The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

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

Tag: keyword challenge

Lentils for Satan

There is no stopping MatGubbins at the moment with his latest entry for the 10 char challenge.  This little venture, thus named Lentils for Satan clearly speaks of a desperation for putting two completely unrelated words together in order to meet the 10 character/token objective – and as it happens, it does so in style!lentils-loader

After carefully checking the loader to ensure all rules are correctly adhered to (we wouldn’t want any cheating now would we?!), the now-familiar loading scheme used by Mat can be seen whereby the title graphic is loaded into the top third of the screen about 90% of the way through.  This time we have a rather picturesque, pleasant and colourful looking representation of the anthropomorphic personification of Beelzebub, (ruler of demons, Law Breaker, Evil Degenerate).  And he even sports a rather fetching two pronged trident (shouldn’t that be a bident? – ed.), cute pink mitts and matching booties.

In MatGubbins fashion, the title screen provides all you need to know about the game background.  Satan is hosting a party and needs lentils but needs to soak them overnight for heath and safety reasons.  Righto!lentils-title

The game has a familiar feel to previous releases by the author, particularly Clint And Da Crabs and the Rosco the Cat series.  Another familiarity is the choice of keys: { W, A, D, X } which I find very difficult to use – the standard “holy four” would make things easier.

lentils-game

You can’t help thinking this is money for old rope.  In this edition, there appears to be no score or means of progress, nor anything to avoid (not that anyone will be foolish enough to take on Satan for God’s sake!)  After I collected my 16384th sack of lentils and chucked them in the soaker, I started to wonder how many people are expected.  I can only assume that there are a LOT of naughty people out there!!!

Colourful and well written but very almost no gameplay.

Overall Score: 666

Download the .tap from the Gates of Hell here.

Clint & Foreskin

Introducing one of the fastest sequels to hit the Speccy, MatGubbins brings us the next instalment of our hero Clint in this 10-char keyword challenge.  Horace had his Spiders, Clint had his Crabs.  Sabreman had his Wulf, now Clint has his Foreskin to contend with.  In this particular case, the nemesis Dr. Foreskin (pronounced Foh-ress-kiyne – obviously! Doh!).clint-foreskin-loader

The title page explains all, but basically our budding protagonist was rescued by a Doctor who suffered a severe upbringing as result of his much mocked surname that he’s decided to take it out on any random shipwrecked blighter that he might happen to stumble upon!clint-foreskin-title

And so it is, Clint finds himself on your stereotypical moving platform which randomly moves side to side.  In the top left is Dr. Foreskin taunting and generally throwing rude remarks at you a la Monty Python Holy Grail (French Scene).  Unfortunately, no vaches are to be seen though.  Clint however needs his wits about him if he is to stay on the platform (using A and D keys by the way) and not fall to his demise on a row of deadly spikes below.  If you can manage this long enough, the platform reaches the other side and raises up a level just to repeat the process.clint-foreskin-ingame

If you can hold on for long enough, you will be able to jump on a conveniently located boat and escape.

So, unlike the first game in the series, this one is written in BASIC with a few UDGs thrown in.  A very pretty title banner on the title makes good use of colours and the game itself looks half reasonable.

Game physics however have a little more to be desired.  The platform on which you stand appears to move completely at random and so you can be waiting a long time doing your little back-and-forth dance while you wait for the platform to reach the opposite side, just to have to repeat the process a few more times.

In summary, a reasonably crap game although a little too polished to take the crap-pot.  We are looking forward to see what capers Clint appears in next.  Let the saga continue!

Grab hold of your foreskin here!

Score: 1 skin… 2 skins… 3 skins out of 4 skins. F’nar!

And It Continued To Rain

In the words of Edwin Starr: “Rain. Hurgh! What is it good for?” Absolutely bloody nothing, that’s what. All it ever does is make you wet (in a non-f’narr f’narr sort of a way), and it always turns up at the exact point when you’ve got the washing out/barbecue going/whole way to the nearest beach. Yes, I know it’s probably pretty useful for making things grow and stuff, but most of the time I wish it would just sod off and leave us all alone.

However, a recent study by Professor Bertie Ollocks from Merda-Taurorum University suggests that 90% of the planet will be uninhabitable desert by the year 2016. So the one thing that defines Britain and the British – incessant bloody rain, every second or third day from the first of January to the last of December – could very soon become a thing of the past. In which case, as we sit there dying of thirst and stinking of B.O. we’ll start moaning (for the other thing that defines Britain and the British is incessant bloody moaning) that we’d quite like it to rain now, please, just a little bit, from midnight to 6am every week-night, if it’s not too much trouble, but not this Thursday because we’re going to the cinema and it doesn’t finish until five past twelve and we don’t want to get soaked on the way back to the car.

 Rain1

I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing this thing from MatGubbins. Here we have the longest keyword challenge name yet, apart from RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAN(Oh Gawd, don’t start all that again. Ed.), as well as a nice bit of word un-wrapping. Crap points ahoy!

There follows one of Mat’s trademark Chunk-o-vision™ screens, and a charmingly titled block of machine code:

Rain2

And then… well, I won’t completely spoil the surprise, but let’s just say that this program does exactly what you’d expect a program called “And It Continued To Rain” to do. The joke wore off quicker than I could google “Supertramp – It’s Raining Again”, but I was vaguely impressed by the use of a machine code routine which meant I couldn’t break out of the thing at all. And if you’ve got no idea what “rain” is because you’ve spent your whole life somewhere nice and sunny, like Spain, Australia or the surface of the sun, or if Professor Ollocks’s predictions for next year turn out to be true, then this is the advanced crappy British weather simulator for you!

I’ve just this second looked out of the window. It’s raining again. Curses! *shakes fist at sky*

Score: 972 millibars out of an occluded front. Whatever that means.

Download .tap here.

Piss in a Pint

Note: This review, like the game, is recycled from last year’s Touch the Ring by R Tape, which in turn was recycled from 2013’s Kick the Ballboy by Rebelstar without a Cause.

To be honest I can’t believe I’m getting away with this twice!

 

Well, you can’t accuse the Spectrum community of not having its finger on the pulse – barely a day has passed since the last big Boozed-up Britain story and a satirical game has appeared. You don’t have to know much about bar work to enjoy this game, if you can recognise Al Murray doing his famous “White wine for the ladies” routine you will know this game refers to the ongoing challenge of owning a bar and having to deal with inebriated and obnoxious customers.

Backstory

Setting the scene

 

The opening screen creates a dramatic atmosphere, and tells you what you need to do: PISS IN A PINT! The game boasts some animated sprites of Massivepubian proportions, and as the customer’s eyes scan the pub left and right, you need to press P to piss while he’s looking the other way. The customer is a creature of habit, and his eyes follow a somewhat hypnotic (and very predictable!) rhythm.

Title Screen

Lovely pint of Chunk-o-vision™ Piss

 

My best score is 102, and it’s harder than you might imagine as you become impatient and attempt to squeeze another one in before the customer sees. In this way PIAP is a very clever, if open ended game. However, it is silent and cries out for some grating BEEP effects.

Rumbled!

High Score Challenge!

 

I may not have said many negative things about this game yet, but rest assured, it is most definitely CRAP! An excellent third Keyword Challenge entry from MatGubbins.

 

Tipshack: When the customer’s eyes have just moved away from the right, you can squeeze out 6 or 7 good drips.

HACK PACK: Zoned-out customer: 2040 LET count=0

 

Score: Piss poor

Download: .tap

Clint And Da Crabs

MatGubbins is back with his second Keyword Challenge entry; CLINT AND DA CRABS, and once again, sneaks in a second (LOAD CLINT & CRABS CODE) to load in a large block of data.

[Looks at program listing…] Hang on… what’s this… machine code? MACHINE CODE!?

MatG clearly has ideas above his station – give him a month or so and he’ll be doing Alcatraz loading screen$ and 128K AY music! Let’s hope the game itself was at least programmed with the assistance of Andrew Green’s UZXSGD?

Loader

Keyword Challenge – double strike!

 

More Chunk-o-vision™ graphics, starting with that PRINT-based ‘loader,’ are included but this time they’re in glorious Color-o-matic™.

After a good 2½ minutes of screeching the instructions appear and, well, it doesn’t look good for our Clint – he’s stranded on a beach and about to be attacked by a giant crab*!

* Anyone who’s been to the Blackpool Sealife museum knows how scary that can be!

Not much more to see here (except some scores and keyboard controls) so it’s on to the game.

Title screen

Look at those keys!? My fingers hurt already

 

It’s good to see MatG’s use of machine code hasn’t descended into complete madness – he’s stuck with solid UDGs, rather than sprites, moving in comfortable 8×8 block jumps and PRINT statements throughout.

Clint, who also appeared (uncredited) in Return Ink to Move Cat In To A Bin, begins at the top of the screen. Scattered around him are what – I think – are rocks (although they could be turds – Ed.) Coupled with a yellow background and blue border I’d say that passes for a beach. Nicely done.

 

A red UDG, representing the titular crab(s) (You’ll want to see a doctor about that – Ed,) appears at the bottom of the screen and… SH*T!… it’s heading right for me… FAST!

There’s not much to the AI in this game, the crab just heads towards you in the straightest line possible, and if you move it blindly follows you… FAST!

Luckily you can use this to your advantage as, if you skillfully place yourself behind a rock, you can cause the crab to crash and disappear in a puff of magenta smoke.

Unluckily, however, he’s got friends and very quickly you find yourself being chased by loads of the terrifying little blighters!

Avoid-em-up

Run for your life or you’ll get crabs, or something…

 

Unfortunately, in his machine code experiments, Mat hasn’t got to the stage where he can muster a decent control system.

Instead we’re left with a cramp-inducing 8 (eight!) directional keys, for which I couldn’t find a comfortable or logical way to position my fingers over simultaneously, meaning I was at an immediate disadvantage against my creepy little pursuers and got to see this screen – a lot!

They got me!

What a chirpy looking Crustacean!

 

I found this to be a genuinely heart-pounding and traumatic ‘gameplay’ experience as I tried in vain to avoid the crabs while my intertwined barman’s hands ached more with every passing second.

Perhaps you’ll do better and, to be fair, I managed a high score of 10 (Challenge set – Ed) by pure luck in one sitting but, overall, I can’t recommend this game.

 

Scores:

  • Graphics: 5
  • Sound: 1
  • Music: 0
  • Gameplay: 2
  • Overall: Decapod out of a possible Centipede!

 

Download: .tap

MatG’s choice of filename interested me; “clint48only” – suggesting that this only runs on a 48K Speccy? I fired up Fuse in 128K mode and used the Tape Loader and, sure enough, it crashed spectacularly with a B Integer out of range error. Thanks for the warning Mr Gubbins!

 

RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE

Here’s the first entry from Sqij Towers’ very own (curiously monikered, as his real name isn’t even Barry) BloodBaz. Now when I set the Keyword Challenge I was kind of expecting a game called RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE to appear, and I wasn’t disappointed! RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE is the longest program name you can have by using keywords (well, apart from CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6 CHR$ 6, but nobody can really see that, can they?) And here’s the proof:

RANDOMIZEx10

I like the way that even though there’s no word wrapping, every word makes sense – as well as RANDOMIZE you’ve got “RAN” (past participle of “run”), “DOMIZE” (another word for death), “RANDO” (Portuguese restaurant), “MIZE” (plural of mouse in Somerset), “RANDOMI” (ancient tribe from Kidderminster or somewhere) and “ZE” (last letter of the alphabet, according to Americans). So really, this game should be called RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAN DOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDO MIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMI ZE RANDOMIZE, not RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE. I’ll overlook this error just this once.

RANDOMIZE2

A rather colourful menu appears, which explains the premise of the game… although I’m not convinced RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZ(Yes, yes, we get it. Ed.) is a game yet. However, it does feature a “raison etre”. Oh goody, another one of those French biscuits! Anyway, a well known factoid amongst crap game authors is that the Speccy’s random number function – RND – is only random once RANDOMIZE is used. If you reset your machine and type LET n=RND without first RANDOMIZing, a value of .0011291504 will always be returned. It’s why Watching Paint Dry had such predictable scoring – there was no RANDOMIZE in there, so the same numbers were generated each time the game was run.

RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE avoids this pitfall, by RANDOMIZing not once, not twice, but ten times! So the numbers should be ten times as random as they would be if they were just randomized once! (If you have the cash to spare, there’s also a pro version available – contact BloodBaz for full details, including some sort of shady repayment plan involving a guy called “Dodgy Tony” and a baseball bat)

RANDOMIZE3

By now you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is, and to be honest, so am I, which is why I’ve repeatedly padded out the review with the title – which, in case you’ve forgotten, is RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAN(Oh, shut up. Ed.) I suppose if you’re a crap game author and you need some genuinely random numbers, you could do a lot worse than use this utility. On the other hand, there’s no gameplay element whatsoever. Still, to paraphrase William Shakespeare (or was it William Shatner?) “Never let gameplay get in the way of a truly crap CSSCGC entry you’ve just wasted over half an hour of your life reviewing”.

 

Score: an utterly predictable .0011291504%.

Download .tzx here.

 

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

Return Ink To Move Cat In To A Bin

MatGubbins gets straight into the Keyword Challenge with a 9-byter and then, immediately, follows it up with a second!

I’ve no idea if the challenge rules can even cope with that kind of out there thinking, but you have to admire the kid’s spirit.

Bonus Points!

Bonus points from the off!

 

A short load later and we’re presented with a marvellous title screen, in glorious chunk-o-vision™, and a colourful ‘press space to start’ prompt – the likes of which haven’t been seen since last year’s Run Ferrit.

There’s also a quick plug for some game or other, however, if this crap is anything to go by I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

No Instructions Needed!

No instructions needed? Correct

 

Onto the game itself and it’s a master class in literal titular interpretation. (F’nar – Ed)

You play Mr Fluffykins whose cat, Steve, is perched upon a fence at the bottom of the screen. A randomly placed… sack… of ink, inexplicably marked ‘Q,’ is placed somewhere on the screen and your job is to locate it, move towards it (using the predefined, but comfortably traditional, QAOP) and pick it up.

BUT WAIT! There’s more…

Ink Collector

Pick up the… bag of Q?

 

Once in possession of the ink you need to – carefully – manoeuvre Mr Fluffykins towards the bottom of the screen. BUT BEWARE! Move too quickly and the ink will spill all over your nice clean shoes! (Possibly – Ed)

Deposit the ink into the signposted area and Steve will slink forward a little, all the time seduced by the sweet smell of rotting fish coming from the Wheelie Bin® at the far right of the screen.

HANG ON! You’re not finished by a long shot! Another bag of ink appears. CAN YOU RESIST?!?

The Cat Moves

See that pussy move (‘Arf – Ed)

 

NO! Collect the ink. Deposit the ink. Steve moves. Collect the ink. Deposit the ink… You get the idea.

Unfortunately Mr Gubbins has fluffed up again, this time managing not only to produce a more-or-less playable game, but also including some great UDGs while he’s at it.

I won’t spoil the ending for you – I think you’ve had more than enough excitement for one review – but MatG does leave it open for the sequel; RETURN PAPER TO BIN TO LET CAT OUT!

Score: 3 lives out of 9!

Download: .tap

Note: No animals, apart from Steve who injured his paw when he slipped on the fence at one point, were harmed in the making of this review. This review may contains elements that have been created or exaggerated for dramatic effect.

©2015 Sinclair Research Ltd sqij.co.uk