Tag: illegible font

Australian Typing Tutor

On first glance this is a variation on the rash of translation utilities from previous CGCs, I’m not sure if Simon Ferré‘s latest pile of dingo doings is influenced by my own Teach Yerself Australian – but if I find out he’s pinched my idea I’ll belt ‘im in the billabong with a wet wallaby, Bruce! Ahem.


A short block is loaded with the instructions. Apparently they do it differently down under – but put your Finbarr Saunders pictures away, I’m on about touch typing! This “game” (and I suppose it loosely constitutes a game) will certainly help you if you ever find yourself working as a secretary in Wagga Wagga or Wollonggong. After letting the instructions sink in for a moment, they suddenly change before the second block is loaded:


What the hell is that? Some sort of ancient Aboriginal script? I was expecting it to be similar to the aforementioned Teach Yerself Australian, the “joke” being Australia is on the other side of the world and hence everyone’s upside-down. ɹɐɥ ʎpoolq ǝp ɹɐɥ ‘ɥO. But looking at it the other way up reveals it’s actually upside-down and back-to-front, like Australian mirror writing. I quickly grab a mirror, to make the writing the right way round – but I’m very disappointed when I turn the mirror upside down and the writing stays the same. Bah. Useless!


A short introduction, and then we’re away! I can see the word “NOM” flashing at the bottom of the screen in a strange back-to-front way. Perhaps my Spectrum is hungry. Oh hang on, it says “NOW” doesn’t it? I’d better start typing… what the hell does that say? Looks a little bit like “g p!a taf tlh trem ph” with some extra bits here and there. Or maybe it’s…


A big fat fly flew by! Of course! Now one of the endearing things about this game is it doesn’t allow you to type the wrong answer – it just does nothing until you hit the correct key. So although you’re playing against the clock, the game can easily be beaten just by bashing away at the keyboard. In practice, once I’d worked out that the “g” was an “a” and got the hang of my “p” and “b”, I found this pretty easy with a bit of educated guesswork. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this topsy-turvy backsy-frontsy font is still marginally easier to decipher than the custom designed one on Simon’s last CGC entry!


However, it’s still a crap game for the following reason. Beyond the “ha ha, Australians are all upside-down” joke, it has absolutely bugger-all to do with Australia. There’s no pixellated Kylie Minogue (shame), no beepy version of Men At Work’s Down Under, not even one solitary reference to kangaroos or cans of Castlemaine Four X! Strewth! Chuck another crap game in the thunderbox, Sheila!

Score: 52% (that’s 25%, but written upside-down)

Download .tap here.


Tongue-Tied in the Dungeon

Simon Ferré is fast catching up with Dave Hughes and Sunteam in the prolificacy (LMLWD)* stakes. This, his third entry so far, is a direct result of a throwaway comment I made in the competition’s Facebook group. With the opening bars of the Smiths’ ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’ echoing around my skull, I load the game…

Ooh, the screen’s gone black and I can see from the information in Spectaculator there’s a 6912-byte block. A loading screen! Simon obviously means business. And here it is:


Now for those of you who are thinking “It’s just a blank screen, what was the point of that?” – you’re absolutely right. However it’s still a great satire on all those “screens” that could’ve easily been done from BASIC but still took ages to appear because of some custom loading routine (I, Ball 2 and the They Sold A Million re-release of JSW, I’m looking at you)

The game loads, and the instructions appear in another custom font – that’s two in two days! I haven’t been this spoiled since I attended the Ambassador’s reception in 1993 and ended up getting my stomach pumped after an overdose of cheap Italian chocolate. I don’t know if Simon designed the font or not, but either way it’s a great choice for a crap game, as it’s barely legible even in full screen mode.


Now going by the title of the game I was expecting it to feature dungeons, skeletons, goblins and creepy spidery things. In reality it’s very different – it’s a tongue twister game. A tongue twister, for those of you who have been living in a cave since human beings first learnt to say “Ug”, is a short phrase designed to, well, twist your tongue – like “She sells sea shells on the sea shore”, or “The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick”. You’re given a time to beat, the tongue twister appears and you say it out loud before pressing Space to move on.


Because the Spectrum can’t hear you, it’s taken on trust that you won’t cheat and press Space before you’ve said the tongue twister. However the combination of white INK on black PAPER with the hard-to-read font soon proved too much for me – I was half-expecting there to be some anti-cheat mode, but nope…


For such a simple game this is actually entertaining fun for all the family (although you might want to take out the “pheasant plucker”, “stunt kite” and “sheet slitter” rounds if you have small children), whilst still retaining a general whiff of craptitude that all competition entries should aspire to.

Score: six sheep out of sixteen sheiks.

Download .tzx here



*Lloyd Mangram’s Long Word Dictionary, as used in Crash magazine