CSSCGC 2020!
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Yes, it’s finally time to see the results for the 24th edition of the comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition. With 43 games submitted in all, it was a good year which bucked the recent trend of declining entry numbers. Before we get into the winner and loser, let’s first take a look at some of the other notable entries...

Honorable Mentions

Screenshot of "Mirror Mirror".Mirror Mirror – this single-room text adventure from Gareth Pitchford features an innovative mechanic whereby the player can enter an altered version of the room, complete with mirrored text! Yes, having to type backwards does become a little bit frustrating, but this is offset by the puzzle design, and the novelty of the concept. Ultimately, it was the second highest-rated game at 52%.

Click here to see the review!

Screenshot of "Sir Clive's Ink Lair".Sir Clive's Ink Lair – this game from Andy ‘Uglifruit’ Jenkinson is a send-up of the Amstrad buyout of 1986, with Lord Sugar’s mocking tone captured perfectly in the letter that scrolls down the screen throughout. In all honesty, the gameplay is (thankfully) irrelevant, as the program was written as a container for the parody document. Definitely give it a try!

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Screenshot of "PACGWASC".Playing A Casino Game With A Spinning Counter – this entry from Paul Collins amused me, mainly because its entire premise emerged from a bizarre dream he had in 2014. Given the wild payouts you can achieve in the game, I can only imagine Paul’s disappointment when we awoke to find out it was all made up.

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Screenshot of "Social Distancing".Social Distancing – Chris Young’s 90th CSSCGC entry was certainly a good one, with some excellent puzzle mechanics tied in with topical humour. Its only let-down was that it only included a couple of maps. I put a call out for more levels, but sadly, only BloodBaz (author of Crapic Attack) sent us one, which is available here.

Click here to see the review!

Best (worst) Game

Screenshot of "PACGWASC".The winner of the 2020 CSSCGC has to be Kerl, with his entry, Mental Rally. This was a last minute upset, displacing Dog Track Simulator in the race for the top prize. Though DTS had very little gameplay to it to begin with, it was at least functional. The same cannot be said for Mental Rally, the poor coding of which rendered any attempt to play the game with even a modicum of skill and/or strategy utterly futile. It did not feel like there was any malice in the coding, but rather that the game genuinely was broken beyond repair. For that, there is no other fair course of action than to award Kerl the top prize, which is a brilliant 75p (made up of copper coins – I need to get rid of them) and a packet of Rolos.

Click here to see the review!

Worst (best) Game

Screenshot of "PACGWASC".The loser of the 2020 CSSCGC is, of course, Jim Waterman, with his outstanding entry, Corona Capers. Simply put, it is a whopper of a game, with a clearly YUGE amount of time and effort invested. Split into several mini-games, with unfaltering presentation throughout, it is a gorgeous spectacle to witness, especially when one considers it was written exclusively in 128K BASIC. Hopefully, by the end of the next competition, the topical issues it parodies will be largely irrelevant, but I’m not holding my breath. So, for his excellent work, Jim has earned himself the (dubious) honour of hosting the 2021 CSSCGC.

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All scores

CSSCGC 2020 Score table

Click here to download this table as an OpenOffice spreadsheet.

Closing remarks

So, that’s the 24th comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition all rounded up. It’s been a pleasure to host during what has been one of the most unusual years in living history, and I want to thank everyone who has read the reviews or entered a game. Your support has really made this revival of the CGC a great one. Now, it’s over to you, Jim!