Marginal Pain

Hot on the heels of his strongman/budgie simulator, Dave Hughes is back with an entry that impressed me straight away by having a long machine code block straight after the (quite good, actually) SCREEN$ had loaded. As I’d turned fast loading off in my emulator, the three-minute burst of noise instantly transported me back in time to 1987… I’m 12 years old again and I’m waiting patiently for the Mastertronic game I spent my pocket money on to hurry up and load.


I can almost taste the anticipation as I munch on a sweet ‘n’ sour Pot Noodle (that’s not anticipation, it’s diced carrot! Ed.) Will the game be a Finders Keepers? Or another Voyage into the Unknown?

I’m awoken from my daydream by my significant other yelling “Are you doing that internet banking thing again?!” At least I think that’s what she said…

Dave has helpfully included some instructions and a rather spurious back story about a REM statement trying to travel quickly through a CSSCGC entry. After sunteam’s last effort I’ve had it up to here with REM, so much so that I won’t even bother to make the joke about Michael Stipe again (you know, Michael Stipe, that’s him in the corner, losing his… oh never mind)


Now you know I said this game had a long machine code block? Well given that the author has written several good games in assembly I was expecting him to at least know how to move some graphics from one address to another, but no! I now have to sit through what seems like the whole of the Mesozoic Era while the graphics are loaded from memory onto the screen by way of the old FOR F=16384 TO 23295: POKE F, PEEK (F+16384): PAUSE 1000000000: NEXT F trick. OK, so the pause isn’t in there, but it still takes bloody ages, far longer than it does from cassette, and you don’t even get the nice screechy seagulls-being-tortured loading noises as compensation. I suppose I could speed the emulator up, but I’m very quickly starting to realise that being host of the CSSCGC is a bit like having sex on a bed of nails, except without the sex, and I’m not actually supposed to be enjoying this shit. So I just grin and bear it for three minutes (I thought you said it wasn’t like having sex? Ed.)


It’s a maze game! I like maze games. I wasn’t expecting a game I might like! Come to think of it, Dave did tell me this was a bit like his effort for the CSSCGC2014, Pixbit, but it obviously didn’t register with my crap-game addled brain. I assume if I hold down the O key I’ll go left, and if I take my finger off I’ll… nope, still going left! It’s a perpetual motion maze game! A. Down. At least the controls are fairly responsive, for a crap game written mostly in BASIC. There’s a wall coming up, hope I don’t crash into it… oh bugger I’ve pressed Q and crashed into myself instead… aaaaaaargh! Without so much as a by-your-leave I’m dumped back to the very start of the mega-slow screen-transferring epoch again. Nurse, the SCREEN$!

So I had another go and completed the level, only to be told I’d failed – because my time was – get this – too slow! Ha! Ha ha! Ahahahahahaha… oh f*** off.

There’s probably a good game in here somewhere, but if this game really was for sale in 1987 I’d strongly advise you to spend your pocket money on something else, like a one-way ticket to Timbuktu for Dave Hughes.

Verdict: this game is exactly like a sweet ‘n’ sour Pot Noodle. Bad for your health, and leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Bleugh!

Download here!


  1. 75p and a packet of munchies to anyone who completes it. Only 3 levels and there’s a gorgeous completion screen. It’s not as hard as it first appears.

  2. Yeah, ok, I used snaps to get through level one of the game. Then found the instant win routine and walked away, keeping most of my sanity.

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