CSS CGC 2010

The Games



Author: Firelord

XAMPP port for Spectrum 2010(c) This is NOT a game. It's a developer tool that includes Apache, MySQL & PHP. Ported & Compiled for Spectrum by Firelord Quality Games LTD.
This, our first entry to the 2010 compo arrived on the day of opening from Firelord.

If you are a software developer like me, you might be familiar with the XAMPP toolset.  Well, I was quite excited when Firelord sent me an email saying that he had successfully ported it to the ZX Spectrum (16K or 48K version wasn't stated however). I say successfully in the broadest sense of the word however...

Excitedly, I booted it up and was reassured by the intro screen but after that, things did tend to go downhill a bit.  After some initial warnings and prompts, the start-up process hit one brick wall after another, each feeling like a slap in the face.  Not only was some kind of virus attacking the MYSQL server, but my log file was apparently decorated with firewall and port issues.  Obviously my humble speccy was straining at this point as familiar ZX BASIC error codes came in.  Eventually I had to pull the power plug from my machine, but it was too late - I now have another lifeless speccy to use as a doorstop.  Another one bites the dust.... just like this app.

ReferenceAuthor's Notes

Advanced Rampant Voting Abuse Simulator: Russia Attack!

Author: Apenao

Oh, how badly did Apenao want to get the first entry into this year's competition? Missing it by less than 90 minutes must have been a blow below the belt after his hectic morning running around like a lunatic trying to get his game together to be bombed by bird poo (you can read it here for yourself!)

Well as far as crap is concerned, this game is in the ballpark.  This is clearly one of those games where a massively disproportionate amount of time was spent designing a decent loading screen followed by an equally satisfying 'start game' animation that no time was left to improve the game itself.  Once the game starts, there ends all hint of graphical eye candy as you freefall back into a standard speccy black on white screen.  Even the emulated spectrum font fails to impress!

It takes a while to work out what the objective of the game is, not least because the game is quite happy to run along all by itself without any interaction from yourself! Selecting games using the number keys (followed by a entering a score) appears to have little on the overall game position, particularly since the game you select is no bearing on the one that gets selected.

I was impressed for all of 3.7 seconds to see that other people are voting along with me, right up to the point when I realised by humble spectrum isn't networked to the internet.  I assume the 'others' must be using some kind of spectrum mind control to manipulate the game.

A score system was hastily added in by the author at the last minute to give it a level of authenticity.  Personally, my pet cat Clive keeps better score.

Not bad job at confusing the player and would have had good 'load once then bin it' factor if it wasn't for the nice loading graphics and start anim.  Must try harder Apenao!



Author: AYChip

Political Incorrectness gone mad!
Oh, this is nice! Not the game but its underlying political statement...

I can't help feeling that AYChip has capitalised on a faux pas by Yours Truly with this little chestnut. The timing of the aforementioned faux pas could not have been worse in mounting tensions after the recent FAQ debacle which also didn't escape the author's notice.

More impressively, he must have turned this game around (including the gripping instruction text) in a matter of a couple of hours before firing it at high-speed velocity towards my inbox.

Unusual for a game written in BASIC, this one includes 8 directional control, but this cancelled out by the fact that you can't get your crosshairs to the edge of the page if your target has wrapped across the page.  I can only assume that the text-wrapping is representative Minkowski spacetime and that maybe, if you can get those cross hairs to move a bit faster, you might be able allow special relativity to take hold and push you to the edges before reality notices what you've done.  If not, then damned if I know how to knock out the letters when they are off the page.  Surely not a... bug?

Read the manual then play the game.  But before you do, you will have to decide which side you align yourselves with. That will then help make the decision on whether this game is the mark of a pure genius or simply total crap!

Nice one Ed.  looking forward to your next 579 games!


The Quest for the Golden Egg 2

Author: Digital Prawn

What is says on the tin!
Apologies to Digital Prawn for missing this epic game in my first upload.  I had played it earlier that day (like we believe that! - ed.) but once again fatigue from my day job as a secret agent got the better of me!

If you are loading this game into a REAL spectrum (which I assume you all will be of course) do plan it first.  Do LOAD "", start the tape, then take that two-week holiday into the Balearics.  It might have finished loading on your return.  I thought I might at least enjoy the loading screen whilst I wait in anticipation, but it was robbed from right under my eyes no sooner had it arrived.  As to the loading time, maybe someone should tell the silly Prawn that he doesn't have to zero out the entire machine's memory to make his game work, and if he did, then he should read up on a little trick with the LDIR command!

But onto the game.  Apparently, your quest is to navigate Yendalf through the forest of Talberon whilst wielding his staff of Xandar in a menacing way until you find the golden egg.  OK - let stop there; Yendalf? Talberon? Xandar? Who makes up these names? (DP presumably - ed.) Sounds like Tolkien on ACID.

The game isn't as horrendously awful once you ignore the fact that there isn't any sort of scoring mechanism, no time limit and infinite shots of the staff (AFAIK) and that the extent to which the egg is camouflaged is that it is the same colour as the trees! Whoopie doo!

Saying that, I did manage to accidently destroy the egg so I suppose I probably need more practise.  Then again, I blame the stupid position of the fire button - great layout if you have NO THUMBS!

Graphics and anim speed however are not bad enough to warrant the game really crap.  Therefore, it is back to the drawing board my binary crustaceous friend.


Spectrum Blind Flight Simulator 2 - Flying The Plane

Author: Firelord

DDA friendly flight sim.
Firelord is on a mission in this year's competition - 2nd game submission just under 48 hours after his first one and this must have been written whilst smoking the wacky backy.

This game appears to be the sequel to last year's entry "Sinclair Blind Flight Simulator" but this time you get to fly the plane from take-off up to landing.  What makes this flight sim a bit different is that you do it using the classic adventure keys: N E S and W.  (Bet you can't find that in the 747-700 series aviation manual!) Still, it's about all you have to go on as you have to feel your way around in order to progress the adventure.  It is at this point where you have to wonder why the adventure features graphics if you are blind.  Still all graphics look like they were done on an etch-a-sketch and probably by a blind person!

You get the option of using the Braille Monitor or Normal Monitor at the start but the Braille version didn't seem to change anything.  Presumably this is because I don't have a Braille monitor.

I thought it was a bit odd that the LOOK command still works as normal in this adventure game.  I thought Firelord would have had the insight (!) to use the keywords FEEL, TOUCH, GROPE etc. instead but alas no.

Some screens don't allow you to read the description before the text rolls off the screen.  Hint: Type WORDS to view all the text and GRAPHICS to return to pictures mode.  That little nugget will have earned Firelord a couple of notches on the crap factor alone.

I must say, the whole concept and the in-game content is a great read and very amusing.  Can't wait for the third and final part of the trilogy: the landing.


Pinball Machine

Author: Paul Collins

Arkanoid masquerading as Pinball
I really do feel that Paul is doing his younger self a disservice by submitting his pinball game into the CGC.  Written in the early 90s when he was just a wee lad and long before girls became desirable, the young Paul put together this rather nice little gem.  It has all those cute little nuances that an amateur ends up with when programming in BASIC, like: "big pauses when the ball bounces and basic goes through 6 loops before the rebound logic completes".  It makes you want to go "Ahhhh! Sweeeeet!"

Yes, it is bit bizarre that it is called Pinball Machine when it clearly resembles Thru' the wall.  Firstly, Pinball should have flippers, not a bat and secondly the physics of Pinball should be based on Gravity rather than Newton's First Law (duuurrrh!).  Still, as Paul points out, the Cascade Cassette 50 version of Pinball also had exactly the same flaw so I guess his younger self was simply misled by the CC50 tape.  Yet another example of the irreplaceable damage caused by the CC50 tape!!!

Points should be awarded for the poor scoring mechanism: Only the "10" graphics appear to clock up your score, even though much more interesting wotzits appear on the stage.  I like the way the UDGs are loaded and defined in the first BASIC loader block and the game in the second.  If Paul had accidently omitted the first loading block from his CGC entry then a few more crap points may have been handed out.

Nice job Paul and great insight to the copy the flaw of the CC50 Pinball game.  It is however far superior than most of the CC50 games (including Pinball) and it is probably too nice and pretty to slate to death!


Apenao's Avatar: Enter the World

Author: Apenao

Wow! Apenao has teamed up with James Cameron to present us with the award-winning tie-in game. I invite you to read the most interesting Background and Instructions as wrote by Apenao all by himself.

Graphics are fantastic on account of their masked graphics (apparently; 11 of them; at the same time; simultaneously) and shiny loading screen.

Comical contacts from the Blue People (If you ever wondered where the Smurfs came from them this game just might give you the answer) and the Invaders (e.g. us).  If you don't speak the lingo then you obviously didn't read the book (which I myself did, obviously!) and so you deserve to lose.

The A Trash Smash and Seagull Crap prizes were awarded to this game. Presumably the latter is awarded to games whose authors have recent been bombed by a seagull on their way to work. If you are looking for the same 3D effect that you get at the cinema then make sure you put those funny polarised glasses before playing then game.  If you don't have any then don't worry, the 3D effect works just as well without.

Brilliant game but it does beg the question: What part of "Crap" does Apenao not understand in the phrase "Crap Game Competition"?

And before you ask.  No, I didn't receive a $1,000,000 backhander from Apenao and his dogsbody Cameron!


Turbo Rubber Ducky Shootout

Author: Digital Prawn

Stay still you damn quacker!
Digital Prawn shows off his skills in BASIC by pushing his game through the Hi-Soft BASIC compiler in order get himself a few extra CPU cycles every frame while you try to whack the ducks and avoid the skull and cross bones.

I loved playing this game on the BBC Micro back in the 80s.  DP appears to have missed out on a design flaw that the BBC game had which was the ability to switch the music on and off by firing at a box on the right of the screen (thus consuming your much needed ammo).  Then again, I suppose the lack of music in DP's game probably renders such a box redundant.

Game gets nicely repetitive very quickly and a great cheap and cheerful screen colour change after you complete each sheet. Interestingly, the Quit Game (Y/N) option at the end of the game resets your spectrum for you if you select N.  Clearly, this is DP's attempt to stop hackers from breaking into the game and finding a POKE for infinite lives or ammo.


John Terry's Quest for the Golden Bra

Author: Apenao

If the recent escapades of England's Captain, Mr. John George Terry has passed you by then this game might be a bit confusing.  If you are in the know then be prepared to be confused anyway!

Apenao's third crap game entry this year sees you playing the role of John Terry in his next Premier League game.  You need to fight off your fellow football mates as you try to score a hat-trick with their girlfriends while they are looking the other way.

Once again, the objective of the game is a little vague and the use of the M key to scroll through various options at the bottom of the screen appear a bit pointless.  Luckily, that is fully in line with the game in general.

If John Terry's Quest for the Golden Bra looks to you a little familiar then it might be because you have already played Avatar.  Following in the footsteps the mighty Stampers and the Oliver Twins, Apenao is using the enterprising tactic of tweaking an existing game release with a slap of paint and a new storey line and releasing it as a whole new game.  Unfortunately for Apenao, he will not be expecting queues of fans parting with their hard-earned cash to grab a copy of his latest release. 

Apenao may have to freshen up on his football rules 'cos he states that the game features "full implementation of the Football rules (i.e. if you collect balls, you get more time, etc)".  Now I am no football freak but at least I know what the offside rule is.

This time we see Apenao push the bounds of the Spectrum even further by animating 21 (yes 21!) masked sprites simultaneously.  That is 10 more than what we saw in Avatar.  This does come at a price that the frame rate is generally slowing down to a crawl.  Worse still, and a must in any decent crap game, the key press lag is quite severe.  You have to stop moving one frame before you actually WANT to stop otherwise you will fly past your target. 


baron - aces high

Author: AYChip

Biggles after a half a bottle of whisky
It's all about attention to the detail...   I'm not talking about how to produce bug free code (that's easy, it's just a combination of time, care, testing and method), I'm talking about how to produce something that strives to be a viable product only for it to be eclipsed but a clanger or two.  AYChip, with his second entry, forgot to attach his tar file in the very email that attempts to seduce me with phrases like photo-realistic and top-of-the-line physics modelling!  Something at the back of my mind is telling me that this is the 21st Century version of submitting a game on a blank tape!  Something else at the back of my mind tells me that it is AYChip's subtle genius!

This game is your classic dogfight game: You fly your WWI plane and try to bring down your opponent by shooting at him, whilst he tries to bring you down by shooting at you.  Well, that's the idea.  This game, doesn't have any return fire and the enemy AI is non-existent.  Don't think that this game is easy to win however... you have to keep a clear head of you are not to put your plane into a spin and crash and burn.

There are some nice flavours which come back to what I said about subtlety.  YES, the game has a custom character set but NO, the UI is very drabby around the edges (sprites appearing in very odd places). YES, it has a built in facility to perform a core dump if the game crashes but NO, you don't get the all important Z80 registers (including PC and SP which are essential for debugging a core dump).  YES, it does appear to have Newtonian Physics driving your plane's altitude, but NO, it doesn't work (unless you stick to using the "up" key alone)

AYChip offered me a Shrubbery when he emailed me this game (or rather, when he DIDN'T email me the game!).  All I can say is "NI!   NI, NI, NI!"



Author: Insert Coin

Steve Jobs, eat your heart out!
Here is our first emulator entry.  I can't ever remember a Mac OSX emulator in the CSSCGC but there might have been one (why don't you go and have a look? - ed.).  This one, sent in my Insert Coin starts off looking quite promising until the main window starts.  Navigation of the mouse is operated with the classic QAOP and M for 'click' but on my first attempt I only got as far as opening up menus, but to be fair, the last time I used an Apple Mac was about 15 years ago when I freaked out that it only had one mouse button.  Still where would we be without menus, eh? Oh yes, probably in a lot better place than we are now.

Great Alarm feature, shame I couldn't work out how to set the time the alarm goes off.

Eventually, I found that some menu items did work and you have the OSX style bar at the bottom of the screen.

After locating the Show Clock option, I quickly realised that you need to use the SetTime option.  This is because your Spectrum's mobo might be lacking in a BIOS clock (well mine lacks one, I'm sure some crazy Zed Heads out there as added one to their Speccys).

I should have known that quality was a bit lack when I spotted that the title "Speckintosh" features the letter K, which is curiously absent in both the words Spectrum and Macintosh! Insert Coin may need to go back to his PR guys about that.

This entry is a true case of 'not knowing how the hell to operate the damn thing', but I suspect that that is partially my fault in not being familiar with OSX.  I did get the iTunes app to open but playing tunes or videos was beyond my technical skill set.  Shame, I would have loved to hear my all my Fergal Sharkey tracks on this baby.  Maybe I shouldn't have run it with my SE BASIC ROM installed!

In summary, very nice emulator, probably too good for a crap game compo as the "multitasking window" number was very well done.  Now we just need to wait for OS 8 which should be along very shortly.  I just hope it features 8-directional mouse, that's all!


Smiler in Arrowe Land

Author: Digital Prawn

Twisted Sokoban!
The Prawn once again delights us with a half decent game that would have had no problems qualifying for the Cascade Cassette 50.  Too good in fact. If our electronic shrimp hadn't written any software using the Z88DK compiler then this is pretty impressive start to his new career as an 8-bit C programmer.

Sound is basic but pretty okay.  Graphics are basic and erm... chunky but okay.  Game play is a bit lethargic but still, pretty addictive - enough to get you through the levels which are also pretty easy (but his instructions says that they are).

What most impresses me is DP's sadomasochistic self discipline in choosing to use vi as "editor of choice".  I guess Prawn just likes that extra challenge that most of us would choose to go without!

In summary: Possibly not crap enough to win the compo but a there are lots of worse ways to kill ten minutes of your life.


Fishing Mission 2

Author: Digital Prawn

Angling for losers
Digital Prawn's latest entry is definitely not for the faint hearted.  No matter how hard you try, boredom comes in quick and fast.  Amazingly, Fishing Mission 2 could be likened to that classic game Elite - you have cash which you need to spend wisely before moving into a graphical arena.

So, you have £50 to spend.  You have to buy a fishing rod, a reel, a line, some bait, some hooks and a bobble hat.  Lucky for me, after the third game, I realised I could by the best of each with the £50 starter.

On the way to the river, you might come unstuck with an Act of God or possibly the Feds so beware.

The final part of the game is where the graphics kick in; well, more dibble than kick! Your rod extends what looks like upwards (but I think that is just an accident in perspective).  There is very little interactivity - just press 0 when you think you might have a bite.

I did manage to catch 282Kg of merchandise during my last fishing trip (none of which you could have been grilled and served up for dinner).  This was a bit of a surprise and the game rated me as a fine fisherman.  WTF?

Some nice surreal (and frankly, bizarre) aspects of the game such as choice of bait, the random assaults en route to the river and the usual (and not so usual) kind of crap that one pulls out of the river when fishing.

This might be the last DP entry for a little while so please enjoy!


Advanced Detection Equipment Tester Simulator

Author: Madmekon

Impossible Mission IV
Our first entry from Madmekon, Advanced Detection Equipment Tester Simulator was the inspiration of a recent article in The Register which recounts the storey about the US government handing over millions of $$$ to a firm produced bomb detectors which don't work.

And so, in this game, you are "that guy" who has the dubious task of testing the ADE-651 on a heavily mined road in Iraq.  As a result, the objective of this game is contradictory by nature.  Either you successfully test that the device doesn't working, getting yourself vaporised in the process OR you sell your soul to the devil who guides you through without ever coming across a bomb and thus failing to test the device at all.  Either way, it's probably going to be curtains for you.

Graphics are minimal.  The game includes an impressively long wait whilst the game is set up (I checked, it's not just a cop-out 100,000x loop that does nothing).  Game play is very short and merciless.  Sound and Music are well on par with a Cascade Cassette 50 effort.  Not a bad crack all-in-all.


Colour Clash of the Titans

Author: Apenao

Clash of the Titans? Colour Clash? Get it, eh?  Apeneo really treats us with a play on words here.  It does get better though.

To start, the game play: After selecting which character you wish to play (choosing will determine attributes such as speed, stamina, shooting speed etc.) you are entered into a duel with your rival.  You move about the play area shooting your arrow, lightning bolt or whatever (couldn't work out what Hades or Maciste use!) whilst avoiding your rival's shots by jumping up and down.  Damage to your stamina-o-meter is reduced when in contact with your rivals shots.

First the good points: CCotT has some fantastic qualities that should have it immediately and dishonourably booted out of the crap game compo.  From the opening menu screen, colour fills your screen (non-clashing I must add).  You can select lots of options which brings me onto the next set of good points...

  • How many crap games include a one or two player option and has decent AI for the one player version?
  • How many crap games include a selection of four different characters (very Gauntlet/Atic Atac)?
  • How many crap games include a variety of backdrop scenes (very IK+)?
  • And still it gets better: How many crap games include a working demo mode (very... well you insert a game name here - why should I do all the work!)?
You get the point.

Nice touches indeed but to be fair, the game isn't perfect.  There are a few failings.

Firstly, the backdrop (as per the game name suggests) clashes incredibly with the players and bullets, both in their XOR style drawing, flickering sprites and the fact that the colours in the backdrop take priority over the sprites.  This brings a whole new angle to the difficulty of the game which trying to avoid Hades' "Attack of the Mutant Telephones" telephones.

Second, you can't actually shoot unless s you are pressing a directional key.  Sloppy programming? Feature? You decide.  Next, if you let the game go into the Demo, you cannot actually then play a game!  Lastly, whether you win or lose, it is back to the main menu, no level ups here I'm afraid.

With the lack of title music, there isn't a lot else you can knock on this game.  As such, like all of Apeneo's games, he is heading straight for the hosting of CSSCGC 2011!


Homeless Horace

Author: Mulder

Horace in hard times
Mulder has treated us here with a Horace spin off.  Now apparently, some of you don't actually copy the spectrum tap files to tape and load them into real spectrums a la 1980s.  If that is you, then (1) get a life and (2) I recommend you switch off flash loading on your favourite emulator and check out the loading screen of this game.  After you have feast your eyes on the loader, you should be ready for some Hot Horace action!

Carrying on from the original Horace series and based on Horace and the Mystic Woods, this game sees Horace in leaner times as a Wino.  If you ever wondered what happened to Horace after that unfortunate Spiders incident, well, now you know!

Horace footstep animation is true to form and animation in general is smooth if not a little flickery.  Collision detection is a mite harsh however (most likely character based, in X at least).  Colours are ok but don't play on a dark screen as the blue sprites on black background cause a bit of eyestrain which should win a couple of points IMHO.

On a final note, screen #1 does have a Central Cavern feel to it, don't ya think?


Meteorite Man (or Woman)

Author: Chris Young

419 Scam for you speccy
Just before setting down for the night and went to check out my emails only to find this little gem of a crap game in my email box, sweetly deposited inside a Nigerian 419 scam! I invite you to read the email for yourself - it isn't often that you get a phishing scam and a REALLY CRAP GAME thrown in for free!

So, from the host of the CSSCGC 2007 and Crap Game Finder, here's the deal: You have been offered a once in a lifetime offer to help shift a load of valuable extra-terrestrial detritus out of South Africa (or is it America?) for a hefty cut of the takings.  The game provides legitimate proof that the offer is genuine.

In the game, you are Meteorite Man (or Woman) and you have to move your thingy left and right across the landscape and search for meteorites.  If you think you see one (you won't!) press C to chase it (if you think the key actually does anything that is) and if you are lucky you will collect a piece of rock.  If you even more lucky, returning to your lab (Q) it will go under spectral analysis to determine whether it is a valuable or junk.

This is an all or nothing game.  Finding a meteorite will win you the lottery.  Finding rocks win you nothing.  The game smells of the classic BASIC bug where moving off the left edge of the screen reverses your keys and onscreen sprite; moving off the right edge of the screen greets you with a B Integer out of range report ("it's a feature, not a bug!")

Once you have unknotted your fingers from the arcane keyboard layout and made it back to the lab with one or more potential windfalls, a nice spectral analysis of the rock is shown which forms about the only graphics worth talking about (apart from the fact that I can't help thinking that some UDGs never appear in the game due to a bug somewhere).  Sound? The odd beep.

Have a go at this game.  You WILL be disappointed.  Meanwhile, I need to make a call about some money that I am waiting for.

ReferenceMojon Twins Blog Entry

He had such a big head that if he were a cat he would have to toss the mice from under the bed with a brow

Author: The Mojon Twins

Hilariously amusing game with a protagonist with the oddest head in spectrum history
Could we have just stumbled upon the game with the longest title of the 80's computing era?  The Title says it all and it doesn't disappoint.  And so it shouldn't, it comes from the same people who brought you "Ultimate First Communion Simulator" (one of my all time favourite crap games for comedy value alone).

So you have mastered the Abandoned Uranium Workings, aced level 90 of Chuckie Egg, Booted the backside of Booty but have you been able to do so with a melon that is 18 feet (5.49m to the Europeans) wide?  I am sure this game will be a classic!

Graphics are very colourful, if not a little blocky.  I suppose you could say the same about the sfx also.  Animation is basic but game play is very addictive - and why not when you have 20+ screens to work through.  In a similar vein to Manic Miner, some screens have special "nasties", such as the Lair of the Serpent Duchess.  Other nice features include the in-game scrolly, and the amusing way you can get your bonce trapped between two rocks and have your legs dangling.  Still at least you can use your chin (presumably) to move left and right if you find your legs out of action!!!  Suicide is sometimes the only way out but even that is not without humour.

This game might not "win" the comp but will certainly win awards in the wierdness department.

Check out the readme but I do recommend trying to find out the passwords yourself; it isn't as difficult as it first seems.  Source code included.

Finally, if your Spanish is up to it, then read about their game on the Mojon Twins Blog.


Dodge City

Author: Paul Collins

Toy Story's Woody in a riot
Here is the second instalment from Paul Collins.  We were blessed with his rather good Pinball Machine in the back end of January.  Dodge City is a different matter altogether.  You are apparently in a city and have to dodge things, hence the name.  This pretty much sums up the game because you are indeed located in a city landscape and you do have to dodge "things" (author's words, not mine!) which come at you from all directions (well, mainly from the left actually!).

The title screen says "Population: you" so I don't know who is meant to be throwing all those "things" at you.  Talking about the title screen, this effort features the most tuneless title music ever to grace a speccy.  SFX reach a whole worse level once you hit level 10 - your ears are subjected to a horrid double blast of a high pitched squeal ! (I don't recommend this game with headphones pumped up to the max).  Maybe it is the sound that makes your player choose to take one step CLOSER to the source of the "thing" throwing - sure sign of a desperate man looking for the sweet release of suicide!

Game play is basic with simple up down movement allowing you to dodge the brightly coloured blocks being hurled at you.  Funny, in real life, I get the option to move in at least two dimensions if I want to dodge something.  The lack of O and P keys is strangely absent.

After half a dozen games, I managed to get to level 60-something.  There is something appealing about the game and those blocks can catch you out.  After level 40, the blocks start to fade into the blue sky background more, apparently to make them harder to see! Paul recons he has surpassed a ton but that does take some work.

Written in HiSoft BASIC (compiled basic being particularly popular this year) Dodge City has good signs from a well-rounded crap game.  Source code included.


Monty Python's Bridge of Death

Author: Laszlo Simon

"We fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."
A new entry from a new author for 2010.  Following on from the (un)success of last year's entry Monty Python's Argument Clinic, Laszlo Simon has presented us with a Text Adventure recounting the famous scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail (tie in royalties are being negotiated between lawyers at time of writing).  As per last year, the game is written mainly in C using z88dk althought the program is trivially simple, the clever bit is the text and decision data source which is prepared by a perl script.  Check out the source code if you are inclined.

Can you get Arthur and his knights of the round table across the Bridge of Death by answering the five que.. three questions?  I would be bloody surprised if you can't - particularly if you've seen the film, which I would be bloody surprised if you haven't!

Nice touches to look out for include only being given one multiple choice option (and it isn't option 1!), given two options that are the same. There is also the misspelt tap filename (not sure if this was intentional?) and of course, the compulsory misspellings within the game.

I have dedicated this submission to Jonathan "Joffa" Smith (aka Frobush) who sadly passed away this morning (26/06/2010).


Defective by Design Tetris

Author: Laszlo Simon

GameBoy(TM) all over again
Just a few short weeks after his first entry, Laszlo Simon brings us an old favourite.  Despite my pet hate of Tetris after wasted evenings playing it I still found myself spending minutes (yes minutes!) playing this remake.

Instructions on the opening page explain all including a novel way of quitting the game and a rather unexciting "mini-puzzle" on how to start gameplay.  All adding points to a crap game entry.

On to the main game and on the face of it, Laszlo has included all the traditional features of the game: coloured shapes made of four blocks, speeding up as you progress, rotation - in BOTH directions and even a down button.

It's not until you look a little deeper that the cracks start to show.  First, your score never leaves zero, which is a shame because I was doing really well until I realised it was all pointless.  Second, your tetris can sometimes stop in mid-air for no apparent reason.

Keyboard response is adequately poor for a crap game; which is a shame when you are relying on it to sneak that block under the overhang that you had just created as a result of a disastrous attempt to clean up on a previous cock-up.

The game, despite the shortcomings mentioned above does seem to be a bit "easy".  Not sure why.  I did have quite a few blocks piled up but managed to "clear the decks", eventually blowing my game by trying out the mysterious "8" key!

I suggest you don't fill your hole to the top - you may find the GAME OVER screen the hardest of them all.  Interesting, I think you can still play a bit of tetris during the GAME OVER sequence!



Author: Laszlo Simon

Great game with copious amounts of drugs
Laszlo brings us a rather surreal version of the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors.  By adding two everyday objects to the pot, namely a Lizard and Mr. Spock, he has added a whole new dimension to the game.  Insanely, no less than three out of five of the objects are misspelt in the title (Parer? Scrisors? Lisard?) and it was only thanks to the handy hand gestures which he has thoughtfully added to the game board that I was sure what the objects were - NOT! Scissors itself has three variations of spelling!

So, how does a Lizard beat Spock? Well... poison, obviously! How does Scissors beat a Lizard, well, you can chop its head off with them.  The internal ordering is still perfectly balanced as per the original so at least Laszlo managed something right.

This game is clearly two player but there is no Human vs Computer option so you will need a mate to compete with me.  If you don't have any mates then you can do as I did and play both sides for the sheer hell of it.

Keys for each person are arranged in a circle around the s and j keys.  Once circle for each player - mildly confusing when playing solo.  Also, colour clash checks were not top of the list when the screen designs were put together, but then again, neither are the rather rushed graphics.

In summary: nice effort, strangely addictive, a little bizarre and pretty crap.  Nice one Laszlo!


Just Not Fun Baby Fun

Author: Andy Kavanagh

Don't try this game at home!
Andy's first entry into this year's competition and he doesn't make it easy.  All I got in the email was 'It's called "Just Not Fun Baby Fun". It may be cheating using an editor. Pff, in my day, why I auda, etc.'.  No instructions, no background, not even the keys to play the game (which took me a bloomin' 10 minutes to work out).

If you really want to know, "Z" = "rotate anti-clockwise" and "M" = "rotate clockwise".  There may be other keys which do things but damned if I can find them.

This game is hard at first but do perserve.  I get the impression that you have to keep away from the other cars and try to get them to crash into each other.  I've never managed to clear a single sheet but you are taken to the next sheet after each death.  Lucky that.

Keys are awkward.  You rotate your car 90 degrees left or right but unfortunately, if you rotate into a wall, you simply stop until you rotate out of it again.  To make matters worse, if you do rotate into a wall, you cannot tell which direction you are facing as your car doesn't fit in the path sideways.  This can lead to your downfall when you start to panic.  It's just a shame that the keys aren't set up and have the responsiveness that was perfected with the likes of Pac Man 35 years ago.  Bad keys = good crap factor!

Each sheet comprises of a different maze with its own distinct graphics, colours and name (based on popular TV programmes).  The one shown in the screenshot looks like a loading screen which has been smeared across your screen and then partially wiped off with your finger.  There is a particularly painful red-and-magenta screen which is probably worse.

Again, we do have a game which is pretty addictive.  The more you play, the more you work out how your adversaries chase you and you can use that to your advantage.  I've spent the best part of an hour playing this game trying desperately to complete a whole level and work out what the yellow car is for but not managed it yet.

Oh, don't even think about playing on any level other than 1!


Game & Watch Knight Lore

Author: Paul Collins

Nintendo were right to pass this up
Do you remember those Game & Watch games you used to sneak into school and play at lunch breaks until you lent it to your mate and he had it confiscated for playing it during lessons? From memory, they were pretty basic, comparison of an LCD screen with fixed graphic positions which lit up as sprite to form the screen.

Well, I don't know what Paul was thinking when he thought he could produce a Knight Lore adaptation.  Yes, we get a nice cyan Game & Watch facia complete with the little rubber movement buttons and the "Game A"/"Game B"/"Time" buttons on the side but they don't do much other than look pretty.

Once we look towards the game itself, we can immediately see why Nintendo never attempted to release a 3D game using that technology.

Using the left and right keys, you have to avoid the purple ball by moving away from where it bounces.  Six blue "3D" blocks are provided but provide absolutely no cover.  What's more, no score is included in this instalment... nor Time, nor a Game B mode.

I am also wondering about the accuracy of the Game & Watch simulation - colour was provided to static items only, yet the ball is clearly purple and when you are killed, you also change colour.

There is very little you can say about it other than this game should do well for crap factor.


Mornington Crescent

Author: AYChip

"Hammersmith Broadway" (a curving Loop Shift - not one for the amateur!)
Aah! Mornington Crescent.  The very name summons nostalgic thoughts of tuning into the radio at 6:30pm to listen to one of the best game shows of all time.  As I insert my tape copy of AYChip's latest entry into my cassette deck and wait impatiently as my trusty spectrum works through the loader, my thoughts return repeatedly to classic witticisms of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer.

If there was ever a way to pay tribute to "Humph" Lyttleton, it would be to write a masterpiece of a game for the ZX Spectrum.

But as my spectrum mops up the last few bytes of the tape and the game starts to play, I feel my expectations were a tad too optimistic.  (Well, this is a crap game competition isn't it? – ed.)

The main menu is uninspired.  Double-sized text (hand-crafted by the author apparently) features throughout but what isn't mentioned in the email I received was how painfully slow the text is to render and generally how pointless it is to adding anything to the game.  Accessing the menu options (other than Play) appears to be impossible due to a complete lack of on-screen instructions.

If any of you are familiar with the game from "Sorry, I haven't a clue" then you will know how complex the rules are to Mornington Crescent.  According to the Little Book of Mornington Crescent, the board has four edges: Topside, Rightbottom, Leftbottom and Wing, has a square playing surface and is divided into a grid consisting of 83 identical squares (as squares 66, 13, 47 and 49 are only used during the Advanced Shunts and as such are almost invariably ignored).  At no point in playing this game did I see any playing grid!

What you do get instead is between 22.6 and 29.2 seconds waiting as the text to appear as to your current station (time variance due to the length of text that makes up the station name).  You enter a station which will invariably be an invalid move (personally I prefer to observe the Diagonal Primitive Method rules but apparently this implementation doesn't!).  Once you have happened upon a correct move, you will more than likely be checkmated by your computer adversary who will perform a winning move.

Source code included as usual from AYChip, including code to work out the legal moves based on the rules to which AYChip's rules.

Good luck, and … Mornington Crescent!


Overtake the POPE 2

Author: AYChip

Game. (No set or match though)
AYChip treats us to a marginally evolved version of his last year's smash hit "Overtake the Pope".  Capitalising on news of the Pontiff's arrival in Blighty, AYChip knows that the quickest way to make a buck is to take something already released, add a new feature or two and milk it.  Milking on the back of a major event has been done before by "Apenao's Avatar: Enter the World" but no with such blatant poor effort on the coding front.

As with the original release, you have to overtake the pope in his pope-mobile in your Sinclair C5.  Now you get to shoot your weapon at him as you do so in an untasteful manner.  Whether you succeed in obliterating the pope or not, doesn't appear to affect your success or failure when completing the overtake manoeuvre.

A weak sequel to a crap game. This one could go far!


Nucleic Fallout

Author: ????

Did YOU submit a game called Fallout?

Well I've found a chunk of XML on my website about the review of a game titled Fallout but for the life of me, I cannot find any reference to it in my email.  All I have is a mysterious .tap file.

If you have submitted a game to me with this name then please let me know!

Anyway, onto the game....
Written in BASIC in what I suspect is less time than it takes for me to write this, your objective is to knock out "nucleic particles" out of the sky to save earth.  Now, I am not quite sure what "nucleic particles" are, but they can't be subatomic variety as they make beeping noises as they decent at a vertical speed of my great gran and the horizontal randomness of a cricket in a field of chilly powder!

Title screen? Seizsure invokingly crap. Redefine your keys? Well, not really. "Full colour!" as sported by the title screen? Not in the actual game - no way Jose!


Advanced Body Disposal Simulator

Author: AYChip

Another Maze Game
Edward Cree AYChip was definitely bored over the summer. This game has some nice features but fails in others. For a background on your job as a bottom feeder mafia wanabee, check out the ingame help or the email. For a technical breakdown check out the email.

Wot I like:
  • the use of the HJKL keys to move around the maze. The keys are taken from the vi editor and have the advantage (for Edward Cree AYCHip at least) of all appearing on a single half row so making keyboard reading easier. Why he didn't consider using IF2 keys which are both familar to speccy users, standard and compatible with joystick is beyond me.... oh yes, it makes the game crap! Nice one.
  • The old bill is on your tail. Or not, as the case may be. Due to limited AI, the feds appear to pwn the bottom left corner of the city and appears to be shy about patrolling the reast of the maze. Maybe the mafia does own the city?!?!
  • In game mustic. Love the Doomed theme tune and the fact that 98% of the cpu is spent playing the music with what is most likely an interrupt updating the screen.
  • A classic of Edward Cree AYChip's: Resetting the spectrum after game over. And what a bloody annoying game over noise that is!
  • Don't forget to sit back and enjoy the loading screen. Shame the next loading block gets in the way. Crap!


Sudoku Helper

Author: Cream147

Not a game but at least it's crappy
Cream147 stated in his email to me that this break rule 2 of the competition (?Entries must be shockingly crap?).  He then amazingly goes on with an unapologetic epistle about the so called features.  I do feel Cream has an over-inflated opinion of this little tool but why not fire it up and try for yourself?

Just launching this program from the z80 snapshot requires a certain level of Spectrum skills from the user.  It is a 128K Snapshot taken from the Spectrum?s main menu.  You have to navigate down to 128 BASIC, press ENTER and then type RUN before you can even start it.  Don?t even think of going into the Tape Loader ? it won?t load ? it?s a snapshot! This painful start does smell of crap genius as it tops having to type RUN from 48K basic, especially as I cannot see any 128K features in this pile of bull poo!

After a disappointing sequence of splash screens you are presented with a menu of 7 items.  Each item should be explored in depth to see how short of the mark this program is to a Sudoku Helper.  More blatant self-advertising adorns option 7.  Option 6 on occasion inexplicitly runs option 1.

Option 5 is a case of was-never-gonna-work-was-it: going on-line using WiFi.  It does however feature what must be the longest BEEP command in all history of crap Spectrum programming.

Options 1-3 provide the central part of the program but all fail miserably.  The actual ultimate Sudoku Helper (Option 1) asks just one question about your puzzle before providing you a useless hint.  Option 2 allows you to ?Test Your Skillz?.  Trust me ? don?t bother.  Finally Option3 provides a series of Mini Games which are surreal at best and require a broad imagination to see what their relevance is to Sudoku.

So there you have it.  If malware existed in the 80?s, this would be a textbook example.



Author: Paul Collins

Run your own newspaper
Allegedly written by Paul when he was young, this game is a pleasant mix of fun and crap. You are a journalist running your own rag. You must buy staff and stories to build up your money. Simple eh? Although this game is never going win on crappness, I do have a few points to make about it:
  • The frequency by which you win the pools is astonishing. So much so, in fact, that you can leave the game running and make money on that alone
  • I did LOL after building up my empire only to get a casual message that "A bomb kills all your staff"! Ah, ok. I'll buy some more.
  • Selecting any of the menu options brings up a big telephone which reminds me of a gameshow hosted by Noel Edmunds
Other than that, it wouldn't be not half if the simulator was tuned to get more complex and difficult as you go on.


Advanced UDG Creator

Author: Rickard

You want UDGs? You get UDGs - all of 'em!
Can it really be what the instructions say? A radical new approach to the last 28 years failed attempts of UDG creation tools? Well what do you think?

After reading with anticipation through the instructions, I was ready to launch the utility to find out more.  I read through the two pages of preamble to find out exactly how it claims to render "most beautiful UDG sprites ever seen and the ones that are in fact PERFECT for your next game project"

Well, talk about brute force!

I think can see a couple of flaws in this tool...

Firstly, you need to OBSERVE your UDG in order to memorise it (or worse, copy it down onto graph paper).  Now, let suppose for a moment that I WAS superhuman and WAS able to memorise a unique 8x8 UDG ever 50th of a second (a single TV refresh).  Rickard has thoughfully chosen to render these UDG graphics at a flat out rante of 2^18 (262144) UDG every second. That means 2^18 / 50 = 5243 different UDGs with every TV refresh.  Following on from this, it means that you only get to see 0.019% of the UDGs that are fired to the screen due to the limitations of my TV and ULA.  (Maybe I need to pull out Chris Smith's ULA Book to see if I can soup it up a bit)

If Rickard had been througtful enough to add a HALT instruction in the middle of the tightly nested loop, at least my superhuman vision could at least observe each unique UDG.

This bring me on to the second flaw....

There are 2^64 (or 18,446,744,073,709,551,616) unique UDG graphics (which incidently is exactly one unit off of the Wheat and Chessboard Problem.  Even at a rate of 2^18 samples being output a second (only 50 per second of which I can atually observe rememeber), it would still take 2^(64-18) = 2^46 seconds to view all the UDG graphics.  2^46 seconds is still 2,229,851 years. I don't have 2 million years to sit waiting for my perfect UDG and I think my spectrum, ULA and TV doesn't either! Maybe you guys do though!  All of a sudden, leaving out that HALT statement doesn't seem that stupid after all.

In summary, a nice crap utiltiy with a respectable about of overhype.  Not enough spelling mistakes or word-wrap failures for my liking though!


2010, a Philatelists Odyssey

Author: R-Tape

You can Stamp that out straight away!
Here we have one of those games that are more decent than crap.

The game opens with a rather elegant title screen about a rather more intriging intro about the protagonist (Norman, an intergalactic stamp collector, prey tell!).

The title screen as a certain mark of quality: no spelling mistakes (just a slight grammatical error in the game title), word-wrapping carefully checked, colourful and subtle animation and well .... good?

Well, goodish!

Using the classic QAOP formation, you move your bloke around the playing area avoiding the Spectrum-come-Badies (couldn't they not have been C=64? - ed.) collecting stamps and progressing through the levels. There are apparently 10 levels although I only got to level 3.

The game is slow and I am glad I played it on an Emulator as I had to turn the dial up a bit to stop me nodding off to sleep.  Fair play however, it is written in BASIC and Dave is learning Assembly Language in his spare time :-). Keyboard response is a bit sluggish also which makes the game more trickly than it ought to be. 

I do however like the fact that the game apologises profusely that you've died!

Hats off to him for a great effort, but I suspect it will be just a bit too refined to winning the compo.


Massive Fish

Author: Dr. Sputnik

Could this be the worst text adventure known to man?
The excitement of finding yourself trapped inside a massive fish was rather dulled by this lacklustre text adventure. 

Negotiate the inner parts of the fish using, well, four directions (UP, DOWN, FORWARD, BACK) and see if you can escape, whilst enjoying the said parts as you go. Personally, when I usually find myself in the bowls a massive fish I find that UP, DOWN, FORWARD, BACK don't really cut the mustard, mainly because my concept of which way is forward and which way is up is the least of my problems.

Dr. Sputnik makes good use of "no graphics, no sound, no storyline structure" which makes this a pretty good crap game. Then again, only the third aspect is actually expected from a decent text adventure so he will have to look at other ways to make a crap game crapper. Let's just hope Dr. Sputnik has some more drivel like this to enlighten us before the end of the competition.


Don't Press Any Key

Author: Laszlo Simon

"Go on! You know you want to!"
Well, not a lot to say about this little nugget.  This one toys with your overwhelming need to press a button that says "DO NOT PRESS" even if it guarantees your place for a Darwin Award.  There are only two outcomes to this entry: (a) you lose; or (b) stalemate.  I would guess that NO ONE who tries this reaches a stalemate!

This game was provided as a Fuse Snapshot so if you haven't tried out the Fuse 1.0.0 RC1, now is your chance.

If you can't be doing with all that self compilation stuff then check out the screenshot. It pretty much covers the extent of this sorry state of an entry.


Speccy Russian Roulette

Author: Laszlo Simon

"The Dear Hunter - eat your heart out!"
Not 11 hours after his last submission, Laszlo has sent in another comical entry. 

I have to say, I did laugh out loud when I realised exactly what this program did.  But then again I am a bit sad like that :-)

My first attempt at this game got a "Number too big" error report.

My second attempt, saw two blanks before the third bullets crashed my machine!

I am sure this isn't what Uncle Clive had in mind when he designed the ZX Spectrum!


Geoff Capes: Budgie Breeder

Author: R-Tape

Strong Man with a chirpy side
Well Dave has really been working hard at getting that crap factor perfected since his previous entry a few weeks ago.  Yes, Geoff Capes: Budgie Breeder ticks many more of the qualities that we are looking for.  Right from the top, the title screen is plagued with annoying title sound (I hasten to call it music) and unlike his last entry, word-wrapping has finally out of the window.

On to the game - Geoff Capes (known more for his world strongest man title than for his passion for Budgerigars) needs your help to breed his birds.  What budgie breeding has to do with rudimentry mathematics is lost on me. Nonetheless, the way to clock up those birds is to enter the answer to 2 x 4 or 11 x 12 or get close (two budgies for a correct answer, one if your are close).

Nice touches can be found such as not-cleaning-up-the-screen-when-updating-text and noddy graphics and sound.  Even Geoffs melon looks like it wouldn't look out of place as a spaceship in another game - then again, the likeness is uncanny!   AFAIK, the game continues ad infinitum (I did have a little look into the code just to check to see if I was missing anything - and I wasn't!)


Complete Useless Machine Simulator

Author: Dr. Beep

Mr. Turing will be turning in is grave!
What we have here is a rather abstract take on a machine simulator. I know this because that is what it says on the screen. I couldn't have guess it through from the program itself. Maybe the most bizarre entry we have had so far and one that I am guessing probably not one that Dr. Beep lost sleep over.

Using your one solitary key (P), you control a lever which opens up a hatch in the black box. Emiting from the hatch is a pointy stick type thing which politely pushes the lever back to its initial position before retracting again, thus nicely bringing the box back into its intial state.

Inspired! (...not!)


Jet Rocket

Author: Iceman

Poor man's rip off of a well known classic
Iceman has been busy, taking advantage of the final days left of this year's competition in order to secure his entry.  Well, not that busy... he started development on this game over 25 years ago when Uncle Clive was releasing his ill fated C5. A fate, I dare say, that will only be matched by this game!

Well, it's not all bad. It does have a loading screen, instructions, colour and sound, oh, and the spelling has even been checked.  So basically, it scores well in exactly the areas that a crap game shouldn't.  Two worthly crap notes come to mind however:
  1. Using the left and right keys to move your player left/right as well as up/down!.  Assuming the choice of keys are based on the Interface 2 Joystick - I can only assume that you are expected to turn your joystick on it's side when you play certain parts of the game.
  2. You only get one life despite the score panel showing LIVES: 3.  Only later did it become apparent that the lives refer to your man being hit by the enemy - hitting your rocket will end the game completely.
Game play is character based but colourful with basic sound effects.  It lacks some interest - the enemies could do with changing their graphic style from the basic box shape between levels, maybe with some variation in the way the come at you.

Found one bug (I think). Having landed after leveling up, I think I was holding down the 7 key and it made me jump straight bck into my rocket and take off again!


Whack a Nun III

Author: Ben Rapier

Just can't get enough of the Nun bashing
A third entry in Ben Rapier's Nun Trilogy (the previous two entries appeared in the 2009 competition).  I would love to know what he has against Nuns but then again, maybe it is best not to know.  In this edition, you have to decide which Nuns you should mow down in your car based on subliminal messages being shown to you immediately prior to their appearance on the screen.  These messages are meant to represent your mind and if you your mind says to knock her off you can gain points by getting her to bounce off your windscreen.  On the other hand, if your mind sayd not to hit her but you do then God will reap vengance on you.


Facebook 2010

Author: Pete

First there was Twitter, now... Facebook?
Yes, the live Twitter feed from the Spectranet-driven Speccy at the Vintage Computer Festival earlier this year is now officially Old Hat!

At least, that would have been the headline, were it not for the fact that this Facebook Simulator was just that ... a simulator.

Despite the fact that no actual interface to the 'real world' FB servers exists, this sim does provide a rather nice feed. More concerning however are the friends I must keep, going by the names of my "Friends" (Kate 'arsenic' Thomas, Garry 'the knife' Bostock and Jane 'under the patio' Guyver etc.). They appear to constantly post to my wall, it is making me quite anxious.

Let be honest though, this sim feeds posts out more in "chat room" fashion than "facebook" fashion, despite the occasional "Loading page..." refresh that occurs.

I do have it on good authority however that Pete was down with man flu when he wrote this.  (Still doesn't get him any extra marks mind).

Keys: 'P' = Post a comment; 'L' = 'Like' a comment; Rules (if you can figure them out): Clock up as many posts and likes as you can! Nice use of colours, albeit lacking any graphics (not even a profile pic in sight). In summary, amusing little app that could have been a Crash Smash(TM) if done right.  Now let see if Pete can get Mafia Wars and Farmville up and running.


Guess the Number

Author: Iceman

Poor man's rip off of a well known classic
Once again, Iceman has been putting finger to dead flesh to split out this less than enthusiastic spin on "Guess the Number".

The ZIP file emailed to me is packed with weird and wonderful things.  Along with the useful and most appreciated source code and Notes file, Iceman has also included his obligatory License notice and some stuff regarding the hacking of Jet Rocket, his previous entry.  Peruse the source code by all means, but... DARE YOU MODIFY AND RELEASE HIS WORK (ALL OR PART THEREOF) THEN DAMN YOU FOREVER IN HELL UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF BEELZEBUB AND HIS MINIONS...!

"Guess the Number" feels a bit like the computer in The Hatch in Lost where you have to type the numbers in.  Except, rather than typing 4 8 15 16 23 42 every 108 minutes, you have a different (albeit just as pointless) task of guessing a number between 1 and 100 within 7 guesses.  Nice effect however with the green screen and teletype screen updates.  Feels like you are playing via a 300 baud modem!

Here's there science as I see it.  The "Binary chop" method allows you to guess any number between one and 2^n in n guesses.  So for seven guesses, any number is guessable between one and 127 within seven guesses, therefore getting a number between one and 100 is always achievable providing you select the middle number between your best "lower" and best "higher" guess.  Due to my obsessive nature, I cannot make myself NOT choose the middle-ist number each time and so I have utterly failed to fail in this game.  I will leave it to you to see what happens if you don't guess correctly by your 7th go - I understand it is worth trying! :-)

Once again, a bit too refined for totally crap: No text errors, good quality error checking and feedback.  Iceman should win a few points for the other Jet Rocket (un)related stuff which ought to be posted separately.


JSW Fixer

Author: Iceman

Not a game and damn your eyes for a blaggard if you can get it to work
Iceman is really burning the extra time of this competition!  This entry was entered on the penultimate day of the competition, during which I had already started scoring the remaining entries.

In an attempt to fix some of the bugs and provide some added extra options to the most poked game in Spectrum History, this application allows you to load in the 32K of JSW code, present a list of options to change and save out that 32K back to tape.

The options are somewhat archaic in their ordering.  Obviously, each option was bolted on to the end as Iceman stumbled upon potentially useful or interesting pokes.  I was amused by the reference to the "Interface II fix" - I wasn't aware that the Interface II caused a problem with JSW.  Surely the IFII is just a bunch of passive components?

Some pokes invoke a rather long "PLEASE WAIT" - not sure what is so tricky about poking a few bytes of upper ram, but still!

I was particularly interesting in knowing what "Running the special design fixes" caused.  As you will see from below, I will probably never know!

One wrong response and you are starting from scratch!  The wording could be better as could the formatting.

Now onto the serious flaws: I consider myself quite apt at negotiating my way around a virtual tape in an emulator, but in the three attempts I made at saving the "fixed/poked/enhanced" JSW code, I found that it loaded back as 32K of what I can only assume to be zero bytes! I followed all the instructions (French, English AND Japanese!), went through the laborious process of selecting "Conservatory Roof fix" this, "Object in Hall fix" that, followed the save process (thank God for Flash Load and Save, eh?).  And still, my saved 32K came out as a flatline!

Now this might be a ploy of being a crap game. Not enough was it that the file that the Fixer program saves is called "jsw1" and the default JSW loader explicitly wanted to load "Jetset2".

Not a game.  Doesn't work.  Definitely crap!  Well done Iceman!