The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

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

Tag: sunteam

Stephen Hawking’s Advanced Wheelchair Flight Simulator

Stephen Hawking: A brilliant mind, trapped in a barely functioning body, with the voice of a robot. This may sound like the trailer for next summer’s sci-fi blockbuster (read it again in your best “trailer voiceover man” voice, preferably loudly if you’re on the bus or something), but this is science fact, not science fiction.

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  No, it's Stephen Hawking!

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Stephen Hawking!


The UK’s second favourite professor is the leading authority on black holes, although it was Einstein who originally predicted their existence, before fudging the equations as he believed them impossible. Black holes are strange creatures. So strange, in fact, that they aren’t actually creatures at all. You couldn’t keep one as a pet. Well, you could, but it would – quite literally – eat you out of house and home planet.
The UK's favourite professor is Brian Cox (not pictured)

The UK’s favourite professor is Brian Cox (not pictured)


Black holes are virtually impossible to detect. This is partly because they emit no light, and partly because space and time are intertwined, and massive objects like black holes warp this. If you look at a black hole invariably you’ll see what is behind it, due to an effect known as gravitational lensing. If you get really close to a black hole time slows down. If you get even closer, time will stop. By that point you would have had your atoms torn apart by the excessive gravity so you’d never actually experience this.
Daley Thompson for the Stephen Hawking generation.

Daley Thompson for the Stephen Hawking generation.


In Stephen Hawking’s Advanced Wheelchair Flight Simulator by Paul Weller…. Yes, that’s right. In between embarking on a national tour and promoting his new album (Saturn’s Pattern, out May 11th), the Modfather likes nothing more than writing crap games for his favourite 1980s computer (I think this is why he prefers us to call him “sunteam” – Ed). Thankfully the former The Jam singer managed to sneak this in before Stephen Hawking trademarked his own name, so the legal bill should be reduced.
hawking1
Anyway, the plot goes that the robotic professor is trying to get up close and personal with the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. There is a theory that everything sucked in by a black hole is spat out into a parallel universe. I’m not sure if this is what he is trying to achieve here, it isn’t really adequately explained. It’s also not explained why he doesn’t use a rocket to escape the Earth’s gravity, as a lump of dark matter is unlikely to provide the propulsion needed – especially as nobody really knows what dark matter is, not even Stephen Hawking knows, and you’d think he would do some research first if he’s going to be utilising such a thing. Anti-matter would possibly be a more useful propellent, as it might cause a massive emission of energy before the matter of the young scientist and the lump of anti-matter cause neither to continue to exist.
High score challenge.

High score challenge.


Basically it’s a button-masher. I would explain more but we’ve run out of space-time. How inconvenient.

Score: entrophy

Download +3 .dsk here (it’s a +3 Lee, it’s not fucking rocket science)

The WOS Forum Experience

I gained a bit of a reputation last year for unintentionally disarming potentially earth-shattering satire, by failing to review entries while the subject of said mockery was still topical.

So, when I saw that sunteam had put in the (Minimal – Ed) effort for a topical gag about the currently unavailable World of Spectrum forums, I figured it was my responsibility to get the review up before Fogarty and the boys get the blasted thing fixed!

My first challenge, however, was to figure out how to load a .dsk file in Fuse.

 

To begin I open the .dsk file from the File Menu. The Spectrum resets and displays an unfamiliar copyright message… Who is this Amstrad!?

I select +3 BASIC from the menu and press enter, then type load “forum.wos” (only because leespoons told me that’s what I had to do!)

I press enter once more but, aside from an ‘OK’ message at the bottom of the screen, nothing happens…

+3 Loader

Manual loading? What is this, 1987?

 

… Minutes pass before I give in to curiosity and press a key – the program listing appears and nearly takes up a whole screen! (Gasp – Ed!)

Aha so it has worked. With the smell of victory filling my nostrils, I type run, press enter and wait…

A solitary (and, if I might say, quite rude) BEEP alerts me to the fact the program has started and that I must now “Press any key to recreate the complete WOS forum feel.”

A small group of onlookers has now gathered around my workstation and, as I move my finger towards the keyboard, you could hear a pin drop…

Press a key

Are you ready?

 

sunteam finally justifies their choice of +3 .dsk format by taking mere seconds to deliver the punchline – albeit to a generally disappointed crowd.

(If this had been a standard Spectrum 48K .tap file we’d have be waiting close to half a minute for this*!)

Punchline

B’dum t’sh. I’ll be here all week!

 

* Unless we’d turned on fast load, natch.

Unfortunately the issue with WoS doesn’t look to be your common-or-garden client-side 404 error, but rather a server-side 503 or “Bejeezuz – what the hell happened to my f*#@in’ server!?” error, so better luck next time sunteam!

 

Score: A clip ’round the ear you cheeky scamp – and think yoursel’ lucky!

Download: .dsk

The Thinking Brain 2

  The amazing thinking brian 2 by sunteam is a game a bit like the first game called the amazing thinking brian by sunteam except without the graficks. aparently due 2 budgie cutbacks the images wot were on the first game arent aloud on this game. something to do with lisencing or something.the artwork this time is drawn by a 11-year-old boy called billy. I i know who billy is, he goe’s to my skool. He’s good at drawing becase hes in year 6 which is like the highest year you can go in skool so he knoe’s a lot of stuff about stuff. but he’s not as good as drawing as the person what drawed the other drawings in the the amazing thinking brian 1 . I think all the text was wrote by billys’ five years old little brother, he goes to my skool too.Or may be it was a drunk person who writ everything. here ThinkBrain is a screen shot. The game is a bit hard becase you have to remember where stuff like the * key and the = key and the ! key is, which is hard when your not playing on a reel spectrum. So you have to consentrait      really hard!!!!! its even harder than that floppy birds game on ipads!

 

So what it is is, it is a game about advanced computer Artificail Intelligence AI, a bit like that film with the robot boy in it directed by steven seagal and he want’s to be a reel boy but gets dumped in a forest by his mum and then meets a hologram of robbie williams and goes underwater for 200000 years with his teddy bear and gets found by alien’s. Anyway, what happens in the game is, is theres this sientist, and this is wot he look’s like ThinkBrain3, and he lives in this lavarotary. And theres a flashing border and something about new-rons and then there’s a picture of ARNOLD SCHWARTZENGER who was in this film called THE TERMINATOR in the 1890s and here he is, ThinkBrain4 its quite a good drawing billy drawed here i think, and hes got red eyes like jeoff cape’s in that other spectrum game and hes smoking a siggeret like people did in the 1880s. the only think i didn’t like about this game was when it asked me to press the % button on my spectrum and i couldnt find it becuase i was typing it on a emulater. so i had to brake into the game at that point. and then at the end it says that the thinking amazing brain can emulate a 13 or 14 year old, so its an emulator emulating a game about emulating, on an emulator!!!!! and the funny thing is its exactly like whot my big brother whose 14 says, because it doesnt matter what you say to him, he always says “whatever” back. ThinkBrain6so its a very acurrate reprenestation of a teenagers’ brian and for that reason i give it 10 out of 10 percent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reviewed by little willy (aged 6 and a 1/2).

Download The original disk file here or theres also a tap file here as well. oh and heres and update, if you have to use the disk file it only works on an amstrad +3 and you need to type load “katakis.c64” to load but if you can’t spell it if you just type “cat” it will show you what the name of the filename is or you could use the tap file instead.

REMventure

LIST

10 REM It’s another game from sunteam on disk! Hooray!

20 REM Yes, yet another one where you have to change your emulator to +3 and remember the title of it to load – “remvent.ure” in this case!

25 REM (although I have converted it to .tap, so don’t worry if the idea of a Speccy with a disk drive brings you out in a rash)

30 REM Here’s a screenshot, so you’ll get the general idea:

Remventure3

40 REM No, it’s nothing to do with Michael Stipe’s band – instead, it’s a text adventure constructed entirely out of REM statements. Oh, my aching sides! Fetch me some Sellotape!

50 REM Although actually, in a funny sort of way, once you realise it’s not a playable game as such, it actually becomes a bit: playable GO TO 70, annoying GO TO 80.

60 REM In fact, sunteam has clearly put some thought into this, and I would go so far as to say it’s his least brain-buggeringly awful game to date – I might even play it again! GO TO 100.

70 REM A bit like a satirical take on those Fighting Fantasy books we all used to read in the 1980s, except with fewer scary monsters and more sausages. GO TO 60.

80 REM Although it’s far less annoying if you download the .tap file I’ve thoughtfully converted and play the game on a proper Spectrum, instead of one of those weird new-fangled Amstrad thingies. GO TO 60.

91 REM There is no line 90.

100 REM Download the game here (.dsk file for masochists/.tap file for the rest of us)

The Amazing Thinking Brain

A large picture of a brain with the title of the program in large friendly letters!

Opening Screen

Screenshot of first page of text.  Plugs itself as "so complex that it is indistinguishable from a real human"

Opening Page

Well, today is my misfortune to be slapped across the metaphorical cheeks with another one of sunteam’s submissions.  According to the author, Thinking Brain is “possibly the most advanced AI ever written“.  I think the most important word to cling to in this statement is “possibly”.  It is not however without at least one attribute that you would normally associate with greatness: “anticipation”.

The initial load displays a rather impressive loading screen titled “THE AMAZING THINKING BRAIN” and the enticing phrase “PRESS ANY KEY TO BE AMAZED”.  OK, good so far, let’s see where this leads.  Well, it leads to a reasonably colourful page basically plugging itself as an advanced AI that would pass the Turing Test and a warning to use with care.  Another prompt for a key press leads to …

Screenshot of a well rendered of image of a famous picture of a scientist holding a flask in both hands

Scientist Screenshot

 

… another loading screen.  This time of a mad scientist just slightly too passionately embracing a round bottomed flash, and another prompt to continue.  “OK, stay with it” my inner optimist hails.  More plug.  More anticipation.  Slightly more scepticism.   American info-mercials start to come to mind at this point. Next is yet another screen…

Monochrome (blue on black) screenshot of a brain with insert of a single neuron with its nucleus lit up like a spark

Insane in the brain!

A brain this time with a neuron insert.  A decent graphic in all.  Another screen about Neurons and another random splattering of random noises.  Our final graphic is Arnold Schwarzenegger in what is presumably one of the Terminator movies.

Screenshot of side profile image of The Terminator with robotic arm outstretched

Hasta la vista speccy baby!

Again, very well put together with decent colour to add.  One final screen of text keeps us from the bounty for which we seek.

And so we get to the program itself.  Presumably, a sudden cash flow crisis meant that colour had to be stripped from program development at this point, however we are still sold the myth that the program will “will simulate and replicate human language with 100% accuracy” and “YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE”.  Pressing the final key to begin, presents you with a blank screen asking for an “Input statement” where you get to enter (presumably), a statement, a jest, a verse of prose maybe or even the complete works of Shakespeare.  Whichever you chose, I will leave you to try for yourself to see if you think this program delivers on all that it promises!

"BRAIN says ..." followed by whatever you type in on the INPUT string!

The Simulator in action

 

If it wasn’t for pretty decent lead-in screens and the fact that the plug screens are well laid out, with good spelling, grammar and layout, and a splash of colour to add, this game could have been a whole lot more crappier.  Even the occasional sound phrases which pop out over 30 seconds or so are certainly no worse than mediocre.  One “almost” saving grace is the fact that sunteam has once again published this what-ever-it-is on +3 .dsk even though I was able to run the hacked .tap version straight off of my 16K Spectrum.  What is the +3 bells and whistles in that?

As a result, I doubt this program will be top of the CGC listings.  Try again sunteam! … Or not! 😉

Download .dsk version (provided by author) or .tap version (cunningly converted by spoons for all our sanity) here.

R-Type for the Blind

Another game from sunteam, who seems to be going for the record number of games submitted in a year which is currently held by… checks old threads on WoS… phew, it’s not me.

This time he’s very thoughtfully remade the classic arcade shooter R-Type for the enjoyment of blind and partially sighted people. This may seem a bit tasteless to some, but I think it’s a nice thing to do. Crap Spectrum games should be enjoyed by everyone, not just those with 20-20 vision!

It’s another .dsk image – boooo! – but at least this time it makes use of the 128k machine’s PLAY command, so don’t try loading the converted tap on a 48k machine unless you like seeing the C Nonsense in BASIC error. Although you won’t notice if you’re blind, of course.

Oddly the first line of the game contains a REM statement with the title R-TYPE FOR THE DEAF. I can only assume this was sunteam’s original idea, before he realised that a version of R-Type with no sound already exists. It’s called R-Type.

I must admit I was expecting this to be a lazy one-line program along the lines of 10 BORDER 0: PAPER 0: INK 0: CLS: GOTO 10 – but all credit to the programmer, a quick delve into the BASIC reveals he’s actually written a playable game here! Following the now-customary bleeps and bloops, a menu appears (sadly not in Braille)

RTypeBlind1

Ah, now that’s clever. The game follows the “fly about and shoot stuff” narrative of R-Type, but with one crucial difference – with no graphics, it’s down to your ears to interpret what’s going on in the game. This could well be the perfect game for large-lugholed Sir Clive Sinclair impersonator, Alexander Armstrong.

On selecting your level you hear another short tune followed by a series of steady beeps. Press up (Q) and the pitch of the beeps decreases, down (A) and the beeps get higher in pitch. Which is a tad confusing, but no more so than those flight simulators back in the day that required you to press down to fly up and vice versa, because of nosecone mechanics or something. After a while the beeps start to alternate with some differently-pitched beeps – this means the enemy has appeared! So if you can get your beeps in the same pitch as the enemy’s by flying up or down, then you can get a pot-shot at them. Confused? This screenshot of the game might help:

RTypeBlind2

Being a musical chap whose one and only talent is having perfect pitch, I actually quite enjoyed this – the lack of graphics didn’t stop me from winning the game on my very first go. Or at least that’s what I gathered from the bleepy tune I heard before being dumped back to the main menu. I wonder if with a bit of polish and perhaps the odd speech sample via a Currah interface it’d be a genuinely playable game – I hope this doesn’t mean sunteam is losing his crap touch!

Score: ▉▉ out of ▉▉▉

Download here: .dsk (type LOAD “rtype.see”)/.tap

Boil an Egg

If you want to boil an egg and feel you can’t handle the stress of knowing when to take it off the boil then can I suggest you eat bacon tonight rather than look to this hunk of crap to help you out.  Yes, it is another effort by sunteam!
The opening page does not hold much confidence about how this program is going to pan out (pun intentional – ed.). Firstly, who in their right mind would chose to flash magenta and green full screen? I can only assume this was written on a faulty spectrum whose ULA’s “bit 7” was stuck on “FLASH”. The usual failure to correctly word-wrap and word-space is encouraging to see through.

Boil An Egg - Title Screen

Serious cranial damage kicks in from the start

Onto the game… A dismal representation of your egg (albeit round, not oval, or even ovoid) resides to the lower left of the screen. Despite however, the poor representation of your zygote containing organic vessel, the author did at least have the insight to represent the pin prick. At the top of the screen an annoying counter increments as some rate of knots to a loud din.

Boil An Egg: In Game

Accuracy that you could set your atomic watch by

All this however, is pretty irrelevant due to the massive FLASH element which still takes centre stage. As your brain haemorrhages to the sound of the annoying egg timer and FLASHING SCREEN, you start to wonder if you could actually stomach an egg or throw up all over your beloved speccy and tele with a vague misguided hope of relief from THE BLOODY FLASHING SCREEN. Don’t ask me what number the timer goes up to – my eyes were bleeding after about 100 so it’s anyone’s guess.
Once the egg timer completes (I’m sure it only ran for about 40 seconds, although to be honest, it felt like 4 hours) you have about 30 milliseconds to take your egg out before you are not-so-politely informed that you failed and that the game is over IN FULL FLASH MODE.
A quick hack into the code suggests if you were to press “e” during the infinitesimally short “REMOVE THE EGG QUICK” phase, you might actually be able to win… except the author appears to have omitted the “win” code from line 800 onwards, so failure is inevitable.

Why sunteam chose to release this on a +3 disk is anyone’s guess.  I ran the converted tape version on ZX Spin emulating a 16K Spectrum and it worked perfectly.  Well, err… you know what I mean!?
A worthy crap contender, but one that should have a warning to epileptics on the cassette cover. “May contain flashing images” just doesn’t seem to quite cut it. Anyway, my grandmother said it takes 3 minutes to boil an egg, not 4, so clearly this program is crap.

Download here: .dsk .tap

 

Mummy, Where’s My Bra?

Here’s the first of several entries from sunteam, who despite the “team” part of the name is one bloke called Paul (or perhaps a seven-year-old boy called Paul, judging by the rather silly title of this game). This is also the first game optimised for the +3, a machine I could only dream of back in 1988 when my ageing 48k Spectrum + was on its last membrane.

In sunteam’s own words – “I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a stunning achievement, from the amazing soundtrack down to the quality high resolution graphics. I’ve had to attach it as a disk file as it makes full use of the +3 hardware, even though it’s the first Spectrum game I’ve made for 25 years.”

In practice, this means I have to not only change the settings on my emulator, but actually go into +3 BASIC and type LOAD “MUMMY.BRA” (rather than typing LOAD “” or pressing Enter) to get the thing to work. Immediate bonus crap points for inconveniencing me! Let’s hope it’s worth it!

Oh. It’s stopped with an OK message. I don’t think I ever even saw a +3 back in the day so this is all alien territory to me. Well I’m looking forward to the amazing soundtrack and hi-res graphics… so I type RUN (yet more inconvenience, if this was in 48k mode I could just tap R) and the first thing that hits me is the fantastic theme tune, which cleverly has the same number of syllables in it as the title, meaning you can sing along to it (rather like The Sweeney in the 1970s). “Mummm-EEEE, where’s my BRAAAAAA!”. I’m sure this sort of audio wizardry wouldn’t be possible on a 48k or even a bog standard 128k Spectrum, oh no.

mummybra

There’s also a redefine keys option with a similar tune (“Reeeeeeee-deeeeeeeee-fiiiiiine KEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYS!”) although sadly this freemium option is not available until 2018. I look forward to it!

Anyway, to the game. You play Spectra, a voluptuous 17-year-old girl (vital statistics 128-48-128) who appears to have lost an item of clothing, and asks her 23-year-old stepmum Clivella (also scantily clad) to help her find it. The stunningly detailed graphics – only possible on a +3 – show every curve of Spectra’s body, from her taut [%$*#&] to her succulent [£””*&#@] and even at one point, a glimpse of her inviting [&*£$% £$%@]!

Oh, hang on a minute. I’m supposed to be reviewing the game, not the the contents of my head! Before the nurses wheel me back into my padded cell for the night, I think it’s time we went over to a guest review from none other than prolific crap game author, Chris Young. But first, another screenshot:

mummy

Chris says:
The promise of a game making full use of the +3’s hardware? A title which made me think I’d be playing a teenage girl rummaging around in a laundry basket? I’m the first to admit I was a little curious and couldn’t resist taking a look at this.

It didn’t live up to expectations. Apparently my friend “Bra” (not sure what that’s short for, possibly “Brad”) is kidnapped and hidden inside an egyptian tomb. The mummy gives hints as to where “Bra” is, but with only four attempts there’s no chance of succeeding and little fun in guessing. Utter pants.

 

Thank you Chris. As to the score, I give it 32A percent – because it falls a bit flat.

Download here: .dsk file .tap file

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