There is no sure fire way of creating the perfect crap game. Nor is there a recipe for success in the competition. But! Include as many of these things as possible (including those that contradict the other things) to try to maximise your chances.
1. The name
No matter what you’re told, the name of your game is the most important thing. The competition can be won or lost based entirely on the name. The best worst names are hilarious puns, titles as long as a B52, and names that reference silly comp.sys.sinclair in-jokes. Usually about llamas or terrible TV adverts.
2. The loading screen
Even though most emulators quick-load and the loading screen is barely seen, it is VITAL you have a terrible loading screen. You can cheat using a PC based graphics package and a converter, but the best crap screens are hand made with rubbish colour clash. For bonus points, make bits of it flash for no reason.
3. The instructions
Ideally, you shouldn’t include any. If you do, it is best if they don’t actually instruct. Or are wrong. You can unintentionally manage this by writing the instructions before you’ve finalised the game idea, meaning the game you end up with is then likely to be a mismatch with the instructions.
4. The controls
Did your instructions include how to control the game? You’ve already failed, friend. Eschew standard Speccy game conventions of QAOP (or the superior ZXPL) and try something more eclectic. However, don’t make the game unplayable with ridiculous direction remapping as that’s trying too hard. And nobody likes a tryhard. NOBODY. Joystick support? Go home, pal. Go home.
5. The music and sound effects
Catchy and ear splitting are excellent bedfellows here. Slightly out of tune earworms are perfect for crap games, and sound effects that have no bearing on the action are perfect. Having to listen to a terribly written, unskippable ditty before every game (and for extra marks, every time you start a level or lose a life) is god-tier crap gameage.
6. Game options
No. Just no.
7. The graphics
Just being crap at drawing isn’t sufficient here. Any crap game author can spunk out a few sprites that don’t resemble anything. Much better is to have awesome graphics, but then double-cross the player by having shonky animation, garish colour schemes (which we all know is very difficult on a Spectrum), or unworkable collision detection. Or just use ASCII characters.
7. The gameplay
The best way to guarantee your promotion to the premier league of crap game authors is to… oh, we’ve run out of space.