Thursday, 28 February 2013

Teachski Yourselfska Russianova

By na_th_an

Genre: Text:

Do you like Beetroot?  Do you like Vodka?  Do you like your ZX-Spectrum pimped to the max?  Well then you should visit Russia, but hold your horses.  You won’t want to look like an ignorant lout – you should learn the language first!
That’s where this powerful utility comes in, it translates not only words, but sentences too (and yet the word ‘advanced’ is nowhere to be seen).  It even has the delete function enabled.  It’s nice to see these utilities submitted, and how an entire language translator can be made to fit into a 48k speccy is beyond me.  Well done na_th_an!

Downloadski Herska Comrades.

 Tipshackova: Don't actually talk like this on the streets of Moscow, unless you want to be punched hard in the face.

HACKPACK: I noticed a terrible bug in this program- the 'R's are not the wrong way round.  Download the bugfixed version here.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Pope Springs Eternal

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Text Salvation

A second entry from Steve in the Papal minicompetition.

You are the Pope (YEAH!!) and you must ‘get out’ before too much damage occurs to your reputation and still reach the first circle of heaven.  How long can you last?

Another excellent (well crappy) program, with some superb swearing detection.  Top satire too, and a flamboyant way with words, thankyou Steve!
Tipshack: Quit while you still can!
HACK PACK: at the start of line 20 change to FLASH 1: BORDER 2:INK 3: PAPER 6:CLS, this will give the game a sense of urgency to make you do the right thing.

Monday, 25 February 2013


By LOKOsoft (a Mojon Twins subsidiary)

Genre: Bang bang titty titty bang bang
Well as we all know, Encuerer is Spanish for lady porridge.  So we can expect a game that contains an abundance of this, and yes, that’s exactly what we get.
The game has no loading screen (boo!) but we do get treated to a nice DRAW sequence of a ladies lower regions and some cumulus clouds, possibly with cumulonimbus a layer above but I can’t be 100% certain.  Definitely not altostratus though.
Press a key to start and you get an alarming (and crappy) BEEP sequence, followed by a barmy sounding level name that I’ve yet to decipher (if there is actually any sense behind it that is!) then you are thrown head first into an all action SIDE SCROLLING SHOOTER!  Well yes, side scrolling is quite advanced, especially of the pseudo-parallax nature as we see here, but don’t get too concerned it’s only the bottom few rows and it’s the same blocks repeated over and over!

This compiled BASIC game boasts some outstanding in game features (best expressed in the instructions) and if you’re game, and I hope you all are, it’s actually quite good fun to spend 10 minutes as ENCUERER, the naked flying goddess.  The game is also quite easy, I completed it on my first ‘proper’ try, which is nice.  So go to it!
Thankyou LOKOsoft!
Tipshack: Press the ‘M’ key a lot

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Grope the Choirboy

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Arcade: strategy

An entry for the Papal minicompetition.

Hmmm.  Grope the choirboy.  Tread carefully.

A nicely executed piece of code, and a clever statement.
Tipshack: I’m not going to give tips on how to grope choirboys!

Friday, 22 February 2013


By Apenao (Fubete Software)

Genre: Arcade: Pope
An entry in the Papal minicompetition.
As a regular reader of the World of Spectrum forum I’m aware that a buzz has been created about this game.  Amazing screenshots have been posted of possible isometric engines and such, so when I received the actual entry from Fubete software, there was an air of excitement before I even pushed the J key.

Well if you want to play Vaticania you will need a strong nerve and a rugged optimism, as there are eight, yes EIGHT loading screens to get through before you even see the intro screen.  In all it takes 7 minutes, which is around 1 minute and ten seconds more than the 128k version of More Tea, Vicar (my favourite game from 2012) – so Vaticania has a lot to live up to.

Most of the releases I’ve seen from Fubete software have a half-baked, barmy, poorly executed bad acid trip feel about them, and I’m pleased to say Vaticania is no exception.  Once you have decided on the many possible key combinations to play with, the game begins.  The aim of the game is to move left and right in the hope of colliding with the moving Pope hat while avoiding the pigeon/dove/whatever.  Ghost graphics are not always cleaned up but the collision detection is mostly sound.  In the eventuality of either collision the game hits give either a FUMATA BIANCA or NERA message and abruptly hits a STOP statement.  Presumably to stop you going insane with pleasure, and giving the player the opportunity to mark the black/white smoke decision thing with appropriate respect.
In summary, Vaticania is barmy old cack, but no more so than the whole idea of the Papal conclave itself.  Well done Apenao!
Tipshack: chew a piece of leather while the game is loading.
HACK PACK: At the start of the code insert 1 NEW, then drop the tape in solvent, add wood shavings, and burn to dryness, then pyrolyse the remaining charcoal at 1400 degrees in a vacuum furnace.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Gareth Hood

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Arrow Hell
You are Gareth Hood, crack shot and scourge of the Guards of John.

By altering position, power and angle you must hit the guard.  This is an amazing use of BASIC, the way the arrow flies through the air, and even reappears after a realistic interval after going off the top of the screen, is a thing of beauty.

I sat down to have a quick test of this and found myself playing it for much longer than intended.  It’s quite hard (I think) to get a direct hit.
Verdict: well programmed, well designed, extremely fun and addictive.  This is an absolute treat.  NOT CARP AT ALL!
Just play it.  Now!
Tipshack: Don’t ask me, I’m bloody hopeless at this game!
HACKPACK: Success every time: at the start of line 150 add GOTO 210.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Teacho Yourselfo Italiano

By Lee Spoons

Genre: Utility: Word Appender-o
Ah Italy!  The rolling hills of Borlotti, the valleys of Rome lined with pasta trees, wine coming out of the taps and everyone strolling around in white vests and greased back hair.

Now then, for some reason it is a common accusation that the English speaking nations are ignorant of the both the language and culture of other countries.  This is why it’s especially nice to receive this lovely utility from Lee Spoons – it blasts this myth into the cosmos faster than a gondola full of meatballs can sink.
God knows why but TYI has speedlock protection!  And although the code is really short it loads the entire RAM with sodding NOPs in addition to it.  This means that you get a hypnotic humming sound for most of the 2 minutes and 35 seconds of loading.  Annoying and crap?  Yes.  Bonus points!

Lee has spotted some common rules of the Italian tong and has devised a clever little algorithm that can convert any English word into Italian.  Astounding.

I didn’t realise that it was so easy to speak Italian, and if I travel to Italy in future I will do so secure in the knowledge that, thanks to T.Y.I, I will be able to fit in with the locals.  Thankyou Lee!

The verdict?  Merda!
Tipshack: convert to the Sprechen Sie Deutsch simulator:  20 LET i$=EN

Scrap Yard Scrapes

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Scrapyard: maze

Rule #1 of how to write a crap game,  states that only good games have the word ‘crap’ in the title, and seeing how Scrap Yard Scrapes manages to secrete said word in there twice then it must be especially good.  Well yes actually, it is.

The aim of the game is to get from the left to the right hand side of the screen, you have a limited number of bombs to plant (get clear!) which blast your way through the blocks and scrap, and you can use your plough to shift the cyan scrap.  There is a time limit, after which the scrap yard dog (apologies to the author for thinking this UDG was a pig in a previous review!) chases after you, and finds you with a remarkable reliability.  The algorithm it follows is clearly very advanced.  As you progress the game gets harder as you get less bombs.  It is best around level 3 & 4 where you really have to employ strategy to get through.

There’s always a fly in the ointment of course, and SYS is no exception.  The game setup including ‘Loading…’ and screen generation takes a full 41 seconds, and also there is a bug in the code where you lose a bomb if you try and plant it in a block (or was it intentional?).  Also the game becomes impossible around level 5 as you only get 1 bomb, but the screen generated usually needs more than this.
There’s so many good points about this game, I mean, Steve has even included a feature that clears space around the player at the game start, to avoid being blocked in. 
Summary: lovely UDGs, great idea, great gameplay, a simply brilliant BASIC game.   
For shame Steve, for shame!
Tipshack: get to the middle of the screen and wait for the dog to start chasing you, makes for a more exciting game.
HACK PACK: non – finite bombs:  insert LET nb=7 at the start of line 200.
Download here.  DO IT!!!!!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Larry the Lander

By Jammajup

Genre: shoot ‘em down

What the devil is going on??!!  A 2 dimensional scrolling starfield?  A smooth vertical scrolling shoot ‘em up?  Sprites?  Machine code?!  Fear not, this can be explained by the fact that L.T.L was created using two designers: Intro Maker and S.E.U.D, both utilities authored by arch-enemy of the crap games competition Jonathan Cauldwell.

In LTL you scroll downwards and shoot upwards, shoot the moving objects for extra fuel, the score ticks along as you descend.  There are 4 levels in all and a fiendish end of game boss.  Check out the instructions for the obligatory barmy backstory and other info.
It doesn’t have the most sophisticated graphics in the world but the design and playability are well thought out.  Larry the Lander is as tough as old boots, the tortuous and tight maze sections are near impossible to negotiate and there are numerous lures and pincer traps along the way.  Jammajup assures me it can be completed, and has even recorded a video to prove it.  I can only assume that the cruel difficulty gradient in LTL is tailored to oldschool gamers, not modern lilly livered softies of which I am one.
The verdict?  Maybe lacking polish but certainly NOT CARP!
Still, thankyou Jammajup, I enjoyed playing this and will actually be returning to it.  Just one thing Larry....gizza smile.
Tipshack: Use the pokes!

Anti finite lives                  POKE 48523,182
Number of lives:              POKE 48429,#lives

Monday, 18 February 2013

Dr No.'s Division Incision Derision

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Arcade: Espionematics

An outstanding rendition of the James Bond theme beeps out followed by a not too shabby depiction of Mr Bond on the cutting slab with Dr No looming over him (Hang on…wasn’t Goldfinger the one with the laser?  No matter).
“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No Mr Bond.  I expect you…to DIVIDE!”

This sums the game up pretty much, our fearless hero’s wedding tackle is under threat and can only be saved by YOUR skill with division.  Some are easy, some are hard, and each wrong answer inches the laser ever closer to the biffins bridge.  There is no respite or endgame either it seems, James is condemned to endless mathematics or castration….choices choices.
119 divided by 7?  With a laser inching towards your gonads?! I tell you it can’t be done.

...not even by the impeccable Mr Bond who must now be wishing he was Dr Bond.
Tipshack: repeatedly watch Moonraker until you hate James Bond so much that you don’t care what happens to him.

HACK PACK:  Correct every time: Line 50: remove INPUT g and replace with LET g=f1

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Countless Runes All Pisspoor

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Capricious platform

I could be wrong, but it looks like this charming little game is loosely based on EFMB, an ingenious cross platform game released in 2012.  It’s hard to believe that a crap game could result from such an innovative, addictive and playable concept.  Somehow though, Steve has managed this feat.

So the aim of the game is simple enough, move the cyan main character around the platforms collecting the yellow runes while avoiding the (stationary) red runes.  These runes are randomly generated each level using the RND function, some array thing I don’t understand and poking the UDGs.  Following the rule that each byte of the rune is symmetrical and not zero, they more often than not, with a bit (or lot) of imagination, bear a passing resemblance to something.  Here are some choice examples C.R.A.P generated while playing:
(1-Headless screamer, 2-Telepharg , 3-Zogstomper, 4-Bunnybot)
C.R.A.P has similar advanced 4 way screen wrapping to EFMB and teleporter mechanics, and is quite good fun for a few tries.  Each screen takes a while to generate, and creates setups that are impossible to complete without losing a life (or several lives).

Countless Articles Rather Poor.

Tipshack: don’t let the excitement of randomly generated runes distract you from the gameplay.
HACK PACK: Immeasurable lives: at the start of line 190 insert: LET nl=3

Download here.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Paralympic Obstacle Kayaking

By Jason Railton

Genre: row 'em up

I’m most pleased to show this entry from Jason (Buzzsaw) Railton.  Most speccy fans will know Buzzsaw+ is the first finalised 'proper' game with Spectrum multicolour graphics.  This involves some expert coding twinned with skilled game design, which obviously has no place in this competition so no more will be said about it here, but imagine my surprise to see a CGC entry from him!  Well maybe not so surprising as it was one of the winning entries in the coding competition held at the Spectrum 30th birthday event in Cambridge last year.  Even still, I had my doubts that Jason was actually capable of writing a crap game, well I was almost wrong…

After loading we get a nice cyan screen and an uncomfortable wait for some vertical blue stripes to fill it, which are then removed by a CLS shortly after!  An auspicious start.  The main game is a different matter, and here is the authors description of the gameplay:

It's a kayaking simulation designed to be played by anyone with a range of physical disabilities as it requires only one button press to play.  The kayaker only paddles on one side at a time, so goes round in circles if you don't intervene. Press any key to make him swap sides. Keep pressing with a steady rhythm to go in a straight line. Stop pressing to turn.  Try to reach the black exit square before the time runs out to complete each course. Pick up magenta tokens to open the exit, or green keys to let you remove barriers.
Sounds crap, but is it?  Not really, a well animated sprite appears on an ok looking gaming area and to see rotation of this type in BASIC looks like something clever has gone on.  P.O.K is quite good fun and is reminiscent of Albatrossity (a good Spectrum game for those not in the know), so this game is a kernel of a great idea that has been restricted by BASIC and the 4 hours the author had to create it.

Bonus crap points are gained by the fact that it is possible for the kayak to whack its way out of the gaming area, and thus bring forth a stop to the game and a return to BASIC (the holy grail for any crap game coder).  So despite his upsetting show of skill, there is a glimmer of hope he can write a proper crap game!  (just make sure it’s 2 colours per square mind…).
Having said all this, I'm still surfing the anti cynicism tidal wave that was the 2012 London Olympics, so anything Olympian or Paralypian is brilliant, including this game, and erm.....even Stonkers!  Thankyou Jason!
Tipshack: try playing with a bodily protuberance other than fingers, for a more challenging gaming experience.
HACKPACK: Infinite time: in line 21 remove LET t=t-1 (or change it to LET t=t or LET t=10, but nothing else at all will work)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Space Scarper

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Don’t touch the sides ‘em up

What do we have here?  A spectrum BASIC version of the arcade classic ‘Thrust’?  Well not quite, but not light years away either.  In Space Scarper you rotate the yellow ship and thrust (with inertia) in that direction towards the red thingy while avoiding the cyan walls.  I was surprised to see this and had a look in the code for any machine code USR calls – but nope, it’s good old fashioned BASIC PLOT and DRAW.  Clever stuff.

To keep the game varied and interesting each screen is different.  It is created in a painfully slow pseudorandom way before you can begin, and on occasion even makes a screen with no playable pathway to the goal!  When you do have a playable screen though Space Scarper is pretty good, perhaps a bit slow but the game mechanics are sound.

Space Scarper has some good points: playable concept and nice use of PLOT and DRAW for the main sprite.  These are finely balanced with some crap factors, namely slow reactions, a game screen creator that is capable of generating impossible screens and taking an eternity to draw the damn thing in the first place.

On balance: we’ve hit CGC paydirt!

Tipshack: Don’t touch the walls.

HACK PACK: Immunity 110 GOTO 100

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Run for Syrums

By na_th_an

Genre: Softcore sprint
Here we have a lovely entry from the 2011 host, a game he coded in 1993 (the Golden year of the Spectrum) and I can’t sum up the gameplay better than na_th_an himself:
You have to run smashing O and P to get to Syrums. Whatever it is. There's a nasty green boulder chasing you, so you better run. There's also somebody throwing nasty cyan boulders to your face”
Of course there is.
I’m surprised that we have reached the second month of the CGC and this is our first ‘button mashing’ game.  Having to toggle two unresponsive keys to meet some barmy objective is the hallmark of a solid crap game and in this respect RFS doesn’t disappoint.  The main protagonist is for some reason totally nude, which those familiar with the Mojon Twins games will know is their stock in trade.
RFS appears to be coded in compiled basic (maybe asm) and sports some rather advanced scrolling.  The gameplay is pretty dodgy though not impossible to get into.  I managed to get the metre count down to the 3000’s mark but I can’t (ie - won't) do better than that.  So I don’t know what happens when you actually reach Syrums…..who knows, maybe the lady gets a wooly warm cardigan and a nice sit down.

Different, advanced, crap.  Thankyou na_th_an!

Tipshack: Place masking tape over the bottom half of your tv screen, that way you won’t be distracted by the naked ladies.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Factor Tractor

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Arcade Math
Do you like Maths?  Do you like Tractors?  Do you like fast paced arcade fun?

If you answered yes to the first two questions then FACTOR TRACTOR is the game for you!  This rather nice intro screen tells us what the game is about, and sports possibly the best rendering of a tractor using UDGs ever (in fact – if readers want to email me more UDG DATA of Tractors I’ll post them in the blog and end of year digest).

Boffins among you will sail through this game (or whatever the word is for a tractor sailing – chug I suppose) but as a bit of a duffer I struggled.  I remember numbers like 54 and 63, and that two small numbers can be multiplied together to make them, but under the pressure of a tractor race I fall apart and fail.
Factor Tractor is crap, but you’ll feel ashamed when you find yourself actually getting into the race.

Tipshack: Learn your times tables!

HACKPACK: remove the IF AND before the LET in line 160, and you’ll have hexane in the fuel tank.

Monday, 11 February 2013

127 Hours

By Steve McCrea

Genre:  Text amputation

Just imagine.  While out for a little potter you fall and get your arm trapped under a heavy boulder in an isolated canyon.  There is no chance of pulling your arm free intact….what to do?  Obviously you cut your arm off (unless you’re a big girl), but how to decide the optimal amount of time to wait until doing so?

Some of you may spot similarities between this game and the story of Aron Ralston.  A climber who had a similar experience while out ‘canyoneering’ in Utah.  Now, I would have done more research on the hinterland of this topic, but couldn’t be bothered, because as we all know all extreme sports are a pointless waste of time.

I assumed this was created using a designer but the code is done from scratch in BASIC.  This means it can have as many quirks as the author wants, including some amusing curse detection – very pleasing to see good old fashioned British swearing catered for!  It’s just a shame “Balderdash” is not there.

So the question still remains?  How long would you wait until you did the deed?  Well, I can give you a bloody big clue: 126 hours is not enough, but 128 is too many.

As usual with text adventures though, it’s worth exploring it without looking at the code first, just to see what you might have tried.  It didn't recognise everything I thought of.

An amusing entry, and crap.  Thank you Steve!

Tipshack: don’t go east.  But if you must wait 127 hours then cut your arm off.

HACK PACK: Stop faffing and grasp the nettle!  Add at the start of line 210 LET a$=”cut off arm”: LET h=127

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Mega Ski

By Shaun Bebbington

Genre: Insanity simulator
Okay….Mega Ski arrives in a zip file, and quite naturally I open it up.  Nothing too out of the ordinary there, then I see the file…
It’s a screengrab of a BASIC program.  A type in.  A.  TYPE.  IN.  (Deep breath count to ten).
Most of us will remember doing type ins back in the day, the listing would appear next to an all action picture that wayyyy overstated the quality of the actual finished game (in fact I’m sure we could have got them on the trade descriptions act), assuming the type in worked, you knew all the function keys, didn’t get bored or lose your work during typing.
With these horrible memories at the front of my mind I readied myself to get the job done.  In the spirit of the entry I decided to do it all as nature intended – on a real Spectrum.  I chose to do this on my less aesthetically pleasing, but reliable grey +2 as I recall my 48k having some wonky keys.  It will be done in 48k BASIC, naturally.
So: A dreich Saturday morning?  Check.  Cup of tea?  Check.  A steely resolve to play a half baked ASCII based BASIC  Ski-ing game?  Check.   TYPING HOooooooooooooooooooo!

(Here follows a stream of consciousness while typing in)
9am.  Now then, this type-in is full of VAL statements.  While this may be more efficient coding I can’t be arsed finding out where the VAL function key is so I just did the actual value each time.  Donketsoft?  Surely a BASIC program of this quality couldn’t contain a typo?  As such I can only assume that Shaun has created a new software house.  Great.  4 mistakes in the first line.  Shame each line is so long it takes agggesss to scroll through it all to fix it.  INT?  INT?  Where’s the function key for that?!  And PI!?  Have the key detection for CAPS and <> may be very diligent, but I can’t be arsed: it’s OP for me.  Hell bells!  How many OR statements can a line contain?!

9.30am.  Finished.  Didn’t take too long.  Time to save my work.

Now run it.  Aaaaaaannnnnnnnnnndddddd….

It doesn’t ****ing work!  The keys don’t work and it stops for no understandable reason.  The keys issue was my fault: change k$ to INKEY$.  The STOP was printing the score in white on white, changed.

Sort of works now.  I’m still not sure whether the game is working properly or is just crap?  Am I crap?  Why does the game stop?  Why do the trees converge?  Where’s the gin?  This project leaves me only with questions.

Shaun sent this to show the score to beat, I managed 1360.

Summary:  This is great fun and I’d recommend trying a type in (especially on real hardware).  There was a definite sense of excitement and anticipation as it came closer to RUNning it.  The game is crap, with the nicest touch being the ‘SCROLL’ statement that kept occurring during the game.  Thank you Shaun!
Tipshack:  Allow 1 hour to type in and test.  Take an opium suppository 30 minutes before typing in or playing the game.
HACK PACK: No scroll message: At the start of line 3 put POKE 23692,255
Download instructions and screengrab.  Snapshot will follow - Shaun requested a delay so people can have the err... joy of typing.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Desert Island Risks

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Drop 'n' Splot

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have more Cassette50 material!  It’s playable, is not intentionally crap and sports some lovely udgs.

We find ourselves in a helicopter in a circular holding pattern around a cartoon desert island, this desert island is occupied by obstacles – namely pigs (I think), scorpions, trees and cacti.  The aim of the game is to land your men safely on the island, which is not as easy as it sounds.  After parachuting the key you need to press to open your shoot appears at the top left (I didn’t know this at first, and thought you had to guess the key each time!  So my early tries were full of lots of keyboard mashing and failure), and it has to be timed well enough to avoid the obstacles, including your own landed men.  The island becomes more crowded as you progress but you do get a few bombs to clear the ground before you start jumping.

It hits on a soft spot for me too: UDGs.  Get a load of these!
7 is a pig isn't it?  No hold on...a dog.  Nope - I'll go with pig.
There’s not much to dislike here, but it does belong in the competition as it’s char based and BEEPY.  Just think of it as one of the best entries on the Cassette50.
Tipshack: Once you know the parachute key leave it quite late to open your chute, it’s easier to pick your landing spot.  Just don’t leave it too late.
HACK PACK: no hacks!  This game is fun without - get playing lad!
EDIT: c/o Rebelstar Temporal Power up: 150 LET ti=150

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Elevator Operator Emulator

By Steve McCrea

Genre: Elevator Operator Emulation

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be an Elevator Operator?  Spending the day in the exciting company of strangers, giving & receiving wisdom and getting the odd tip here and there.  No?  Well, me neither, but in Steve McCrea’s second entry we get the chance to live that dream!  As far as I know there aren’t many lift attendants in the UK and Steve informs me the US (where the EOE was created) is the same.  So this emulator is even more important than we realised – it’s preserving a declining vocation.

On loading we get a 35 second DATA loading pause.  This is achieved by a slightly flabby FOR NEXT loop that includes a spot of math and PRINTS a “.” for every byte.  So I’m about to play a game about being an elevator operator and it pisses me off further with unnecessary delays.  This is how you get bonus points in the CGC.
It seems we have another open ended game here, the purpose is to meet the demands of the ‘elevatees’ by getting them to the correct floor in good time.  Do well and you get a tip, go slowly or make a mistake you get a demerit.  9 demerits and you’re fired.  You have completed the game when…erm, not sure…perhaps when you’ve completed an 8 hour shift?  (Though I must say I haven’t played it that long yet).

It’s not just up and down though, you have the pleasure of opening and closing the doors too.
I find playing this game quite haunting.  The slow moving hand, the dark surroundings, the maddening repeating task to perform and the long pauses waiting for something to happen.  Brrr.

Delving deeper, EOE is a very well organised BASIC program (certainly better than I could do) and I’m quite jealous of the masking technique used.  The use of BEEP is good and the gameplay has similar qualities to Tapper.  EOE is crap don’t get me wrong, it’s just there are so many good ideas behind it.  If only Steve could use his powers for the force of good…

Tipshack: Don’t press the emergency or callout buttons (unless you want to get fired, which you might).
HACK PACK: Infinite thanks: at the start of line 600 put LET msg=13

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Type C for Crap

By Rebelstar without a cause

Genre: Text sojourn

Ooh a text adventure, I didn’t expect one of these in the CGC.  It was authored with P.A.W  (professional adventure writer), but that’s fine because crap games can still be made in a quality designer – as Rebelstar demonstrates here!  I didn’t have a clue what to expect from the title and got a big surprise when the game started.

In TCFC you play a beleaguered crap games competition host called R-Tape (poor sod) and you have to try and join the games club, where apparently they play nothing but quality games.  There are a few references to the attendees of the World of Spectrum forums that regulars there will be able to spot.
I always been hopeless at text games, and have bad memories of the Hobbit when I was younger grasping to find the correct word to take the tankard off the table (or something).  So phrases like ‘I don’t understand’ or ‘You cannot do that’ give me the whirlies.  Type C for Crap is no different in this respect, and after spending a fruitless amount of time trying to get a bleeding video game off the shelf I decided to cheat instead.  On discovering the solution it’s clear that seasoned text gamers will get through this game in no time.
TCFC has quite an extensive vocabulary, the phrase detection is not quite perfect, but you can’t have everything can you…

Also, whatever you do don't ask for HELP!

The swearword detection is quite poor however, and only detects ‘F-bomb’ and ‘Swear’, mind you just as well I suppose because you’ll be needing a few choice words to describe this game.
Tipshack: SPOILER ALERT! 12 moves:

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Peace Love and UnderStanding

Peace, Love and UnderStanding
By Steve McCrea
Genre: Lvmup
Peace, Love and UnderStanding (or PLUS from here to maintain a modicum of brevity) can only be described as a shoot em up, and before you start salivating and feverishly shouting “SMASHTHEALIENSDOOMDESTRUCTIONCRASHBANGZAP!!” take note that PLUS is a bit different.  The intro screen gives you an inkling of this when you look at the keys: Z for left, X for right, L for…Love?
On startup you get a very satisfying pause while the BASIC program configures the UDGS (and PLUS uses the full set from A-T), which the LOADING… message nicely informs you of.
The aim of the game is to pilot a talisman of sorts (for which the graphic looks more like a motorbike!) left and right and shoot love hearts (sorry - missiles) at the Doves, YinYangs, CNDs and Oms.  These symbols jerk left to right at varying rates, mostly of slow.  A direct hit gains you harmony, a miss loses it based on time elapsed since your last successful love.  Of course it does.
It’s actually quite difficult to get a successful hit, and annoyingly, once you’ve pressed fire you have to watch your love missile sloowwwwlly run its course to the bottom of the screen.  By this time it’s usually too late to attempt another shot and harmony is lost.
Nice touches include sound effects, 16x16 graphics and a little routine to cycle ink colours each time you pass the intro screen.
There is no compunction to actually ‘join in’ the game, as no harmony is lost if you don’t make any shots nor if a peace symbol makes it to the far right of the screen.  So you can sit back and watch the world go by, though you have to be at peace with the fact that the stakes grow higher with every passing ship - if at some point you do plan to join in.  A very philosophical game and quite a good analogy for life I suppose (If this was intentional Steve, may I compliment you on an ingenious idea).

The words of the great yogi spring to mind ‘Real peace is always unshakeable…bliss is unchanged by gain or loss’.
Bloody hippies.
Tipshack: Load on a real Spectrum, adopt the lotus position, and watch a world of peace and harmony pass over you.
HACK PACK: Infinity Harmony: In line 60 change LET sc=sc-INT to LET sc=sc+INT