Thursday, 31 January 2013


By g0blinish

Genre: Arcade farce

First things first.  Take a moment to reflect on this introscreen.  It may look hastily thrown together with no word wrapping or centre-ing but what you are looking at is the ZX Spectrum’s version of the white album.  We have to thank g0blinish for this sheer minimalist beauty.

After pressing a key and the game starting there is no waiting or prep time, we go rapidly into FAST ACTION PONG!  (whether you’re ready or not).  You control the blue paddles at the top and bottom with the <> keys and must keep the red attribute from leaving the vertical reaches of the screen.

However, looking at how the game was created we begin to deviate from this being a crap game.  Firstly it is in written in assembly language – in the early 1980’s many a cassette inlay would have dreamed of being emblazoned with the words ‘programmed in machine code’.  Secondly the game engine is crammed into 251 bytes!  Although efficient Z80 code and a crap game competition make unusual bedfellows, we can breathe a sigh of relief when we look at the gameplay…

I could be wrong, or just hopeless at playing the game but as far as I can tell it is impossible to wrong foot the magenta paddles.  The ‘ball’ seems to bounce in the same direction independent of which part of the paddle it hits so follows a cycle around the screen.  With these properties in mind it is clear that CARPONG is a virtually unwinnable game, and as such is a test of the human spirit against the computer.  If CARPONG is to be played seriously (and who on earth wouldn’t play a CGC entry in such a manner?) then the victor is the first to break.  I didn’t expect to have such a responsibility on my hands when agreeing to host the CGC.  Play this game at your peril.

So in summary:  attribute based graphics and gameplay that is only possible with pokes.  All the hallmarks of a crap game.  Well done g0blinish!

Download game here.
Download source code here.

Tipshack: pour a sugary solution down the back of your Spectrum, that way you have a chance of beating the computer.

poke 24852,1              ;tiny paddles
poke 24851,40            ;computer fails every time


  1. I think g0blinish is in the driving seat with this one, and it gives me another idea. I should STOP this before I have too many entries and not enough time...

  2. I don't know about the driving seat but it's certainly carp.