COMPETITION ENTRY #1: P.P.S. - PIXEL PERFECT SHOT
Barely had Jools Holland called the New Year in his annual Hootenanny on BBC2, than I received an email titled "Crap Game" all the way from Brazil. If Alexandre Colella's enthusiasm to be the CSSCGC equivalent of writing "FIRST!" in a comment under a YouTube video is carried over to the rest of the Sinclair computing community, I will be in for a busy year!
Alexandre has clearly taken on board my call for extra effort, as P.P.S. - Pixel Perfect Shot has been given a loading screen, depicting a very crudely-drawn gunsight, and which takes up four times as many bytes as the game itself. There's no documentation, but everything you need to know is on the introductory screen - your controls, and an order to "Kill all pixels!" (Say it in Bender's voice for maximum effect.)
Your pixel-exterminating starts on Level 1, where you'll have a white pixel to move left and right - noisily, with some rapid BEEPS - at the bottom of the screen, and one solitary red pixel to hit. Line them up, hit M to fire and a yellow pixel will be sent careening towards the red one (smoothly and with not a hint of flicker). If it hits, your score increases by one; if it misses, your "Lifes" (sic) counter drops by one, and you only have three to play with. At least if you do miss, neither the target nor the "gun" will change position, so you can adjust your aim and try again.
Clearly the best way to play this game is with an emulator, so you can (a) use savestates to cheat your way through and (b) have sharp, clearly-defined pixels on the screen that can be magnified to three or four times their original size. If you play this game on a real Spectrum with an old CRT TV, and your eye for properly-lined-up pixels is as miserable as mine (note that I've never been past the second screen of Manic Miner, ever...) then it might help to hold up a piece of paper to the screen as a rudimentary pixel guide.
I would imagine this bare-bones game was written in a blinding hurry, possibly even between the closing date of the previous competition and today's Grand Opening, just to be at the head of the queue. Even so, there's a sense of satisfaction to be had at lining up the PLOT x coordinates of two pixels, and watching another pixel-sized shot smashing into the target, because it's not that easy, especially if the target pixel is near the top of the screen. There's no ending, so keep going until you lose all your "Lifes". Likely as not you'll struggle to get past Level 3 playing legitimately, but keep going long enough and the screen will resemble an outbreak of measles.
Alexandre didn't specify if the POINT function that detects a hit was supposed to represent an entry for the Magenta Challenge, so I'll assume it isn't. I have to set a baseline for effort here: I think this game is really worth three Ricks, one for passing the Type-In Test, one for making a playable game that works, has been checked for errors, and one for the unnecessary loading screen that is actually something I asked for! But I'll also award a bonus Rick for the determination to be first and not leave me fretting about whether anyone will bother to enter the competition or not. It's worth two masks for attainment because it held my interest for more than a couple of minutes, and to get the Level 13 screen I played through it, rather than breaking in and setting the variables to a new value. Obrigado, Alexandre - and, wherever you are in Brazil, you won't need to worry about the Goolus!