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



Author:  Giannis "Firelord" Model:  16K Spectrum Format:    .TAP
Submission date:  3 December 2021 Documentation:  amusing background, brief instructions Tested on:  Spectaculator 8.0

Download it here

It's been an international competition, this one, hasn't it? Barely had opened the doors than the first entry came in from Brazil, and since then I've had entries from Argentina, France, Spain, the United States and Germany - not to mention all those that were home-grown. Now, Greece (or might it be Cyprus?) joins the United Nations of Crap Games.

Find Santa is, as you'd expect, a Christmas-themed game; it is December, so it's OK to put your lights and decorations up if you're going to (and some of my neighbours have gone far over the top). I shouldn't have to tell you what you have to do in the game, it's obvious - but I'd been hoping it might have been a simple "move a UDG around the screen with Q/A/O/P trying to chase down another UDG" affair.

Oh no. Not a bit of it. And really, I should have been prepared for this one. "Firelord" has had 12 previous entries between 2008 and 2011, all of them nothing more than displays of sometimes-coloured text - though, get this, one of them even has some PLOT and DRAW statements! And, after a decade-long hiatus, what you get is more of the same.

You INPUT whether you want to use the keyboard or "VoiceQcontrol" (sic - we'll deal with the obvious typo later), you INPUT which one of the 12 characters you want to play as (including some contemporary references to that thing that came from Wuhan, wrecked everything and ruined our lives), and you INPUT which one of the six locations you want to look for Santa. If you've chosen the wrong character, you never will, and it will loop endlessly. If you choose the right character, you'll find the overweight bearded man (sponsored by Coca-Cola), after which the screen will change colour and you can go through the entire process again.

In another reality, or with another host, this could have lived up to Giannis' assertion, in the subject line of his email, that it's the winner in the Most Crap Game Of The Year stakes. Not on my watch. "Maximum effort for minimum achievement", remember. This does little more than Lee Prince's string of INPUTs, hence the solitary voodoo-mask for attainment. For effort, it'd only be a two-Rick score at most - but I'm going to add one, because the background and instructions that Giannis sent along with the game were amusing, and that's something he does have a proven track record for.

And then... I hear the sound of spears being sharpened. The text constantly spilling over lines is annoying - once or twice is acceptable, but this is Giannis' other proven track record, and one I care for a lot less. Those stray Qs that are strewn throughout the text are inexplicable - I asked Giannis if he'd ever been a Commodore programmer, because listings full of control characters (for the uninitiated, inverse Q for "cursor down" and inverse ] for "cursor right" are commonplace there), but he confirmed that he's never touched a C64, a VIC-20 or a PET in his life. And then, there's the way the "game" chooses a new PAPER colour every time Santa is found; sometimes it'll be black, and the INK remains as black. Say no more. And, looking through the listing, there seems to be some confusion as to what the variables S$ and A$ are doing - they seem to be used interchangeably and the first S$ is overwritten as soon as it's defined, such is the level of care taken with the programming. There's a lot wrong, but I'm not a complete monster, so I'll leave it at one Goolu.

With all the talk in the introduction of a "fat pervert leaving something in the end of the boy's sock" (Yurk! Yurk!), if this entry can be likened to something found in the end of a Christmas stocking, it would be a lump of coal, as received by character #11.

Bah! Humbug!