted earlier) a run-of-the-mill scrolling car game.

What I got was a scrolling car game with tetchy controls, crossed with Downhill Racer, and up/down inverted. Totally unplayable.

Rally Driver

Rally Driver

I’m not sure if Dave has managed to make it any worse, but it’s certainly no better. The new “Flappy Bird”.

Score: 3 seconds out of the assumed 40 hours of gameplay.
Download: .tap

Gardener of Doom

Last year’s Forest of Doom had an epic backstory of dwarves, dark magic, forests (obv. – Ed) and death barbs.

This game, however, has a seemingly pedestrian plot involving Charlie Dimmock tidying up her back yard!? Luckily, just as I was falling asleep in my armchair on a Sunday afternoon, those clever marketing chaps at R Tape, inc. insisted on adding an imminent nuclear apocalypse to the plot – which ups the tension by a factor of 5.4321!

The games loads with a programatically rendered nuclear hazard symbol, immediately followed by some exceptionally clear (and disappointingly well wrapped) instructions:

There is an impending nuclear apocalypse but your garden still needs sorting.

Your task is to cut all the long grass with the mower, put all the leaves in the bin, and feed all the acorns to the Jay.

If all that wasn’t enough, you should probably build a shelter to protect you from the pending nuclear winter. Use the rocks.

Naturally, as R Tape is both kind and sound (ish – Ed) of mind, the keys with which you will accomplish these tasks are QAOP.

New garden

Advanced Lawnmower Simulator of the Apocalypse?

 

The garden is rendered at random (and at surprising speed for a 100% BASIC entry) with blocks of grass and the aforementioned leaves, acorns, bin, Jay and rocks.

Where the acorns and leaves appear directly influences whether I start by mowing the grass or cleaning up the objects first.

You start with 1500 ‘seconds’ on the clock and, in this particular round, I (wished – Ed) away nearly 1200 of them just pushing around the lawnmower.

Tidying up

Lawn mowed. Now for the leaves…

 

I try to clean up as many acorns and leaves as I can, but it’s all for naught – the remaining time is depleted in, well, no time!

Suddenly this creepy top-hatted geezer appears in the bottom-right of the screen. I’m not sure who he’s supposed to be, however, his job seems to be to judge how well you’ve done at clearing the garden so I’m guessing it’s a nightmarish vision of Alan Titchmarsh?

Whoever he is he takes his sweet time about the assessment and, eventually (but predictably,) berates me for missing ‘one or two’ items. Then, without even considering my pleas for mercy, fires me on the spot!

Good Lord (Sugar)

You’re Fired!

 

I barely have time to start feeling sorry for myself when the sirens begin to wail and the figure in the bottom-right becomes even more ghoulish than before.

If you thought your eyes hurt after Dave’s last ‘… of Doom’ outing, then you ain’t seen nothing yet (and soon won’t be able to anymore) as the screen systematically fills with blocks of flashing nuclear debris.

You can run but you can’t hide (unless, as you were warned, you’ve built yourself a shelter out of rocks – Ed) and inevitably you’ll succumb to the apocalyptic fallout leaving only the cockroaches and a satisfying STOP statement.

Game Over

Game Over

 

On my best day I reckon I’m about 300 ‘seconds’ short of getting anywhere close to completing all 4 tasks, so out of pure curiosity, I resorted to editing LINE 391 to give myself more time. Anyone who doesn’t want to ruin the surprise (or thier eyesight – Ed) shouldn’t click here.

Then it occurred to me; who cares about their job knowing that the entire world is about to be wiped out by a nuclear apocalypse?! Forget what Titchmarsh says and just build the (flippin’ – Ed) shelter! Sure enough, that strategy works as well.

 

All in all a marvelous waste of an afternoon and fine excuse not to mow the actual lawn. Nice work R Tape – I’ll have whatever he’s having, please bartender.

Score: 1 out of 4 Horsemen

Download: .tap

Verify The Pie Or Not!

The terminally crap* Dave Hughes is back for this Keyword Challenge entry, entitled VERIFY THE PIE OR NOT ! Just to prove he hasn’t cheated, here’s what happens when you load the game:

VerifyPie2

Disappointingly for one of Dave’s games there’s no loading screen, but there is a small block containing some UDGs and the first use of a custom font in the competition so far (taken from ZX-Alfa by Einar Saukas) – sadly it’s far too legible to gain Dave any crap points.

After a catchy “sing the title” tune along the lines of The Sweeney or Mummy, Where’s My Bra? the instructions unfold. You work in a pie factory’s quality control department and have to check an unknown (possibly infinite) number of pies to make sure they are fit for human consumption. If the pie contains two edible ingredients, press 0. If it has one, press 1. If it’s completely inedible, press 2. Immediately Dave wins back some crap points for this topsy turvy control system, which requires you to use both hands.

VTPmenu

So the game starts, with a rather attractive user defined pie graphic, and straight away we have a pie which even Heston Blumenthal would turn his nose up at…

StrontMush

Now this sounds like it might be a delicacy in downtown Pripyat, but even the trendiest Shoreditch gastropub would have trouble sourcing Strontium-90 for its gourmet, artisan, can-I-have-a-second-mortgage-with-that pies. Although at least it’s suitable for vegetarians.

The game continues in a similar fashion, with some perfectly edible (if slightly odd-sounding) pies…CurryBacon

…and some which, if presented on a menu, you’d ask the waiter “Have you got this pie with leeks instead?”…

Verify1

…and one or two which even Eric Pickles would draw the line at…

TarpaulinSellotape

Now I don’t know if it’s the sheer weight of crap games I’ve had to endure over the last few weeks, or the gallons of alcohol I’ve had to imbibe to make the playtesting more bearable, but this game really made me laugh – I mean, proper, laugh out loud, belly laughter, to the point where I was doubled over with tears in my eyes, and my 5-year-old daughter kept asking what was the matter with me. I don’t know if it was by accident or design that the fillings got more outrageous as the game progressed, but just when I thought I’d seen every pie flavour known to man (and a few known only to people from Lincolnshire), another odd combination appeared and almost finished me off.

CricketBallCement

To make the game interesting it records various statistics including your time, number of “good” pies baked and number of incorrect answers. There were a few mystery items thrown in there too – I had no idea what “snoek” and “breccia” were until I played this game, but I now know that one’s not an Italian vegetable, and the other one isn’t a Norwegian hat – so the game also ticks the educational box!

Anyway, I’d better go, as the family are waiting patiently for me to dish up Sunday lunch. Today we’re having David Icke and dogmuck pie… mmmmm, lovely!

Score: Strontium-90 percent.

Download .tap here

*in a funky skillo sort of a way, natch

Marginal Pain

Hot on the heels of his strongman/budgie simulator, Dave Hughes is back with an entry that impressed me straight away by having a long machine code block straight after the (quite good, actually) SCREEN$ had loaded. As I’d turned fast loading off in my emulator, the three-minute burst of noise instantly transported me back in time to 1987… I’m 12 years old again and I’m waiting patiently for the Mastertronic game I spent my pocket money on to hurry up and load.

  MarginalPain

I can almost taste the anticipation as I munch on a sweet ‘n’ sour Pot Noodle (that’s not anticipation, it’s diced carrot! Ed.) Will the game be a Finders Keepers? Or another Voyage into the Unknown?

I’m awoken from my daydream by my significant other yelling “Are you doing that internet banking thing again?!” At least I think that’s what she said…

Dave has helpfully included some instructions and a rather spurious back story about a REM statement trying to travel quickly through a CSSCGC entry. After sunteam’s last effort I’ve had it up to here with REM, so much so that I won’t even bother to make the joke about Michael Stipe again (you know, Michael Stipe, that’s him in the corner, losing his… oh never mind)

MarginalPain2

Now you know I said this game had a long machine code block? Well given that the author has written several good games in assembly I was expecting him to at least know how to move some graphics from one address to another, but no! I now have to sit through what seems like the whole of the Mesozoic Era while the graphics are loaded from memory onto the screen by way of the old FOR F=16384 TO 23295: POKE F, PEEK (F+16384): PAUSE 1000000000: NEXT F trick. OK, so the pause isn’t in there, but it still takes bloody ages, far longer than it does from cassette, and you don’t even get the nice screechy seagulls-being-tortured loading noises as compensation. I suppose I could speed the emulator up, but I’m very quickly starting to realise that being host of the CSSCGC is a bit like having sex on a bed of nails, except without the sex, and I’m not actually supposed to be enjoying this shit. So I just grin and bear it for three minutes (I thought you said it wasn’t like having sex? Ed.)

MarginalPain3

It’s a maze game! I like maze games. I wasn’t expecting a game I might like! Come to think of it, Dave did tell me this was a bit like his effort for the CSSCGC2014, Pixbit, but it obviously didn’t register with my crap-game addled brain. I assume if I hold down the O key I’ll go left, and if I take my finger off I’ll… nope, still going left! It’s a perpetual motion maze game! A. Down. At least the controls are fairly responsive, for a crap game written mostly in BASIC. There’s a wall coming up, hope I don’t crash into it… oh bugger I’ve pressed Q and crashed into myself instead… aaaaaaargh! Without so much as a by-your-leave I’m dumped back to the very start of the mega-slow screen-transferring epoch again. Nurse, the SCREEN$!

So I had another go and completed the level, only to be told I’d failed – because my time was – get this – too slow! Ha! Ha ha! Ahahahahahaha… oh f*** off.

There’s probably a good game in here somewhere, but if this game really was for sale in 1987 I’d strongly advise you to spend your pocket money on something else, like a one-way ticket to Timbuktu for Dave Hughes.

Verdict: this game is exactly like a sweet ‘n’ sour Pot Noodle. Bad for your health, and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Bleugh!

Download here!

Geff Capes’ Number Crunch

Ah, celebrity sports tie-ins. They were everywhere in the 1980s, weren’t they? From the sublime (Daley Thompson’s Decathlon) to the ridiculous (Eddie Edwards’ Super Ski), the tie-in was a cunning ploy by software publishers to make their dodgy game that little bit more marketable. This trend hasn’t been lost on Dave Hughes, curator of the CSSCGC2013 and author of more crap games than Harry S. Price has ripped off (as well as several good ones, including one featuring a 3-channel beeper tune by yours truly, plug plug)

Anyway, I digress. On first glance, this game appears to be yet another sports tie-in featuring Strongest Man In The World and Popeye’s arch-nemesis Bluto/Brutus lookalike, Geoff Capes, who, having retired from chopping buses in half with his little finger, now spends his time breeding budgerigars in a small village just outside Grantham. Yes, really. Of course, there’s already a tie-in game about strong man Geoff Capes – Geoff Capes Strong Man. But hold on, look at the (admittedly quite impressive) loading screen:

geoff1

Hang on a minute. Geff Capes? Either Dave has made a bit of a typo, or it turns out this isn’t a game about our Geoff at all, but about a completely different bloke with a very similar name who happens to have a very similar beard and a very similar predilection for budgies. That must be really annoying when he goes down the pub. “Here, aren’t you Geoff Capes?” “No, I’m GEFF Capes.”

Anyway. It seems our “Geff” has different strengths to his near-namesake – he’s a bit of a wiz with numbers. Following an impressive animated sequence (if you’re impressed by blocky pictures of bearded blokes with frightening red eyes) and some pointless yet somehow comforting random bleeping, we come to the point of the game, which is – and this is such an obvious idea I can’t believe it hasn’t been done before – hexadecimal and budgerigars! YES!

So a graphical representation of a binary number is displayed, alongside a graphical representation of Geff, and you have to convert this number to hex to win a budgy (because in Geff’s world, a budgie is called a “budgy”. Obviously.) Take too long to work it out, and you lose a budgy. Get the number wrong, and Geff takes away eight of your feathered friends, like the budgy-hoarding git he is.

I started off quite well – remembering the pattern 8, 4, 2, 1 helped – and managed to win myself a handful of rather deformed budgies, but soon came unstuck when I couldn’t work out what 14 was in hex (a clue – it’s not B)

geoff3

What you do with these budgies once you’ve collected them is anyone’s guess. Delving into the BASIC I couldn’t see an end to the game, but perhaps if you get to 24 without losing the will to live there’s a sequence where they can be baked in a pie and set before the king. (That’s blackbirds! Ed.)

Despite the lack of ending I quite enjoyed this entry – not least because it finally gives Geff Capes his 15 minutes of fame. Now he can hold his head up high in the pub and say “I’m GEFF Capes, and I’ve got my own computer game!”

Score: 0F percent!

Download here

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