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


  1. Ah, looks like I played the BBC edited highlights edition, because the thieving basts Sky edition that was shown earlier broadcast all 10 action packed laps, but I already knew who won because the stupid BBC announced it on the news and radio before they showed it.

    Great graphics and game play. Didn’t hear any music (no sound on this PC) so it seems as if I’m the lucky one.

    Just needs the odd engine explosion and a drifting wheel nut to complete the experience.

  2. The unskippable BEEPer tube played even more frequently in my original draft – which annoyed me so much I had to strip it back a bit fearing no one would bother playing past the first race!

    Thanks for the top review Chris. Your Rolos are in the post.

    1. How did you create those colourful screens? There must be some block graphics art program I’m not aware of – if I tried to do it by hand I would (a) give up and (b) end up with attribute clash all over the shop!

      1. The images themselves are created in Paint Shop Pro (although any pixel-pushing tool will do) at a resolution of 64×44, sticking to the BRIGHT Speccy palette and the manual ‘rule’ that no 2×2 block can contain more than 2 colours.

        The clever bit, as usual, was done by someone else – in this case Dunny when he created BASin. 🙂

        The Chunk-o-vision™ graphic symbols are represented in BASin using a control code (\) and then a combination of apostrophes, full stops and colons as shown here.

        Similarly INK and PAPER are represented by “\{i#}” and “\{p#}”.

        All I did was write a little program which reads in the image, maps the pixels to the Chunk-o-vision™ graphic symbols and then spits out a bunch of DATA or PRINT statements containing the appropriate string$ ready to cut and paste into BASin, i.e.:
        1000 DATA “\{i0}\’:\{p7}\..\.:\::”

        I thought that ZX Paintbrush, SCREEN$ Paintbox or 7-Up might have a mode for this, however, it doesn’t look like it. Maybe I’ll look at fleshing out my Blitz code into a .NET version (complete with Editor and maybe supporting BRIGHT/FLASH?) later in the year?

        Doing this manually either on a real Speccy, Emulator or even in BASin using the Token Table would be positively masochistic! 😀

        1. >>>
          All I did was write a little program which reads in the image, maps the pixels to the Chunk-o-vision™ graphic symbols and then spits out a bunch of DATA or PRINT statements containing the appropriate string$ ready to cut and paste into BASin, i.e.:
          1000 DATA “\{i0}\’:\{p7}\..\.:\::”

          Sounds like a piece of piss now.

        2. I design all my graphics in Melboune Draw, first as a minature pixel image then break out leaving the image on screen, then goto a custom bit of program that copies the screen to the data screen within Melbourne Draw.
          Once that is done I goto30 to restart Melboune Draw and the image is there in chunky mode then add colours and any editing.
          Once the graphic is done I type it into basic with the chunky graphic mode on another computer (pc) or into another emulator on the same machine (depending on where I am when the graphics get done) using the Melboune Draw image for reference with the grid display on.
          When the blocks have been done I go through it again adding the colour data – yes all that E mode stuff!

          I know I can use other programs but I’ve found it much quicker this way.

        3. Ah, sounds simple.* The BASIC code you’re using is the same as zmakebas (well, the INK/PAPER stuff is different I think, but the graphics characters are the same), so a little program to convert 64×44 graphics into Chunk-o-visionTM is the missing piece of the puzzle.

          Unfortunately, armed with this information, I now feel the need to utilise it.

          There may be a graphical update to my most recent submission. I figure I have at least a week and probably more than two before anybody can be bothered to review it, which should be ample time to write a Chunk-o-visionTM conversion utility, extract my existing code into a text file (as I wrote it all in the 128 editor), shove the new graphics in (or you could combine those two steps by using MERGE – Ed), add some gameplay to make the new graphics worthwhile, recompile it into a .TAP file and resubmit. What’s that? I need to go to work and stuff too? Pah, still loads of time.

          * This was a reply to Myke-P, not MatGubbins. Mat’s method does not sound simple. At all.

          1. That’s alright – if you are thinking about designing chunky on a 128 spectrum (in 128 editor mode) then don’t – walk away, forget it. This is due to the 128 editor not lining things up and that the E mode does not work.
            Use 48k mode for all editing and adding colour.

            Anyway, good luck!!

          2. Indeed, MatGubbin’s method sounds like the ramblings of a serial killer! 😀

          3. Yeah, the 128 editor is horredous for lining up PRINT statements as it insists on indenting everything. It’s much nicer than the 48 editor in all other respects though.

            Really I should be using Notepad or something and converting to the Speccy for testing. It might slow down the “development process” (ie. testing) but at least it makes it a heck of a lot easier to move code around.

            It also saves the problem I discovered where FUSE has absolutely no concept of interoperability, with snapshot files that refuse to work in my usual emulator, tape saves that insist on being “direct” format, which take up loads of space and don’t work in my usual emulator (and give an R Tape loading error half the time if you try to load them back into FUSE, not to mention the only way I could find of making it save these files was by quitting). Rant about FUSE over.

        4. 64×44, eh? You can increase that to 64×48 by utilising the bottom two rows of the speccy screen. How do you do that I hear you ask:

          PRINT #1;AT 0,0;

          followed by the stuff to print, then you can go “AT 1,0;” to get to the bottom row.

          Might make some interesting graphical screens now to see how easy it is.

  3. it’s called skill

    1. aye, and it’s funky, but not in a crappo sort of way.

  4. I was pipped at the post enough to wonder if there was cheat code in there too.

    GReW previously mentioned on WoS that he might convert his ZX81 tool to enable easier creation of these blocky graphics. Would be a good update to ZX-Paintbrush too.

  5. For images with limited detail, a 128×88 character based mode might be possible if you include an entire custom font rather than the regular UDG’s. It would require the image first to be converted, then divided into chunks of 4×4 pixels, number of unique characters counted (should not be possible to exceed 256 if I understand correctly) and then the font defined accordingly. That is how you do hires on other computers which lack true bitmap modes but support a full character set to be redefined (i.e. VIC-20).

  6. Well this game looks far too good. Luckily, the actual gameplay is missing. Phew, eh?

    Oh, and I won! Woo!

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