Gardener of Doom

Last year’s Forest of Doom had an epic backstory of dwarves, dark magic, forests (obv. – Ed) and death barbs.

This game, however, has a seemingly pedestrian plot involving Charlie Dimmock tidying up her back yard!? Luckily, just as I was falling asleep in my armchair on a Sunday afternoon, those clever marketing chaps at R Tape, inc. insisted on adding an imminent nuclear apocalypse to the plot – which ups the tension by a factor of 5.4321!

The games loads with a programatically rendered nuclear hazard symbol, immediately followed by some exceptionally clear (and disappointingly well wrapped) instructions:

There is an impending nuclear apocalypse but your garden still needs sorting.

Your task is to cut all the long grass with the mower, put all the leaves in the bin, and feed all the acorns to the Jay.

If all that wasn’t enough, you should probably build a shelter to protect you from the pending nuclear winter. Use the rocks.

Naturally, as R Tape is both kind and sound (ish – Ed) of mind, the keys with which you will accomplish these tasks are QAOP.

New garden

Advanced Lawnmower Simulator of the Apocalypse?


The garden is rendered at random (and at surprising speed for a 100% BASIC entry) with blocks of grass and the aforementioned leaves, acorns, bin, Jay and rocks.

Where the acorns and leaves appear directly influences whether I start by mowing the grass or cleaning up the objects first.

You start with 1500 ‘seconds’ on the clock and, in this particular round, I (wished – Ed) away nearly 1200 of them just pushing around the lawnmower.

Tidying up

Lawn mowed. Now for the leaves…


I try to clean up as many acorns and leaves as I can, but it’s all for naught – the remaining time is depleted in, well, no time!

Suddenly this creepy top-hatted geezer appears in the bottom-right of the screen. I’m not sure who he’s supposed to be, however, his job seems to be to judge how well you’ve done at clearing the garden so I’m guessing it’s a nightmarish vision of Alan Titchmarsh?

Whoever he is he takes his sweet time about the assessment and, eventually (but predictably,) berates me for missing ‘one or two’ items. Then, without even considering my pleas for mercy, fires me on the spot!

Good Lord (Sugar)

You’re Fired!


I barely have time to start feeling sorry for myself when the sirens begin to wail and the figure in the bottom-right becomes even more ghoulish than before.

If you thought your eyes hurt after Dave’s last ‘… of Doom’ outing, then you ain’t seen nothing yet (and soon won’t be able to anymore) as the screen systematically fills with blocks of flashing nuclear debris.

You can run but you can’t hide (unless, as you were warned, you’ve built yourself a shelter out of rocks – Ed) and inevitably you’ll succumb to the apocalyptic fallout leaving only the cockroaches and a satisfying STOP statement.

Game Over

Game Over


On my best day I reckon I’m about 300 ‘seconds’ short of getting anywhere close to completing all 4 tasks, so out of pure curiosity, I resorted to editing LINE 391 to give myself more time. Anyone who doesn’t want to ruin the surprise (or thier eyesight – Ed) shouldn’t click here.

Then it occurred to me; who cares about their job knowing that the entire world is about to be wiped out by a nuclear apocalypse?! Forget what Titchmarsh says and just build the (flippin’ – Ed) shelter! Sure enough, that strategy works as well.


All in all a marvelous waste of an afternoon and fine excuse not to mow the actual lawn. Nice work R Tape – I’ll have whatever he’s having, please bartender.

Score: 1 out of 4 Horsemen

Download: .tap


  1. Extra crap points for reversing the left/right controls when the player hits the border and pushing the mower to the edge.

    Think that I’ll just stay out of the bunker and frazzle with the jay and acorns.

    1. I wondered what was doing that! I just figured it was a bug somewhere between Fuse, Windows XP and VMware Workstation.

      1. Surely that’s the Classic Crap Game Bug, where if you go off the left edge, the co-ordinate goes to -1 which the Speccy interprets as 1 and effectively reverses the controls? If you go off the bottom/right(/top?) edge you’ll get the “out of screen” error.

        Basically the programmer hasn’t bothered to check the player character is within bounds.

        1. Yup.

          I got too carried away with the block detection and neglected little details like edge of screen checking. I was looking for a reason to include GOSUB ATTR to avoid lots of IF statements. It got a bit messy and perhaps GOSUB DIM m(y,x) would be cleaner.

          Cheers for the review Myke.

  2. It’s *just* possible to do all the work and build a fully enclosed shelter in the time limit.

    If I’d thought I could have included bonus points if you build it around the Jay in order to repopulate the earth with mutant hybrids.

    Or something.

    1. Jokes beginning; “I’ve been with some rough birds in my time, but…” to the usual address, please.

      1. …..I sure enjoyed it when she nibbled at my acorn.

Comments are closed.