Month: April 2015


Social meeeeedjaaaaaa has been ablaze lately with talk of a game entitled Bloodborne, which sounds like the name of one of those odd villages in the wilds of Kent where people still point at passing cars and eat roadkill sandwiches for breakfast, even though they’re less than an hour from London on the train. However, it turns out it’s a realistic first person gore-em-up where you have to go round killing stuff. Now I have no problem with virtual murder (provided it stays virtual), but as my knowledge of video games spans the years 1980-1989 and then stops, the closest I ever came to first-person genocide was running over pedestrians in the pixel-tastic but utterly unrealistic Turbo Esprit. Years later I borrowed a mate’s Dreamcast to play Shenmue, but even that was more of a beat-em-up with occasional forays into fork lift truck driving, looking after a kitten and trying to decipher this guy’s accent (Jamaican? Geordie? North East Betelgeusian? Answers on a postcard…)

So having never played Bloodborne or any remotely similar games (I even think of Doom as a relatively new invention), I’m obviously the ideal person to review Chris Young‘s derivative game, with the lawyer-defying title of Bloodlust. I even asked the Sqij team if anyone would like first crack at the review, but was met with stony silence from all but the game’s author, who helpfully pointed me to this review on Digitiser. I then contemplated copying the Digitiser review word for word, because only about three people other than the residents of Sqij Towers are reading this anyway. But, erm, I didn’t.

Bloodlust, then. There’s a pretty impressive yet pointless loading sequence featuring the Unsatisfactory logo and a Chunk-O-Vision™©®@℗ copyright message – looks like MatGubbins will be getting some royalties if anyone buys this! And following a gory loading screen and some guff about having to create an account, a menu appears in which you get to design the character which presumably will be playing the game. The default setting – the “Steve”, if you’re a Minecraft player – is this chap:


The bars to the right of each category represent changes you can make to your character. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable ten minutes fiddling with each option (once I’d sped up my emulator) and – having had a good schoolboy giggle at at “cup size” – came up with my ideal woman. And here she is – hubba hubba!


Well not quite my ideal woman – when I tried to give her long hair, her eyes turned yellow. I would’ve liked her hair a shade darker too – so let’s hope there’s a C64 version!

Once I’d finished fannying about (was that an option too?! Ed.) I started the game, and… well, I don’t want to completely spoil the surprise, but just like Bloodborne itself, there’s a lot of killing in this game… I’ll say no more!

Score: 36DD cups out of 100 random deaths.

Download here.

Plot To Go To And Run Over The Cat

I’m at the Sqij Towers Caturday party. There’s tons of cheap booze (Tesco Value Vodka – virtually indistinguishable from water in every sense), and some scantily-clad girlies I’ll be getting off with later (you wish – Ed). We invited the entire cast of Derek Jolly’s Top Shelf Challenge series, but most of them were washing their hair (<snip rude joke about pubes> – Ed). It’s not too dissimilar to the plot of Line Overdrive, which was actually written by a cat. We didn’t invite Lee, because last time he just stood there with his arms folded, tutting at the mess we’d made of the carpet.

The Sqij Towers party. This is not relevant to the game being reviewed, merely filler.

The Sqij Towers party. This is not relevant to the game being reviewed, merely filler.

Anyway, as it’s caturday I’ve snuck off for a few minutes to check out Simon Ferré‘s latest offering. His personal review butler is off reviewing MatGubbins‘ pussy-related fare, so I’m afraid the substitute review butler will be handling this one. So, yeah, if you can STOP TALKING and read Chapter 8 in your textbooks whilst I go and get myself a coffee*, that’d be grand. (I think you’ve confused “review butler” with “teacher” – Ed)

There are only two possible screenshots.  This is the first one.

There are only two possible screenshots. This is the first one.

The game is in patented Chunk-O-Vision®, which seems to be the new black or something. In it, you drive a car along a road, which a cat appears to be standing in the middle of.

There are only three controls, and one of them is useless, so there are two options really. You can either (a) run over the poor defenceless kitten or (b) beep the horn to make the fearless feline move out of the way. You only get points for the former, so realistically, if you want to “win”, you only have one option, and that is to (PLOT TO – Ed) GO TO AND RUN OVER THE CAT.

...and this is the second.  You've seen the entire game.

…and this is the second. You’ve seen the entire game.

If you want to be a pacifist, that’s fine but you won’t get much satisfaction (or points) out of saving virtual moggies. If you are an evil cat hater, like the author clearly is, then you might want to download this covertly before somebody calls the RSPCA.

I did particularly enjoy the realistic engine noises, but the horn needs looking at.

Score: One dead cat out of ∞ live cats.
Download .tzx

* For “get myself a coffee” read “load up this pile of crud”.

3 new games – Mat’s Cat Sat!(urday)

It’s Saturday, which means it’s Cat-turd-day!That’s right, MatGubbins is back (did he ever go away? Ed.) with THREE feline-based Keyword Challenge crap games, which I’m reviewing in one go while the rest of Sqij Towers is off having a good time at a party which I wasn’t invited to. I expect they’ll only mess up the carpet again anyway. I wonder if anyone’s ever actually used the CAT keyword for anything else other than printing the word “CAT” in one byte? I did use it recently when I’d forgotten the name of one of sunteam’s disk files, but that was in +3 mode, so it doesn’t count.

Cats, then. Aren’t they adorable? The way they scratch you with their cutesy little claws, the cutesy way they cruelly massacre the local wildlife, the way they leave cutesy little poos in the bath… this all sounds like I’m being sarcastic, but I’m actually playing down the fact that I’m the real-life male equivalent of the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons, who would quite happily up sticks and move to this Japanese island:

Yes, I know cats are evil, sadistic bastards, and dogs – man’s best friend, loyal, faithful, intelligent – are far more deserving of my affection, but dogs smell awful, and dogs go “RO-RO-RO-RO!” instead of the far more aesthetically pleasing “purrrr-rrrowrrrr”, and dogs are always going around humping everything, so quite frankly dogs (and their owners) can fuck right off.

The first offering in this tabby trilogy is another Clint game entitled Flickin Clint – Snot On My Cat. Poor Clint has caught a rotten cold (from evil Dr. Foreskin no doubt) and there’s a cat whose meowing seems to irritate Clint. Must be a dog person. Weirdo. So you have to make use of all that lovely green snot and flick it at the cat to stop the caterwauling. It goes without saying that Mat has employed Chunk-O-Vision yet again, but the green gloop all over the title screen is a nice touch:


There’s no real instructions, but after a bit of key-bashing I work out the keys are Q, P and Space. What we have here is a battle of wills – man versus moggy, each armed with a deadly weapon. Clint has his mucus, and the cat has his meow. The odds are stacked in the cat’s favour here – although Clint has a seemingly infinite amount of nose-glop to fling at the cat, it doesn’t actually kill, just maims. Whereas all the cat has to do is go “MEOW”, and Clint dies of blocked sinuses.


It’s a bit like an upside-down Space Invaders, except with a little furry boss who doesn’t seem to die. I couldn’t seem to hit Steve the cat (if it is Steve – it could be Brian, or Graham, or even Alan the cat) more than a handful of times, but being a lover of the pussy (F’nar! Ed.) perhaps I didn’t really want to.

On to crap game number two…


Next Cat Up Or Down is another guessing game along the lines of Play Your Cards Right (higher or lower?). A Chunk-O-Vision cat appears on the left-hand side and you have to work out whether they will go up or down. Predicting the behaviour of cats in real life is almost as difficult as predicting what deKay will type next for one of his Famous Crap Games Throughout History, so at least here you get a 50/50 chance of getting it right.


This is a one-trick pony of a game, but once again Mat has fleshed it out with some brilliant characters, my favourite of which is Tripod, the three-legged cat – although it’s a shame the odd-eyed David Bowie cat wasn’t called “Meowie”.

The final game in this tortoiseshell triumvirate is Put The Cat Out, where Clint returns and proves that he’s actually not such a bad chap after all. The cattery is alight, the cats are on fire, and Clint has to throw buckets of water on them to put them out. Run out of water, and you have to run over to the reservoir on the other side of the screen to refill.


It’s a pretty simple game, but quite addictive – and I genuinely shuddered when I failed to save one of the cats and was confronted with this:


That’s one hot pussy I definitely don’t want to see again!

So in summary, these three games really are the dog’s bollocks! (Shouldn’t that be the cat’s… oh, never mind. Ed.)

Score: 27 (lives) out of 100

Download here: Flickin Clint .tap, Next Cat Up Or Down .tap, Put The Cat Out .tap

And if you haven’t had enough of SpecCats yet, watch and listen to this:


Here’s Sqij Towers’ very own deKay with his first entry of the year – BEEP – which is disqualified from being a keyword challenge entry because the filename’s too short – try BEEP BEEP BEEP next time! A veteran of the Speccy scene, deKay (real name Andy, a dodgy moniker if ever I heard one) didn’t include much in the way of instructions with his entry, so I didn’t know what I was in for until I loaded the game. However he did stick the whole thing on GitHub, wondering in the process how many other Speccy games are on there (answer – nobody cares), and thereby gaining a whole ton of geek points. I was also pleased to see a proper loading screen, which took five times as long to load as the BASIC game – rather than displaying it here I’ll let you discover how wonderful it is for yourself (this is because I couldn’t be bothered to turn off all the auto-load stuff in Fuse to save a .png of it, and Spectaculator, which I use when I want the full loading experience, only saves .bmp files, which WordPress won’t display and I couldn’t be bothered to convert)


No spurious back-story or badly-drawn sausages on legs here, this looks like a game that does exactly what it says on the tin… erm, inlay. If there was one. From the instructions: “Each letter on your keyboard corresponds to a different BEEP. Except, they’re all the same and not different at all. Except one of them is.” This all sounds woollier than a Liberal Democrat’s Christmas jumper so far. Oh, and you have to press the “letter 5” to start. I do this, and am prompted to press a letter key. I immediately press the “letter 5” again, in case deKay’s strange idea of a letter still includes numbers, but to no avail. So, thinking logically for once, I start at the beginning with “a” and get a BEEP. Then “b” (BEEP),  “c” (slightly higher-pitched BEEP) and “d” (BEEP). So which letter is the odd BEEP out? It’s “c” of course! Yay, I win!


As is proving to be the case with a lot of these chance/blind luck/RANDOMIZEd games, this was a sheer fluke. On my next 76 goes I failed to identify the different-sounding BEEP, because it was hiding under one of the 22 letters I didn’t press, every single time! I got so annoyed at this that I immediately transferred the game to a C15 cassette so I could smash it to bits with a toffee hammer before throwing it out of the window onto a huge bonfire of cat shit and discarded Bros albums. Aaaaaaaaaaargh!


As you still seem to be reading this, I can only assume you have a first class degree in Masochism and Gluttony for Punishment from the University of North-East Milton Keynes (formerly Newport Pagnell College for Duffers)… in which case this is the BEEPing game for you!

Score: I give this letter 5 out of 100 BEEPs!

Download .zip file (and don’t get excited, there’s only a .tap in there) here

Optical Illusions

Two reviews in one day? Anyone would think I’d been moaned at for the lack of updates. Right, I’ll make this (mercifully) short then.
It’s a game by Simon Ferré that doesn’t feature pirates (although oddly enough, Simon’s covering email was written in pirate language). You have to work out if the optical illusions are optical illusions or not.


If you want to experience the full slow loading horror then turn fast loading off in your emulator. And, erm, that’s more or less all I’m going to write, because I’ve still got nine more games to review, I’m being shouted at from upstairs because I haven’t poured out the gin and tonic yet, and I’m about to watch some telly. So you should go and play the thing for yourself, shouldn’t you?

Score: ∞ out of 100 (Who are you – M.C. Escher? Ed.)

Download here.

Point At A Pirate

The inimitable MatGubbins returns with yet another Keyword Challenge entry in glorious Chunk-O-Vision®™©(patent pending). As with most of Mat’s games it’s yet another case of style over content, with some of the best graphics I’ve seen so far in the competition – sadly utterly wasted on the thin excuse for a game!


It’s a gambling game. Now, I’ve been addicted to many things over the years – beer, cigarettes, spicy Nik Naks, sex (You should be so lucky! Ed.) but one thing I’ve never understood is gambling. My dad did the football pools for years back in the Eighties – my Saturday afternoons were dominated by “Queen of the South nil, Stenhousemuir nil” – yet he didn’t win so much as a brass farthing. I was in a lottery syndicate for a year back in the Nineties, and we never won so much as a thruppenny bit. And every year at work we do a sweepstake on the Grand Horse Racing Race (or whatever it’s called), and every year the boss wins, much to everyone else’s annoyance. However, the beauty of a Speccy game about gambling is you don’t have to spend your hard-earned cash at all!


I’ll keep this review fairly quick, as I know there haven’t been any updates for ages (for my part, a combination of school holidays and crap internet at home was to blame). You have 100 coins and have to gamble it up to 2000 so you can pay your fare to the New World by seeing if your random arrow lands on a pirate. Sounds easy, right? Wrong… if your arrow lands on a pirate, you win some more coins, but if it lands on a non-pirate, you lose. A bit like my dad with the bloody football pools.


I have to say, Mat’s really excelled himself here with the Chunk-O-Vision graphics and characters. I’m not quite sure how he did it or how long it took, but it looks brilliant! However the game is just a bog standard BASIC guessing game, and once again suffers from the RANDOMIZE curse – I’ll give you a tip, don’t gamble too much for the first 10 or so goes, as you won’t land on a pirate. However Mat more than makes up for this with a pixellated version of Emilia Fox without any clothes – hubba hubba!


As the game itself is so crap, Mat’s kindly included a demo mode showing all the characters, which can be accessed by GOTO 6800. And if you do eventually win the game, there’s a nicely-rendered screen at the end (no spoilers, but unfortunately it’s not a properly-pixellated Emilia Fox) If not for the characters I would’ve lost interest after about three seconds, but I’ll give this 99 dubloons out of 100, provided Mat goes away and makes a proper game out of those graphics!

Download tap hearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Farage’s European Invasion

Apparently UKIP’s perma-gurning leader, Nigel Farage, is a “man of the people”, because he’s always drinking pints of real ale in pubs. Well, I went to my local pub the other day and was charged £3.75 for a pint of Old Toejam’s Sweaty Bollock-Hair, so I can only assume the people Nigel Farage is a “man of” are people with lots and lots of money, or brewery bosses. If he was a true man of the people he’d be guzzling cheap Tesco lager like the rest of us plebs. Anyway, I digress – you’ll be pleased to hear that “our” Nige now has his own Speccy game! However for reasons known only to Sqij Towers’ Chris Young, he’s been re-imagined in this game as Nigella Farage. Judging her on looks alone, she’s certainly no Nigella Lawson:


I can honestly say this is the most badly-rendered screen I’ve seen in my entire life. I assume the thing Nigella’s holding on the left is a pint of patriotism (to wash down the xenophobia-flavoured crisps), but beyond that I’m speechless! Well done Chris!

The game is even worse. Nigella Farage of the USNOOZ£ party (do you see what he did there?) has just become Prime Minister, and has made it her mission to kick out all those foreigners who keep trying to sneak into the country so they can lounge around on benefits at our expense while simultaneously taking all our jobs. To do this, she’ll lob pebbles at them on the shingle beaches of Kent in a Churchillian fashion until they go home. If all that stone-slinging gets too strenuous, a pint of beer will top up the energy levels.


So that’s Nigella on the left (shouldn’t she be on the far right? Ed.), and there’s Johnny Foreigner over there. Shifty bugger, isn’t he? Funny-looking pixels. I don’t trust him. Kick ‘im aaaaaaaht! Set the angle and power, press Space to lob your weapon, and… missed by a mile. Rats! In fact there’s so much flickering going on that I couldn’t see the pebble at all until I cleaned my glasses. I try again, and again, and again (with the help of a couple of beers), and finally manage to wallop Monsieur İñtêrłøpèr who, contrary to the instructions, doesn’t go home, but dies. Bloody foreigners, coming over here, getting killed on our beaches before they can burn our villages and ravage our womenfolk.

That was a bit of a fluke, though – I played for another few minutes without hitting another Auslander, and ended up with a score of -15, at which point I can only assume the USNOOZ£ government identified me as a leftie pinko Communist hippy and kicked me aaaaaht!


This game soon becomes unbearably tedious – a bit like Nigel himself – but at least it was made in Britain, on a British machine, by a British person, for the British, thus safeguarding British jobs for the next generation of British Britons in Britain!

Score: 1 Euro out of 100 pounds.

Download .tap here.

Lazy Clint

Another Chunk-O-Vision™® effort from MatGubbins. I can’t be arsed to review it, so here’s a screenshot.


You can probably guess the rest, but if not, here’s another screenshot.


If you want to know what happens next, download the .tap here. If you can be arsed.

Score: 23 hours and 59 minutes’ sleep out of 24.

Honey I Shrank The Screen

I’m having horrendous trouble with my home broadband at the moment, to the point where I can see the piles of crap games clogging up my inbox, but I can’t log in to my website to review them (other than via the WordPress app for Android, which with my fat fingers is like using an elephant with a sledgehammer to crack a nut for a squirrel). The upshot of this is until my connection gets sorted next week, I can only review games sporadically via a process of Notepad++ files, screenshots saved onto USB sticks and sneakily-grabbed moments at work. I’d already planned to spend the first seven hours and twenty-nine minutes of my first day back after the Easter break reviewing Myke-P’s Grand Prix 2015, before realising that Chris had already nabbed it. So I move to the next game on the list, once again by Simon Ferré, who must think I’m his own personal review butler by now. And once again, there’s a fully animated (and rather cleverly-done) loading screen!


If I was being paid to review this game, I’d include the following marketing blurb from Simon’s email: “This imaginatively titled game will have you in total awe of the sheer brilliance of word play, smooth animated sprite control and real time drawing, complete with near interrupt-driven background sound, familiar controls, beautiful full-colour sprites, immersive game play and built in game level increase, not to mention fully animated loading screen.  There is also a custom designed screen font, clear screen effect, animated game over text and two types of enemy movement.” However, the original placeholder text I typed, to stop somebody else nabbing the game, was “Lorem ipsum wibble goats-cheese aardvark teapot helicopter jockstrap Yehudi Menuin” – it would probably be doing Simon an injustice to leave it at that, but it’s very tempting.


“In this game, your a bee”. My a bee what? Clearly Simon has succumbed to some form of Muphry’s Law here – only three days ago he pointed out a double “the” in one of my reviews, and now he’s made an grammatarical errer off he’s owen! As the title suggests, it’s a tiny little screen, and another near-illegible font – not quite Arabic, but still high on the squint-o-meter. There’s also a beepy little riff in an odd time signature (9/8 or something) which sounds a bit like a tone-deaf version of psychedelic prog-rockers (much listened to in my corner of Sqij Towers), Ozric Tentacles, if they’d had Spectrums instead of proper synths. And the screen-clearing routine is reminiscent of Horace Goes Skiing (only with more beeps) – a nice touch. Well, it’s a highlight, anyway.


At least the keys are sensible. Well, except that Q and A control left and right, and O and P are up and down! Perhaps all those 12-year-old WASD fanatics were right after all.

Anyway, this game can best be described as a bimble-em-up. You bimble around the screen, collecting honey and avoiding caterpillars and butterflies. Immediately this throws up far more questions than it does answers:

  1. Why would a bee, equipped with a nasty stingy arse, be killed so easily by cute caterpillars and beautiful butterflies?
  2. What are caterpillars and butterflies doing on the same screen anyway? That’s just weird, the insectian equivalent of sixth formers hanging out with all the smelly 12-year-olds in Year 7. Not going to happen.
  3. Why would a bee need to collect honey? Surely it collects nectar and makes it into honey?
  4. How would a bee carry a jar of honey – typically weighing 500 grams or thereabouts – with its puny little legs?
  5. Why am I sitting here writing this crap?

Answers on a postcard to Sqij Towers.


 This is Simon’s first proper arcade game entry, and it certainly shows. What makes this game unplayable isn’t so much the topsy-turvy controls, but the sheer sloth of the thing – in part due to the aforementioned psychedelic 9/8 tune which continues to play throughout the game (even adding 8001 RETURN only speeds it up slightly). And you only get one measly life. On the other hand, as with all the best crap games, I get the hint of a good – or at least well thought-out – game. But on the other hand (how many hands have you got? Ed.) I didn’t want to play it more than once – in fact you could say it brought me out in hives! (the last sentence was sponsored by Bad Dad Jokes ‘R’ Us. You can stop laughing now.)

Simon said in his email “If this doesn’t win the competition, I don’t know what will.” Be careful what you wish for, Simon!

Score: 9/8 percent.

Download .tap here.

Grand Prix 2015

Sqij Towers’ very own Myke-P submitted this game, rather belatedly, for the Worst Game in the World restoration challenge he set for last year’s CGC (somebody should tell him that challenge isn’t still running – Ed). I was wondering whether we should leave it up to Myke to review his game himself, for that full CSSCGC 2014 feel, but I needed a break from Bloodborne (more on that later – much later) so here we are.

Myke Pickstock: Sounds a bit like My Pit Stop.

Myke Pickstock: Sounds a bit like My Pit Stop.

This game is truly a work of art. It’s just… beautiful. In the summary of this game in his WGitW feature, Myke does comment that he may have “oversold the graphical flair”. This fully fleshed out version brings even more graphical flair. Just look at the screenshots! When the competition finishes, the author intends to put on an exhibition and sell the original oil canvas paintings for £499 a pop. Framed prints will be a more reasonable £29.99, and copies of the game mere pocket money at £11.99. Fans of comp.sys.sinclair’s chocolate-based economy will be pleased to hear that Myke will accept Rolos, but only for bribes. (I have it on good authority that Lee gives higher marks to games submitted on +3 disks – Ed)

And... they're off!  I mean, "start your engines!"

And… they’re off! I mean, “start your engines!”

I have a passing interest in Formula 1, I don’t really know too much about it, but watch on occasion and have probably been around the track on Nigel Mansell’s Grand Prix more often than Nigel himself has in real life.

Thankfully a knowledge of Formula 1 is not required to enjoy this game. In fact, it would probably be detrimental.

Won by a nose! I mean, er, wheel. Or something.

Won by a nose! I mean, er, wheel. Or something.

It’s your basic horse racing betting game, but with cars, and no bets. It’s also two player only, so as I live on my own, I enlisted the help of Lachlan (the knitted lemming from my Twitter profile pic, fact fans) to play player two. The track is… uninspired. It’s more like a drag race (note to self: crap game idea involving men in drag running) as there are no twists and turns, no pitstops and a distinct lack of anything that embodies F1 at all.

Bit confused that I seem to have been driving the car, rather than just betting on the outcome.

Bit confused that I seem to have been driving the car, rather than just betting on the outcome…

I did initially wonder whether this was one of those horse racing betting games (but with “iron horses” – Ed) (aren’t they trains? – Sub Ed) that cheats so you can never win. After about four races I discovered that actually it wasn’t and even ended up cheering my car on to make it go faster. Lachlan just stared nonchalantly and ended up losing 2-1, which I take to mean that shouting at your Speccy does have a positive impact on the random number generator.

...but I seem to have won, so who cares?

…but I seem to have won, so who cares?

Is it the Worst Game in the World? It’s the pits (*groan* – Reader’s voice) but, no, not even close, and no amount of Rolo bribes will convince me otherwise. Although the repetitive unskippable beeper tune did make me switch my speakers off eventually.

Score: DNF

Download .tzx