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



  The competition runs for eleven months - opening on 1st January 2021 and closing on 30th November 2021. This allows extra time at the end of the year for final judging, tying up of loose ends and the appointment of 2022's host.
  Though this should go without saying, the competition is primarily for the Sinclair computers of the 1980s, as well as their Amstrad-built successors - i.e. ZX80, ZX81, QL, and every Spectrum from the 16K rubber-key model to the +3. Entries for Spectrum clones from Eastern Europe are also acceptable, provided I have a suitable emulator, and entries for a whole other cornucopia of Sinclair-related machines may also be accepted. In all cases, though, see the restrictions below.
  I expect to be able to run any Spectrum submission on real hardware (in my case a +2, +2B or +3 - or, later in the year, a Next - see below) should I so wish - ditto the ZX81, seeing as I have one with an internal 16K RAM upgrade, though whether it will load is anyone's guess. Exceptions will be made for entries that require external hardware I don't have (e.g. Currah Microspeech or external disc drives). Official tests will be done on emulators, as specified:
   All Sinclair-era and Amstrad-era Spectrum games will be tested on Spectaculator 8.0. Use the following formats:
    .TAP or .TZX for tape files.
    .DSK, .MGT or .TRD for disc files - +3, +D, Beta Disk respectively. The latter does not necessarily have to be used on Russian clones.
    .MDR for Sinclair Microdrive files.
    Snapshot files are NOT AT ALL RECOMMENDED but if you really must, .Z80 is preferable to .SNA, .SZX or idiosyncratic formats such as the ZX32 emulator's own .ZXS.
   ZX81 and ZX80 entries will be tested on EightyOne v1.18, or any updated version throughout 2021. The recommended formats for these are .P and .O respectively.
   "Russian clone" entries will be tested on Fuse 1.5.7, which has four models available - the 128K, 512K and 1024K Pentagons, and the Scorpion ZS 256. Submit these in .TRD format (.SCL really doesn't work so well), and make sure I get instructions on how to get it running (if it's not entirely obvious, even though I do have some experience of using the Beta Disk interface on a regular 128K Spectrum). I am far less likely to be able to run entries submitted for other clones such as the Czech Didaktik and Brazilian Microdigital models without a lot of help - but if I get that help, I'll include your game.
   Timex entries (TC2048, TC2068, TS2068) will also be tested on Fuse 1.5.7. If there is any difference in the loading process compared with a regular Spectrum, make sure I know in advance.
   Regular "black box" QL entries will be tested on QemuLator 3.3.1. Submit it in raw text (Unix format, i.e. line feed without carriage return, and preferably ending in _BAS), or as a microdrive image in .MDV format. However it's submitted, I will make sure both are available to the end user. QL entries requiring SMSQ/E will be tested with the latest available version of QPC2.
   SAM Coupé entries will be tested on SimCoupe 1.1 alpha. Submit it in tape (.TAP) or disc (.MGT or .SAD) format.
   ZEsarUX 9.1 (or any updated version throughout 2021) will be used as a first port of call for to test any entries for the other Sinclair-related computers that it emulates, however tenuously, until I find, or am informed of, a better emulator. Hence it will be possible to submit entries for the Science of Cambridge MK14, Cambridge Computer Z88, Spanish Investrónica models, Jupiter Ace, ZX-Uno - and others.
    ACHTUNG: as I am unfamiliar with the workings of most of these models, make sure I get clear and unambiguous instructions on how to get the program to run, if you want a fair judgement - or, indeed, any judgement!
   I will be taking delivery of a ZX Spectrum Next in August 2021, if all goes according to plan with the Kickstarter. Hence, any submissions for the Next will be put on the backburner until this time, and will be officially tested on a real Next. I might give them a shot with ZEsarUX beforehand, but this will be unofficial.
  Any submission to this competition is an implicit agreement to grant non-profit distribution. Entries for the Spectrum (Sinclair-era, Amstrad-era and clones) will be added to ZXDB at approximately monthly intervals, and to World of Spectrum... whenever they feel like it. ZX80 and ZX81 entries will at least be listed on ZXDB even if they're not distributed there. Any other formats probably won't be listed.
  I have devised my own horribly convoluted scoring system to judge this competition - read that page to see if you can make head or tail of it. All entries will be reviewed in whatever way I see fit, or delegated to one of my subordinates if I can't be bothered. As I've said in the far lengthier explanation linked above, writing reviews is not one of my strong points, and there are bound to be disagreements which should be addressed to the nearest brick wall.
   ACHTUNG: entries that are politically or religiously contentious are pretty much certain to be thrown to the subordinates - which means they will not, I repeat, WILL NOT BE REVIEWED IN AN UNBIASED MANNER, NOR WITH EVEN THE MOST CURSORY WAVE IN THE DIRECTION OF OBJECTIVITY. Don't say you weren't warned...
   DOUBLEPLUSACHTUNG: entries that could be considered defamatory, and which could land your esteemed host (as well as ZXDB, Spectrum Computing, World of Spectrum, and any other associates) in ruinously expensive legal trouble, are likely to be rejected outright.
  The MOST CRAP entry of the year will be the WINNER, and will receive the Mucho Generoso Prize - an enhanced version of the standard comp.sys.sinclair offering of "75p and a packet of Rolos". It contains:
   1.88 (yes, one pound and eighty-eight pence, a 151.67% increase) in coins from British Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories (i.e. the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar - I don't have any others), a must for any novice numismatist. Obviously this means one of each coin from 1p up to 1, if you didn't already work that out. These are intended for collection - don't be a brainlet and spend them at the local corner shop!
   FOUR packets of Rolos, or however many there are in a multipack available from that same nearest corner shop in December 2021, where the winner will not be spending the above-mentioned 1.88.
   "The Ultimate Guide On How To Make Your Programs Less Crap", otherwise known as the hand-written notes from Corona Capers, the game that secured my hosting of this year's competition (and which I genuinely did try to make as un-crap as possible, without completely leaving the boundaries of crapness, which I am unable to do).
   The only copy of Corona Capers ever committed to tape, which will probably be what Tony from Cassette Comeback refers to as a "Type Zero" - either that, a ubiquitous TDK FE90, or a C15 I've looted in a job lot from eBay.
  The LEAST CRAP entry of the year will be the LOSER, and will take on the not inconsiderable task of hosting the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition 2022.