Tag: apocalypse

Protect and Survive: Threads: The Computer Game

Right, let’s get this over and done with. These games are starting to get on my tits now, I mean, we’re well into 2016 and the competition should have closed already.

Oh, hello readers. Didn’t see you there, due to the nuclear fallout damaging my eyesight and/or giving me six arms or whatever, but it’s OK as hiding under the table with a tin of beans has largely helped me get out of the bombing unscathed.

This screen loads in two code blocks and stays up for precisely less than the amount of time you need to read it (unless you're loading at Actual Speed, you weirdo).

This screen loads in two code blocks and stays up for precisely less than the amount of time you need to read it (unless you’re loading at Actual Speed, you weirdo).

Yes: this is Protect and Survive: Threads: The Computer Game, which I’m going to call Protect and Survive, Threads or PAS:T:TCG interchangeably at will.

It’s GReW‘s latest effort, and it’s based on the Threads TV show from the 80s. I don’t think I ever saw Threads, however it was repeated on BBC4 some years back and I taped it, and then didn’t bother to watch it. It’s probably in the loft now. I’m not sure it matters, the basic gist of the game is there’s a nuclear war on, and you’ve hidden in the cupboard under the stairs with – apparently – a bed, a cooker, the world’s biggest bottle of water and a latrine (as GrEw politely calls it).

My beautiful house.

My beautiful house.

There doesn’t appear to be any food, and I couldn’t get the cooker to do much – probably because the nuclear blast has cut off both the electricity and gas. I could, however, use the lavatory at my pleasure, wipe my arse as much as I liked, and go to sleep. Well, I could go to sleep once, and then the game would insist I wasn’t tired. Oh, there’s also a door, but you can’t go out that way.

My beautiful house. *sob* Excuse me, I've got a bit of radioactive isotope in my eye...

My beautiful house. *sob* Excuse me, I’ve got a bit of radioactive isotope in my eye…

It’s all rendered in 3D Speccyvision (aka Freescape), Total Eclipse-style, and just like Total Eclipse I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing, don’t know how to do it and am probably going to get very old before I walk all the way over to the only object I can see at less than one frame a second.

I’m being unkind, the 3D works very well and is quick. It’s a little too technically competent for the CGC (although appears to be created with 3D Construction Kit, so not that technically competent), but thankfully gREW doesn’t appear to have put any gameplay in, so that’s OK.

Even in the Nuclear Winter, there's no excuse for poor hygiene.

Even in the Nuclear Winter, there’s no excuse for poor hygiene.

As far as I can tell, you can either wait until you get radiation poisoning and die, or you can wait until your health deteriorates so much that you die. I drank all the water, cranked the emulator up to max and took the former way out. (You can also unplug the Speccy, which is quicker. Ed)

Of course the irony is that you wouldn’t be able to play this whilst waiting for the bombs to fall, as it takes precisely one-and-a-half minutes longer to load than the four minute warning allows.

I advise playing this directly after Gardener of Doom, for the full apocalyptic experience. Actually I don’t advise that at all, I think that’s the radiation sickness talking.

Score: One tin of SPAM out of an arbitrary amount of tins of corned beef.
Download: .tzx

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