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

 

COMPETITION ENTRY #45: TWINKLE TWINKLE

Author:  Dave Hughes Model:  16K Spectrum Format:    .TAP
Submission date:  29 October 2021 Documentation:  none Tested on:  Spectaculator 8.0

Download it here

50 REM By Dave 'Maestro' Hughes 2021 for the CSSCGC2021.
51 REM Sorry Jim

Well, Dave, at least you're honest.

Full disclosure here: we have history on this front. Dave's ability with music is about as meagre as mine is with a paintbrush, and I know this because he asked me to make Spectrumified music for the 2020 edition of WOOT! Tape Magazine. All I had to do was write a series of BEEP commands in BASIC, and that was enough for Dave to translate them into machine code as-is. The result of all this can be found in the main WOOT! program - during "The Union of Alliterative Spectrum Heroes Xmas Party" in which Rick Dangerous (how appropriate!) has to look on in misery as the alliterative characters (Technician Ted, Jumping Jack, Mighty Magus, Funky Fungus and others) dance the night away to the isolated bassline of Deee-Lite's Groove Is In The Heart (which I hadn't heard since some time around its release in 1990). When Dave asked for more, I thought I'd make both our lives easier and hastily built a sequencer of sorts - input the correct pitch and duration for each note, and the program will spit out the corresponding HL and DE values that can be inserted as-is. Hence, in The COVID Chronicle, my work was heard again via the opening blast of Joy Division's Isolation (expertly covered 14 years later by Therapy?) - or at least its first line.

I owe Dave some more music for WOOT! 2021 - and I won't spoil the surprise as to what it is - so maybe, I've been sent this short scene demo as a way of being cajoled into action. "Help me, o learned musical maestro who has certificates for Grade 4 piano (in 1990) and Grade 5 bassoon (in 1994), for this is what the next WOOT! will sound like otherwise!"

In Dave's actual words: "I was actually trying the get the music right. It sounds like I did it on purpose, but I still don't understand why there are so many bum notes."

As was obvious from the title, this is a valiant but painfully inaccurate attempt to perform Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, complete with blue background and crudely-DRAWn star - but if you have small children around, don't play it to them, because they'll cry and have nightmares. It will bring to mind Les Dawson's ability to play the piano deliberately badly, with maybe a hint of Eric Morecambe's "I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order" lurking in the background. But whereas Les Dawson would deliberately miss specific notes by a tone or a semitone so that the tune was still recognisable but very obviously wrong, Dave's opted to get his "bum notes" wrong by an entire octave.

The tune is presented in G major, which isn't a problem until the third note - a D which is an octave lower than it should be - every C, D and E suffers from this problem. It's as if it's being played on a keyboard which only has one octave that spans from middle C to the B above. Even with these limitations, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star can be played accurately in C major - tunes for small children are intentionally simple. Also, the lack of accidentials wouldn't be a problem either - neither is it in G major in this case, as the potentially-troublesome F# is absent from out tune. Let's not forget, Major Morgan had no accidentials, although it did have two octaves, and probably did have Twinkle Twinkle Little Star amongst its built-in possibilities, but was still as limited in its use to teach pre-school kids the basics of music as the ZX80 was to anyone who wanted to use it as a calculator. Not that this stopped James May playing Ode to Joy (in C major) in front of a school orchestra with it. Good to see that BMus wasn't wasted, eh, Captain Slow?

While this isn't a game, the CSSCGC has allowed utilities and scene demos before, so I saw no reason to say no, although given Dave's wizardry with machine code and the (unofficial) title of Programador de Excelência from Planeta Sinclair, I thought I might get a few kilobytes of machine code rather than 959 bytes of BASIC. What this did give me is about ten minutes of amusement correcting the tune and further cleaning up the program, though I was mildly annoyed when I thought I'd found a golden opportunity to use VAL$, but needed the much more common VAL instead. Bah. Find out for yourselves how I did it - I've packed the three .BAS files and a loadable .TAP in "Jim's additional material" along with Dave's mangled original.

I award this two Ricks for effort, one solitary voodoo-mask for attainment (don't even try to argue with this one, me old mucker), no Goolu demerits... and ten pairs of ear plugs. It's a novel way to move into the bronze medal position for Most Crap Not-Even-A-Game Of The Year, if nothing else.

EFFORT:      ATTAINMENT:      DEMERITS:   none