Tag: matgubbins

Total Clint

MatGubbins returns with the last Keyword Challenge entry for now (although apparently he has about 70 more ideas waiting in the wings), based around maths – yes, you heard me correctly. It’s reminiscent of all those dull-as-ditchwater educational games your parents used to buy at Christmas “to help with your homework“, which you loaded up precisely once to keep Mum happy, before going back to more exciting stuff like Captain Kill-O-Zap Blasts The Aliens or something. I was a bit of a geek at school and quite liked maths, but once we were allowed to use calculators and spent whole lessons typing in 81980085 there wasn’t much point in learning how to do long division, and I only lasted a year in A-level maths before ditching it for a far more useful subject – sociology. Stop laughing.

Bak to skool!

Bak to skool!

The usual Chunk-O-Vision (can’t remember the code for the trademark symbol) title appears. It’s 1986, Clint’s back at school, and he’s been singled out by the teacher to solve some maths problems. Don’t you hate it when that happens? You sit there at the back of the class, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible without staring out of the window too much, sending subliminal messages to the teacher: “Don’t pick me, pick Gary!” It never worked though. Now I always thought “sums” meant addition, but there’s also some division and multiplication thrown in, which made my brain go into meltdown…


231, Shirley?

Mat has devised a cunning way to input the number. Rather than simply typing it, you use the Q and A keys for up and down, you start with the lowest number (units), then press Space to move on to the tens, and so on. This all reminds me of the SMP – Scottish Maths Project – which I seem to remember placed great emphasis on thousands, hundreds, tens and units, and for some unearthly reason was forced upon the children of Bedfordshire in the early ’80s, despite Bedfordshire being closer to Belgium and France than Scotland (citation needed). This also means that there’s no way of starting again if you get it wrong… and I had lots of practice at getting it wrong.

So many ways to be wrong, but only one to be right.

Haaa-haaa! – W. Shakespeare, 1982

One redeeming feature is the rather fetching (and not remotely Chunk-O-Vision) Miss Natalie Red – if she’s based on one of Mat’s teachers from thirty-odd years ago, then all I have to say is lucky old Mat. My maths teacher in 1986 was 57 years old, completely bald, and had a luxuriant handlebar moustache. I think she’s retired now though.

To be fair, this is all very well programmed (I think there may even be some machine code involved) and it did make me use my brain, feeble though it may be. But just like those educational games from back in the day, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to play this again. Now where did I put my copy of Captain Kill-O-Zap Blasts The Aliens?

Score: 2112÷33 percent.

Download here.

Paint The Line Red

Paint the Line Red” is (we at Sqij Towers are really hoping!) the last entry into the 10 character competition.  I’m actually quite impressed by the title as I couldn’t work out how MatGubbins actually did it (‘the’ and ‘red’ are written out in full leaving only 4 chars left).

So after the brief diversion of MatGubbins last entry, we return to the tried and tested Gubbins game style and quality.  Lovely artwork on the opening title screen as per usual but nothing particularly new.

Paint The Line Red - Opening Title

Title Screen

Two keys – I can manage that (just) – for Left and Right controls.  At this point, I had in mind one of those games where you had to walk around the rectangles and paint the squares but two keys is two too few.

Instead, we’ve got ourselves a ‘Horace Goes Skiing‘ type affair…

Paint The Line Red - Start of Game

Ooh, Chunk-O-Crowd™?

This game is pretty playable although keyboard responsiveness is a bit poor on account that this is a game written in BASIC, requires full screen scrolling, a delay between the scroll and redrawing of your red line and the use of a sadly lacking INKEY$ in the middle of it all.  Pretty hard stuff when you come to those tricky spots where holes appear in the course – they can be pretty tricky to navigate.  At every 50 steps a chequered line is passed which helps towards your sense of achievement, however no bonus appears to be given for passing one. Still, I did manage to score 115 and for once the high score is shown and retained on the title screen.

Paint The Line Red - End of Game

Darn those non-bright attribute squares!

Personally, I think this game is a more polished version of Bobsleigh from The Spectrum Book of Games although I wouldn’t have fancied typing in all of that Chunk-O-Crowd stuff from a book.  That would’ve have been a bloody nightmare!

Score: 80% (would’ve given 82.5% if it was a BLUE line!)

Download: Paint The Line Red.tap


Hello Crapsters!  Missed me?  No? Oh well… on to the review.

Next one sitting inconspicuously at the bottom of the crap game pile is another one (yawn!) from the now legendary MatGubbins.  With a notable departure from Mat’s usual Clint/cat fetish releases, this one is very minimal.  Even the featured Chunk-O-Vision™ is “black and white” only…

prints-lined-paper-titleAnd there is a reason for that I suppose – the clue is in the title.
So what does it do? DON’T LOOK AT THE SCREENSHOT YET!!! – IT’LL GIVE IT AWAY!  Oh too late!

After dusting off the ZX Printer...

After dusting off the ZX Printer…

Yes, it basically allows you to print pages and pages of lined paper on your trusty ZX Spectrum.  I assume this software is aimed at the 80s school kid for writing out 50 lines of “I must do my homework instead of playing on my Spectrum all night“.  I can however think of much cheaper ways of procuring such stationary.  I mean, who would want to write on silver ZX Paper?  The spacing between lines is far too small for god’s sake!  In fact, I’ve got a good mind to actually brush off my ZX Printer, plug it in and run this software just to show you how crap the output is – except for the fact that my one and only ZX Printer doesn’t work quite right and actually massively overspaces the line feeds anyway, thus nullifying my argument!

Oh, and if you think this program qualifies for the 10 character compo, this again, only 7 characters were actually used in the Program: title!

Score: On the lines of 22!

Download here: PrintsLinedPaper.tap

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:

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.

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.

Lentils for Satan

There is no stopping MatGubbins at the moment with his latest entry for the 10 char challenge.  This little venture, thus named Lentils for Satan clearly speaks of a desperation for putting two completely unrelated words together in order to meet the 10 character/token objective – and as it happens, it does so in style!lentils-loader

After carefully checking the loader to ensure all rules are correctly adhered to (we wouldn’t want any cheating now would we?!), the now-familiar loading scheme used by Mat can be seen whereby the title graphic is loaded into the top third of the screen about 90% of the way through.  This time we have a rather picturesque, pleasant and colourful looking representation of the anthropomorphic personification of Beelzebub, (ruler of demons, Law Breaker, Evil Degenerate).  And he even sports a rather fetching two pronged trident (shouldn’t that be a bident? – ed.), cute pink mitts and matching booties.

In MatGubbins fashion, the title screen provides all you need to know about the game background.  Satan is hosting a party and needs lentils but needs to soak them overnight for heath and safety reasons.  Righto!lentils-title

The game has a familiar feel to previous releases by the author, particularly Clint And Da Crabs and the Rosco the Cat series.  Another familiarity is the choice of keys: { W, A, D, X } which I find very difficult to use – the standard “holy four” would make things easier.


You can’t help thinking this is money for old rope.  In this edition, there appears to be no score or means of progress, nor anything to avoid (not that anyone will be foolish enough to take on Satan for God’s sake!)  After I collected my 16384th sack of lentils and chucked them in the soaker, I started to wonder how many people are expected.  I can only assume that there are a LOT of naughty people out there!!!

Colourful and well written but very almost no gameplay.

Overall Score: 666

Download the .tap from the Gates of Hell here.

Clint & Foreskin

Introducing one of the fastest sequels to hit the Speccy, MatGubbins brings us the next instalment of our hero Clint in this 10-char keyword challenge.  Horace had his Spiders, Clint had his Crabs.  Sabreman had his Wulf, now Clint has his Foreskin to contend with.  In this particular case, the nemesis Dr. Foreskin (pronounced Foh-ress-kiyne – obviously! Doh!).clint-foreskin-loader

The title page explains all, but basically our budding protagonist was rescued by a Doctor who suffered a severe upbringing as result of his much mocked surname that he’s decided to take it out on any random shipwrecked blighter that he might happen to stumble upon!clint-foreskin-title

And so it is, Clint finds himself on your stereotypical moving platform which randomly moves side to side.  In the top left is Dr. Foreskin taunting and generally throwing rude remarks at you a la Monty Python Holy Grail (French Scene).  Unfortunately, no vaches are to be seen though.  Clint however needs his wits about him if he is to stay on the platform (using A and D keys by the way) and not fall to his demise on a row of deadly spikes below.  If you can manage this long enough, the platform reaches the other side and raises up a level just to repeat the process.clint-foreskin-ingame

If you can hold on for long enough, you will be able to jump on a conveniently located boat and escape.

So, unlike the first game in the series, this one is written in BASIC with a few UDGs thrown in.  A very pretty title banner on the title makes good use of colours and the game itself looks half reasonable.

Game physics however have a little more to be desired.  The platform on which you stand appears to move completely at random and so you can be waiting a long time doing your little back-and-forth dance while you wait for the platform to reach the opposite side, just to have to repeat the process a few more times.

In summary, a reasonably crap game although a little too polished to take the crap-pot.  We are looking forward to see what capers Clint appears in next.  Let the saga continue!

Grab hold of your foreskin here!

Score: 1 skin… 2 skins… 3 skins out of 4 skins. F’nar!

And It Continued To Rain

In the words of Edwin Starr: “Rain. Hurgh! What is it good for?” Absolutely bloody nothing, that’s what. All it ever does is make you wet (in a non-f’narr f’narr sort of a way), and it always turns up at the exact point when you’ve got the washing out/barbecue going/whole way to the nearest beach. Yes, I know it’s probably pretty useful for making things grow and stuff, but most of the time I wish it would just sod off and leave us all alone.

However, a recent study by Professor Bertie Ollocks from Merda-Taurorum University suggests that 90% of the planet will be uninhabitable desert by the year 2016. So the one thing that defines Britain and the British – incessant bloody rain, every second or third day from the first of January to the last of December – could very soon become a thing of the past. In which case, as we sit there dying of thirst and stinking of B.O. we’ll start moaning (for the other thing that defines Britain and the British is incessant bloody moaning) that we’d quite like it to rain now, please, just a little bit, from midnight to 6am every week-night, if it’s not too much trouble, but not this Thursday because we’re going to the cinema and it doesn’t finish until five past twelve and we don’t want to get soaked on the way back to the car.


I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing this thing from MatGubbins. Here we have the longest keyword challenge name yet, apart from RANDOMIZE RANDOMIZE RAN(Oh Gawd, don’t start all that again. Ed.), as well as a nice bit of word un-wrapping. Crap points ahoy!

There follows one of Mat’s trademark Chunk-o-vision™ screens, and a charmingly titled block of machine code:


And then… well, I won’t completely spoil the surprise, but let’s just say that this program does exactly what you’d expect a program called “And It Continued To Rain” to do. The joke wore off quicker than I could google “Supertramp – It’s Raining Again”, but I was vaguely impressed by the use of a machine code routine which meant I couldn’t break out of the thing at all. And if you’ve got no idea what “rain” is because you’ve spent your whole life somewhere nice and sunny, like Spain, Australia or the surface of the sun, or if Professor Ollocks’s predictions for next year turn out to be true, then this is the advanced crappy British weather simulator for you!

I’ve just this second looked out of the window. It’s raining again. Curses! *shakes fist at sky*

Score: 972 millibars out of an occluded front. Whatever that means.

Download .tap here.

Piss in a Pint

Note: This review, like the game, is recycled from last year’s Touch the Ring by R Tape, which in turn was recycled from 2013’s Kick the Ballboy by Rebelstar without a Cause.

To be honest I can’t believe I’m getting away with this twice!


Well, you can’t accuse the Spectrum community of not having its finger on the pulse – barely a day has passed since the last big Boozed-up Britain story and a satirical game has appeared. You don’t have to know much about bar work to enjoy this game, if you can recognise Al Murray doing his famous “White wine for the ladies” routine you will know this game refers to the ongoing challenge of owning a bar and having to deal with inebriated and obnoxious customers.


Setting the scene


The opening screen creates a dramatic atmosphere, and tells you what you need to do: PISS IN A PINT! The game boasts some animated sprites of Massivepubian proportions, and as the customer’s eyes scan the pub left and right, you need to press P to piss while he’s looking the other way. The customer is a creature of habit, and his eyes follow a somewhat hypnotic (and very predictable!) rhythm.

Title Screen

Lovely pint of Chunk-o-vision™ Piss


My best score is 102, and it’s harder than you might imagine as you become impatient and attempt to squeeze another one in before the customer sees. In this way PIAP is a very clever, if open ended game. However, it is silent and cries out for some grating BEEP effects.


High Score Challenge!


I may not have said many negative things about this game yet, but rest assured, it is most definitely CRAP! An excellent third Keyword Challenge entry from MatGubbins.


Tipshack: When the customer’s eyes have just moved away from the right, you can squeeze out 6 or 7 good drips.

HACK PACK: Zoned-out customer: 2040 LET count=0


Score: Piss poor

Download: .tap