I can’t REMember IF this is a NEW idea OR if it’s BIN done beFORe – have a PEEK at the Keyword ChalLENge!
When saving a game to tape on the ZX Spectrum, you only get 10 bytes in which to name your file. Which is fine if it’s called “INVADERS” or “ZAP-A-BUG”, but not so useful if it’s “ETHEL THE AARDVARK GOES QUANTITY SURVEYING”. Well, there’s a clever way round this – keywords!
There are 86 keywords in BASIC, and each keyword counts as one byte – so with a bit of jigging about, and occasional use of the backspace command – CHR$ 8 – to allow for odd spaces, you can have a filename that appears much longer. Here’s some familiar games that could’ve used this technique if only somebody had thought of it at the time:
RUN BABY RUN (RUN /B/A/B/Y/ RUN ) 12 characters, 6 bytes
BACK TO SKOOL (B/A/C/K/ TO /S/K/O/O/L) 13 characters, 10 bytes
HEAD OVER HEELS (H/E/A/D/ OVER /H/E/E/L/S) 15 characters, 10 bytes
CAESAR THE CAT (C/A/E/S/A/R/ THEN /(CHR$ 8)/(CHR$ 8)/ CAT) 14 characters, 10 bytes
In fact the only games I can think of that used this trick are a handful published by Virgin Games, which had a flashing FLASH LOADER (or FLASH LOAD) printed over the top of the usual “Program:” text, and the introduction bit to Firebird’s Savage, which has a filename called “LOAD MAIN CODE DATA IN”:
Clever, huh? So your challenge, crap gamers, is to come up with a game with a filename that is also the entire title of your game. The rules are as follows:
- The title of the game must contain one (or more) Spectrum keyword(s).
- The title of the game must be exactly the same as the filename.
- The total length of the filename must be 11 characters or more – because any Tom, Dick or Willy can save a 10-character filename, right? You’re cleverer than that. If it’s under 10 characters, just stick a load of exclamation marks on the end!!!!!!!!!
- The title of the game must make some sort of sense in a language that people actually speak, like English. Any entries called things like “LN CLS RND FN SQR” which claim to be in Ancient Proto-Klingon will be disqualified.
- The game should be a .tap or .tzx file, none of this silly .dsk nonsense that people keep sending to me. I want to see the game loading from cassette!
Confused? Well, here’s some examples, which you can use as game ideas if you so wish:
Naughty Step (NAUGHTY/ STEP) – politically correct version of Jack The Nipper for the 2010s, with some stairs replacing a smacked bottom as punishment
Flash Dog Ron (FLASH /D/O/G/ /R/O/N) – a bit like Flash Gordon, but about a dog called Ron for copyright purposes
Over The Border (OVER /T/H/E/ BORDER) – otherwise known as “Nigel Farage’s Send ‘Em Back Simulator”
Len and Val go to Brighton for Ink (LEN/AND/VAL/GO TO/BRIGHT/(CHR$ 8)/O/N/FOR/INK) – a couple go to a Sussex seaside resort to get tattoos
Bugger Off! (BORDER /O/F/F/!/(CHR$ 22)/(CHR$ 1)/(CHR$ 10)/U/G/G) – and on that note, I think I will, as this is actually 11 characters, meaning I’ve failed my own challenge. Don’t make the same mistake… good luck!