Commiserations to "Cruddy Software" for losing it with "Lapland Theme Park Manager".
Again, thanks to all who entered CSSCGC 2008!
You can download the full results textfile here.
The Ultimate First Communion Simulator by Mojon Twins Filename: ultimate-first-communion-simulator.tzx Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Score: 9.67 Ranking: 1st The winner of CSSCGC 2008 is a game that is fantastically crap! With vivid, colourful and detailed block graphics and gameplay and plot that just ooze originality. It's got a pretty wicked streak of humour too which caused much hilarity when played with office workmates. But, what makes it hilarious for me is the final message at what you think is the end of the game, telling the player that they are still in the game for another 67 years. In effect I am still playing it now! It has also unsurprisingly been reviewed by SnakeOilSteve in one of the earlier CSSCGC 2008 tape magazines. Crysis by Radastan Filename: crysis.z80 Platform: ZX Spectrum +2 Score: 9.50 Ranking: 2nd This game was by far the most popular title of CSSCGC 2008, being mentioned on various channels all over the Internet. It certainly caused quite a stir. Firstly I should say it is truly amazing and technically brilliant. I never thought I'd see anything like this attempted, but the game surely works and it's pretty jaw-dropping to see something like this running on a speccy for the first time, even if the graphics are naturally blocky. It makes me wonder what possible things can be achieved even further into the future. People may say, well DP , this is far too good to be in 2nd place, but I'd have to reply, "play it" and you will see it is at heart another quintessentially crap gaming experience! Eat Sh*t! by Radastan Filename: eatshit.z80 Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Score: 9.29 Ranking: 3rd This game is clearly hilarious. You positively can't help but laugh at the action of the head at the bottom of the screen as it eats the crap and the simple text comments are just brilliant. I was also amazed by the vast number of combinations of graphics characters in the program listing needed in order to give the crap a realistic animation. It only didn't win due to the technically of it more being like a sh*teating demo than a fully interactive game. However, half a point was clawed back for the funky haircut on the horizontal sh*teating maniac at the bottom of the screen. Kabaddi by Paul E Collins Filename: Kabaddi.tzx Score: 9.01 Ranking: 4th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K A fascinating idea to base a game on Kabaddi, which poses the question "how would the dynamics of the sport be implemented?". The cunning idea of using the INPUT command in such a repetitive manner was really what made this game truly crap I thought, so bonus points for that. Also extra points for the large block graphics reminiscent of many Atari 2600 cartridges. This game made me realise how awful I am at typing! We just need a "quick brown fox" type game similar to this one now so I can improve my skills across the whole keyboard! Of course I could have slowed down my typing, but as this is Kabaddi, I felt the psychological need to keep the pace up whilst playing. Turtogas by Mojon Twins Filename: Turtogas.tzx Score: 8.76 Ranking: 5th Platform: ZX Spectrum +2A/+3 I love the intro sounds, reminiscent of a 50's B movie monster flick. Crapness abounds from the inability of the player sprite to change orientation, the complete sparseness of the play area, the dodgy collision detection with the dots. But an extra point is scored for the fact that when all dots are eaten, you just wonder around the dotless screen for eternity, or until you get killed. A nice touch and made me laugh anyway. Virtual ZX Spectrum by James Smith Filename: virtual2.tap Score: 8.53 Ranking: 6th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K An exquisite idea, and it actually really works! Certainly, this program has pushed out the limits of the crap game compo yet again and you can now run crap games within a crap environment, making them even more crap. I have to ask what level of motivation does someone have, going to such lengths to code something so brilliantly crap? But then again the CGC relies on such hardcore dedication. This will be one to remember and we even had a stream of bugfixes and updates for it from the author who always provides an excellent level of support. Target Man - Deluxe Edition by Gavin Callard Filename: tmd.zip Score: 8.47 Ranking: 7th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+2A/+3 A solid piece of crap game craftsmanship, and one that goes to the trouble of detecting which platform it is running on. Ticks all the right boxes in terms of unnecessary delays and humorous instruction screen. An extra point added for mentioning the word "bovril" somewhere in the on-screen instructions. Let's assume that you play the part of Lynda Bellingham trying to drive home from the supermarket (or was she OXO, I never can remember?). To increase the fun, play this whilst watching re-runs of "The Sweeney" on ITV4. The REAL Phantomas Infinity by Mojon Twins Filename: the-real-phantomas-infinity.tzx Score 8.42 Ranking: 8th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Yes, I did it! I got to level 42 so I then went to dig out my old unofficial "Level 42" T-shirt from the eighties, but it had been long since gone missing. Great crap idea to have an "infinite" number of levels, however I'm questioning if there really is an integer variable integer variable wraparound so that if you played this game until the Sun went supernova, would it reset back to zero? Funny thing is you actually get quite skilful at playing the game after ten minutes or so. The game scores very well due to total lack of in-game objects (and objectives) also its ability to foster an atmosphere of despair, but in an oh so colourful way! Scumball2 by Woody Filename: scumball2.tap Score: 8.40 Ranking: 9th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Now this one really is neat and any self respecting machine code hobbyist must gape in awe at this. Embedding the entire machine code for the game and the stack and variables too in the lower part of the screen must rank as something to make you say.. "ecky thump! that's really neato..". Just think - a full game inside a .SCR file! You could upload the game and the screenshot to the WoS archives in one single upload operation and then earn yourself a cup of tea with the time saved. Again the game features overly good graphics and sprite routines from Woody, even if the playability is at CGC standards. But it's impossible not to be impressed with the whole concept. Woody even provided a POKE for this one which will no doubt end up in the Tipshop at some point! Bubble Fight by Arda Filename: BubbleFight01.zip Score: 8.39 Ranking: 10th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K As I reviewed this one for the Dec tape mag, it's really no secret that I liked it. As mentioned in the review itself this sort of thing really oozes a wholesome crapness, but IMHO of that peculiar variety that hopefully will be more forthcoming in the future crap game compos. Not just that I actually enjoy the bubble sort game, but the "vicious panda" character really does give some extra amusement. Surely a speccy game character to go down in a "top 100" game character list along with Dizzy the Egg, the slightly less famous Pippo and Gordon the Alien. The bubble sort algorithm was lifted from a type-in book - good to see someone is still using these type-ins even if it is just for the CGC. ultimate eye surgery simulator by Dr BEEP Filename: eye.tap Score: 8.37 Ranking: 11th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Think back to the movie "Flight of the Navigator", remember the scene where our young protagonist is within the alien spaceship (and life form) and he is introduced to all manner of creatures from around our galactic neighbourhood and beyond. Well, one of those creatures is a rather large eye, which actually screams "eye-eye-eye-eye" in English when disturbed. This is the basis for this game from Dr BEEP. Actually it isn't but I was reminded of this nevertheless. I mean the eye is just so huge! As previously mentioned it is reminiscent of operation games such as "Life & Death" on the ST/Amiga and others (actually were there any others?). If you can overcome any squeamishness you may have or fear of hospitals, then it's a satisfying and highly unique little diversion for a few minutes. Multiload Hangman by Paul E Collins Filename: multiload_hangman.zip Score: 8.35 Ranking: 12th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Frightened as I was by this game's on-screen insistence that I do not use any loading acceleration in my emulator, I did the right thing and booked a day off work in order to playtest it. (Not really but I think I was off this day anyway, fortunately!) After three and a half hours or so of watching Space 1999 DVDs, whilst keeping one eye on the game loading, it was apparent that my chosen word begin with 'M' or thereabouts. I lost the game in the end, but I needed to, since I had to get a decent screenshot of the hangman. Then of course I realised later that the author had already thoughtfully supplied an in-game screenshot. Nice original concept, so I give this one a high score. I think it will go down as the largest title (in bytes) ever submitted to ANY CGC competition to date. Martin Kelner's Scissors Paper Stone by Guesser Filename: MKSPS.zip Score: 8.34 Ranking: 13th Platform: ZX Spectrum +2A/+3 This game is crap on so many levels, it's frightening. First of all, the spectre of local radio late night shenanigans is let loose into the CSSCGC which is bound to "hit the ground running" when it comes to crap achievements. It's an almost surreal translation of something that was perhaps lost in translation even in the original format and a seriously stale joke to boot. The hand animation at the beginning (presumably the element which requires the +2A/+3 hardware) is just awesome, being even too funky for Gaz Top. A well deserved high crapness score, and a Radio Leeds car sticker and balloon to Guesser! Stay on the Road by Mulder Filename: StayOnTheRoad.tap Score: 8.30 Ranking: 14th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Now, that's what I call crap volume 1! A fine example of a game that has you "on the road to nowhere". A good crapness idea to have the green road effect obscure the player's car sprite at regular intervals and also have certain long, sharp corners seem almost impossible to escape from. You've just gotta love that extra touch of the block-graphic solitary cloud hanging in the sky. Indeed, a perfect day for driving towards the seemingly unreachable distant metropolis! Outrun it ain't, but for the crap game compo, it's just what the doctor ordered! The Boat of Doom by Graz Filename: THE_BOAT.Z80 Score: 8.25 Ranking: 15th ZX Spectrum 128K The in-game mechanics of this one would probably give "Sqij" a run for its money in the crapness stakes. Brownie points earned for general sluggishness, no mention of the in-game keys prior to or during play. But the piece d'resistance is the suspension of the main game loop during the firing of the boat's torpedo. Excellent "riveted plates" on the left hand side of the screen almost reminiscent of high-octane action titles such as Xenon! Nicely done. A vintage crap entry for sure. Didge's Dungeon by Paul E Collins Filename: didges_dungeon.tzx Score: 8.09 Ranking: 16th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Sent in by Paul as his self-obligatory 4th crap game of the year. Sing with me now "Four crap games in one year...". OK this is actually alright. I played it a fair bit and got familiar it. Dazzled as I was by the very professionally done graphics, I'm also a sucker for any sort of game with puzzle elements and where you move a sprite based entity around the screen, trying to solve it on a per-level basis. For me it brought back vague memories of Boovie, but of course this is a totally different game with different rules and mechanics. Too good for the CGC but welcome it was nonetheless and the high score reflects the quality that this title just oozes and serves as a hopeful encouragement for future CGCs that this is the level of effort that we like to see in the compo! Oh My God! by A. J. Moss Filename: god.tap Score: 8.08 Ranking: 17th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Here's another one that's actually quite good as games go. I've certainly spent many a weekend in my youth entering enormous type-ins into various 8-bit computers with the end result seldom looking as good as this graphically. It is a long time now between the submission of the game and the writing of these results (almost a year in fact) But IIRC, the author insisted that the game was nowhere near as good as it should've been - which makes it ideally placed to get a good score in the CGC as it stands. The "flat top" shaped head of the crucified in-game messianic character looked suitably comical for this game and also the rather amusing use of an aerosol as a weapon just cries out originality. I suppose rather predictably, I can't help but think of the "Always look on the bright side of life" tune when playing it. Text-Only Grand-Prix 2009 by bobs Filename: TOGP.tzx Score: 7.97 Ranking: 18th ZX Spectrum 16K This is certainly an artisan entry in the annals of the CGC. The thrills and spills of F1 racing completely neutered in the form of a text-only boredom-athon. More than just a quick gag though, in this game each individual track layout has been painstakingly entered into DATA statements in the pursuit of an accurate and realistic text simulation. I just love the use of FLASH attribute on the chequered flags on the track selection screen. Make your way around one or two of the tracks by all means but a quest to play every track would only be attempted by the insane. Mini GameZX by Bubu Filename: MINIGAMEZX.z80 Score 7.88 Ranking: 19th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This is a good example of a crap game. A nice green screen retro feel, and some unique gaming ideas. Three minigames in one is a bit of a novelty in the CSSCGC, so nice effort. Of course all games are suitably crap, and there's not a tremendous replay value. However, the games do run shockingly fast. In fact, a bit too fast for a crap game, we just don't expect such well optimised coding around these parts! Bubu clearly needs to study the source code from "Un-space Invaders" by Apenao in order to "crap-up" his graphics routines a bit more. Ultimate Jetpack Simulator 2008 by Mulder Filename: UltimateJetpackSim08.tap Score: 7.85 Ranking: 20th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K A nice little exercise in infinite futility appears as you guide what I initially though was a pregnant woman down an un-ending tunnel. Oh no, wait that's not a expectant mother, it's the rocket booster strap making a bulge over the player character's belly! Truly though I was impressed, this is the sort of thing they would have loved to put in the Cassette 50 compilation, of that I have no doubt. We also know this one has depth, because (a) it takes place under the ground and (b) it starts to get difficult by level 21! In any case, Mulder is no doubt glad he wrote this one, after all it did win the CSSCGC 2008 raffle. Elfen by Garry Wishart Filename: Elfen.zip Score: 7.84 Ranking: 21st Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 A colourful visual treat awaits the player, as you play a God controlling the elemental forces of the game world. Watch the green beings suffer or thrive according to your choices. The game ticks many of the boxes expected of a crap game entry, including outrageously poor spelling and grammar and also a nice if wholly irrelevant captured intro screenshot, so overall a very respectable score. You've also just got to love the "Press Some Key" method of proceeding through the instructions. Yes, which key this time? Hammy Time by mulder Filename: Hammy_Time_v1.2.tap Score: 7.82 Ranking: 22nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This game is great. We can overlook the fact that Hammy the Hamster looks like a circus trained cat in this one, because it is just so darn enjoyable and colourful into the bargain too - the crap fun factor is high in this one. Although I fear if this was submitted for inclusion on the original cascade tape, the prompt response would have been "Sorry, but we already filled our quota of one good game - "frogger", we are looking for 49 crap games. Tell you what, this one'll be a budget £1.99 release all of its own - how's that sound?" Knot in 2D by BloodBaz Filename: Knot_in_2D.tzx Score: 7.80 Ranking: 23rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Out of BloodBaz's two entries this year, this is by far the best crap effort. Guide your swiftly moving pixel around the screen avoiding hitting its own path or the edges of the play area. Perhaps the code could be adapted to make an etch-a-sketch simulator? Clever intro screen which for a second tricks the user into thinking they may be starting a 3D game, before "3D" changes to "2D" with an accompanying low frequency BEEP sound. Brings us right back down to Earth with a bump like any crap game should do! Verdict: A fair effort, but when held up against "Advanced PURPLE loading simulator" it can only be described as pure genius! Un-Space Invaders by Apenao Filename: UNSPACE.TZX Score: 7.79 Ranking: 24th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Quite a respectable crapness rating for this one. The player is initially left confused as to what to do apart from moving aimlessly around the screen in the midst of the ongoing interplanetary battle and the frame rate is suitably low for an invaders game written in BASIC. What really pushed this game up the scoreboard though is the graphic routine which only allows you to see the alien sprites for about half the time, as they are rubbed out during the other half. Well done! Nice "alternative" game concept also. At least the UDGs are finely detailed and gleefully colourful. Improved Advanced 16K Spectrum Emulator by Andrew Owen, Dr BEEP & James Smith Filename: ImpAdv16KSpecEm.zip Score: 7.78 Ranking: 25th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This little known deep underground coding triumvirate (a.ka. "Tres Hombres") have done it again, sneaking this 12-byter out onto an unsuspecting compo spectatorship. In fact, if you can excuse the difficulty I was faced with on writing an entire paragraph on a twelve byte piece of code, I don't really have anything additional to say about this one apart from it does exactly what the BASIC version does, is about a million times faster at filling high-memory and has been expertly byte crunched by our optimising friends. The machine code trick used is one for the books though - use the source, Luke. It is a little known fact, but the ultimate 2008 crap game experience can be had by using this program to step through all of the 16K games in the compo and find out which ones work under it yet had missing UDGs in 48K mode (not that I ever did this). Hunchback '08 by Andrew Owen Filename: hb8.z80 Score: 7.77 Ranking: 26th Platform: Timex TC2048 & Spectrum SE Ahh, the CGC '99 - a vintage year. The original version of this game was developed for that one. We are now of course all a little older, a little wiser - but a damn sight more colo(u)rful. As "The Who" might have sung - "hope I die before I use per-line colour attributes". But not in this case as the intro screen will surely blow your tights off. The game itself is a typical hunchback affair, yet no worse than a similar Dragon 32 cartridge a firend of mine once paid good money for. Enjoy this all ye followers of the Timex- for this is your reward for possessing extra graphics capabilities. The reason, no-one else out there wrote anything else for it - apart from some BASIC extensions. (Although, seriously, I bet they did, but I don't know of it - I never did spy through the keyhole of the Timex scene) GoatFall by compiuter Filename: GoatFall.tzx Score: 7.76 Ranking: 27th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This is certainly a crap game, and for all the right reasons. As you push the goat off the bell tower, the pitch of the BEEP increases as it falls. As the goat is moving downwards, I can't help but sit there and think "the BEEP pitch should decrease!" Add in a dramatic long wait for the "goat verdict" (like in some reality TV game show) and also the fact that the player has no control over the game whatsoever apart from pressing a single key (a lá "Eat Shit!") make this game achieve a respectable crapness score. A nice touch is the text screen describing the history of the goat throwing practice in this area of Spain. I've never seen anything like that sort of "Tourist Information Board" in a crap game before! I should point out as it is mentioned in the game that this historical tradition has now been superseded by the throwing of a cardboard stone. Escape from Niburon Prime by Woody Filename: Escape_from_Niburon_Prime.tap Score: 7.75 Ranking: 28th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K/128K Yet another showcase of Woody's advanced machine code skills and trickery. Marvel at the spaceflight segment, followed by the part where you have to escape a seemingly invisible maze on the planet's surface. Ho ho, you might exclaim! "That's a funny gag, the maze is invisible. This is comedy genius, I must say." But therein lies yet another twist unbeknownst to the casual player as I once was. You see, revealing the secrets of this game is rather like peeling layers from an onion - i.e it may make you want to cry. Play this on either a real speccy or on the most recent versions of SpecEmu and you will actually see the maze become perfectly visible - due to some little known quirk causing colour1 PAPER on colour2 INK to have slightly different intensity than colour2 PAPER on colour1 INK! So think of this one as firstly a game, but secondly and emulator tester. Good score awarded due to this neat technical trick. Don't Lose Your Head by Woody Filename: Dont_lose_your_head.szx Score: 7.74 Ranking: 29th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Again, top quality graphics and m/c sprite routines give an air of professionalism to this title which is on the face of it a crap gaming experience, yet a very funny one. Somehow this game is evocative of many cheesy sci-fi B-move flicks from the 80's and you just have to admire the attention to detail. I feel that if Woody got all of the best bits of his crap games together and sorted them out into some sort of coherent plan, there'd be an actual good game in there somewhere! This one entertained me for a while as I dreamt up countless amusing backstories for it. On the second pass of judging I was again taken aback by the artistic quality of the graphics and the absolutely perfect sprite drawn routines - so not quite crap enough for the top ten for example! Mr Yellow meets mr Cyan by Stefano Bodrato Filename: MRYELLOW.TAP Score: 7.73 Ranking: 30th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K A pretty entertaining effort. Nice use of inappropriate, yet vivid colours, happily smashing the age old rule of only using dark objects on light backgrounds. Nice, tense atmosphere to the game. I can almost imagine those Mexican trombones playing as the game edges its way towards the final chilling climax. Is there still honour in death? There was even room in the 2x1 UDG graphics for the author to add a tiny but much appreciated gun belt! Aah, it is indeed the little things that matter! Extra points awarded for such fine attention to detail. Silent Letter Shootout by bigjon Filename: sls.tzx Score: 7.72 Ranking: 31st Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Good crapness here, reliving the days when all children feared any game title that was marketed as educational. Of course as soon as dad's back was turned, the speccy would be reset and Daley Thompson's Decathlon would instead be loaded up. Mercifully it is a quick game, and with a limited number of words. One extra crap point scored for the fact that the letters don't get deleted off the top row of the screen, and just stick there if they miss the spaceship target. A lot of people thought it was amusing that Jeff GoldBlum defeated the alien invaders with an Apple Mac - we all know he really should have been armed with a ZX Spectrum! Identity Parade by Woody Filename: IdentityParade.szx Score: 7.71 Ranking: 32nd ZX Spectrum 48K Woody's superb rendering of urban United States during the first phase of this game gets everything right. The dollar signs in the shop Window. The motorcyclist driving (just about) on the right of the road. This also is a retro game with traits of far more modern games. Because, what we basically have here is a non-interactive cutscene. As for the interactive part of the game, well it's a quick gag meaning success is again in the hands of pseudo random elements. Or at least I think it is. I can't be totally sure, as I don't think I ever actually won the game. In any case - a reasonable score for the time and effort - the graphics are indeed memorable and really just of outrageously high quality I have to say. Helen 'nnngggghhh' Keller's Super Off-Road Racer by Anne 'Two taps' Sullivan Filename: hkorf.tap Score: 7.70 Ranking: 33rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This one caused much distraction in the workplace when workmates started playing it. For those who didn't know who she was, Helen Keller was quickly Googled for followed shortly thereafter by a rapid scan of her Wikipedia article. A solid representation of what it is like to lose the sense of sight is frighteningly realised here in this brutally all-too-real simulation. It can only end in tears - and I hope that's not tears of laughter you heartless bunch! The loading screen needs framing and sticking in the Tate. Road Crosser by Woody Filename: RoadCrosser.szx Score: 7.69 Ranking: 34th ZX Spectrum 48K Horace goes skiing without the skiing (or Horace). Instead the protagonist consists of a rather helpless stick-man stranded on the wrong side of the road. 8 lanes of identical cars mercilessly stream past. This is a sort of "Warhol" of Frogger type games. The repetition - it's almost a social commentary on how everyone's lives have become the same in this endless daily grind, but just where on Earth are all those cars going? It can be quite tricky this one if you are little impatient So sit back and get a feel for the timing and eventually you can master this game. Subsequently, you may become super confident and start darting across multiple lanes in one fell swoop. Eventually though it will end in a fatality I'm sorry to say. 200. Yes, 200 but with da big balls by Apenao Filename: 200.TZX Score: 7.68 Ranking: 35th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I like these little mini-game submissions, because if you dislike one of the mini games then you can always move onto the next one and dislike that one too! This title has the restriction that you can only get into the later mini-games, having earned it by playing the earlier ones first. Crickey, I must watch "300" at some point although I've had it in my film collection for ages I haven't got around to watching it just yet. I have to say though that some time and effort has clearly gone into making this game, for which the CGC is grateful. Also I like the way each mini game is coloured differently (And quite colourful they are too) and there are some nicely done UDG graphics. Yet, the game is steadfastly loyal to the realm of crapdom. So pat yourself on the back Apenao - a pretty good score. RPS by steve Filename: rps.tap Score: 7.62 Ranking: 36th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K A good showcase for demonstrating some of the capabilities of using Z88DK over pure BASIC. The sliding screens found in the game look undeniably slick and the block graphics are vibrant and supremely well drawn. Great effort with superbly drawn screens (Including those of the Pacman games, which to me is always a welcome addition). Also thought it was a nice touch that this game is specifically branded with a CGC '08 screen. Could've scored higher in the crapness stakes if written in BASIC, but I'm so glad it wasn't as the resultant game is actually much better, having a real "Video Game" feel about it. I can almost image playing this one in a MAME cabinet or something. Seriously, nice work! Advanced Betting Simulator 2008 by Gavin Callard Filename: HRS.Z80 Score: 7.54 Ranking: 37th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K A considerable effort must've gone into generating the large number of comical horse and race names. However the fact that the horse graphics are just too professional and the correct racing colour of green was used make the game too "good". Perhaps if the official crap game colour of magenta were employed, the score could've been increased by half a point. Thankfully though, the score was boosted by incorrectly rounding pounds and pence and by requiring awkward key presses to advance the game. Of course there are also the instructions, which have the gall to refer to the player as "You sad git". How did he know, is there a webcam in here or something? The Ark in Space by Graz Filename: ark_in_space.Z80 Score: 7.49 Ranking: 38th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 OK, this is one of those games that made me really glad I did two passes of judging in this compo! For many of the entries I more or less got it right on the first pass, but this game took a little bit longer for me to suss out. When I played it for the first time, I admit I didn't have a clue what was going on. On subsequent plays I got a bit further with it, getting all the way up to "LOCATE INFRASTRUCTURE". The graphics on the space station in orbit around the planet are superb as are the those of the enemies such as the Wirrn. A decent crap game effort, featuring chip music on the intro screen. It's always a pleasure for us fans of old series "Who" to combine that hobby with retro gaming which doesn't happen all that often! Another amusing touch is that the "Instructions" are actually the backstory rather than the instructions which is possibly why I didn't immediately "get it" on my first attempt at playing it! UFO: UK by Chris Young Filename: ufo.tap Score: 7.38 Ranking: 39th ZX Spectrum: ZX Spectrum 16K Inspired by the classic game "UFO: Enemy Unknown", this apparently hastily put together entry is rather hilarious. Taking less than an hour to write according to Chris, the game nevertheless retains that air of mischievous "off the wall" humour and jokey cynicism that characterise many of his other works. First judging pass I wrote:- "As I write this though I enter a state of mild panic as I realise that the compo isn't halfway though yet, and in one previous year Chris submitted 14 games to the CGC. How the heck am I still going to find interesting (or even dull for that matter) comments to write about on that many possible further games? Let's hope he doesn't do that to me! " Second judging pass:- "Phew, looks like things turned out fine just after all no matter how many games were sent in, but why do I still keep getting recurring nightmares featuring UFOs?" More Tea Vicar by Gavin Callard Filename: MTV.zip Score: 7.26 Ranking: 40th Platform: ZX80 1K, ZX81 16K, Cambridge Z88, Jupiter ACE, ZX Spectrum 16K & Sinclair QL The game is certainly crap, but hey if it's good enough for a mainstream TV channel, then it's crap enough for us! You just can't underestimate the glee I had as I undertook the surreal experience of having to playtest the game many times, not least on the Cambridge Z88 when I knew nothing about that platform until last year. So, I admire the style of this multi-platform release. Educational it was too, from an emulation learning standpoint. The game has probably resulted in the creation of many more machine categories in the CSSCGC than any previous game before it, so for that at least it will be well remembered! Also, it begs the question "What was the most useful piece of software released for the Z88?" Was it this, or did it have a huge underground p*rn market? We never did get a Sam Coupe version though. Talk about seriously missed opportunities! tut tut. To be fair though, I believe there was an issue with keyboard mappings on the Sam Coupe emulator on Gavin's PC. And so, the CGC remains "Sam Coupe-less" for another year. In any case, kudos for writing the FORTH version for the Jupiter ACE, one of only two crap games ever (intentionally) written for that platform in its entire history! I also believe this to be the only ever crap game entry for the "Sinclair QL". Brilliant, and hence this oversized write-up. Just don't let actually playing the game spoil all of these CGC-firsts! 20 Questions by Steve(spt) Filename: 20Q.zip Score: 7.25 Ranking: 41st Platform: Jupiter ACE The main question is how this program works internally? Certain words seem to generate a positive response whereas most words give a negative answer. I never did get around to examining the FORTH source to reveal the complex machinations or otherwise "under the bonnet" on this one. How intelligent can a Jupiter ACE become? Nevertheless, the game is undoubtedly crap, and I give it a good score, because the author kindly bailed me out when I had a rather silly looking ACE arcade page with only a single game in it! Again, this will go down as only one of two crap games for the Jupiter ACE submitted to the CGC, since as we all know it is not actually a Sinclair machine. Certainly it is a "Sinclair derivative", although one which went down its own development path, thanks to FORTH! Will ACE games ever be allowed in the CGC again? I don't honestly know, but it was good to have them on board in this experimental CSSCGC 2008! Since I played this game, I was introduced to another web based 20 questions game. This made me realise that this submission is like that web game, but with human and CPU roles amusingly reversed. The only "secret" I have found so far in this program is that the delete key doesn't work - so watch out for that and type carefully! The Eric Morcambe Catching Invisible Things in a Bag Simulator by Ben Rapier Filename: EMCITIABS.z80 Score: 7.23 Ranking: 42nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 A nice diversion I found this, after seemingly endless onslaught of previously reviewed pure-text entries and/or with "Simulator" in their title. Oops, I just noticed, this one also had "Simulator" in the title, still it has no lawnmowers in it, unless of course one of the things caught in the bag is an invisible model lawnmower. Anyway - the game is one which alludes to some distant popular culture of some years ago, and is completely impossible to play - so another one for CGC purists. Sweet. The "bag" also makes me want to go out and drink a pint of Guinness, in fact more so than most of the currently unfathomable Guinness TV ads. Nice use of small font text driver, which was unexpected! Twenty Commodes by James Smith Filename: vic20-177.zip Score: 7.20 Ranking: 43rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K & ZX Spectrum 48K With this one, Jimmy managed to exceed even his own usual standards, by breaking new ground with this VIC-20 emulator for the speccy. I have to confess to being addicted to using this one as it re-awakened nostalgia of messing around on my VIC-20 as a young child. So much so I ended up even developing a couple of simple BASIC games within the emulated system, not that I should admit this publicly. Again, it has to be said this program cannot win the competition as it is by far too good an entry! I gave it a controversial high score though as I have to respect the achievement even if it was entered into the "wrong" compo. Can't be helped though, since there is no compo called "8-bit emulators" as far as I know. Just a reminder:- this entry is a real emulator, not a joke one! Verdict: One for the WoS archive. Mode2 Tile Editor by Andrew Owen Filename: Mode2TileEditor.zip Score: 7.18 Ranking: 44th Platform: Timex TC2048 & Spectrum SE Aah, how I welcomed Timex entries with open arms into CSSCGC 2008 and glad I did too. Clearly it has added another dimension to the compo this time around. I just love those pretty little colourful sprites that appear on the screen on loading this one up. Strangely, this reminded me of my days of using the STOS sprite editor on the Atari ST. This will no doubt be useful to people writing Timex games - I infer this by the number of times it was downloaded. My only disappointment is that no third parties took it upon themselves to employ this to submit yet another Timex entry, but I guess the number of Timex developers is but a tiny fraction of speccy developers and alas nothing happened. However, who knows if there will ever be some sort of Timex Hunchback sequel? It was regrettable that this one could not be made available in the online "crap game arcade", due to current lack of a Java based Timex emulator. Anyways, thanks to this program, today I inverted a snake. Dot Man by Woody Filename: DotMan.szx Score: 7.14 Ranking: 45th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K It is crap this one, but in a delightfully retro way. Firstly, you can't die as far as I know. I was wondering why there weren't any ghosts in this pacman-type affair. Then I realised that because the play area is blown up (A bit like zooming in with a microfiche) if there were ghosts then you would not even see them until they appeared on the adjacent square to the player by which time a gobbling would be unavoidable. You should clear the maze (which once you have started, you just have to finish - hunting down those annoying lost last couple of dots). Then pat yourself on the back and play an exactly identical maze all over again! Rescue Planet Earth by Woody Filename: Rescue.tap Score: 7.12 Ranking: 46th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Due to my previous ramblings on the CGC site, many know I'm a Dr Who fan, stubbornly of the old series only. So, there I found myself liking this title which involves the movement of planet Earth around the galaxy. This actually happened during the Colin Baker era. I now think I have realised that this game is set in that era, because the Tardis itself appears wide and chubby, no doubt accommodating this particular incarnation. Again, you can't fail to be impressed at Woody's clear m/c mastery diverted down a CGC avenue, as one can't help thinking there's got to be some none-crap games along the pipeline somewhere! Fast and yet it is arguably crap gameplay wise, but too darn smooth and good, technically speaking. IIRC Woody updated this one with a version that was much improved and even faster than the original! The Sudoku Challenge by Gavin Callard Filename: Sudoku.zip Score: 7.09 Ranking: 47th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K & ZX Spectrum 48K The first Sudoku puzzle I threw at this one was solved after 906,105 iterations, meaning I had to resurrect the hyperfast JPP emulator from 1992 in order to see the game completed. I calculated that on a real speccy, the puzzle would have been solved in a little over twelve and a half days. Meaning that if you can't beat the computer within that sort of time frame, then you probably do deserve to lose the game! The brute force algorithm is quite mesmerising to watch in a fast emulator as the numbers fly back and forth across the screen, like there is indeed some diabolical intelligence going on behind the scenes, although we know it uses a brute force method. Also, it sparked international interest with avid followers of this entry now meeting annually. (well not quite but a few e-mails flew around after this one was released, I can tell you!) SUICIDE IT by Radastan Filename: suicida.z80 Score: 7.07 Ranking: 48th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K A game that gets straight to the point. Nothing is wasted, well apart from 90% of the screen area. But I do like the minimalist approach taken by the author. Dark humour is always bound to score quite well and the game is "open ended" with no predetermined end to the "fun". The "death sequence" whilst a potential stress buster could have really benefited from just a little variety, perhaps extending the longevity of the title. I somehow feel that the potential of this game idea was never fully realised. Clearly the game takes place in a rural setting with a green field and a wheat field providing a serene backdrop to the deathly antics of the suicidal maniac. Will there ever be a city version made? Boofy 3 by Slider Filename: BOOFY_3.rar Score: 7.06 Ranking: 49th Platform: ZS Scorpion 256K First impressions show this machine code game as something a bit better than most crap game entries, since it boasts parallax scrolling and sprite routines, however once you start to play it, you realise that it is truly a crap game. The pure torture of having to walk at a slow pace for 1000 in-game kilometres is something akin to attempting the London marathon whilst walking only on your knees. You cannot jump over the enemies and when you die you lose a life and you have to wait several seconds before resuming play due to an overlong "death" subroutine. Overall a fair crap game, and appropriately in the TRD format. An antidote to Sonic the Hedgehog for sure, so break out your Scorpion compatible emulator tonight! Fluke by Chris Young Filename: fluke.tap Score: 7.05 Ranking: 50th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Loved the reckless randomness of the PAPER and INK colours, which meant I was blessed with an almost illegible white text on yellow screengrab for the website. It is legible if you squint both eyes, and don't mind suffering a thumping migraine later on in the day. Good use of familiar British place names helps build the atmosphere in this exceedingly crass game. I don't watch much TV anymore, but if I did, I bet this program is on most weekdays. Barring it being taken off the air due to an unexpected large scale war, celebrity wardrobe malfunction or some similar disaster. My God, that spinner just goes round and round until you are about ready to give up on the game and then about another minute longer. Cheers for that patience-testing element - I just cleaned a fish tank out whilst waiting for it to finish! Game of the Yet to come by Apenao Filename: yettocome.tzx Score: 7.04 Ranking: 51st Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Excellent! Spooky loading screen sets the tone for what I think is going to be some really mysterious "Twilight Zone" style capers. Imagine the hilarity that ensues as this game is really a set of instructions in how to assault your opponent in traditional slapstick style. Multiplayer only unless you are some sort of masochist who likes to apply pain to themselves. Actually, you are interested in the CGC and are reading this. Therefore you must be a masochist! Joyous overuse of the FLASH attribute and vivid colours makes the text-jumbled screens enough to give anyone a headache, but that's nothing compared to the headache you'll get if you actually play it as "player 2". Advanced Lawnmower Starter Simulator 2 by Steve 'sparkes' Parkes Filename: lawnmower2.sna Score: 7.03 Ranking: 52nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Clearly this game has to be given a slightly higher score than it's predecessor, as it is a sort of de-luxe, refined version. The electric starter does all of the work for you, so no effort need be expended by repeatedly tapping the keyboard. A superb game for anyone who is bone-idle, and again you've just got to love the futility of it. The sound effects are top-notch proving once and for all that the BEEPER is the ultimate digital sound system! Of course we expected nothing less after playing the prequel. What can I say, other than great for people in a hurry. You can play this one over a bowl of coco-pops in the morning! Crap Games Competition - The Adventure 2008 by Firelord Filename: CrapGamesCompetitionTheAdventure2008.zip Score: 7.02 Ranking: 53rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K A nice "meta game", where I found I could play the part of myself, "Digital Prawn", but that would have made it too easy for me. So I played as "blood" instead. I can only assume that Firelord managed to build up a psychological and personality evaluation of each Judge, in order to give this game a sense of heightened realism. Was this done from reading form posts and scanning websites, or were phone-taps and surveillance equipment involved too? It doesn't get any more CSSCGC-centric than this! Sim City: The Text Adventure by Unsatisfactory Software Filename: simcity.tzx Score: 7.01 Ranking: 54th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Billed as retaliation from last year's judges for my sins committed in CSSCGC 2007, this game whilst being pretty damn bad isn't the absolute torture it was designed to be. It comes pretty close though. Mention of anything to do with Russel Bland is enough to make some of us as nauseous as a first time space tourist, so it does succeed at least on that level! Nice use of dark blue on a black background and "scroll?" messages pervading during gameplay adds to the general feeling that some genuine effort was spent on trying to screw things up, perhaps it could have been screwed up even more! Of course, not as much as Russell Brand himself did after this was submitted. Uncanny that! UK101 emulator & MTV - 70's style by James Smith (includes MTV by Gavin Callard) Filename: UK101-More.zip Score: 7.00 Ranking: 55th Platform: Timex TC2048, ZX Spectrum 128K, ZX Spectrum 48K This is the great thing about the CGC, two people collaborate to bring this quite unique entry to our attention. In fact I'll be judging this one purely as James' entry but credit must be given to Gavin Callard for taking on the challenge of porting his game to this obscure emulated platform! To clarify - Jimmy solely wrote the emulator, Gavin Callard solely wrote the MTV game that runs on top of it. As for the emulator itself, again it's a real genuine emulator and another technically impressive feat from Jimmy who has now built himself a reputation of entering titles that are far too good for the the CGC. Of course we really enjoy playing them anyway. I never even knew what a "UK101" was until this one was submitted! Best played on a Timex to view all of the text columns of the emulated machine. Verdict: Good stuff, but please something crap as well for the next CGC just so we know you can make something crap! CAR by Arda Filename: cargame.zip Score: 6.99 Ranking: 56th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K In the UK, motorways, major highways and regional and national trunk roads are maintained 100% by the highways agency and are generally kept in very good condition. Other A-roads, B-roads and unclassified roads however are funded to varying degrees by local councils and the results are unpredictable to say the least. Some of them are strewn with potholes, as depicted in this game. The ASCII-rendered car and road makes this exactly the sort of game that would be found in many type-in listings books, back in the day. Watch the road ahead or you may find the wheels come off. It's crap in its own way and yet somehow quite playable so a reasonably good score awarded. Please note also that this game is around twenty-four years old as I write this! Advanced 10 PRINT "Hello " 20 GO TO 10 Simulator by Shaun Bebbington Filename: PRINT''HELLO''.zip Score: 6.98 Ranking: 57th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Well, this one amused someone enough that they wrote another game based on it. Not the first time this happened in CSSCGC 2008. Who'd have thought the compo would be such a source of erm.. creative inspiration, yes, that's it. What ever else may be said about this title, no-one can accuse it of lacking in features. Although if I remember correctly, someone actually did just that, bemoaning the lack of a BRIGHT feature. Still, the "Test Parameters" option is something that was thoughtfully provided in a mission-critical app like this - albeit in this case the "Test Parameters" option is the actual program itself. For CGC purists, note the misspelling of "program", an easily missed final touch. The Skier by Woody Filename: The_Skier.szx Score: 6.97 Ranking: 58th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K As the Who may well have sung in an alternative universe:- "I've looked under chairs, I've looked under tables. I've tried to find the key To fifty million fables: They call him The Skier.... I've been searching low and high.... I won't get to get what I'm after Till the day I die!". Apart from that what can I say? It's another vertically scrolling skiing game in which the trees seem to individually "walk" up the hillside, out of sync with each other. Excellent insane grin on the face of the large headed magenta protagonist. Skiing shouldn't be that much fun, well not unless your skiing pants are on slightly too tight. Advanced Lawnmower Starter Simulator - The petrol edition by Steve 'sparkes' Parkes Filename: als-petrol.sna Score: 6.96 Ranking: 59th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I liked this one. After looking at the code, I did enjoy the author's attention to detail. Namely the realistic sound effects of a frustrated engine (written in assembler), but mostly the fact that the game really does give the player a 1:1000 chance of winning the game. I have still not completed this one yet. One day, one day! How many lawnmower games is that so far, erm.. I've lost count at this point. Inevitably, this one ranks lower than the deluxe edition, or it just wouldn't be right! Mushroom Man by Hajo Spuunup Filename: Mushroom.zip Score: 6.95 Ranking: 60th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 This game is based on a Windows puzzle game of the same name, by Paul E Collins. It is absolutely not crap. Even during the judging of this game I got carried away and ended up completing the first twenty levels or so. If a game is this addictive to a puzzle freak like myself and also has charming UDG colour characters then it will forever be remembered as a good game and fondly so. If logic dictated the scoring system of this compo, then I'd give it a really low crapness score. However I instead chose to give this higher score out of respect for the effort involved that must have gone into this. The speccy scene needs more games like this and I not really talking about the CGC! Advanced Fruit Machine Simulator by Woody Filename: Fruit2.szx Score: 6.94 Ranking: 61st Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K What we have here is a carefully crafted game which certainly takes me back nostalgically to the early eighties when I could barely see the pale yellow lemons on my black'n'white telly as I attempted to play similar games back then. Behold, the addition of the HOLD feature almost doubling up the fun-factor as Woody submitted the second version of this title. Dr BEEP had pointed out he likes his reels spinning in the opposite direction and so Woody kindly obliged and the result is this version which I judged. The game is crap because the reel "scrolling" is discrete and not done at the pixel level so a tip of the hat for getting that wrong (I mean right in the context of the CGC of course). Play till you run out of money (unlikely) or patience in which case you may well decide to reset your speccy with 2p still in the game balance (tut tut). Advanced 10 PRINT "HELLO "; 20 GOTO 10 Simulator 128K Edition by Ben Rapier Filename: A10P20G10.z80 Score: 6.93 Ranking: 62nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 The first of Mr Rapier's double whammy and another reminder that 48K-only owners are missing out on a lot of fun here! You will take to the "game" itself like a duck to water, particularly if you are familiar with the Sinclair BASIC environment. Needs the RAMDISK to work, making it somewhat of a skilful investigation into "how to do less with more". Ultimately, though the flexibility of this title is only limited by the imagination of the human participant, and by the Speccy's ULA. Oh yes, large print font on the intro screen. We like resized text tricks like those ones in our "advanced speccy programming" books - Goodo. Advanced Lawn Mower Simulator+ Expansion Pack by Arda Filename: alspluspack.zip Score: 6.92 Ranking: 63rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I have an inexplicable enthusiasm for game add-ons. So, imagine the joy I experienced as I inserted this game tape and then downloaded and inserted the original lawnmower tape. Playing this add on game with ease. Nice of Arda to provide the user with the WoS download link to the original game, functional at the time of writing. Will there be lifetime support on this if the link ever changes I wonder? Anyway, can't say I was blown away with what the add on offers, but it gave me half a titter. Well done on thinking up the "add-on" idea though. CrapBot by Woody Filename: CrapBot.tap Score: 6.91 Ranking: 64th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Ironic that this is the title that Woody went all out on to try and lose the compo. I know this depends on the judge, but for CSSCGC2008 (as it was also last year), the games that lose the compo are "five minute affairs". I should know, I wrote one of them 2007 which is why I am sitting here writing this now. This one of course is actually quite good with a real-time user-rotatable isometric display. Flawless animated graphics and a real sense of purpose. Of course you are going to think "Ant Attack" when you see it, but the sprites are completely re-drawn and the game effectively a completely different one. This means I'll just have to give it a reasonable score (not too high, not too low). I know that Woody wanted to either win the compo or lose it I just hope that by ranking this game almost in the middle of the ordering does not maximise his disappointment! Redefine Keys The Adventure 2008 by Firelord Filename: ZXRedifineKeyboard-Theadventure_v2.zip Score: 6.90 Ranking: 65th ZX Spectrum 16K A thoughtful prominent spelling mistake appears in this send up of the perennial agitation caused by overly complicated "define keys" screens. This entry takes the concept to a stupendously frustrating level. I may have been tempted to name this one "Redefine Keys The Ordeal 2008", as for me use of the word "Adventure" somehow conjures up mental images of an apple and a loaf of bread in a knapsack and the slaying of an orc with a silver sword. I don't think you can possibly win this game, but after several minutes of playing I'd say that my willpower had been sufficiently drained to the point where I just wanted to escape it. So, job well done in that respect! Ultimate Anger Simulator by The Mojon Twins Filename: Anger_Simulator.rar Score: 6.66 Ranking: 66th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This game is quite evil, but in a completely humorous way and funnily enough it has an approximate natural score of 6.66. Don't be breaking your keyboard over it though, as I can imagine the knowing laughter of the Mojon Twins as they put this game together. Nice little jape at the expense of the player and vividly realised background graphics to boot. Perhaps it should be called "Ultimate Anger Causer". Overall a good crap game effort and commendable that the C source code was provided. I had a thought that if this game was ever made for the ZX81 and someone tried playing it on a real machine, then the anger could probably be magnified a hundredfold or so. LOST 2008 - The Adventure by Firelord Filename: Lost_TheAdventure2008_v03.zip Score: 6.63 Ranking: 67th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K The second LOST game entered into CSSCGC 2008 makes me wonder what it is about this TV series that has seemingly given it a lasting cultural impact. (alas I have not seen it yet) Again, an amusing array of input options is provided on the start screen, which is the hallmark of a Firelord release. We have come to expect nothing less! I take it the main point of this game is to highlight how each episode is painfully dragged out, which does seem to be a feature of many current day TV series. A unique and original touch is the inclusion of digital photographs for viewing on a PC. These are critical for playing the game, since they are referenced from the in-game text in lieu of actual ZX Spectrum compatible images. The resolution may be much better this way, although I can't help but speculate what the result would've been had these images been run through a .SCR converter - crapper than this I presume? Mind Game by Woody Filename: Mind_Game.szx Score: 6.62 Ranking: 68th ZX Spectrum 48K This one momentarily gave me flashbacks of an obscure PC game from the mid-90's called "Mind Grind", but I don't know why I'm mentioning it here since no-one else on the planet has played it apart from me. I pitted my wits against the (again highly artistically rendered) alien opponent but the bugger kept pipping me at the post on every question. I finally did manage to outwit the alien once or twice but this game made me realise that mathematical ability is indeed something that peaks around age 18 and then goes rapidly downhill from there. Hope I never get invited onto the Krypton Factor. Starting Next CSSCGC Server Simulator by Firelord Filename: StartingNextCSSCGCServerSimulator.zip Score: 6.61 Ranking: 69th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This one is quite presumptive about the personal PC usage habits of CGC compo hosts and the problems they are faced with - in a most hilarious way. Even if Firelord did not write "by Firelord" on the intro screen, I could have told you on the spot this was one of his. A mischievous brand of humour prevails and Firelord's trademark INK/PAPER combinations are both on display here. You could positively cack yourself at the drama and realism conveyed as time runs low and there is real "trouble at mill". I just chuckled at the line stating "this all happened because you were viewing adult material" or something to that effect!. Verdict: Well it made me laugh and it is crap - so a reasonable score for a text-dominated effort. ColorPRINT by Andrew Owen Filename: ColorPRINT.zip Score: 6.60 Ranking: 70th Platform: Timex TC2048 & Spectrum SE Hmm.. The American spelling prevails, as of course the Timex was an American derivate of the Speccy. Yes, and we all know that in England of a few centuries ago, "color" was also used too by 50% of the people, 50% of the time. Then they all got on a big boat, sailed to America and left us "colour" spelling individuals behind. Anyhow, look at the lovely colours on this erstwhile "Commodore killing" machine that never did become a commercial success. Play around with the ATTR bytes and the UDGs as much as you like and then set the telly up for an unsuspecting Birthday greeting for a family member. No-one has yet written an editor for this one yet although it needs it. Randomaze by chop983 Filename: Randomaze.tzx Score: 6.58 Ranking: 71st Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This really is the sort of thing likely to grace a Cascade tape. Also if you squint whilst looking at the game board, it actually looks like a newspaper crossword. Randomaze is an apt name for this one as the difficulty of the game ranges from incredibly easy to certainly impossible with no real in-between. It just depends on the generated maze. Another point I noticed was the shunning of the USR "a" method of setting up UDGs, meaning that although the game quite comfortably fits inside a 16K speccy memory-wise, the 16K end user would have to go in and mod the code in order to see the intended stick man figure. Serves 'em right for not investing in a 48K model I suppose! The Advanced Lawngrower Simulation by ADJB Filename: lawngrow.tzx Score: 6.56 Ranking: 72nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K I was tempted to rename this one "The Advanced LawnGROAN Simulation" but on reflection I guess ADJB can't fully be blamed for the fact that the CGC was flooded with lawnmower themed games this year. In fact if we didn't have any then it'd be a bit like getting through Christmas without the telly being crap - i.e. just not right somehow. Well if this game doesn't do just about everything right for the CGC then I don't know what would. Colourful intro screen converted to ZX Spectrum format, Check! Mention of a lawnmower, Check! Pre-scripted player task triggered by single key press, Check! Satisfying game denouement, Erm.. Check! So in short, everything's right here. Twenty minutes spent on the loading screen and five on the game. I could comment on the lack of UDGs, but then again doesn't a lower case 'i' make great blade of grass! Deadly Warriors The Adventure 2008 by Firelord Filename: DeadlyWarriors.zip Score: 6.55 Ranking: 73rd ZX Spectrum 16K Firelord mentioned that this game took 4.5 billion years to be completed - or in fact the approximate age of our planet and solar system. So, from the molten coalescence of our rocky planet, via the formation of the "primeval soup" and eventually towards the evolution of the higher apes we finally reach what made it all worthwhile - this ZX Spectrum crap game by Firelord of course. You see that is "Chaos Theory" (From a glass, I pour some water on my hand) and say again you see - "Chaos Theory", look at that. The game itself is rather chaotic with a full text exposition of a brutal live ring fight. It almost reminds me of some MUDs I have played in the past, as the fight progresses - "Will I hit them or will I miss?" you think. Sometimes you'll get a screen full of cyan on white text which isn't easy on the eyes but did make wonder about the possibility of porting this one to the VIC-20. Commodore 64 Emulator by Steve "Sparkes" Parkes Filename: c64.sna Score: 6.40 Ranking: 74th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K The only score I could think of when judging this joke emu was 6.4. By that reckoning if Steve had've done a mock VIC-20 emulator instead then I might have scored it 2.0, potentially losing the compo. (You should have picked a TI-99!) This entry contrasts with some "real" emulators already in the compo. It's a quick'n'dirty fake emulator, but a welcome one nevertheless, no thrills, just a quick dig at "the other organisation". Every CGC must have one like this in order to meet EU targets. So thanks to Sparkes that we met our quota for this year. Daily Mail by Steve K Filename: DailyMail.zip Score: 6.32 Ranking: 75th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Quality "Daily Mail" header graphic and nice usage of the 128K only PLAY command. I wonder if there'll ever be a port to the 48K BEEP command, as it appears that may be the only line in the program which prevents it from running on a 48K system? Technical concerns aside, the author assures me he'd had a few drinks whilst making this game, well that's really what I call dedication of getting into the role of the game. For you play a drink happy journalist, although in this one the drink appears to be a "cuppa". I can't help think it's a cuppa gin though. Playing this for the second time round I can't help but see how topical the generated pseudo-headlines are for 2008. Which nicely dates it. I can imagine it'd be really bizarre to play this one in about twenty years time! Advanced throw some shoes at a prat by Gavin Callard Filename: shoes.zip Score: 6.31 Ranking: 76th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Gavin graced us with lots of games at the beginning of CSSCGC 2008 but then had a long hiatus from the compo. He came back near the end with a final rallying cry and this little topical number. The man who threw shoes at George Bush did get beaten afterwards and this game does not let you forget that. Magenta background oozes a dedicated loyalty to the original "crap stylee". Anyway, see if you can win it without much difficulty. I inadvertently won it on my first go - as I'm sure many players would. Looking at the code, only one parameter actually influenced the outcome of the game. The other parameter is a bit of a red herring, or perhaps it is there for added realism? Reflex Meflex 09 by Arda Filename: reflexa.sna Score: 6.30 Ranking: 77th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This one is actually a challenging game. I never did completely master it as I'm just too, well slow really. As a tester of reaction times perhaps it should become part of the standard driving test or something. Eventually I tried to beat the game by mentally "timing" the countdown such that I could get a really fast score. With this method, I mostly failed by "jumping the gun" although I did get "8 ticks" at one point. Ahhhrg, that was so near yet so far from the ultimate goal of "7 ticks!" at which a treat is promised. Nice one if you were ever to host the spec-chum crap game equivalent of a "LAN party". It's actually a little too enjoyable and unique (and dare I say potentially useful) to become truly crap! GOD Simulator 2008 by Firelord Filename: GOD_Simulator2008v01.zip Score: 6.25 Ranking: 78th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K You can't get a more "God game" type game than a God simulator. Even Populous doesn't touch this when it comes to actually playing the role of God. A relatively simplistic affair awaits (compared to actually running the entire universe) and you'd be forgiven for thinking that some elements of being God have been omitted from the game due to the technical limitations of the speccy platform. I like the drawing of the asterisk starfield though. That was the sort of graphical treat which could be found in type-in books of the era and used to really impress me during the early days of home 8-bit computing. Crap Factor by Arda Filename: crapfactor.tap Score: 6.20 Ranking: 79th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Funnily enough, the title of this game is also the name I give to the 2009 version of the '80s program "The Krypton Factor" because the new version is basically crap! This is the game that dares to apply a computational algorithm to crap game scoring. Will it replace us judges? Perhaps after these results are out, most people will wish it had done! As for the game, very funny I thought it was that Arda had appended a NEW statement onto the end of the game code. I can only speculate that this is in case he is going to apply for a patent for this one and he doesn't want anyone else stealing the code. Hmm, maybe one day a clean-room open source re-implementation will be carried out? Verdict: Watch out CGC judges, your days are numbered. Automation is the way forward! Drugsy by GreenCard Filename: Drugsy.tap Score: 6.19 Ranking: 80th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Aah finally, a game that deals with cutting edge social issues. I half expected to see the "Winners don't do drugs" logo appear on loading this game up, although in the case of this particular game "Winners do do drugs" would probably be more apt. Features a complete lack of in-game graphics, and a rather bleak and dark interface setting the rather shady tone of the game. Yet, somehow I feel this was a good call, because it also makes it seem business-like - a bit like a spreadsheet/database app or something. Some extra points scored for the shadowy figure that appears on the loading screen, although I'm certain he used to be a drummer in a '70s prog rock band. This has to be the British answer to "Blow", surely! Swift Turtle by Arjun Filename: Swifturtle-1.1.zip Score: 6.13 Ranking: 81st Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Not a game, but nevertheless can provide hours of entertainment for turtle lovers. (No not that type of turtle lovers - sicko). Anyway this one could have got a higher score, but it is just too flawlessly designed and executed. Again, it put me on a real nostalgia trip and I immediately starting drawing all sorts of geometric shapes and funky curves, lost as I was in my own little world of delightful amusement. (A bit like Klaus Kinski in Fitzcarraldo). So I had an idea to draw a ship suspended halfway up a mountain, but totally cocked it up by getting one of the lines wrong. Anyhow it's a welcome addition to the crap game archives and certainly better than one or two old non-CGC proggies that found their way into the WoS archive over the years. If you're still not convinced, then try the macro feature which really is the key to unlocking the power of this program. Fun BASIC by Dr BEEP Filename: funbasic.tap Score: 6.11 Ranking: 82nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K People's definition of fun can vary and if a "fun sized" Mars bar can exist (The only "fun" being that you've just been ripped off by buying undersized chocolate bars) then this program can certainly be called fun. The user, on pressing various keys is presented with a selection of funny remarks, rather than actually programming anything. The responses vary from amusing to surreal - but be sure to select all of the extended and shift-extended keywords as well as punctuation, lest you miss some humorous pearl of wisdom. It's a gas for a few minutes and I haven't heard so much laughter from a computer response since we got "/dev/tty - device not found" from a win32 command prompt! Oh that one was a real side-splitter I can tell you. TAN:- "Got a TAN from holiday" and LLIST:- "Don't stutter" where amongst the more memorable one-line responses of this submission. Advanced Lawnmower Simulator: The Adventure by steve Filename: mowadventure.tap Score: 6.06 Ranking: 83rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Fresh from reviewing another few lawnmower entries, I now turn my attention to this game and I've seen that many lawnmower games in this compo that I'm just about ready to apply for a job at Homebase (Lawnmower section). Full screen green is employed here which is the one colour this game could only ever be. (Unless there's ever a sci-fi version where a magenta lichen lawn is mowed on a distant alien planet!) It's pretty obvious to the player that they could type "mow" to mow the lawn, but if you type "M" instead, you get a message telling that you can just type "m" to mow the lawn. This abbreviation is very useful since you need type it 384 times in order to complete the game, which for some reason amuses me. Was I expecting too much for the game to say something like "You push the mower forwards" or "You mow another strip of the lawn" after typing "m"? Probably, as I guess that'd make it too easy! Sub Chase by Woody Filename: SubChase.zip Score: 6.04 Ranking: 84th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K & ZX Spectrum 48K Nicely implemented with colourful graphics and smooth scrolling, I'm sorry but this game isn't actually that crap! I've downloaded worse from the WoS archive with an original price of £12.99. The game does have some crapness, perhaps like the simple sound, or the fact that the "top of the sea" and the "depths below the sea" are merged into one flat surface, initially confusing the player. Woody needs to move the "lever of crapness" about two or three notches towards "totally crap" in order to crap things up a bit more. I'm sure an Atari 2600 owner would rank this amongst one of their top ten games if it were on a deluxe bank switched cart. Anyway, Woody can't help but provide an excellent level of support for most of his crap game efforts and so he eventually provided a 16K version of his game (which was tested under "Virtual ZX Spectrum" and was very contentious - I said "contentious", get it?) oh, never mind. Harry the Magical: Harry and the Orden by C.M. Gilles Filename: harrypoker.zip Score: 6.02 Ranking: 85th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I could be mistaken, but this has the look and feel of one of those "I already made a game and I might as well send it in to the CGC" type of submissions. Nothing wrong with that, in fact it was welcomed in 2008 and quite a few entrants took this approach (even did it myself in 2007). You can play poker in it, but apparently it is not implemented correctly. So that's at least partially crap, but the rest of game plays a little too good. It's a top-down view - a similar mechanism to Zelda series on the gameboy. Clearly also this one is firmly in the RPG genre, with what I'm guessing are Hit Points and Magic Points displayed on the screen. I walked up a very long corridor whereupon I entered into a duel and won it, although I don't know exactly how. As a first time player, I found the game a little confusing as to what was the right thing to do, but I'm certainly no RPG expert! Mini Game Compo Simulator by Dr BEEP Filename: MGC.TAP Score: 6.01 Ranking: 86th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K You know when Dr. BEEP has an axe to grind - he starts emitting small games at an alarming rate. This one really shook the foundations of the minigame compo community, or at least it would have done had any minigame judges ever played it which I suspect they didn't. I only say this because there seems to be some sort of communication barriers between various sections of the home-brew retro-gaming community. For example I don't think the mini-game judges have ever seen any of my CGC postings around the Internet and I have never seen any of theirs either. So, the competitions go on as two isolated bubbles in a vast retro-gaming ocean. In this game, I personally enjoy looking at such great mock usernames as "C64 lover" and also the game names such as "Lightbulb Factory", whilst keeping out of the politics! In that respect, I found it to be an amusing enough diversion. Advanced Night Out Simulator by Matt_B Filename: nightout.tap Score: 5.98 Ranking: 87th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This one has a couple of UDGs and the word "simulator" in the title, really just what more DO you want? It's nicely done with the themes of drunkardness and modern day urban dangers setting the scene. The control system is impeded by a user selectable level of drunkenness which is quite amusing at the lower levels but completely handicaps the player at the "paralytic" levels. Even so I still find up and down movements easy but left and right a struggle. At heart though this game seems a subtle promotion of the benefits of public transport. Earth Invasion by Woody Filename: EarthInvasion.szx Score: 5.97 Ranking: 88th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Most of Woody's submissions get scores above a nominal 5.0 because they have had a bit of effort put into them and they invariably written in machine code. This one is quite possibly the only game I've ever played where the instructions stay over the play area after the game has started, only to get successively wiped off the screen by the ongoing sprite action. What a nice touch for the CGC that was. The user launched projectile is so slow in this one - it is actually about the same speed as the enemy spaceship. So, if you hesitate and then miss on the first firing you will be royally screwed. I also have to ask, how big is the enemy ship sprite? 64x64 at a guess - how can you compete against that with your tiny copter? This one also features analogue TV snow effect. ZX Webcam by polomint Filename: zxwc.tap Score: 5.95 Ranking: 89th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K & ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Oh no, the TV is staring at me again! After the government-backed plot to control my mind via a series of hidden messages in a Chris Tarrant gameshow was thwarted, I thought that was the end of me being spied upon! How could polomint tweak my emulator to do this? Clearly I need to get a shave (and also replace that green light bulb with a normal one). You may be perplexed as to what this program is until you press the C key and the joke will be revealed. Photographs on the speccy can look frighteningly realistic, particularly if you squint slightly or otherwise bring the image out of sharp focus. Verdict: Good for a quick laugh. ZX Road King by mile Filename: zx_road_king.zip Score: 5.88 Ranking: 90th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Welcome to the grim reality of modern day urban Britain. On my first attempt I stupidly went the wrong way and was brutally stabbed in the neck. That'll teach me to pay more attention to the in-game descriptions! On my second attempt, I happily won the game, actually taking notice of textual hints on that occasion. Great to see "Sugar Puffs" mentioned in a crap game entry. Always evokes memories of those ads with the Honey Monster and Henry McGee. Although by the end of the game, the Sugar Puffs are humorously forgotten about and instead a Twix is mentioned giving this game the honour of "best product placements" in CSSCGC 2008! Brainf*ck Interpreter by Gianfranco Zuliani Filename: bf.tap Score: 5.86 Ranking: 91st Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I like this title and I have to say that the score could have been much higher had the author written a crap game in brainf*ck and submitted that. This - I would have really liked to see! I've long had a passing interest in Brainf*ck and similar esoteric computer languages whose only purpose is intellectual mischief and basically wasting time and resources. It would have been great to see someone take up the challenge of entering further BF programs into the CGC and this is also what I really hoped for. However, since I get a migraine attack anytime I try to author/debug BF code, I can quite understand why no-one else tried it either. Was glad to have this in the compo though! Ultimate last minute sent in simulator by Dr BEEP Filename: sentsim.tap Score: 5.70 Ranking: 92nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Wikipedia has a policy of not mentioning itself in its own articles (apart from the Wikipedia article that is!). Should the CGC be the same? Of course not! Here we welcome games that revolve around the compo itself and many of them quite possibly only make sense to people who've had any involvement with the CGC. Step inside Dr BEEP's (text-only) vision of submitting an entry at the last minute. Something seems very real about a bounced email at the very moment you don't want it to. Whilst playing this, I managed to give my virtual game the name of various BASIC token keywords. I don't know if that is intentional or if my emulator was playing silly buggers at the time. The player flexibility has to be commended in that you can call your game whatever you like. I would have enjoyed seeing a change from the default speccy colours, perhaps even a BRIGHT 1 white background (nothing too ambitious) as we did get lots of games this year which just used the default INK/PAPER colour scheme. I should point out you can win this game like I did, if you exactly enter the correct submission address of CSSCGC 2008. The Hat Factory by Gavin Callard Filename: thf.zip Score: 5.59 Ranking: 93rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K I tip my hat to Gavin Callard, this game is da bomb! High resolution full colour graphics, sound and a totally insane game premise. The fact that it is a fast paced game requiring skill and good timing (i.e. not totally crap) added to the fact that we got so many entries in the compo this year means it is placed at a ranking which probably doesn't do it full justice! Heck it even comes with a highly amusing introductory blurb too. Meticulously designed graphics (like the truck and conveyor belt for example) and the flawless flicker-free animation of the hats & bombs make for a pleasant in-game environment, but in truth it's a couple of rungs above crap. Verdict: less harder next time, you must try! Achtung Minen by Lucas Pelaez Filename: achtung-minen.zip Score: 5.57 Ranking: 94th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Again, I'm quite a fan of this tense and dramatic WWII minesweeping game but find myself giving it a rather low ranking which perhaps is unfortunate, since it is well worth a look! The only thing I can say that is crap about the game is that perhaps it is too easy. Alas, the professional looking full-colour high-res graphics, combined with multiple and varied interesting power ups and slick animation make this game a little too good to be truly awful! Very grateful I was though to play this type of game, providing a refreshing counterpoint to the far more prevalent text-based games that I'd played beforehand. ZX Outlook by polomint Filename: zxoe.tap Score: 5.55 Ranking: 95th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K & ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 With marginally more functionality and a much greater stability than the real thing, this is really a lesson to Microsoft how things should be done and of course you don't need a gigabyte of RAM to do it either. The extra feature I really like though is the fact that you don't receive any emails in it from work or annoyances like that. Everyone should ditch the Microsoft version and use this one instead - you will be fitter, happier and more productive. I'm not sure when the next service pack for it is due out, perhaps CSSCGC 2010 at a guess! Clearly, you can use this if you want to kiss goodbye to spam problems as well. Watch out for the BSOD (Black screen of death) though on trying to launch the browser - followed by a swift reboot (so realistic!). Slap Me Forum Troll by Arda Filename: troll_v17_3.zip Score 5.53 Ranking: 96th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This entry utilises what looks like a 63 column (at least) text driver. You know, similar to Hi-soft Pascal and Tasword, where all the 'w' characters look a bit like the hearts suite on a pack of playing cards. So, a point deducted for making things better than they should be! On the good (crap) side though, this game is totally poo - so thanks for entering it. Funny to see a rendering of the top part of the "World of Spectrum" forums index converted to scr format and a CSSCGC 2008 branding on the screen too. Feels truly like a "special edition" program or something. A lot of the WoS regulars are mentioned in the game and you can choose one as your "Buddy" whilst flaming the others. A high point of the game is the line "Do you want to get into polemic?". I usually don't but perhaps after Arda sees this game ranking, I may well end up knee deep in polemic. Congrats anyway to Arda on 25 years with the ZX Spectrum! La Pugly Ugly - The Long Journey by Bonny Bonnet Hood Softwarts Filename: PUGLY.zip Score: 5.51 Ranking: 97th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Too damn good for the compo. Tries to be crap and in some ways is, but there's no way you can get away with drawing such a good intro screen, and make a clearly attemptable platformer without someone noticing that a fair bit of time and effort went into this. This one spawned a thread in the Spanish spec-chum community, with the announcer later mentioning something like "I'm sorry I just realised it is actually a CGC game", followed by others:- "It's OK, we are playing it anyway". I'm led to believe that certain well known members of the speccy community (experienced coders and designers) were involved in the development of this title. That's presumably why it is good. On the crap side, the movement of the player charachter may be vibrant and animated, but it is bleedin' awful to control and insane how it can just stay hanging in mid-air. So some crap cred is due for that at least. For me, the nightmares of the SCR image of the "La Pugly Ugly" character have somwewhat faded in recent weeks, but haven't totally gone just yet! In game "music" consists of a tortuous repetitive pulse which did go off when I pressed a key. If you want a laugh, then read the supplied instructions! Music Demo by Woody Filename: musicdemo.tap Score: 5.50 Ranking: 98th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K & ZX Spectrum 128K This is only the lowest scoring of Woody's entries because it is not actually a game. However I nearly cacked myself with excitement at the prospect of this BASIC extension, providing a SOUND command which can use either the Beeper or the AY chip if available. Have an AY? Don't have an AY? That's fine, no-one cares. Or at least the SOUND command doesn't. Your ears may tell a different story. A great novelty for the CGC and it is nice that pre-128K owners are still cared about. It is 2009, time to upgrade to 128K yet? No, thanks to Woody we are rubberkeys fanatics till we die hahaha.... Correction: It isn't the lowest scoring of Woody's entries now, as Dumb Miner is lower than this one. I forgot to change this on the 2nd pass of judging. (doh!) Barcode Hangman by Unsatisfactory Software Filename: barcode.zip Score: 5.48 Ranking: 99th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K & ZX81 16K I actually think the barcode graphic in this game looks pretty damn good. Maybe I should get the barcode scanner from work and try it out on the emulator screen just to check that the generated codes to conform to the IEEE standards. Ahem, anyway, some crapness points were scored for making a port from the ZX81 to the Speccy whilst using zero of the speccy's features, making you think that you are still actually playing it on a ZX81. Also, the score was saved from being lower by the fact that it seems impossible to actually lose the game. (warning - expert crap game developers in the house). I see the BASIC code is there to lose the game, but can it actually be lost? I couldn't do it and I did try a few times! Quite possibly deserves a higher ranking, but judging this compo really is like trying to pour a quart (the submissions) into a pint pot (the high rankings) and this title was from a 1985 version!! Thanks for supplying the ZX81 version too though, the second one of only two in the compo. ShitStack BrickBat by steve Filename: bricks.tap Score: 5.45 Ranking: 100th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K You've just been given a nice clean bat, and what do you do with it? Cover it in poo of course. I'm not cleaning that mess up! Amuse yourself for as long as you wish in this game that seems to have no score, no winning conditions (or losing conditions for that matter). I'd loved to have been there when the author was designing the game and said to himself "hmm, we need exactly five stacks of falling poo - no other number will do.). Score isn't too high as it is another very short if fun listing that fits entirely on a single ZX screen. Would need to add more to reach a higher score, like a poo-related power up or something! Advanced Disappointment Simulator by Andrew Owen Filename: ads.tap Score: 5.33 Ranking: 101st Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This game is scored as follows: 2.33 for the game idea. 3.0 for the really cool BORDER statements that make it look as if something is about to load up! Now the compo is over, it is no spoiler to say simply what this game does. Namely it pretends to load up a ZX Spectrum port of the latter-day popular game "GTA 4" but immediately fails with a tape loading error. Hence the eponymous disappointment. But I was asking myself, would I really be that disappointed if it didn't load? What form could the game possibly take given the limited hardware of the speccy. I wouldn't want to think what the frame-rate would be like and even if there was a controversial "hot coffee" type mod available, would it be worth it? As punishment for this, aowen should write "GTA 4 - the text adventure" next year and increase the disappointment at least sevenfold! For the history books, it's probably worth a mention that this title was submitted merely one minute before the end of CSSCGC 2008. Verdict: Slightly disappointing it may be, but we crave disappointment by the bucketload! Dharma Initiative Swan Station Computer Simulator by Hernan Pablo Alvarez Filename: dharma.zip Score: 5.22 Ranking: 102nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Having not seen the TV program "Lost" yet, I was in fact quite lost as to what do in this game at first. With hindsight, it's a safe bet that I wouldn't have guessed the correct answer. However, a quick Wikipedia search filled me in on the needed info and I was happily able to complete the game. A good crapness idea was to announce in the accompanying documentation that the player has 108 minutes in which to enter the correct numeric sequence and then completely ignore this time limit in the game itself (as looking at the code reveals)! Also, the game is quite unforgiving of whitespace, so don't press space accidentally or it's goodbye planet Earth. Ultimate crap game last minute entry simulator by Dr BEEP Filename: UCGLES.TAP Score: 5.21 Ranking: 103rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K A fun poke at the trials and tribulations experienced by eleventh hour crap game coders. Now we don't want everyone to think that the CGC has its head up its own backside, but it's always amusing to get some self-referring titles. (Erm, didn't we get another one like this somewhere?) I played through this one a few times and I either got totally confused or I swear that a multiple choice answer I gave earlier was originally correct but later found to be wrong! I didn't look at the code but I assume it was written with the consummate skill of the ultra-experienced Dr BEEP. At least the answers are amusing! Advanced Lawnmower Simulator 3D by Paul E Collins Filename: Lawn3d.tzx Score: 5.17 Ranking: 104th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K On hearing of this game it's easy to imagine visions of "Flight Simulator X" type realism, or at least at the level of "Gunship". What we do get though is a simple trick of perspective and a lovely magenta mower. I'll tell you what, the way those clouds are moving across the sky, it's clearly blowing quite a gale out there today. Better put your mittens on! Points deducted for allowing mowing just slightly over the red line (An affront to civilised society) but as always it just wouldn't do to underestimate the enduring cultural legacy the lawnmower crap game series enjoys, so at least it scored above 5 - not bad! Mrs. Nibbs Cupcake Capers by Mulder Filename: Cupcake_FINAL.zip Score: 5.12 Ranking: 105th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K No I'm sorry, this is just too damn good. Back in the day I paid good money for games that were far worse than this one. It would have been rejected from the cassette 50 compilation due to appearing far too skilfully drawn and would no doubt be exploited as a separate commercial offering (not the only one in the compo I feel this applies to). Amusing back story and interesting development paradigm certainly makes it a worthwhile and unique entry to the CGC and the whole concept is tantalisingly crap. However, back in 1983 it wouldn't have been, so it only gets a low crapness score, yet plenty of playing time by me! Bounce (Preview Edition)! by Shaun Bebbington Filename: BounceCR.zip Score: 5.00 Ranking: 106th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 Unfinished masterpieces such as this should be applauded. We applaud them because the author had the good sense to stop working on them and to give up. Watch out CSSCGC 2009 though, this one may rear it's head though in the form of a more completed experience. Have a BALL with it, but don't let it drive you BATty. Reminds me very much of a one-liner program I co-authored a while back (in the early stages of development before the game was created). To be fair to Shaun, I encouraged him to send this one in even though he'd made it clear to me it wasn't finished. So I can't be too harsh now can I? Besides, the full version (Drum roll please) is tipped to have some BEEPs in it and a high score table. I know it's almost too exciting for me too, but I must stay calm! (games to judge and all that) Elmo's karaoke C-rap (and many more) by Dr BEEP Filename: elmo.tap Score: 4.98 Ranking: 107th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K OK, I confess I played this game a lot and I still haven't got the bottom of its mysteries. I just keep getting the Jingle Bells tune (by FrankT) played whilst the Elmo character displays a speech bubble, containing the letter I just pressed repeatedly displayed. At doing this, the game is very good and I applaud it. The graphics of Elmo himself look rather professionally done, but I cannot seem to unlock any further tunes or surprise messages from the game - which in a way is "job well done" for something in the crap game compo. It did however bring back fond memories of my early childhood as I watched "Sesame Street" many times before eventually having to go to school (which never was quite as much fun). Garage BEEP by Andrew Owen Filename: GarageBEEP_v1.z80 Score: 4.94 Ranking: 108th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This one looks great and the graphics are in no way crap. In fact you are starting to think it is something like CUBASE and ask yourself, where do I insert the dongle? The answer is probably in your ear if you listen to some of the crap I came up with whilst messing around with this one. It is very slow as Andrew acknowledges (good-oh!) So it's probably a case of "all fair coat and no knickers" as when Mrs Hubbard the cupboard labelled "Machine Code", it in fact contained BASIC. Getting near the end of the judging for me now and so I ask myself have I lost the plot yet? Mr Bimble replies "No you haven't". Verdict: Looks good, feature packed and could be useful to game designers. Not actually that crap! Stop the press: Andrew has released a non-crap much further developed version with more machine code in it. This is very good and "Mister BEEP" produced an outstanding tune with it. Naturally, my judgement is solely of the earlier CSSCGC 2008 crap version. Binduko! by Shaun Bebbington Filename: Binduko.zip Score: 4.75 Ranking: 109th Platform: ZX Spectrum 128K/+2 The first of a three game assault on the compo by SB - likeable for its geek appeal. You can possibly guess what's coming on starting the game, but still the fact that someone actually wrote it will impel you to play the game through to its logical conclusion provided you literally have two seconds to spare. Handy for completing on the short tube journey between Leicester Square and Covent Garden (250 yards). Good for a short laugh of course. But after that, the first three letters of the game name describe exactly what you should do with it. Stop the press: Obviously this game had some influence on me, since I submitted the even worse "UnDoko" to CSSCGC 2009 - do you realise what you've started with this? The Tunnel by chop983 Filename: The_Tunnel.tzx Score: 4.48 Ranking: 110th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This one being a sequel to the equally bad "Maze" from 2005, I launched the game not honestly expecting it to blow my mind. Sure enough, it's a decent enough crap-romp through a virtual tunnel. After my sins of 2007 I have no real right to overly criticise this one, besides since I go through a tunnel twice a day (the Mersey Tunnel) I guess I have some sort of affinity with it. Play with a closed mind and you're sure not to be disappointed. I'm sure a future compo awaits another sequel with great anticipation. But, will it take another three years for this to happen? In the words of Fairport Convention "Time will show the Wiser". Although I was sorely tempted to develop an unofficial sequel to this on myself, I later realised that it is a sacred tradition of the CGC which belongs to chop983 alone. Tracers by Dr BEEP Filename: Tracers.zip Score: 4.40 Ranking: 111th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K This is too good for the CGC, so the low crapness score is out of respect for the game more than anything else. This is a game where you absolutely have to read the instructions to get an idea of how to play it. I had to play the first level (Level 00) a few times before I finally beat it as I kept making the wrong moves. In other words, you have to think ahead and very carefully as one wrong move tends to blow the whole level. With a hundred levels in the game I'll be sure to return to it again to complete some more of them. For me, it really is the sort of Puzzle game that makes retro-gaming fun. Good to see a light colour scheme in use too! Not crap game material although you might be excused for thinking so (if you didn't read the instructions) but glad to have it in the CGC anyway. Advanced Paint Drying Simulator by ADJB Filename: paint.tzx Score: 4.35 Ranking: 112th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K This one achieved cult status as the 100th title to be entered into the 2008 CGC , chronologically speaking. It does what it says on the tin (of paint). I once painted the outside of a house and it looked a bit like this program. I kept saying "that paint at the top will go darker as it dries, trust me". Of course what really had happened was that two subtly different shades of paint were used , so the house still to this day looks not unlike this program when it is half completed. From a suggested idea by Andrew Owen, I thought for a moment this program would itself evaporate into the vapourware section - but we collectively groaned as it unstoppably became a reality, although the excellent tin of pain graphic on the loading screen makes this one a cut above the very lowest ranking entries. Advanced Coat Getting Adventure Simulator by Steve Filename: coat.sna Score: 4.28 Ranking: 113th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K In space, no-one can hear you scream. Unfortunately, I wasn't in space when I received this one. Perhaps the next time a new interstellar probe is launched, they can put the source code of this game inside it. Perhaps that is the only way of getting rid of it. A game that certainly never could have been released back in the day before USENET and web forums became widely used. This one certainly owes it's core idea to the Internet explosion and the fact that any of us can regrettably or perhaps deliberately become architects of a digital faux pas. (erm, what am I going on about?) Anyway, the game is saved from "rock bottom" status by the inclusion of an "Easter Egg", a close shave though I have to say. Advanced 10 PRINT Simulator by DrUnKeN mAsTeR Filename: 10_PRINT_sim.rar Score: 4.20 Ranking: 114th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K I awarded 3.0 for the game and added 1.2 for the amusing manual that accompanies it! Not since the retirement of Johnny Ball have we joyfully enjoyed bunking off work to watch some schools programs whilst pratting around with a bit of futile BASIC coding. All I'll say is that this one follows a long tradition of "PRINT simulator" games and is mildly more entertaining than getting a nose bleed halfway up mount Everest. Perhaps not a stocking filler but at least it is a screen filler. Turing Test Simulator by Guesser Filename: Turing_test_Simulator.TAP Score: 3.98 Ranking: 115th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K The first thing that struck me about this title was the multicoloured loading screen, which on the one hand looks great and really colourful due to stippling effects, yet on the other hand looks somewhat corrupted in places. I'm guessing (no pun intended) that this is the result of automatically converting it from another graphics format. As for the "Turing test" itself, a look "under the bonnet" of the code will reveal that the program is not that bright, randomly spitting out a few everyday responses. However, you may say it comfortably passes the Turing Test because I think I know some people who can be mimicked flawlessly by this title. Flight Simulator 2008 by James Smith Filename: FlightSim2008.zip Score: 3.87 Ranking: 116th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Why the low crapness score? Look, this game is just too darn good, and the crapness rating is therefore very low! I actually enjoy playing it, and it's written in professional assembly language. Add in the documentation and real maps, and you have something that could've been ordered back in the day from James Smith Games plc. PO. Box 27. Inverness. Price £14.99, please allow 28 days for delivery. I'm sorry but submitting good games like this ain't gonna win the compo. Congrats on the game though it really is great to see a geographically accurate Scotland scroll past on our beloved speccy. Escape from Body by Arda Filename: Body.zip Score: 3.78 Ranking: 117th Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Aah, the one that got away. Or did it? Arda submitted this to CSSCGC 2007, but it was too late for that compo. Long forgotten and lost (for 11 months). I guess the whole world had either remained unaware of it or (including Arda) completely forgotten about it. Then along comes Master Crap Game Archiver, Chris Young to dig this one out and to give Arda a bit of a shock, and rest of us a bit of a friendly giggle. You see this one came back to haunt Arda - it just wouldn't die. What's it about? Truthfully, I don't think anyone has a clue. But it exists as a timeless curiosity, maybe open to further future interpretations. 16K Spectrum Emulator by Andrew Owen Filename: 16KSpecEm.zip Score: 3.76 Ranking: 118th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Makes your 48K system appear identical to 16K one such that a 16K snapshot taken from the resultant "emulated" system is indistinguishable from a real 16K spectrum. Only two slight snags:- (1) the filling of the high 32K with $FF to emulate "no attached RAM" truly takes ages. (2) you can still POKE the high 32K and PEEK it back again betraying the presence of real RAM there. Still, in practise these things tend not to effect the operation of 16K software at all (and the filling can be bypassed anyway). This one is actually potentially useful since we could use it to run a 16K game with hard-wired UDG addresses in the 48K QOAP emulator - if we really wanted to. Not a game of course, but that doesn't seem to be important to anyone anymore. Anyway, it seemed to fit into a nice gap here in the lower rankings of the compo due to its theoretical usefulness. Dumb Miner by Woody Filename: dumbminer.szx Score: 3.57 Ranking: 119th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K On receiving this entry, I immediately contacted Matthew Smith to elicit his comments on it, to which he replied "Utterly Brilliant!" (or was that David Darling?). Not really of course, but I'll simply describe this one as a copy of Manic Miner that has been POKEd to make Miner Willy fall through floors thereby rendering the game somewhat amusing yet completely unplayable. We like a bit of variety in the compo and I guess this sort of thing has never been submitted before. So I'll just slap an appropriate low score of 3.57 on it and be on my merry way, hoping wholeheartedly that next year we may see Dumb Set Willy and wondering what possible thing another compo judge could write about something like this! So if you wanted to lose the compo Woody, then this was a pretty decent attempt, not too far off the target! attack of the flying saucer! by Ian Filename: AOTFS.z80 Score: 3.51 Ranking: 120th Platform: ZX Spectrum 48K Use of the word "cack" by me in the game's initial review was arguably a little harsh, yet undoubtedly scientifically accurate. Furthermore "cack" is quite a complement to be bestowed on a game of this competition. This one is without a shadow of a doubt "cascade tape" filler material. In fact I had to play every game in the original cascade tape, just to make sure that this wasn't one of them. The low score reflects the fact that this one is one of those quickly knocked up efforts that keeps the compo rolling on through dark winter nights. I hope the low score does not dissuade the author from potential future crap game efforts, because if "Cascade 50 Volume Two" ever hits the shelves then a place on it must be reserved today for this one! Low ranking just reflects the simplicity of the listing and the number of games in the compo. Otherwise, job well done! Advanced PURPLE Loading Simulator by BloodBaz Filename: apls.tap Score: 1.10 Ranking: 121st Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K I awarded 1.01 to "Advanced Loading Simulator" and lets be honest, this game demands an identical score, but I have felt kind enough to award an additional 0.09 points since I actually like purple myself. Even if it is an illusion caused by the rapidly fluctuating blue and magenta bands of colour. This was a close one, Bloodbaz in that at one stage, early in 2008 you almost lost the compo and potentially ended up hosting CSSCGC 2009. However, you were saved by steve. Such are the tiniest margins between the results of similar compo entries. (Edit in 2nd pass of judging: saved from this fate by Guesser, steve and ADJB!) Advanced Loading Simulator by steve Filename: als.tap Score: 1.01 Ranking: 122nd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K Submitting this "game" is exactly equivalent to writing a note thus "Dear Digital Prawn, I would really like to host CSSCGC 2009 and I'm not going to let anyone else stop me.". You see I once learnt from a certain Chris Young, that there's "crap and there's sh*te." Which category can a CGC judge truthfully put this in? (From 1st pass of judging): - You have the baton for 2009 steve, my commiserations. I'm sure though you'll have plenty of fun next year though judging things like this! (2nd pass of judging): The above was written back in early 2008 - but I can now tell you that you completely got away with not quite losing the compo and judging CSSCGC 2009, *phew* a close one though! Lapland Theme Park Manager by cruddy software Filename: lapland.sna Score: 0.30 Ranking: 123rd Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K (and many others) Let me say that I think "cruddy software" are a band of one and that member is none other than ADJB. I'm not sure if there were any accomplices to this software abomination, but I'm guessing they would keep quiet anyway. This entry was submitted via "Text mode", an experimental feature of CSSCGC 2008 whereby entrants could post on forums or email me a piece of BASIC, assembler or FORTH code for example and I would accept it as a submitted compo entry. Perhaps this title has ensured that the experiment will never again be repeated in the CGC. The title has one saving grace it is (or was at the time) topical and also funny too, or at least I had to write something "funny" around it on the site. An amazing trick is that this entry runs completely unmodified on ANY of the permitted platforms (including the Jupiter ACE), so has simultaneously become the worst CGC entry on all of those systems at the same time. If I didn't rank this (which consists solely of the line "10 CLS") last in the compo, then how could I have ever justify making someone else lose whilst this exists? Thanks ADJB, you gave us one to remember (or should I say forget) but I have to admire the audacity of submitting it!