Russian Roulecode

After confusing everyone with Fly Catcher – which had the look of a ZX81 game but that no-one seemed to be able to figure out how to play – PROSM is back with an actual ZX81 game which is moderately easier to fathom.

Shortly after submitting this game we received a follow up email in which PROSM admitted he’d left a line out of the program. Rather than attaching an amended .P file, however, we were advised how we could correct the omission ourselves; “before running the program, please insert the line: 90 RAND 0.”

Bug fixes and revised versions are generally frowned upon in CSSCGC as it is (under the assumption that a mistake or lack of attention to detail is a positive trait,) however, I think it’s a bold move to ask us to implement them! 😀

Of course I could’ve amended the .P file to issue a ‘corrected’ version – but why deny you the fun as well?

Minor corrections...

Minor correction…


Load the .P file in EightyOne (or your choice of Zeddy Emulator) and, when it shows “0/0,” type the following:

90T0[Enter] (0=zero, no spaces)

Don't press too hard!!

If you’re too hard? Oo-er Missus!


Congratulations! Our collective hard work has paid off; we can finally get to play the game as PROSM (henceforth known fully as ‘Peter Serafinowicz Obliterated My Sinclair’) intended.

It turns out that the RAM pack on a ZX81 was a little top heavy and prone to working loose from the Edge Connector during normal use – which usually resulted in a system reset and the loss of any data or, more critically, that program you just spent three hours typing!

In this tense simulation you are programming very own 3D Monster Maze-beater directly into the Zeddy as machine code. You’ve noted down each byte to enter on your notepad and all you need to do is type each decimal value in turn at the bottom of the screen.

There are only ten thousand or so to get through, however, the problem is that if you hit Enter* too hard then your RAM pack might wobble (or outright fall off) and you’ll lose the lot.

* or someone breathes too heavily, or opens a window, or a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan etc..

Enter the numbers...

Enter the numbers…


So, in a ‘gameplay’ style reminiscent of last year’s Ultimate ZX Spectrum Games Designer, you type your numbers and (gently) press Enter.

If you type the number correctly your score increases, if you type the number incorrectly your score is reset to 0 and you have to start from the beginning of the list. Alternatively, if the program deems you to be the heavy handed type, there’s a roughly one in 12 chance that your ZX81 will reboot each time you press the Enter key. Nailbiting stuff!

As I understand it PROSM is working on a sequel in which the in-game XP system reduces the chances of wobble over time by offering the user the likes of chewing gum, Blu-tack™ or Velcro® in order to try and secure the RAM pack in place.


Score: B/200

Download .p file

Fly Catcher

Just in time for Halloween, here’s a game by PROSM in which you play a spider and have to catch flies. WoooOOOooo! Scary! Okay, so that’s a very tenuous link to cover up the fact I’ve had this game since the middle of September and have only just got round to reviewing it. It wasn’t like this in the days of Eq Tetrachloride and Dave The Lurker, but to be fair, they never wrote 400-word essays about these games, like what we do at Sqij Towers. “Quantity, not quality” – that’s my motto, along with “better late than never, but even better really really late than just late”.

I was going to write down all the things that I thought PROSM might be an acronym for, just to pad out the review by 100 words or so, but could only think of “Patricia Routledge’s Octopus Smells Musty” before my brain started to hurt. So I stopped again.

In this game, you are a spider, and you must catch flies. I quite like spiders. I’ve never been the sort of person to go “Aaaargh, a spider, help, mummy!” and climb up the nearest tree to escape it. I’d probably make an exception for anything bigger and hairier than a kitten, or those Australian Arsebiter Killer Death Spiders who lurk underneath toilet seats and in underwear drawers, but on balance I’d rather have Boris the Spider and his chums as house guests than a bunch of dirty flies, zzz-zzzing around and vomiting all over me.
Now what some people don’t realise is that when I first load a game for reviewing, I always turn flash loading off in my emulator, so I can experience the full experience of the loading experience, just like I would’ve done thirty years ago – that way I don’t miss any screens or fancy loaders. When I came to do this with Fly Catcher, I couldn’t help but notice there was a suspiciously short BASIC bit, followed by an even shorter piece of code, and then the game started. Now even with my limited knowledge of machine code I know that it takes more than 10 bytes of code to make a playable game – but to give PROSM the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it’s a 2K game compressed with zx7 or something. So I press a key to start, and… ahem. PROSM has entered what appears to be not a game into the crap games competition. Although at least it’s crap, so it ticks one out of the two boxes.

On the other hand, I might be missing something. The intro screen says “For more instructions see inlay”, so perhaps you’ll get further than I did if you can find it. I certainly couldn’t – I suspect this Holy Grail of inlays is at the very back of the kitchen drawer full of old batteries, rubber bands, and Soda Stream instruction manuals –  so if you do succeed in finding it, you could say there’s no flies on you! Ha ha ha! Ha ha! Ha! Ha. Christ on a bike, I’ve still got two months to go of this shit.

Score: 8 out of 100 (one for each spider’s spidery spider leg)

Download here.