The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

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

Tag: driving

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

Grand Prix 2015

Sqij Towers’ very own Myke-P submitted this game, rather belatedly, for the Worst Game in the World restoration challenge he set for last year’s CGC (somebody should tell him that challenge isn’t still running – Ed). I was wondering whether we should leave it up to Myke to review his game himself, for that full CSSCGC 2014 feel, but I needed a break from Bloodborne (more on that later – much later) so here we are.

Myke Pickstock: Sounds a bit like My Pit Stop.

Myke Pickstock: Sounds a bit like My Pit Stop.


This game is truly a work of art. It’s just… beautiful. In the summary of this game in his WGitW feature, Myke does comment that he may have “oversold the graphical flair”. This fully fleshed out version brings even more graphical flair. Just look at the screenshots! When the competition finishes, the author intends to put on an exhibition and sell the original oil canvas paintings for £499 a pop. Framed prints will be a more reasonable £29.99, and copies of the game mere pocket money at £11.99. Fans of comp.sys.sinclair’s chocolate-based economy will be pleased to hear that Myke will accept Rolos, but only for bribes. (I have it on good authority that Lee gives higher marks to games submitted on +3 disks – Ed)

And... they're off!  I mean, "start your engines!"

And… they’re off! I mean, “start your engines!”


I have a passing interest in Formula 1, I don’t really know too much about it, but watch on occasion and have probably been around the track on Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix more often than Nigel himself has in real life.

Thankfully a knowledge of Formula 1 is not required to enjoy this game. In fact, it would probably be detrimental.

Won by a nose! I mean, er, wheel. Or something.

Won by a nose! I mean, er, wheel. Or something.


It’s your basic horse racing betting game, but with cars, and no bets. It’s also two player only, so as I live on my own, I enlisted the help of Lachlan (the knitted lemming from my Twitter profile pic, fact fans) to play player two. The track is… uninspired. It’s more like a drag race (note to self: crap game idea involving men in drag running) as there are no twists and turns, no pitstops and a distinct lack of anything that embodies F1 at all.

Bit confused that I seem to have been driving the car, rather than just betting on the outcome.

Bit confused that I seem to have been driving the car, rather than just betting on the outcome…


I did initially wonder whether this was one of those horse racing betting games (but with “iron horses” – Ed) (aren’t they trains? – Sub Ed) that cheats so you can never win. After about four races I discovered that actually it wasn’t and even ended up cheering my car on to make it go faster. Lachlan just stared nonchalantly and ended up losing 2-1, which I take to mean that shouting at your Speccy does have a positive impact on the random number generator.

...but I seem to have won, so who cares?

…but I seem to have won, so who cares?


Is it the Worst Game in the World? It’s the pits (*groan* – Reader’s voice) but, no, not even close, and no amount of Rolo bribes will convince me otherwise. Although the repetitive unskippable beeper tune did make me switch my speakers off eventually.

Score: DNF

Download .tzx

Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D

I owned a Ford Fiesta over ten years ago. The blower stopped working except on position “4”, which necessitated turning the radio up, not that the speaker on the driver’s side worked properly anyway. One winter the internal heater decided to fail. Some time afterwards the radiator developed a leak, requiring a top-up every morning and an emergency spare bottle of water in the boot. In summer, my commute to work largely involved watching the temperature gauge slowly increase, praying that the “Road To Nowhere” wouldn’t be at a standstill, as the only way to keep the engine cool was to drive fast enough for the surrounding air to do the job. In winter I was dressed as the Michelin Man, praying that the “Road To Nowhere” wouldn’t be at a standstill, so I could get to work before I froze to death.

I figured this was qualification enough to review Garry Wishart’s Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D for the ZX81.

I had a piece of shit car like this myself once.

I had a piece of shit car like this myself once.

The first thing which struck me was this game is HUGE. It needs a 16K ZX81, and the author advises against running it on a real machine because it “takes nearly 15 minutes to load”. However, he also advises there is a version with sound (“not included”) which only works on a real ZX81 – and requires a radio tuned to the specific frequency of 600kHz in the vicinity. That’s dedication, and I’m willing to take Garry’s word that such a thing both exists and works, as the rest of the code is unbelievably thorough – there’s even a mention of “friction coefficients”, though he has hand-rendered everything (which explains why the code takes up so much memory) rather than using his mathematical genius coupled with the ZX81’s UNPLOT command. Maybe the ZX81 wasn’t up to calculating the full first-person view of the road quick enough.

This advert was actually found next to Jim's wife in the back of Fiesta magazine, due to an administrative error.

This advert was actually found next to Jim’s wife in the back of Fiesta magazine, due to an administrative error.

The game starts with you purchasing a used car, for less than the price of a Sinclair Black Watch (probably). “One careful lady owner”, the advert states – omitting the twenty or so buffoons who also owned it at one point or another.

After that you’re straight into the action. With as many controls as your average ZX81 flight simulator[1], you can do everything from accelerating to adjusting the mirrors. Even the horn has a key despite the ZX81 having no ability to output sound. Bizarrely, there’s no option to turn on the hazards, which are the first things I’d check are working in a MkI Fiesta. Ah, well, it’s a game, you won’t need them. The game helpfully tells you the controls no matter what you answer to the question “Instructions?”, so somebody’s been reading my old guide to writing a crap game.

The main display is your classic pseudo-driver’s view – a road disappearing into the distance – but with a few features not normally found on 8-bit era driving games. Firstly, the game has a five speed gearbox (one of the speeds is “reverse”, but it still counts), whereas you’d be lucky to get Lo/Hi gears back in the 1980s. Secondly, there’s a rear view mirror, despite there being no other traffic on the road. Garry has also kitted it out with the usual computer game dashboard components – speedo, clock, brake fluid low indicator (Huh? – Ed), that sort of thing.

The A14 near Creeting St Mary.

The A14 near Creeting St Mary.

Unfortunately, the warning lights appear to be dead (It’s probably the fuse – Ed), as the first you’ll know about the engine overheating is when it’s on fire. The gearbox is faulty. The electrics are screwed up. If you slow down for the lights you’ll stall and be needing those hazard lights that haven’t been mapped to the ZX81’s keyboard. If you adjust the mirror it’ll come off in your hand.

I dare say that if you stay at a constant speed between about 20 and 40 mph, stay on the road and DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING you might reach Carlisle. Or you might still break down due to lack of fuel, an oil leakage, flat tyre or total boredom.

And.... stop.

And…. stop.

Mr Lake, co-host of the 2007 CSSCGC, also had an old Fiesta. Exiting the vehicle involved winding the window down and operating the handle on the exterior of the door, although I believe in later years that failed too, and the only reasonable way to leave was via the passenger’s side.

I strongly suspect this game is based on a true story. It’s also entirely as advertised – advanced, accurate and in 3D. If you took out all the bits about the car breaking down, this would have sold as a full price title back in 1982. With them, though, it’s a superbly executed crap game which has had far too much effort spent on it. Top marks!

Download HERE

[1] There’s only one – Psion Flight Simulation, and it has twelve keys, but three of them have nothing to do with controlling the plane so I’ve ignored them.

©2015 Sinclair Research Ltd sqij.co.uk