The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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TMD2003
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The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by TMD2003 »

There a few days of the year to run, but one thing has been abundantly clear since May: for 2021, I will be running the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition. I have officially launched the "preview" on Spectrum Computing (and on World of Spectrum, which gets less attention these days), and I'm not going to repeat the bulk of the post - read it there.

But, to keep things short: it's 25 years since the first CSSCGC in 1996, and also, because 2019 went without one, this is the 25th edition of the competition. For this fortunate collision of two ways of seeing a quarter of a century in business, I'm pushing the boat out far, far into the ocean of dubious-quality programming. And for extra hundreds and thousands on the ice cream, 2021 is also the year that the ZX81 blows out 40 candles on its birthday cake.

This is where you, the people of Sinclair ZX World, come in.

In previous years, the highest number of ZX81 submissions in any one year is seven - in 2004, which is also the first year that anyone ever thought to submit a ZX81 entry. 2004 also saw the first ZX80 entry, and, unknown to me until a few months ago, I was the one who did it! Since then, ZX80 entries have dribbled in at an even slower rate, though 2018 saw five of them, and that's the year that holds the record. In total, there have been 36 entries for the ZX81, and 10 for the ZX80. That is, I remind you, over 24 years. And I am responsible for 20% of the total of the ZX80 entries.

The 2020 competition has only added one title to the pile for both of the old black-and-white machines. And, of course, no prizes for guessing who wrote them both. (Me, obviously). There was even a Challenge to write a ZX80 game to celebrate its 40th birthday, but unfortunately John only allowed "28 days for delivery", and I had no idea of what I could do to enter the challenge! Later on in the year, with THAT THING FROM CHINA THAT WE'RE ALL SICK OF keeping us all indoors, and with the internet out for an afternoon, I had a strange and bizarre idea which became a ZX80 game: Complex Maths... WITH DRAGONS!, which showed that the ZX80 can do calculations with complex numbers if programmed correctly.

I will also be issuing some challenges, and one of them is aimed squarely at the members of this forum: write a game in machine code for the 1K ZX80 - or maybe not even a game, just a demo or utility or... something that could have been published in Sinclair Programs in 1982. Essentially, prove that it's possible. The magazines of t'old days were full of very crude ZX81 games that could be typed in on an unexpanded machine. I hear that the ZX80 had more of its 1K free than a ZX81 did... so that's even more room to circumvent all the compromises that the ZX80 had!

Later on in the year I decided to complete the set of Sinclair machines and wrote Illuminati for the 16K ZX81. Anyone who's going to write a Crap Game for the ZX81, it's not as if there aren't already plenty of examples of how to do it... and how not to do it. I'm told there was even a ZX81 version of Cassette 50, though I've never seen one in the wild.

This forum also appreciates the Z88. And that's a good thing because 2020 saw only the second ever submission for the Z88: the very topical Ronaprise USS 19-2020. Anyone who's good at writing BASIC junk for the Z88, crack on with it!

And even better than that would be if there's anyone who can program in FORTH, and thus write something on a Jupiter Ace. This is a machine I have an emulator for (EightyOne, providing it's less broken than its QL emulation), but I have no idea how to compile and load the program, so if you're going to take up this challenge, make sure you write clear loading instructions to go with it.

Some of you may say "but this is a technical forum, we're mainly interested in how the circuit boards work and which transistors we can replace and so on and so forth". Well, in that case, see programming a game as a technical exercise - particularly if it's on a machine that you've never tried to program before, which is another of my official challenges. Over on SC we have Ast A. Moore who's generally regarded as a genius; he doesn't have much interest in games, but still wrote A Yankee In Iraq to show off his trick with the floating bus on the +2A. I have no idea what it means, but the game is smoother than a baby's bottom.

I may not make maximum publicity of each game on this thread, it might take the form of a weekly update on who's written what, with links to the reviews. Any time there's a ZX81 or ZX80 entry - or something else that's obscure and presumably-SZXW-related - I'll make an immediate update. The 2008 competition, which was open to the largest range of machines, had 130 submissions in the end, and is also the only year where there's been a submission for the Jupiter Ace.

The competition will open on the stroke of midnight (UK time) on 1st January 2021, and will close at two minutes to midnight on 30th November, to allow time to sort out any dangling loose ends, such as multiple entries tied for the winning post.

I'm after "maximum effort, minumum attainment" - so take basic, half-baked ideas, turn them into a playable game of some sort, and then embellish that with... whatever the limitations of the ZX81 and ZX80 allow you to do. Look at Illuminati to see what I did, and you'll get the idea. Write extensive instructions and a backstory, make a cassette inlay card, anything to give a Crap Game something above and beyond what it deserves!

Here's the official website. It contains all the contact details.
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by TMD2003 »

Jools Holland has called it. THE COMPETITION IS OPEN!

Get your entries in! Remember: I'm looking for six or more ZX80 entries over the course of the year, and DOUBLE DIGITS for the ZX81. Don't let me down, pre-Spectrum fanatics!
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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Crikey!

Alexandre Colella has sent P.P.S. - Pixel Perfect Shot for the 16K Spectrum... on the first day of the competition! And to think that my original plan was to open it in February.

I wasn't going to post reviews every time they come in here, but this one was so fast that I thought it best to publicise that someone, even in far-away Brazil, is wide awake.

So, when am I going to get my first ZX81 or ZX80 entry, then? When I do, I'll even post a screenshot.
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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END OF WEEK 1:

Just the one game so far. The 2020 competition had three by now. Obviously there are none for the pre-Spectrum machines.

The UK is now crushed underneath yet another lockdown, that I predict to last until the end of March, thus providing extra time in front of a computer. Under those circumstances - in fact, UK-based or not, MUSH! *cracks whip*
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by TMD2003 »

END OF WEEK 2:

We're up to two entries, so it's one per week so far. 13th January saw Mr. Don't! by Dave Hughes added to the Spectrum pile.

Still there is no sign of any entry for the black-and-white machines, and certainly nothing on the horizon yet of the BLUE CHALLENGE to make a rudimentary 1K ZX80 machine code game-of-sorts. Will there be? Time will hopefully tell in the positive.
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by TMD2003 »

END OF WEEK 3:

So far, a 100% success rate in posting these weekly reports! Only 45 to go, probably, and some tying up of loose ends in December. At this rate, with one submission a week, I'll almost get to 50, but of course I WANT MORE.

We are now up to three entries: on 19th January, CSSCGC veteran Paul E. Collins sent ASMR Eye Examination for the 48K Spectrum. This has counted, not entirely intentionally, as an entry for the Magenta Challenge to include obscure and little-used commands and functions. But, mainly, it counts as the Red Challenge to make a game based on a YouTube personality, this time Heather Feather, who Paul describes as "lovely" and who I can barely hear. And even for someone my age and musical history, my hearing is relatively pin-sharp.

This does mean that I am still looking for entries to other challenges, not least the Blue Challenge to write some machine code for a ZX80. Also, and I know I sound like a broken record here, I'm looking for some ZX81 entries for the machine's 40th birthday. Who will answer the call?
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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END OF WEEK 4:

NOTHING to add! Not a sausage, or indeed, a crap game about sausages. Nada. Zilch. Neddily-diddly-doodly-ding-dong squat. To fill up the time, I went back to Minecraft for the first time in a year and a half and once that takes me I can be gone for weeks. It was five years, first time round.

But hope springs eternal of a promised game for a computer that's not new to the history of the competition, but hasn't been seen in many years... what could it be? Find out... very soon, I would hope.

It should be of interest to some of the people on this forum, at least...
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by 1024MAK »

I wish to point out that the right honourable gentleman running this competition will also accept entries for the various ZX80 / ZX81 like computers and their clones.

Anyone fancy writing anything to run on the Power 3000 / Lambda 8300 ?

Or maybe someone who bought one of PokeMon’s creations would like to give it some exercise?

Or maybe you fancy giving it a bash on a Minstrel?

Mark
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

Post by TMD2003 »

END OF WEEK 5:

And I've had an eventful week. Test Cricket is back on terrestrial TV, and I've had a medical scare which will hopefully be resolved in my favour by the time I come to make the seventh or eighth of these weekly round-ups. And my constant cracking of the whip has paid off, because, irrespective of mobility problems, I've had three games to review!

On 30th January, entry #4 - Cretans by Steve McCrea.
On 31st January, entry #5 - Mono-Rail Simulator by Hedge1970.

But, what is this, that might be of interest to a handful of people here? Landing on my virtual doorstep was a submission for the JUPITER ACE! No, your eyes will not deceive you.

Genesis 1:28 was entered by John Connolly, on 3rd February, possibly as payback for me sending him games for the QL and SAM Coupé for last year's competition. John's not exactly enamoured with the Ace, but learned just enough FORTH to make this bare-bones game that's a dreadful pun on the Bible verse in the title. Ned Flanders might not approve...

Image

1024MAK wrote: Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:23 am I wish to point out that the right honourable gentleman running this competition will also accept entries for the various ZX80 / ZX81 like computers and their clones.
Anyone fancy writing anything to run on the Power 3000 / Lambda 8300 ?
Or maybe someone who bought one of PokeMon’s creations would like to give it some exercise?
Or maybe you fancy giving it a bash on a Minstrel?
Cheers for reminding everyone, and it's not as if I didn't make it abundantly clear in the first post that this is very definitely not just a Spectrum competition. I mean, I've just had an entry for the JUPITER ACE! It was worth saying that again, it's only the third time it's happened and the other two entries were in 2008. Entries for the Lambda 8300 are just as welcome, because EightyOn emulates it just as it does with the Ace, and I don't think it has any problems. And surely anything that works on a Minstrel will also work on the original equivalent, and vice versa. Am I right?

There's a landmark coming up that I also tried to stress as much as possible: it's the ZX81's 40th birthday on 5th March, and as such I think it is worth celebrating what could be squeezed out of the unexpanded machine's minuscule memory. All those listings in the magazines in 1982-83 that were short, snappy affairs crammed with NOT PI and SGN PI and VAL and CODE, just to save vital bytes when so few were available; let's have a few of those! Practically by definition they were Crap Games that fit the remit of this competition, because marvels of the likes of 1K Chess were few and far between.

As Delia Smith once said to the crowd at a Norwich City home game, let's be 'avin' you!
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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TMD2003
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Re: The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2021: 25th edition extravaganza!

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END OF WEEK 6:

Just the one this week - Jamie Bradbury's two-player test bed, Battle From Below. Find someone to play it with, and send your best vibes to Simon H on the title screen who's in a bad, bad way.

Now, three weeks to go until the ZX81's 40th birthday! Don't leave the old black-and-white door wedge crying in a corner with a tub of Lidl's knock-off version of Häagen-Dazs and a bottle of cheap Chardonnay that hasn't even had Big Clive's SodaStream within a mile of it.

Mush!
Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!
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