Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Irate Avifauna

By MykeP

Genre: Arcade: Pig Pester

This marks number 5 of the quadrilogy.

I’m probably in the minority in that I’ve never played the original game on which MykeP has based his Spectrum version, but I’m going to assume any similarities are cosmetic.  Using a complex engine that emulates gravity and power accurately would make a very playable game, and Myke’s version applies neither of these properties.

Like his other games it’s a visual treat (especially the gorgeous loading screen) and an audible assault, as the intro screen displays.  To my great surprise this game operates at a playable speed!  Using QAOP to control angle and power, the aim is to hit the green blobs (oops sorry – Pigs) at the top of the screen.  Unfortunately the angle can only be shifted in 15 degree increments, and there are only 3 steps of power.  I may be missing a trick but as far as I can tell each screen is impossible to complete as a result!  (though if someone manages it please tell me how).

There are some lovely success screens throughout this game, but unfortunately I’ve only managed to see them via hacking rather than playing.

Thankyou Myke!

EDIT > The game is actually playable, I made the mistake that you were aiming for the pigs at the top of the screen.  You are in fact aiming for invisible pigs off screen to the right.  To get you started (as per the Excel sheet) to beat screen 1 in one go fire 50 degrees and power 2.

Download TZX here
Download Excel pointers here
Download unlocked version

Monday, 30 December 2013

Lucky Bird Shit Dude

By Wookiee

Genre: Shart Interceptor

LBSD marks Wookiee’s third entry into the competition and this time he’s had help, from a certain Mrs Wookiee.  I don’t know which of the two were responsible for the C: Nonsense in BASIC error that results after loading (before even starting the game) but it gets bonus points.  I am however, deeply concerned that daveysludge’s toilet humour syndrome is contagious.

EDIT >> Oops apologies, Lucky Bird Shit Dude is a 128k only game, use the Tape Loader option on a 128K model and you’ll be fine.

LBSD follows the classic formula of so many catch the cash games, but with a ploppy twist, and the cultural inclusion that having a bird crap on you is in fact good luck*.  Use ‘O’ and ‘P’ to move laterally and catch the poop from the bird, which leaps 3 character squares sideways on every release (some kind of googly?) for some reason.  Every successful ‘catch’ increases your luck by one, and every one that reaches the lawn does the opposite.  The aim of the game is, I presume, to last until the end of the time limit and accrue as many poo-butts as possible.  With hacking it looks like the best possible is 14 in the allotted time.

*E.g. China and the more sophisticated parts of France.

I can’t find any trace in the code or game of the ‘used johnny’ hazard as promised by the intro screen (but then I am demob happy and have been at the xmas sherry), so I’m going to put this down as a lazy, incomplete, rush job that is exactly what this competition is looking for!

Like Wookiee’s other releases you have to be impressed with it, as it’s totally in BASIC and uses a mix of classic UDGs and ASCII.  Qualities that render this perfect Cassette 50 material.

Thankyou Wookiees!

Download here.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


By daveysludge

Genre: Christmas Crapper

With R-Swype, davey has completed his copro-trilogy and also coined another excellent poop-pun.  It bears more similarities to Dung Darach than Thunderturds, though it’s not a mere rehash – it has some pretty nifty new additions.  It should also be pointed out that like his other games, it is programmed in machine code, features great graphics making clever use of the spectrum’s attributes, is very playable and far too good for the CGC!  However, as we approach that time of year in which many of us spend a lot of time working on a hearty yule log, it is well timed.

The aim of the game is to guide Mark Barton Dung around and ram 3 poops down the bog, at which point Scott Faece appears (announced by a bit of BEEP FX digital speech) and you must collect the Omega Cider which fuels the rocket out.  There is a nifty bit of gameplay in the later levels with the bog roll, which Mark Barton Dung can shift but Scott Faece cannot.  So you have to think ahead to allow Scott to access the cider, and ensure the rocket is not impeded by the bogroll (hmm, what sort of rocket can’t go through paper?).  The time limits often prove prohibitive (see hack sack) but what can I say, this game is fantastic – play it.

Not crap at all, an afternoon consuming great game.  Thankyou davey!

Download TAP
Download inlay1
Download inlay2

HACK SACK:     Oodles of time: POKE 53499,x

                        Infinite time:        POKE 53581,0


Saturday, 21 December 2013


By Steve McCrea

Genre: Christmas Cack

"What's for Christmas Ma?"

Picture the scene – it is December 1983 and you scamper down the stairs 4 at a time in your dressing gown to open the next door on the advent calendar.  What delights may it contain? A prayer? A nice picture of a festive scene?  A captured dream?  Mostly though one hoped for a chocolate to have on the bus to school.  But while chomping on this low quality confection you may have wondered, “is it possible? could the excitement of the advent calendar really be captured on my ZX-Spectrum?”

Well you probably didn’t wonder that, but Steve has created it anyway.  Here we have a computer version of the advent calendar, each day giving a new treat (or UDG if you prefer, and speaking as a UDG addict it is actually a treat for me).  Steve admits this is a quick one by his usual standards, though he still couldn’t avoid it being a charming little erm, utility?  Perhaps if released during the 80’s it would have set the world alight (and I dare say a few Christmas trees, as youngsters left their Spectrums on overnight to save time in the morning…).

I think some mornings would be less disappointing than others though, as I can’t even tell what the bloody hell the 22nd is meant to be.

It’s more compact than Steve’s other 24 entries, and if I didn’t know better I’d say it was a shameless attempt to bump his total entries for the year to a round 25.

Thankyou Steve!

Download here

UDG Strip Snap

By MykeP

Genre: Catch the Camisole

UDG Strip Snap marks Myke’s 4 entry to his trilogy and the second strip snap game in the 2013 competition.  While Andrew Greene’s version pitted your twitching digits against the might of Sam Fox, UDG strip snap caters for the full range of tastes.  So to begin you select your opponent from the handsome Hank, tasty Tina and the er..KT 81 for the technosexuals I presume, which is a thing apparently.

You also get some lovely nudey UDG graphics and animations, which I can in all honesty imagine my much younger self getting frightfully excited about.

It’s standard strip snap rules, last to say ‘SNAP’, or press S in this case, removes an item of clothing.  This version has a financial aspect where items of clothes are sold back when a mistake is made, reducing the tally.  Easy mode really is easy, to lose that round you’d need to be virtually catatonic, but intermediate provides more of a challenge.  The Expert setting is bugged (see hacksack) and has the same time settings as BASIC (bonus points there).

There is a really smart in game easter egg, press ‘E’ on the intro screen and you’ll see what I mean.  Speaking of easter eggs there is a hash scan thingy hiding under the attributes on the loading screen, since I lack the technology to read where it leads I hope someone else can help out here.

They say the brain is the biggest erogenous zone (and after my genitals that’s true) which is good because you’ll need a bit of imagination to get aroused by this game!

(and yes, you do get to see everything)

Thankyou Myke!  A lovely 15th anniversary update to the original version.

Download here.


Fix EXPERT setting: LINE 2180 change betspeed to 0.7

Very long pause: change betspeed to 10.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Half Ashes

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Sport: fine legs and silly sods.

Oh wow, I’m so pleased my excessive bleating about there being too many football games has paid off – this year’s CGC finally has a cricket game.  It’s an especially well timed one too, because at the time of writing England are about to launch the most heroic sporting comeback resulting in them winning the 2013/14 ashes 3-2.  The Half Ashes is here to help us celebrate this historic victory to come.

Programmed in C, and like so many of Steve’s other CGC games, this has so much to it.  Going by most people’s standards T.H.A. is a crap game, mainly as the graphics are simple but I would say the spectrum’s palette was heaven sent for a cricket game.

You take control of the fielding side, and unsurprisingly have to bowl out 10 batsmen within 30 (rather unorthodox) overs.  At first glance the keys appear a little unwieldy but bearing in mind you need to control 11 men they are actually excellent once you get to grips with them.  Once you have set (your ideally unorthodox) field you get to the task of bowling, the speed and aim of the ball can be regulated by bowler position and the rate you toggle keys ‘C’ and ‘M’.  It is possible to get a batsman out in the usual ways, run outs being most common, then being bowled, followed by catching least.

Cricket is not everyone’s cup of tea, so for those people The Half Ashes will be just as tedious as the long Wednesday afternoons spent standing around playing pocket billiards on the boundary during P.E.  But for people who enjoy such a profound game as cricket it’s a real treat.  As said, there is so much to it – setting fields, getting the ball right, stopping the ball hitting the boundary.  Absolutely fascinating, and I will keep returning to this game.

At least I would, if it was a bit more stable.  I managed to make it return to BASIC (Out of Memory Error) and crash over about 1 hours play.  So Steve has just about saved face with these rather irritating flaws.  But if he sorts the bugs and gives it a bit more polish (starting with a nice wicket clattering noise), this would probably be the best cricket game for the Spectrum ever!

Thank you Steve, and as Geoffrey Boycott so often says:

My Grandmother coulda programmed that wi' a stick o' Rhubarb.”

Download TAP here.
Download support files(remote link)
Download my RZX playing it,until the unfortunate ending.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Burndown Takeout ZX

By MykeP

Genre: Arcade: Reckless driving

This Race ‘n’ shunt game marks MykeP’s 3rd entry into the competition, and what a late spurter he’s proving to be.  For those in the know BDTOZX is based on a modern game of a similar name, in which (after a bit of research) you need to drive in a frightfully unsafe manner, crashing into other cars in order to cross the finish line first.

I actually thought that with the release of Rally Driver in 1984, there was nothing new that could be added to the genre, but how wrong I was.  If RD offered sweaty, palpitating, touch sensitive action, BDTOZX can be described as being at the opposite end of the Spectrum.  And it is from the get go, because as soon as it loads you are treated to an incredibly long pause while it loads, populates, randomizes* and initialises…..stuff.  Though as it turns out this pause seems unfortunately brief because after it comes the ‘music’ which I gather is by ‘My Chemical Romance’ and ‘Lady Gaga’ (as Myke calls them).  While it may be accomplished, it hurts.

A huge amount of work has gone into this game (which I’m not sure I’m doing justice to here), which has numerous nods to modern gaming events like ‘unlockable games’ which of course, fail to work.

It’s amazing how slow Spectrum BASIC can be sometimes (thankfully I had a mountain of ket** delivered last week), and I’d say Myke has pushed in all the stops to make it so.  For this game to be exciting in any real sense you have to crank the emulator right up.  But at a pedestrian 3.5MHz you take on a zen like understanding of the world, where you can see everything, and/or nothing, happening all at once.  And while a nicely drawn (and it is nicely drawn) explosion can pump up the adrenaline at faster speeds, it takes on a more poetic, contemplative angle at the snail’s pace BDTOZX was intended to run at.

Good fun this, crank up the emulator, have a look through the code at all the references, and be generally impressed with an accomplished piece of absolute carp.

Great work and thankyou Myke!

Download here.
* why did the speccy ROM use ‘z’ in randomise, for shame?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Jet Rocket v 2.0

By Iceman (Darken)

Genre: Shoot 'em left

Here we have a piece of not so abandoned-ware, as it first made an appearance in the 2010 CGC and work began on it some 25 years ago!  So after all this time and refinement this game had better be pretty bloody perfect.

One of the biggest differences is that this version was done in asm rather than compiled, but the thing is I can’t tell any difference between the two!

The aim of this game is to protect your rocket from the advancing sentient boxes (sorry, robots), or something.  To do so you use the keys 6,7 for up/down and 0 to fire your fearsome laser against the random alien assault.  The position of the rocket towards the left means you don’t have that much time to move to the correct row and shoot the robot, especially if you cock up the keys which I don’t find that intuitive.  I’m not sure what your space suit is made of but you have 3 lives, but if just one robot hits the rocket it’s game over.

There’s a lot of attention to detail in this game, from the advanced loading screen to the in game animations, well animation.  While it’s a lovely animation, the thing is you see it every time you complete a level, and without a skip function it can begin to grate.  In fact I’d swear blind that Iceman has timed it so that it’s not long enough to take the mickey, but not short enough to avoid frustration.  Genius!

Though it probably should be said that the graphics are a bit simple (let’s call them rustic).  

Would be programmers may want to check out some of the support material, of which there is an astonishing amount.

The Hi-Score challenge starts around 6820, I’m sure I could do better but can’t face seeing the animation again.

Lovely little game, nice to see it (again).

Thankyou Iceman!

Download TAP.
Download game and supportmaterial.
Download Loader hack

GROUND ATTACK ONLY:        Poke 30517,62; 30518,20;30531,75
NUMBER OF LIVES:                 Poke 28978,x lives (0-255)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Crisp Snatcher

By Steve Broad
Genre: Arcade: Catch the crisps.

Crisp  Snatcher was apparently created in 1984 with the intention of setting the blossoming games market on fire.  Steve presumably just never found the right software house, but perhaps he should have sent a copy to The Power House, the company that saw SQIJ fit to unleash on the world because Crisp Snatcher is a confusing buggy howler of a game!

Once we start the game we are assaulted by a gaudy display that would have William Burroughs running from the telly, and we encounter the first bug .  Like SQIJ, Crisp Snatcher has a keyread bug!  They are supposed to be 6,7 and 0 but for some reason occasionally they just don’t register - Excellent work!
Once you manage to engage with your rubber keys you can begin.  Yellow crispy like blobs descend from the sky and you must catch them in your bag, but beware the green errr thing, that travels from left to right occasionally dropping crystals of glass.  Of course it does.  The crisps fall too quickly and you move too slowly to be able to catch them, and it’s not clear what the laser even does!

Or am I doing something wrong?
A really nice touch is that after the inevitable GAME OVER message, when you try to restart the game crashes!

A superb piece of crap gamesmanship.
Well done and thankyou Steve!
Download here.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mountains of Ketchup

By Rebelstar without a cause
Genre: Adventure sauce
Mountains of Ketchup (a pun on the ZX Spectrum adventure classic Mountains of Ket of course) marks Rebelstar’s 15th entry to this year’s CGC.  First impressions suggest a rather simple poorly presented BASIC adventure (though is faithful to Ket’s layout) but don’t be fooled – still condiments run deep.

I like the use of action keys instead of typing commands, and the fact there is no limit on how much you can carry (though I’m not sure if I could carry a lawnmower and a mine detector at the same time in reality).
I’m not going to spoil the surprise but in addition to the simple text puzzles, there are some built in arcade style mini-games embedded in MOK which brought the biggest smile to my face.

Mountains of ketchup is tinged with tripe but is an excellent kernel of an idea that I’d love to see expanded upon.  I have to say I was disappointed it finished so quickly!
It’s crap, but play it, really – it’s great.

Thankyou Rebelstar!

<What the hell are the slippers for?>
Download here.
Download Game Map.

Super UDG FighterZ 2 Turbo

By MykeP

Genre: Arcade: Wear you down.

It’s fair to say we have a game here of epic proportions.  In part it is a rework of a game written in 1998, and with its 2 sided tape, introduction, great graphics and numerous characters with backstories it’s going to have to try bloody hard to be crap.  Thankfully it doesn’t disappoint.

You start naturally enough with side 1, which following an excellent loading screen (with some more chortleworthy easter eggs) gives us game and character info.  You may notice that SUFTT bears a passing resemblance to some classic coin op beat ‘em ups like Street Fighter, and like most of them it continues the tradition of barmy backstories and stupendous mismatches (a cowboy versus an alien?).  The 10 characters weave a tangled web of various grudges of one type or another, and the only solution is obviously to have a fighting contest where you kick and punch each other into submission.

It’s worth mentioning that SUFFT pushes the spectrums memory to the limits (which the total of 9 minutes loading attests to), and Myke had to drop 2 characters and the redefine keys option to save memory.

Onto side 2 and the game itself.  There are so many nice touches here, great graphics, logos, menu screen – so good that it nearly doesn’t belong in the competition.  But like so many other games it comes good (well, crap) when it comes down to the gameplay.  We can probably get Myke on the trades description act for having the audacity to have the words ‘turbo’ in the title!

Once you have selected your character you have to win 3 bouts each against 2 randomly selected opponents, then you fight your nemesis.   If you make it that far, win or lose you get a victory or failure message specific to the character.

The fight is a fairly simple affair, and the same graphics are used every time (though there is a lovely detailed backdrop).  The moves available are flying kick, punch, kick and block.  Which move is successful depends on how many character cells you are from your opponent.  Like a lot of beat ‘em ups there are certain moves that do more damage than others and the player can easily win if relying solely on them.  The AI is actually quite good so if you play ‘properly’ you will find the game surprisingly challenging, and dare I say it – enjoyable (especially if using an emulator you crank the processor up to 14MHz).

So, Super UDG FighterZ 2 Turbo is definitely worth a go, but steel yourself for a potential physical and psychological beating, especially if you get to hear the deadly putdown by ZX-8100.

It looks like you’ve got jam all over your face”


Thankyou Myke!

Tipshack: win every fight – walk into your opponent and hold down ‘P’, you will take some hits but will always land more yourself.

Download side 1 here.
Download side 2 here.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Dearest Urinals

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Text: typing pirates

Garrrr!  Come ‘ere Jim laaaad, come sit on Cap’n Long John Silver’s knee, I ahhzz a deal for ye.  See this in my chest me hearty?  That be a ZX-Spectrum, the finest booty I’ve ever swagged during my sweet trade, from a bald pated lubber while aaat port o’ Cambridge.  Let’s be playing a grand game, called dearest urinals – that be an anagram of the finest story evarrrr told me hearty.  This cassette I be holding here has but one and twenty kilobytes of text from it, some fine graphics to boot and makes fine use of the F, the Z and the X.


Now then matey, here’s what we do.  Said Speccy be quoted a passage from said book and you must unjumble them there letters as quick aaaazz you can, the longer you wait the further me and my gen’lmen o’ fortune go.  First one to treasure island wins, or rather Jim laaad, if the jolly roger gets thaaar first, the squiffies aboard your swaggy will experience a keelhauling they’ll never forget.

Thankyou Steve!  (Now pass the grog)

Download here.

EDIT - reading that back I realise at some point I lost 'Pirate' and took on 'Cornish'

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cheerful Chicken

By MykeP

Genre: drop ‘n’ don’t hatch

This is more, or less, based on the modern game character of a similar name.  Those familiar with it will know it involves button (or pad) mashing in order to lay as many eggs as possible, and that this version bears little to no resemblance whatsoever!  The ever increasing number of sprites to be drawn on the screen presents a problem for the spectrum coder: how to maintain game speed and keep pushing those pixels around?  Well, with some lightening fast machine code, clever game design and general use of nifty tricks it is more than possible to make a playable version for the good old ZX-Spectrum.

But this is the CGC, and thankfully MykeP has used none of the above!

Fans of loading screens be sure to turn off turbo load and appreciate the lovely easter eggs hiding under the attributes.  This chicken based game is programmed in BASIC and marks an excellent first entry from Myke.

I've not played any modern version, but I think I've got to grips with the gameplay here.  Press the any key and the chicken lays an egg, fail to press a key before a random counter winds down and they hatch.  It is not actually so much about button mashing, as button holding, as that suffices to keep the game going!  The number of eggs on the screen is your score.  So naturally it is fairly easy to accrue a large number of eggs, and equally naturally the spectrum slowly grinds to a halt giving S.N.A.I.L a run for its money!  I suppose in this sense the biggest challenge is one of inner strength, how long can you bear to keep mashing a key  and watching your poor spectrum get tortured?

Nice presentation, lovely beeper music, and an unplayable load of old carp that is most welcome in the competition!

Thank you Myke!

Download TAPE here.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Monkey Doo's Fruit Salad

By Retromad

Genre: Arcade: Fruit flinch

This ace BASIC game features Monkey Doo, remember?  Everyone’s favourite t-shirted manky, mange ridden Monkey puppet from the 80’s?  No, well maybe that’s because Retromad failed to keep copies of his earlier C15 tapes, or one of the big software houses failed to spot a smash hit when it dropped on the doormat.  No matter, as Monkey Doo is now available again for the ZX-Spectrum, and this time it’s the full package – game, inlay and hit single, yes, I said hit single.

Monkey Doo’s Fruit Salad gets off to a great start as it is supplied as a z80 file on which you have to type RUN to start.  Then follows a loonnnnnggg intro with piccies, beeps, references to the Grattan catalogue, and some instructions along the way.  The aim of the game is to make Monkey Doo 8 fruit salads, not just any old fruit salad mind – it has to be composed of an apple and a orange and a banana and a cherry (different to the one on the inlay which appears to be festooned with Monkey stools, or perhaps blackberries).  There must be no fruplicates (that’s shorthand for fruit duplicates in order to save time) and you have to think quick – if you don’t press the right key in time the game is over and all the fruit salads are lost.  1 fruit salad is manageable but each time it speeds up.  Press A for Apple, B for Banana, C for Cherry and O for Orange, when a fruplicate appears press D to discard.

Sounds complicated?  Don’t worry if so, because Retromad has supplied a catchy hit single to help you remember what to do.
MDFS is both crap and brilliant.  It encapsulates a lot of emotions, it looks and sounds like an early 80’s bit of homebrew but there are no bugs and it’s addictive to play.  I found myself wanting to get to the next level, but mind and body don’t always seem to collaborate fast enough, each time I read the words “HERE COMES THE FRUIT” I was genuinely nervous about completing the level.

So far I can only make a pathetic 5 fruit salads (poor Monkey Doo), but for the person who completes the game there is a prize – just jot down the London phone number and give the code.  Yes I’ve peeked at the program to see that, and yes I was tempted to ring the (probably made up) number and give the code.  I could of course be wrong and there is actually an amazing prize – but there’s only one way to find out – GET PLAYING!

Thankyou Retromad!

Download game here.
Download Inlay here.
Download ‘hit’ single here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Maggie Thatcher: Milk Snatcher

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Arcade: Rickets

Firstly, congratulations to Steve on his world record 22nd entry to the CGC.

This entry takes us all the way back to 1971, and you are a primary school teacher trying to evade the milk snatching talons of Margaret Thatcher.

It’s actually a pretty nice maze game, the object of which is to run around the school desks collecting milk and giving it to the pupil most in need.  Instead of the traditional symptoms of malnutrition, this game demonstrates need for milk by the sprite flashing on and off!  Once delivered, another carton appears elsewhere in the maze (you can only carry one at a time naturally) and you continue until you’ve done 12 pints or Maggie gets you.  The further you progress in this maze Maggie seems to become better at chasing you, to the point that it does get pretty frantic toward the end of each level (Steve informs me Maggie uses A* pathfinding!).

MT:MS has plenty of crap qualities but I must confess to being disappointed to have completed it so quickly, so it can’t be that bad eh?

 The game is silent, apart from when Maggie does catch you, and you hear her utter those terrifying words… “I want milk”.

(either that or ‘I like pomme frites’, I can’t quite tell).

Thankyou Steve!  There’ll be an appropriate prize with your name on it at the end of the year.

Download here.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Dr Who Adventure

Dr Who Adventure

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Text Lords

Oh No!  The tardis has spun after control after a heavy session of Galiferian whistling angel juice, or something.  Unlike Steve’s other games this one is programmed in C and despite being probably impossible without reading the tips/walkthrough it is rather good (I say probably impossible, but that might just be because I’m rubbish at text adventures).

 You don’t have to be a Dr Who expert to recognise the chilling scream of the Dalek – “EXTERMINATE”, superbly rendered using BEEPFX.

 Have a bash & see how far you get (clues are cunningly hidden in the text), then read the tips and see if you can solve it.  It has some crap qualities but at its heart is a well designed puzzle with some depth to it.

 Also put your hands together to Steve’s entry number 21, equal to the record of most CGC entries in one year.

Thankyou Steve! 

Download TAP here.

Download tips here (recommended!)