It’s 2016 now, surely I don’t have anything left to do now I’ve passed the baton on to this year’s host. What do you mean, I haven’t chosen this year’s host yet? Of course I have, it’s… oh bollocks.
Ladies and gentlemen, the results of the 20th CSSCGC are now in. I was going to do this in a Eurovision stylee, but we’ve had enough nul points in this competition already, so on to the categories. Fanfare! Drum roll! R Tape loading error, 0:1!
So many to choose from! From the drugged-up cocaine binge of catmeows‘ Line Overdrive, to the obsessive attention to detail in GReW‘s Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D, you lot really do have far too much time on your hands. But for me the game that came first (f’nar), the one that ended up on top (oo-er), was Sex On First Date, an utterly realistic (as far as I can remember, it’s been a long time) s(t)imulator by Gabriele Amore, which was impressive on so many levels – it was written in machine code, featured great Chunk-O-Vision graphics, and even boasted a sexy font. Sqij Towers’ BloodBaz was impressed too, because of its 100% MACHINE CODE-ness: “I like coding in assembly and like doing it native rather than using toolkits for that bare metal feel. However this game had a different kind of “bare” in mind and made me laugh quite a bit. I’m sure the objective of a first date isn’t to re-enact a poor quality 1970’s porn star, however but the sentiment is there! Just need some 1970s porn-music to go with it.”
Who knew sex with a rubber could be so much fun? Well done Gab! And quite an appropriate winner too, as today is Valentine’s Day! (Erm, no it’s not, except on Baker Island, and nobody lives there. Ed.)
Look, they’re all crap! However Simon Ferré‘s buggy, slow, BASIC piece of chod Honey I Shrank The Screen has to take the (arse) biscuit. The eye-watering loading screen, the tiny playing area, the topsy-turvy key combination, and the sheer sloth of the thing… given a choice between playing this game ever again and inserting habanero peppers into one or more of my orifices, I think I’ll take the chilli enema. Well done Simon!
Sex On First Date was a contender here too, as were Gab’s other two games Stickman Olympic Challenge and Training Of The Warrior, Guesser’s Advanced Screechy Seagull Torturing Simulator (apparently p13z did the graphics, but I can understand why he wouldn’t put his name to the whole thing), and pretty much everything by Sqij Towers’ very own Myke-P. My personal favourite was Myke’s Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge, with graphics which, if Ocean or Hewson Consultants had seen them back in 1987, would’ve at the very least passed on Myke’s phone number to the head of Mastertronic. Yep, they’re that good. But what about all those Chunk-O-Vision extravaganzas, I hear you cry? Never fear…
“Best” Chunk-O-Vision Game
There were loads of funky chunky games to choose from this year – GReW‘s Swingball Wizard, most of Gab or Myke’s games, almost everything produced for the ZX81, Simon Ferré‘s cat squashing simulator… but MatGubbins has this category pretty well sewn up. Almost any of his games could’ve won, but my favourite was Point At A Pirate, which was elevated from simple gambling game to one of the most fun entries of the competition with the inclusion of those fantastically colourful and detailed characters, including pixellated Emilia Fox with no clothes on. Rrowwrrrr!
I have to say I loved the concept of Sunteam‘s R-Type for the Blind, and nearly gave it the “Best” Sound gong on the basis that the game contains very little else other than sound (same goes for deKay’s BEEP) but I couldn’t deny the effort that Sqij Towers’ very own Chris Young put in – I’m sure if Mozart was alive today he too would have downloaded a load of Midi files off the internet and converted them using Midi2AY, instead of learning to play the piano. So Europe-Vision 2015 it is!
“Best” ZX81 Game
An almost unanimous vote here for Advanced Fiesta Simulator 3D by GReW – a game so realistic that when I played it I’m sure I could hear a mechanic sucking his teeth in and going “It’s gonna cost yer mate”. I did like Angus Gulliver’s Advanced Toaster Simulator too – what is it with ZX81s that brings out the advanced simulators? Whatever next, Advanced ZX81 Simulator? Oh.
Keyword Challenge Winner
So many to choose from that it’s almost impossible. R-Tape’s VERIFY THE PIE OR NOT was a particular favourite (almost a year on and I still can’t get rid of the taste of tarpaulin and sellotape), but I feel MatGubbins has to take the prize again here, with his trilogy of CAT-based games, not to mention such delights as LENTILS FOR SATAN and CLINT AND FORESKIN (both of whom, incidentally, are supporting Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts on their worldwide tour this year).
CSSCGC Remake Challenge Winner
I nearly awarded this to Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge
again – in the words of BloodBaz: “This game doesn’t need any introduction. It has everything – good graphics, great back story and a lot of fun!”. (Fun? Was he even playing the same game?)
However it didn’t contain nearly enough digitised pictures of 1980s models for my liking, so Andrew Green is the winner here, with his
remake of Maria Whittaker Strip Snap. Hubba hubba!
Crap Idea Generator Challenge Winner
The, by Myke-P. OK, so it was the only entry in this category. Anyone would think Myke wanted to host the CSSCGC again. Well don’t worry, he’s not.
“Best” Celebrity Tie-In
Another tricky category – this year we had Stephen Hawking, Wally, another Wally, a whole host of “slebs” in Strictly Come Dancing, and, erm, Archer Maclean (I think he was the bloke in Monarch Of The Glen who wasn’t Richard Briers). I was going to award this to Geff Capes’ Number Crunch, but then I remembered that Geff Capes (unlike Geoff Capes) isn’t a celebrity at all. However, the three different Jeremy Clarkson games were all suitably crap in their own way, and I can’t choose a “winner”, so the authors will just have to fight it out amongst themselves.
“Best” Machine Code Game
We were spoilt for choice with machine code games this year, but my vote goes to the original BEEF by Uncle “Jonathan” Chicken, a platform game that would almost be good enough for inclusion on a Beau-Jolly Computer Hits compilation if it didn’t keep skipping screens.
“Best” Adventure Game
Alessandro Grussu’s The Trunk wins by default – it was the only adventure in the whole competition. Not that it’s a bad game as such, and not being able to do anything at all makes a refreshing change from being stabbed in the left nipple by Edwin, The Goblin King of Huddersfield or whoever it was I was usually trying to avoid in all those adventure games in the 1980s.
Most Pointless Entry
It would be unkind of me to say “all 81 of them”, – I thought it would be a toss-up between MatGubbins’ AND IT CONTINUED TO RAIN, Fly Catcher by Patricia Routledge’s Octopus Smells Musty, and BloodBaz’s RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAND(Oh, do shut up. Ed.), but then I remembered Mat’s LAZY CLINT, a game so utterly without purpose that I couldn’t even be bothered to review it properly.
Best Convolution in a game
Here’s what BloodBaz thinks of R-Tape’s maze game: “I’ve nominated this award to Marginal Pain due to the huge amount of time that it takes to render the playing maze prior to the game start. This is something that a 12 byte machine code program could do in a quarter of a second, however Mr Hughes (in his infinite wisdom) decided to in half a dozen BASIC statements line 870.” Other nominations in this category include Eye Gambler, Guess My Wait and Watching Paint Dry, all of which I would recommend if you want a boring Sunday afternoon to become even more longer and boringer-er.
“Best” Game Featuring a Cat
Quoting BloodBaz again. You can tell I’m bored of this now, can’t you? “I was going to nominate Fly Catcher until a letter came down from management on the 43rd floor to tell me that ‘featuring a cat’ doesn’t mean ‘title contains Cat in the title’. Shame really as it smells of all things Sqij. Therefore I am nominating Plot To Go To And Run Over The Cat because I like the chunky graphics and you get the save the cat with your horn. Rosco The Cat 2: Egyptian Hi-Jinx was a second place entry for me.” Personally I would’ve gone with Next Cat Up Or Down, but what do I know, eh?
“Best” Loading Screen
This is the very final category, because you lot have been pestering me for the results for six weeks, to the point where I’m utterly sick of this competition now and just want to hand it over to Gab and whoever else we can rope in to help him with the CSSCGC2016. There were so many fantastic loading screens that if I try to choose one I’ll be here until next February. Myke helpfully knocked up a collage of all the loaders in one go so we Sqij reviewers could compare the things. What do you mean “it’s a bit small, isn’t it?” Sheesh, you lot are never satisfied. Well then, I’ll award it to Dave Hughes’ Driver, because after over a year of doing this shit, I look exactly like this bloke:
I assume this is a self portrait, or “selfie”.
Post-competition waffly bit
And that’s it! I’d just like to say a HUGE thank you to my co-reviewers: Myke-P, Chris Young, BloodBaz and DeKay, for all their help over the last year. A HUGE thank you to everyone reading this and those of you who commented on the games. And the HUGEST thank you of all to this year’s crap game authors… here goes, in order of how much time they wasted on this shit over the last twelve months:
MatGubbins (this year’s most prolific author, with 14 games), Chris Young (9 games), Simon Ferré (9 games), sunteam (8), Andrew Green (5), Dave Hughes (5), unclechicken (5), GReW (4), Myke-P (4), Gabriele Amore (3), PROSM (2), absinthe_boy (1), Alessandro Grussu (1), Antonio Silva (1), ben soundhog (1), BloodBaz (1), Bob Harris (1), catmeows (1), Colin Woodcock (1), David Pagett (1), deKay (1), Guesser (1), Insert Coin (1), and Jamie Bradbury (1).
Thank you, and goodnight! (It’s eleven o’clock in the morning, you dolt! Ed.)