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 AMApr 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


Message has been deleted

TMD2003

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Apr 30, 2021, 3:37:57 PMApr 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 PMMay 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 PMMay 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.

TMD2003

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May 23, 2021, 5:09:36 PMMay 23
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Here's a game you've all seen before! Not only was its original version submitted to the CSSCGC ten years ago, but it was picked up by some bloke from Vietnam, tweaked a bit, renamed "Flappy Bird" and the next thing you know, it was a major sensation.

And now, better late than never, and in glorious ROM-graphics-o-vision, Salvador Camacho brings us the ZX81 version of "Zhunder Vlade":

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review022.html

This is a Green Challenge entry exactly as I worded it on the Challenges page - an existing Spectrum CSSCGC entry down-converted for the ZX81. Other such combinations (even up-conversions from ZX81 to Spectrum, Spectrum to QL, Spectrum to SAM Coupé, Spectrum to Next, ZX80 to ZX-Uno...) are just as acceptable. I can almost see St. Greta's face contorting itself from her usual sour, joyless expression into something resembling smugness.

TMD2003

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Jun 4, 2021, 3:56:38 PMJun 4
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I was going to say "to my utter dismay, I've had a barren week again". But Google have been up to their old tricks again, hiding CSSCGC entries in my Spam folder! Hence the one entry I've had this week is five days old but I've only just seen it today. It comes from former host Lee Prince, who's promised that there's more to come!

What do you get if you cross Head Over Heels with Viz and include none of the gameplay from either of those games?

NSFW-ish and not for professional offence-takes (you know who I mean): https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review023.html

Look out for something for a completely different machine very soon! That's all I'll say for now...

TMD2003

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Jun 5, 2021, 6:59:20 PMJun 5
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Stop the press! This one is a deviation from the norm.

Do you have a Cambridge Computer Z88? Do you want to play Boggle on it? Do you have a friend to play with? If you own and use a Z88... you probably don't have any friends. But isn't it good to know that, theoretically at least, it is possible? Jamie Bradbury's "Z88 Boggle" proves it.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review024.html

TMD2003

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Jun 6, 2021, 2:29:32 PMJun 6
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Stop the press again! Big news from CSSCGC Towers: the ZX80 makes its debut in this year's competition! And not before time, either.

I'm strangely fond of Noughts and Crosses games, as that's what I did the first time I ever tried to program a ZX80. After consultation with the tragically-now-late Jim Langmead, he accepted it for the 2004 CSSCGC and it became the first ever entry for the ZX80 (with a suitably scathing review on top of that). Salvador Camacho is now repeating what I did 17 years ago, only this time, it's in MACHINE CODE! (Well... it's written in C, and compiled with Z88DK, but it works.) It doesn't meet the Blue Challenge, mind, because it requires more than 1K. But look what an expanded ZX80 can do, with MACHINE CODE!

Presenting... "Tic Tac Toe Hell". Why that title? Try it and you'll see...

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review025.html

TMD2003

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Jun 13, 2021, 6:49:30 PMJun 13
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Who was a dingus? I was a dingus. All that publicity I did for the latest competition entry, and I forgot the one place where it all started...

Are you missing much, though? In one way, yes, in another way, no. This is the first 128K Spectrum "game" for this year - actually, that's in the loosest sense of the word - and it's also the first entry to the Cyan Challenge. On the other hand, it's also flogging the deadest of dead horses that actually isn't dead and flatly refuses to die. Look up two posts above, and see the raw excitement of a Z88 entry for this year, how I managed to get it going on OZvm, struggled a lot with ZEsarUX (a common problem, that), and as the Spectrum Computing thread was treated to helpful posts from César about how it's done...

Lee Prince wrote "Advanced Adding A TXT File To An EPROM Card For A Z88 Emulator Simulator" to celebrate. In a way.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review026.html

TMD2003

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Jun 17, 2021, 1:44:20 PMJun 17
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I'm actually surprised that Andy "Uglifruit" Jenkinson's five entries to last year's competition were his first ever attempts (as far as I can find, anyway). On that note, here's number six - as ever, a cut above the standard CSSCGC fayre, which I will openly encourage. Make your Crap Games as polished and professional-looking as possible while still coming under the official header of "Crap" and you'll go far in my book - although not towards the £1.88 and three packets of Rolos that are currently in Lee Prince's grasp.

Take a good look at "Rubik Code" and ask yourself: haven't we seen something like this before? All will be revealed in the review.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review027.html

TMD2003

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Jun 19, 2021, 5:57:46 PMJun 19
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Back in t'old days when Jeremy Beadle was still alive and was making the little-remembered Beadle's Hot Shots which was a sort-of-proto-YouTube TV show, former British Touring Car Championship driver Eugene O'Brien sent in a video of him playing this unhinged nutter called "HARD AS NAILS!", a catchphrase which he would howl to camera as loud as his Peugeot 405 from the 1993 BTCC season with a gigantic hole in its exhaust.

Change that final S to a Z and what do we have... our latest CSSCGC entry! Dave Sloan's "Hard as Nailz" is... well, what do you think it is?

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review028.html

TMD2003

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Jun 24, 2021, 7:04:18 AMJun 24
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Gonzalo Medina says this "programming" lark is a bit new to him. Is he telling the truth? Judge for yourselves, possibly with the help of a Spanish dictionary, with "Las Aventuras de Eustaquio I". I've provided a Google-translated version of the "historia" for those who no hablo Español, while Gonzalo's own instructions are in Spanish and the Spanish equivalent of Zero Winglish.

Somebody set up us the game:

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review029.html

TMD2003

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Jun 25, 2021, 6:45:50 AMJun 25
to
Number 30 for the year - so I'm now tied for entries with the 2016 competition - is a second entry from Andy Jenkinson, the bizarrely-titled "Cliff Richard Loves Rihanna... FACT!"

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review030.html

Written mostly in BASIC but enhanced by 5.7K of machine code, it's a sort-of-dating-sim based on some childhood playground game that showed which boys and girls secretly loved each other and which had cooties (or does that only happen in 'MURICA?) It features a proportionally-spaced font that Andy put to good use in Sir Clive's Ink Lair last year, an AY soundtrack that technically doesn't need a 128K Spectrum (but will require a Melodik AY Soundbox), and has the potential to throw a sack of spanners in the works of more friendships and relationships than (anti-)social media ever could. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

TMD2003

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Jun 30, 2021, 1:50:04 PMJun 30
to
And now for some action from the world of Sir Clive's strangely *long* business machine with those even stranger miniature 8-track cartridges.

It's Steve Poole's second QL entry for the year - when did you ever hear of two QL entries in one year by the same author - or even two QL entries by the same author in the entire history of the competition? You've heard of it now. It was developed - if that's the right word - from what Steve describes as a "screensaver", in as much as the QL ever needs those, and it's called, merely... "Thor Game". Play it with QPC2 in 8-bit colour mode for best results.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review031.html

TMD2003

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Jul 11, 2021, 6:17:28 AMJul 11
to
Crikey! I seem to have omitted to post an entry here. This should have been posted on 7th July...

Salvador Camacho's been busy again with Z88DK and a machine that can't handle sound, colour or UDGs. Unfortunately for my huge push to get ZX80 entries into the competition, it isn't for the ZX80. But fortunately for the equally huge push to get a double-digit number of entries for the ZX81... you know the rest.

"Snail Maze" is a demake of the game that was built into the Sega Master System until some kid(d) called Alex kicked it out again, and it takes up almost all of the expanded ZX81's memory. Imagine how long that'll take to load on real hardware. Good job we have emulators, isn't it?

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review032.html


(There, I think I got away with that...)

TMD2003

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Jul 11, 2021, 6:18:54 AMJul 11
to
(And now for today's thrilling action!)

What do you get if you take a dice game invented by GURPS creator Steve Jackson (the American Steve Jackson, not the British Steve Jackson who founded Games Workshop and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks) and attempt to make a Spectrum game out of it?

If the programmer is Andy Jenkinson, you get a Crap Game that really isn't crap at all, and ticks more of the boxes I've specifically asked for than any previous entry to this year's competition. You want an AY soundtrack, you want a custom 8x8 font [i]and[/i] one that's scalable and actually drawn on the screen, you want a loading screen with an extra background story, you want weird and unloved BASIC commands made useful, and - on top of that - you want a game that has some kind of AI, and not only works without any bugs that I can find, but is actually amusing for a while?

Well, I do - and that's what "Zombie Dice" is.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review033.html

What we have here is this year's leading contender for Least Crap Game - and with it, a new potential host for the 2022 CSSCGC.

TMD2003

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Jul 21, 2021, 3:40:03 PMJul 21
to
The spams are getting worse here. Now they're not just in Italian.

Anyway, to non-spam business (no beans, sausage or egg either, but plenty of noodles, beansprouts and soy sauce).

Salvador Camacho has been busy again, writing in C, running it through Z88DK and producing a ZX81 machine code game that resembles a type-in from 1983 but which runs faster than anything ever found in the pages of Sinclair Programs. This one appears not to be a clone of an existing game. It's called "Wall of China" - and no, it's not Breakout by a different name.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review034.html

It's a great day for my tenure of the CSSCGC: I've equalled the record for the number of ZX81 entries in a year, which was set in 2004 during the late Jim Langmead's hosting of the competition - it was the first year ZX81 entries were ever seen, and one of the contributions was my utterly magnificent Advanced Horseshoe Magnet Simulator. I've heard from Salvador that he's got another game in the works, so unless that's for the ZX80 (which I suppose it could be), the record will be broken some time in August.

Volker Bartheld

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Jul 22, 2021, 2:27:02 AMJul 22
to
On Wed, 21 Jul 2021 12:40:02 -0700 (PDT), TMD2003 wrote:
> The spams are getting worse here. Now they're not just in Italian.

I had good success with these Filters (40tude Dialog - RegExes for Forte
Agent and Thunderbird might be similar):

# Crosspost to more than 2 groups
!delete Xpost %>2

# Filter all-caps subjects (4 and more capitals in a row)
!delete Subject {(?-i)^[^a-z]{4,}$}

# Mailinator
!delete,ignore From {<[\w\.]+@mailinator\.com>$}

# Invalid From address
!delete From {<\w+@domain\.invalid>$}

# aioe.org
!delete Message-ID: {^<[\w\$]+@[\w\.]*aioe\.org>}
!delete Header {^(X-Complaints-To:\s+abuse@aioe\.org)}

# dizum.com
!delete Message-ID: {^<[\w\$]+@[\w\.]*dizum\.com>}

# mixmin.com
!delete Message-ID: {^<[\w\$]+@news\.mixmin\.net>}

# solani.org
!delete Message-ID: {^<[\w\$]+@solani\.org>}

# news.netfront.net
!delete Header {^(X-Complaints-To:\s+news@netfront\.net)}
!delete Header {^(X-Trace:\s+\w+\.netfront\.net)}
!delete Header {\s+mail-complaints-to=\"ne...@netfront.net\"}
!delete Header {^Organization:\s+Netfront\s+.*$}

HTH.

Volker

TMD2003

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Aug 6, 2021, 8:11:46 AMAug 6
to
For the record, I don't get emailed all the spams, I just see them here clogging up the list of thread titles.

Since my last update there has been a single entry, and I'm only now getting round to posting it because the game is so very basic that it took several evenings to find the right words review it. But I've done so, and I present Steve Poole's third effort for the year, another barest-of-bare-bones game that I see as being the equivalent of a ZX81-style game on the QL, in that everything is kept completely standard (including all the window sizes and positions) with the specific intention of making the code as easy as possible to examine, vary, and improve. Just be aware that you'll need to be on QPC2 for this one rather than QemuLator or anything really old, as it uses SMSQ/E-only features.

It's called "Adrien's Bubble Burster" - Adrien is Steve's grandson, and though I don't know how old he is, the implication is "not very" (probably one digit). Adrien understood how the code worked and was playing around with the commands and values after about *half an hour* of Grand-père d'Angleterre explaining it, and if he can do it, [i]anyone can[/i].

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review035.html

TMD2003

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Aug 7, 2021, 8:43:21 AMAug 7
to
Who likes text adventures? Gareth Pitchford likes text adventures, and sent one last year. Volker Bartheld sent a really big one to the CSSCGC before that (in 2018). So now, Rob Edwards contributes to the pile... with an "adventure" through the grimy streets of a sink estate, in search of a win on the "Lottery" - or, more specifically, a scratchcard.

The sink estate on which it is set is full of criminals, gangsters and the kind of pond slime that makes the nastier characters found in Viz (or its cruder clones) look like the local vicar. Some of them are as old as ten. A particularly unwelcome invasion is by a gang from South America, called the "Goolus", one of which is now wanted by the local (utterly ineffective) police for attacking Rick Dangerous, who was a star of a couple of games 30 years ago but is now old, grey and no longer the action hero he once was (not that it would stop George Lucas trying to make another film about him).

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review036.html

TMD2003

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Aug 16, 2021, 1:38:51 PMAug 16
to
A day after the above update (when I was posting my weekly updates to the forums), an entry was left on Sinclair ZX World rather than being emailed to me, so I didn't see it for a week. But it was for the ZX80! I was excited.

It is, I am annoyed to say, a trainwreck. The .Z81 snapshot didn't work at all, but with a bit of time this morning to investigate, I managed to scrape together a working snapshot by splicing the text from the broken one into a new 2K ZX80 snapshot and saving the result as an .O file. I need not have bothered; it's little more than a few INPUT statements that have almost no effect on what the ZX80 prints before it runs out of screen half way through the listing. And that's nowhere near all the problems.

If anyone's interested, it's called "Sausage". Not officially, it doesn't have a title, but I deleted the message to its author asking for a title before it had even been viewed.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review037.html

TMD2003

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Aug 20, 2021, 4:17:10 PMAug 20
to
Good news! I've had a fourth game from Andy Jenkinson, which is - yet again - the polar opposite of the Crap Scale from the abomination I was forced to remind you about just above. "Codenames" is a card-based board game you may have come across; Andy was playing it with his friends over Zoom during the terrible house arrest period of April-May 2020, and this 48K Spectrum simulation is the (very long overdue) result. I've never played the card game so it took a bit of working out - the on-screen instructions are far clearer than the Wikipedia article on the original. The game doesn't decide on your codewords for you and it doesn't keep track of who is playing at that point - that's for the humans to do, while the Spectrum acts as the game board. Think of it like the huge rotating-disc display from Family Fortunes that Bob Monkhouse, Max Bygraves and Les Dennis stood in front of and said "Our survey said..." followed by generic TV quiz show noises.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review038.html

TMD2003

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Aug 25, 2021, 8:59:13 PMAug 25
to
What did I do to deserve this?

My old pal "Crayon21" from SZXW has been haphazardly mashing the membrane keyboard of the ZX81, and has come out with... "Godzilla". Yes, I've examined the listing. Yes, it really is almost as broken as the previous effort. Can't get the staff these days.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review039.html

TMD2003

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Aug 31, 2021, 7:27:02 PMAug 31
to
Yesterday saw the 40th entry for this year's competition - and as it's for the Z88, that means there are more Z88 entries this year than ever before (as only 2008 and 2020 ever saw one). If it was ever considered bad form to submit two versions of the same game to the CSSCGC in the same year, I'll let that go when it's done on an obscure machine.

Jamie Bradbury saw his own "Z88 Boggle" from earlier in the year, and he saw that it was good - but not quite good enough. He's been learning C, and has completely rewritten the game in C and run it through Z88DK to produce the improved version: "Zoggle". Though it's still little more than an electronic version of the grid of 16 dice - it doesn't actually play the game - it does at least look better now, as much as it can on the Z88's tiny screen.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review040.html

There's even a video of it running on a real Z88:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1W5QdL43KE

TMD2003

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Sep 28, 2021, 5:45:42 PMSep 28
to
Before anyone asks: no, I haven't forgotten that this place exists, nor have I been slacking off from my CSSCGC duties. EVERYONE ELSE, THOUGH, HAS.

I don't know what I said or did to deserve a FOUR-WEEK DROUGHT of CSSCGC entries, but finally it's been broken... with a game I'd first seen a preview of in early July. However, this couldn't have come at a more appropriate time: after the utter drubbing the European Ryder Cup team took at Whistling Straits, why not relive their misery with a Crap Golf Game?

Jamie Bradbury is the man responsible for "Herman Tissies 1D Golf", named after a German amateur who turned up to the 1950 Open at Royal Troon and took 15 shots to clear the notorious par 3 Postage Stamp. The only thing wrong with the name is that, technically, it should be 2D Golf... but I'll let that lie.

Do try not to cry as much as Rory McIlroy did. One of the holes in particular will have that effect.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review041.html

TMD2003

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Sep 30, 2021, 2:30:54 PMSep 30
to
Crap Games... they're like buses. You wait four weeks with nothing on the horizon, and then three turn up at once. You've seen one, now... these two both arrived in my mailbox at gone 11 pm last night.

At 23:08, Phil Hite sent "Dirty Harry Simulator San Francisco". It'll take longer to read the title than it does to see everything in the "game"...

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review042.html

And at 23:59 - even closer to midnight than Iron Maiden warned us about - Paul E. Collins sent "Mines of Magrathea" - possibly intending it to be entry #42, and definitely intending it to be a SAM Coupé game before dreadful gremlins intervened. I'm still trying to convince Paul to bash this into better shape and make the SAM version, because if I get this close to a SAM game without actually getting one, I'll be more annoyed than Arkanoid.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review043.html

TMD2003

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Oct 8, 2021, 3:40:27 PMOct 8
to
I was very, very carried away the other night - i.e. 3rd October - when I should have been posting about the CSSCGC's latest game. And it may not be Christmas, but this is a cracker.

Let me tell you about "Ricky Gervais' Simon". It is, as you may twig, a "Simon" game. You all know what that means. But instead of fixed-pitch beeps, it uses a digitised PCM sample of Ricky Gervais' raucous laugh, which I have linked in the review.

Did I mention that this game fits into 1K? ONE measly kilobyte - game code, sound sample and all?

Did I mention that this game was written ON A ZX80?

Did I mention that it is not 1st April, this is not a joke, and it really exists and can be played on any ZX80 emulator which has some way of emulating the output from the MIC socket (such as EightyOne)?

A round of applause and many, may corned beef sandwiches to John Connolly, I would say.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review044.html

TMD2003

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Oct 18, 2021, 5:18:23 PMOct 18
to
Once again it's been an annoyingly long time since the last entry, but as if to compensate, I had two in one day! I've reviewed both at the same time.

For those of you limited to the 16K Spectrum (I mean the very idea!) who want to get a piece of the action at the World Twenty20 that's happening in the UAE and Oman right now (where it's a lot hotter than in the windy, rainy Marshlands), Steve McCrea (a.k.a. Kweepa) has borrowed "Old Bones" from the BBC Micro's version of Cassette 50 and converted it. Given that the Beeb cost more than twice as much as a 48K Spectrum and it's the computer the posh kids had when I was at school, is it better than the Cassette 50 that we know and wish we didn't? The game is 1.6K of BASIC. Judge for yourselves.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review045.html

Meanwhile, October means Halloween - or at least it does for the people on the other side of the Atlantic in the United States of Sleepy Joe - and "Titanius Angelsmith", who may or may not be a member here, has sent a game that's at least appropriate for the occasion: "Catch the Frankonstins". Indulge yourselves in a bit of Boriel BASIC!

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review046.html

TMD2003

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Nov 1, 2021, 2:20:37 PMNov 1
to
Well, this has been a bumpy landing back into the realm of reviewing.

My old nemesis ,"Crayon21", left a .TZX file parked on Sinclair ZX World, which I'd assumed to be for the ZX81. It turned out to be for the 16K Spectrum. Is "Guess the Cherub" any less of a catastrophically broken mess than its two predecessors? Read the review and decide for yourselves. The answer should be obvious.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review047.html

And then I had a message from Dave Hughes asking if it was OK to send a scene demo. It's been fine before, so I didn't see any reason to reject it. I suspect that "Twinkle Twinkle" is a thinly-disguised reminder that I owe Dave some music for the upcoming WOOT!...

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review048.html

I've managed to crowbar in references to Tim Minchin, Les Dawson, Eric Morecambe and James May between the two reviews. Read them and find out how I did it.

TMD2003

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Nov 9, 2021, 6:44:56 PMNov 9
to
Salvador Camacho's sixth contribution for this year - and fifth for the ZX81 - is "Fall Palo T", a Green Challenge demake - if you can call it that - of Dr BEEP's "Nohzdyve" for the 1K ZX81 with hi-res (which is in turn a demake of a Spectrum game from an episode of Black Mirror). Yes, you heard me correctly: a 16K ZX81 game is a demake of a 1K ZX81 game! Work *that* one out!

url=https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review049.html

TMD2003

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Nov 13, 2021, 1:15:17 PMNov 13
to
Apologies for forgetting to post the last two CSSCGC entries here - although it's not that anybody noticed. And, further in my defence, two has now become three - all of them for the 16K ZX81, and all of them from the meagre programming ability of "Crayon21" from Sinclair ZX World, who knows what ZX81 keywords and functions *do*, but has no concept of how to put them together into a coherent program, so there are unused variables here, unclosed loops there, and an inevitable "Out of screen" error that could occur anywhere. If anyone ever finds this message, reply below with your favourite colour of wax crayon.

"Wilderness Part 1" - https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review050.html
"Minefield" - https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review051.html
"Adventure" - https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review052.html

I would say "don't waste your time", but hear this first: 50 entries for this year's competition means that I will be releasing an EXTRA BRUCIE BONUS GAME at the end of the competition. If anyone sees this message, reply with "Nice to see you, to see you, nice!" or "Good game, good game!" or "Didn't they do well!", or - for those over 70 - "I'm in charge!"

TMD2003

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Nov 15, 2021, 1:07:21 PM (13 days ago) Nov 15
to
No comments about crayons or Bruce Forsyth? Thought not.

Let's get this show back on the road. For all my moaning when there haven't been too many entries and this is reflected on the main website page, right now the four pieces of news - one of which is awful - span only six days. The newest entry comes from "+3code", who I was sure had entered the CSSCGC before, but either hasn't, or the evidence is well hidden.

In "Fishing Simulator"... you go fishing.

A point to note - my constant badgering that I'd like something on a disc format has paid off. +3code writes for the +3, although the game runs perfectly fine on a 16K Spectrum if transferred to tape.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review053.html

Russell Marks

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Nov 16, 2021, 7:04:27 AM (12 days ago) Nov 16
to
TMD2003 <h49...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Apologies for forgetting to post the last two CSSCGC entries here -
> although it's not that anybody noticed.

> If anyone ever finds this message, reply below with your favourite
> colour of wax crayon.

> No comments about crayons or Bruce Forsyth? Thought not.

I like that you acknowledge the CSS in CSSCGC by posting here, but it
was always likely to be a thankless task with few if any responses.

-Rus.

TMD2003

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Nov 16, 2021, 7:10:16 AM (12 days ago) Nov 16
to
On Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at 12:04:27 UTC, Russell Marks wrote:
> I like that you acknowledge the CSS in CSSCGC by posting here, but it
> was always likely to be a thankless task with few if any responses.

...I knew that all along, but it's got to be done. Thing is, posting here *has* done something for this year's competition... you'll see what it is when it's time to unleash the Awards.

Pierre Scotney

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Nov 16, 2021, 4:49:22 PM (11 days ago) Nov 16
to
We are still here, well some of us, from the days of yore.
Thank you for keeping the spirit alive :)
Cheer
Pierre

TMD2003

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Nov 19, 2021, 3:38:29 PM (8 days ago) Nov 19
to
One last game before the weekend!

Salvador Camacho has been busy again on the ZX81, but this time, converting a Spectrum type-in game from a Spanish magazine. Z88DK was not involved at all. In this game, you are the "Escarabajo" - that's a beetle for those who don't know Spanish - and you must avoid being esplattered by the esquares.

https://www.rickdangerous.co.uk/csscgc2021/review054.html

At this point, I should recognise that I'm up to *13* ZX81 entries. One more and I'll have doubled the previous record - so thanks to everyone who's submitted them. Back in April, I would never have believed that this would happen. It's good to see the extra appreciation of the ZX81 in its 40th birthday year.
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