The CSSCGC 2021 - 25th Edition Extravaganza!

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TMD2003

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Dec 26, 2020, 4:16:33 PM12/26/20
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Hails to all the people of CSS, which I've never been part of before. But there's a reason I've signed up here - it's because, after a few words behind the scenes with John Connolly, he's given me the go-ahead to kick off the 2021 competition.

Given that it's now in its 25th edition *and* is celebrating its 25th anniversary - the anomaly due to the absence of a competition in 2019 - I'm pushing the boat right out for this one. Because it's comp.sys.SINCLAIR rather than "comp.sys.spectrum", I will accept entries for any machine with Sinclair DNA running though it (not that computers have DNA, but you know what I mean). So apart from all varieties of Spectrum, I want entries for the ZX81, ZX80, and particularly the QL - something I recommend if you've never tried to program one before. I'll take the Russian clones, or those from elsewhere in Eastern Europe or Brazil, I'll take the Timex models, the SAM Coupé, the Jupiter Ace, the Z88, and the "son of Spectrum" machines - the Next, the ZX-UNO, and the ZX-Evolution. As long as I have a way to emulate a machine I don't have, and some clear loading instructions where it isn't obvious (such as on the Jupiter Ace), I will consider it good to go.

I'm looking for "maximum effort, minimum attainment" for best results - see it as if I'm the editor of Sinclair Programs in 1983. Would I publish this Crap Game as a type-in listing in my magazine? If the answer is yes, that's a good start. Then throw all sorts of embellishments at it that it doesn't deserve - a loading screen or two, excessive documentation, a redefined character set (if such a thing is possible on the machine in question), a tape inlay card... anything to boost your "effort" score without affecting "attainment". I'm looking for the widest gap between the two!

Here's the official website:
https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/index.html

The competition opens at the stroke of midnight on 1st January, and closes at 23:58 on 30th November - UK times, obviously. I'll call back here regularly to update on the competition's progress. I'm hoping to smash as many records as possible with this one, so don't let me down!

In the meantime, John's got the last few reviews of 2020 to publish, and you can all get scribbling on the emulators of your choice...

TMD2003

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Dec 31, 2020, 7:03:31 PM12/31/20
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Hello, me, it's nice talking to myself! (As I think I will be here, all year.) Anyway... Jools Holland declares this competition OPEN, so get your entries in!

TMD2003

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Jan 1, 2021, 4:43:40 PMJan 1
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Crikey o'blimey, Eddie! Barely has the competition opened, than I get an entry from Alexandre Colella, from Brazil, and also from SC. It's called P.P.S. - Pixel Perfect Shot:

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review001.html

Matt Rudge

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Jan 6, 2021, 11:58:07 AMJan 6
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On 26/12/2020 21:16, TMD2003 wrote:
> Hails to all the people of CSS, which I've never been part of before. But there's a reason I've signed up here - it's because, after a few words behind the scenes with John Connolly, he's given me the go-ahead to kick off the 2021 competition.
>

Welcome. There are a few of us still here to rearrange the cobwebs.

>
> The competition opens at the stroke of midnight on 1st January, and closes at 23:58 on 30th November - UK times, obviously. I'll call back here regularly to update on the competition's progress. I'm hoping to smash as many records as possible with this one, so don't let me down!
>

Ooh...a CSSCGC that finishes *before* the end of the year?? This I have
to see!

TMD2003

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Jan 6, 2021, 2:44:18 PMJan 6
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On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:58:07 UTC, Matt Rudge wrote:
> Ooh...a CSSCGC that finishes *before* the end of the year?? This I have to see!

Correct. I run a tight ship, free of leaks and bilge rats. I might consider extending the deadline if I have 90-95 entries, in the hope of breaking a century. How Digital Prawn managed to get 130 in 2008 I will never know, though.

Now, as a former host who is presumably a true connoisseur of crap, how about sending me something? And not necessarily something on a Spectrum, either. Several other machines are vying for attention this year.

Matt Rudge

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Jan 7, 2021, 4:06:11 AMJan 7
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On 06/01/2021 19:44, TMD2003 wrote:
> On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:58:07 UTC, Matt Rudge wrote:
>> Ooh...a CSSCGC that finishes *before* the end of the year?? This I have to see!
>
> Correct. I run a tight ship, free of leaks and bilge rats. I might consider extending the deadline if I have 90-95 entries, in the hope of breaking a century. How Digital Prawn managed to get 130 in 2008 I will never know, though.
>
> Now, as a former host who is presumably a true connoisseur of crap,

Well...I have been known to dabble (q.v. every game I ever wrote for the
Spectrum)

how about sending me something? And not necessarily something on a
Spectrum, either. Several other machines are vying for attention this year.
>

I have a sparkly new Next on the way, and would love to do something in
NextBASIC when it arrives. In the meantime, I do have a few ideas for
games on other machines :)

TMD2003

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Jan 13, 2021, 6:09:14 PMJan 13
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On Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 9:06:11 AM UTC, Matt Rudge wrote:
> I have a sparkly new Next on the way, and would love to do something in
> NextBASIC when it arrives. In the meantime, I do have a few ideas for
> games on other machines :)

Time for some inspiration, then, because I've received the second entry.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review002.html

"Mr. Don't!" by Dave Hughes of WOOT! Taper Magazine fame (and other projects) has gone back to CGC programming with a coin-op conversion. Now, what might it be a clone of?

TMD2003

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Jan 19, 2021, 7:03:36 PMJan 19
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And entry number three is in. Congraturation, I sucsess! The Challenges were worth devising, as Paul "Equinox" Collins has entered the Red YouTube Challenge (by intention) and the Magenta "weird commands and functions" Challenge (by default, looking at the BASIC source code). The YouTuber in question is "the lovely Heather Feather" and the game around her channel is called "ASMR Eye Examination":

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review003.html

Do try not to get too distracted.
Message has been deleted

TMD2003

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Jan 30, 2021, 6:09:48 PMJan 30
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I had a bit of a moan on SC and WOS about not getting any entries for a week. And then, within a few hours... boom! I was inundated with literally *a message*. It came from CSSCGC veteran Steve McCrea, a.k.a. Kweepa, who wanted to send me a maze game called "Cretans" that would have graced the pages of Sinclair Programs in 1982.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review004.html

This game is so graphically minimalist that, despite its use of the POINT function for collision detection, I think it could be de-converted for the ZX81. I remind you all, that's what the Green Challenge is all about!

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/challenges.html

TMD2003

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Feb 5, 2021, 1:51:30 PMFeb 5
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Well... that was an eventful week, in which I've been so distracted with a medical scare that I forgot to update the original source of the Crap Games Competition! So I'll take up the slack now.

On 31st January, Hedge1970 from the Spectrum Computing forum put himself in pole position to host next year's contest. What do you get if you cross James May with Pete Waterman? In one way, you get me. And in another way, you get a fanatical dedication to model railways. That's what you can experience with Hedge's "Mono-Rail Simulator":
https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review005.html

And on 3rd February, John Connolly paid me back for all the games I sent him last year, some of which were for weird and wonderful machines. Taking on the White Challenge to program on a machine h'd never tried before, he learned a bit of FORTH and wrote his entry on the JUPITER ACE! It looks like a ZX80 with a Spectrum keyboard, it speaks a weird language, and John's effort was similar to learning just enough French to ask each other the way to the beach in annoyingly loud voices. A dreadful pun on a Biblical verse gives us the very simplistic "Genesis 1:28". But I'll say it again: it's on a JUPITER ACE!
https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review006.html

TMD2003

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Feb 7, 2021, 11:24:55 AMFeb 7
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Jamie Bradbury tackled the Z88 for last year's competition, so I'm hoping that he's going to repeat that feat with some non-Spectrum machinery this year as well (I suggest the QL or the SAM Coupé, or preferably both). But for now he's brought us a 48K Spectrum game. It's called "Battle From Below"; it's a two-player game, so I've had a bit of trouble trying to play it with one hand for each player and this is reflected in the review. But it's also a "charity single" of sorts, dedicated as it is to a friend in need, even if he is more interested in the Bread Bin from 'Murica that has lots of colours, all of them dull.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review007.html

TMD2003

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Feb 15, 2021, 6:45:00 PMFeb 15
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Gah! What's all this Bitcoin spam doing blocking up the bathplug?

Anyway, more news: another hurdle has been crossed: the first author with multiple entries. Jamie Bradbury has submitted "Blind Snake Moan". No, I don't know what the "Moan" is all about either, but the "Snake" is obvious, and the "Blind" is best explained as "I can see the snake, but what am I trying to hit?"

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review008.html

TMD2003

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Feb 19, 2021, 4:03:36 PMFeb 19
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Get lost, Italian spammers! I'd prefer to hear from Alessandro Grussu or Gabriele Amore or similar from the land of pasta and Ferraris, because they know what they're talking about.

Meanwhile, what's this? I did say this was comp.sys.SINCLAIR and not comp.sys.spectrum - and to that end the QL has joined the party, courtesy of Dilwyn Jones, one of the foremost authorities on Sir Clive's odd business machine with two microdrives. "Don't Shoot the QL" says Dilwyn - though you can shoot everything else, especially the Golden Macs!

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review009.html

TMD2003

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Feb 21, 2021, 3:57:12 PMFeb 21
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We have a Crap Game Grudge Match on our hands! In the green, yellow and blue corner, it's Alexandre Colella, representing Brazil, who sent "Pixel Perfect Shot" on the opening day of the competition. And now, the challenger in the sky blue and white corner, representing Argentina, is Darío Ruellan. Let's get rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreadyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to rrrrumbllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllle, as the wrestling commentators in 'Murica would shout, at great length... it's time to unleash... er... "Shower Simulator"! In which you... have a shower.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review010.html

TMD2003

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Feb 24, 2021, 7:04:18 PMFeb 24
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First, I've updated the package for Shower Simulator, so that there's a version that runs on 48K models. Neither will work on a 128K Spectrum, though, unless you want SPECTRUM and PLAY all over the screen.

As for today, if your meagre pocket money never stretched to a copy of 3D Deathchase in 1983, Rob Edwards has the answer, that would have been a fine addition to the type-in listings on the day... and only 38 years late! It's "2D Deathchase", which aims to capture as much of Micromega's original as possible in 4K of BASIC and a whiff of machine code.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review011.html

TMD2003

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Feb 26, 2021, 4:13:34 PMFeb 26
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Sound the trumpets - because here's a first for the CSSCGC in 25 years: multiple QL entries!

72-year-old Steve Poole might also be the oldest entrant to the competition ever, though that's not something I can check easily. Anyway, that means he was 35 when the QL was first launched, and remembers those days so well he wants to take us right back to what the QL Forum call "The Wild West". His game is entirely based in text mode, though with four or eight colour graphics (only three at a time are ever used at most, mind!) and it's called... "Invaders" - no more than that.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review012.html

If anyone ever sees this message, I get the impression that comp.sys.SINCLAIR was always a misnomer - but because it wasn't comp.sys.spectrum, I've taken the name of this group at face value. And it's paying off.

The ZX81's 40th birthday is in a week. Will I get a ZX81 entry in time?

Duncan Snowden

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Feb 27, 2021, 8:18:06 PMFeb 27
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On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 13:13:33 -0800 (PST)
TMD2003 <h49...@gmail.com> wrote:

> If anyone ever sees this message, I get the impression that
> comp.sys.SINCLAIR was always a misnomer - but because it wasn't
> comp.sys.spectrum, I've taken the name of this group at face value.
> And it's paying off.

I'd say, back in the glory days[1], it was 93% Spectrum, 1% ZX81, 1% QL,
and 5% crisps.

> The ZX81's 40th birthday is in a week. Will I get a ZX81 entry in
> time?

The suspense is killing me.

[1] [Counts on fingers] Tw... twenty years ago? Hang on... that can't
be right. [Sounds of hastily-scribbled calculation] Yep, twenty years.
Crikey. I'll be late for my tea.

--
Duncan Snowden.
0 OK, 0:1


TMD2003

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Feb 28, 2021, 10:29:59 AMFeb 28
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> I'd say, back in the glory days[1], it was 93% Spectrum, 1% ZX81, 1% QL,
> and 5% crisps.
I haven't had a packet of crisps since July. Not so coincidentally, that's the last time I did any grocery shopping in person, as opposed to having to rely on the internet.

> > The ZX81's 40th birthday is in a week. Will I get a ZX81 entry in
> > time?
> The suspense is killing me.
I do hope that is an admission that there's one on the way. Is it?

Anyway... Kerl, who was busy on the Crap Game front in November and December - and swiped the Most Crap Game award at the last minute - is now launching an assault on my competition, in which the prize value has been increased. Featuring our favourite amorphous blue blob from the early days and gameplay so frustrating that those of you who still have any hair will tear it all out, Kerl brings you: "Horace and the Vikings".

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review013.html

TMD2003

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Mar 5, 2021, 6:35:43 PMMar 5
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GAH! Aren't there any mods to deal with the Spam? Never mind corned beef sandwiches for mowing prowess, I'll get some bread and barbecue sauce and I'll bloody eat it myself.

Anyway: for a few more minutes at least, it's the ZX81's 40th birthday! And nobody had sent mine any presents in the form of Crap Games. It was getting all emo and threatening to slit its capacitors and spill electrolyte all over my clean carpet. Disaster has been averted at the last minute - at least, with enough last minutes left that I could play it and post the review before midnight - in the form of Mark Kinsey's "Don't Panic" which is themed around exactly what you think it is (and it's not Dad's Army).

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review014.html

Guesser

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Mar 5, 2021, 6:43:13 PMMar 5
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On 2021-03-05 23:35, TMD2003 wrote:
> Aren't there any mods
No. And don't complain to google about it either or they'll break their
archive of the group again.

TMD2003

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Mar 6, 2021, 6:16:51 AMMar 6
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Eish!

I know I said in the Official Rules that "politically contentious" games might not get a favourable review, but if anyone wants to write anything where groups such as CSS are saved from the Evil Empire in some way (even if it's just a basic shoot-'em-up) I might be inclined to give it extra points.

Once CSSCGC Towers has moved (in under a month) I will be looking into a ProtonMail account. Because I realise the irony in grumbling about the Evil Empire from one of their addresses...

TMD2003

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Mar 6, 2021, 3:43:57 PMMar 6
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A day later, and several dollars shorter, Jamie Bradbury is going for quantity over (intentionally meagre) quality, with his third entry: "ZX Chuntey Inspector", which might have been amusing were it not for the fact that it is terminally broken. Approach this one with caution!

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review015.html

And if anyone is actually reading here, remind yourselves of how the scoring system works, and you'll soon see why the first entry that has scored 1/10 for attainment *isn't* the leader for Most Crap Game Of The Year:

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/scoring.html

TMD2003

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Mar 13, 2021, 4:34:05 PMMar 13
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As the contents of CSSCGC Towers is boxed and shunted into ever more compact spaces, the crapstravaganza continues unabated. Paul E. Collins has returned for a second stab at this year's competition, with a game in which stabbing is not recommended. "Balloonatix" by name, the last three syllables of that name is what it may create, especially to those with coordination-compromising neurological maladies.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review016.html

TMD2003

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Apr 4, 2021, 4:07:45 PMApr 4
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CSSCGC Towers is now fully relocated to the marshlands of Cambridgeshire, and in celebration, there are TWO new ZX81 entries!

The first one of these, "MotoRace81" by Colin Williams, was originally sent to me on 5th March, i.e. on the ZX81's actual birthday. Google's mail server took the message, swept it under the carpet into the folder marked "Spam", and it was 25 days before I saw it. Fortunately, I found it just in time. It's about 2.4K of machine code, so it should keep your reflexes entertained.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review017.html

The second one, submitted a day and a half ago (and which I forgot to post here instantly, yet again), is "Camel Racing" by Salvador Camacho. Apparently it's based on a Spanish fairground attraction, though seeing as I only visit Spain every 20 years on average, I can't say I've seen it myself. It's about 7.6K of BASIC, so it runs at a more leisurely pace.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review018.html

TMD2003

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Apr 20, 2021, 2:34:10 PMApr 20
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After two further weeks away and three more days of Google hiding entries from me...

Rejoice! The drought has been broken. After I had a bit of a gripe about the lack of entries recently, a couple of Americans who'd finally completed a game they started writing on a TS1000 in *1983* said I could include it in the CSSCGC, the same day as they'd published it in a thread on Sinclair ZX World. (One said "put this in your competition!", the other sent it to me at the required email address, thus confirming that they really did mean it.)

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review019.html

"Zonkey Kong" is a clone of... some game involving a big ape and a short Italian plumber, for the 16K ZX81 (and, as you might expect, also the 16K TS1000). It is, most likely, the least crap of all the ZX81 entries in CSSCGC history, going all the way back to the first one in 2004. And the review was long enough (over 1,300 words) that I had to cut it down before publishing it, that's how much I had to say... even though there can't be anyone who doesn't know what the game involves!

I did not in any way fiddle the score so that two occasional visitors to the Sinclair multi-forum-verse end up having to run next year's competition. Hedge1970's Mono-Rail Simulator is still leading on that front, because as far as I can tell, his game is bug-free and Zonkey Kong... isn't (hopefully you don't find out one of them the hard way if loading it on a real ZX81, which I intend to do at some stage).

OldbieOne

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Apr 30, 2021, 11:53:09 AM (12 days ago) Apr 30
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Excited to try this on a ZX81 :)

--
OldbieOne

The One Who Tells It Like It Is (TM)
Brought to you by RetroPC w/Windows v4.0.950B


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TMD2003

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Apr 30, 2021, 3:37:57 PM (12 days ago) Apr 30
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On Friday, April 30, 2021 at 4:53:09 PM UTC+1, OldbieOne wrote:
> Excited to try this on a ZX81 :)

The authors are going to make some corrections to it, though the original release will be the CSSCGC version for all time. And as I've had another blank week with no entries, why not change that? Or if anyone else is still reading, why not do the same...

TMD2003

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May 4, 2021, 5:22:32 PM (8 days ago) May 4
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Hooray! Finally, there's another entry, and we're up to 20 now. One more and I equal the number of entries in Paul E. Collins' 2002 competition. I was hoping to have passed that milestone by the end of March, mind...

Anyway, Daniel "McFly" Aguilar's "Magiapotagia" is not a game as such, more a demonstration of a Spectrum performing MAGIC! that would astound the people of 40-something years ago. It would have been just fine for the type-in listing pages of (insert magazine here, probably Popular Computing Weekly), so that's fine by me!

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review020.html

TMD2003

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May 11, 2021, 3:05:26 PM (yesterday) May 11
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Big News!

We have our first entry in the Green Challenge for porting... or should that be *recycling* games, CSSCGC or otherwise, to new systems. Tobias Fröschle has taken Einar Saukas' 10-line ZX81 text micro-adventure from 2016 - which was in itself a conversion of a Spectrum original co-authored with Digital Prawn in 2007 - and converted it for the QL! It's definitely derived from the ZX81 version, and it fits into one line of SuperBASIC.

Presenting, technically not for the first time, "Minimal Caves":

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review021.html

Do you know what this means? Well, do you?

There are now more QL entries in this year's competition than there were in its entire previous history! All the way from 1996 to 2020, there were only ever two QL entries, and one of them was mine, right at the end of last year.
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