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



Author:  Jamie Bradbury Model:  48K Spectrum Format:    .TZX
Submission date:  14 February 2021 Documentation:  none Tested on:  Spectaculator 8.0
AN ENTRY FOR THE YELLOW CHALLENGE (although only just...)

Download it here

"I hold this truth to be self evident, that all crap games are crap, but some crap games are crapper than others... I present a brand new concept in crap games: 'Blind Snake™.' Like Snake, only you are blind. That is to say, you know where you have been - presumably from the scent of your trail - but (critically) not where you are going."
- Jamie Bradbury

Two games in eight days? That's good going, Mr B. We've had plenty of CSSCGC Snake games in the past, and LD-Snake was the one I singled out for winning the Jewel of Ankhel if such a phenomenal feat of programming (to so little actual visual effect) had been submitted this year. But I must confess I was a bit sceptical about the concept the way Jamie described it. Would he try to fob me off with a game in which a black snake moved around on a black background with no means of knowing where the head, body or targets were? The Goolus were sharpening their spears...

...and Rick came along with his pistol and shot them all. Whether or not this would have made it as a type-in back in the day would be down to the editor's discretion, but it's fine by me. This is a regular Snake game, in which you can see the snake, you can see how long its body is, and you can see where you've been by the white tunnel it makes through the red playing area. All you can't see is the target you're trying to hit, which probably means Jamie didn't have to define a UDG for it - and I can't check, because he's run the game through a compiler so I can't examine the listing. This does at least mean that the fastest of the five speeds (denoted as "insane") is genuinely fast, to the point where I can only really handle the third speed, but even the most ham-fisted keyboard-user should be able to handle "easy" level 1. The controls are W/S/A/D, which is a tad tricky for me at the moment as my left hand is mildly incapacitated at the moment and there's no redefine option, but I've been trying it right-handed and I'm not much better at it that way. Q/A/O/P would have been the preferable option, as ever...

So, make your way through each screen, methodically chewing away the red background and turning it white, until you happen to find the secret piece of fruit (allegedly) that will score ten points, reset the screen to red and add one section to the snake. This does introduce one bit of difficulty - until the snake fully reveals itself, what you don't see of the body is still there and is still deadly, so you could crash into it and only know when you get the Game Over screen, which is what qualifies this game for the Yellow Challenge on the flimsiest of pretexts. And you only get one life, so you're going to be seeing it a lot. With heavy use of savestates I managed to get the snake so long that it far exceeds the width of the screen, so you'll need to plan your route of continuous doubling-back ever more carefully.

Other than that... it's Snake, just with this slight twist to it, so I don't need to say much more. It doesn't hit the heights of Andy Jenkinson's Blind Sweeper from last year's CSSCGC, which was a genuinely new take on the "blind" theme (to me, anyway...) but neither does it scrape the ground below the bottom of the barrel in an attempt to separate me from my 1.88 and more than one packet of Rolos. It appears to be worth three masks for attainment - around the same level as Jamie's previous effort and also Mr. Don't! - though, unlike that game, if you're good enough at it, it'll go on for ever (at least, I played it long enough with savestates that I can just about conclude it doesn't have an ending). For effort I award it three Ricks - there's no loading screen or any extra frippery, so this reflects how much programming I think is required to generate 12K of code after compilation. Because the link to the Yellow Challenge is so very tenuous, I can't award a fourth. Three of each, then, which seems to be around the level I'm getting so far.

Also, I have absolutely no idea what that "Moan" in the title is all about.

Now, does anyone want to send me something utterly, miserably wretched, but which is still infused with extra bells and whistles that it makes a genuine claim on the Mucho Generoso Prize?