Intentionally-Stupid Games

In the past decade video games have become an accepted form of art. Millions go into producing Triple A titles in order to give gamers amazing experiences. Bad games are certainly not a thing of the past and James Rolfe continues to be the Angry Video Game Nerd reviewing those bad games. But we also have something interesting that's come along: a contest to make the stupidest game possible on the ZX Spectrum. Rich Kelly at The Guardian has more.

The Comp.Sys.Sinclair Crap Games Contest (CGC for short) has run almost every year since 1996. The idea is to write the crappest Spectrum game possible. Described by its contestants as an institution in the Spectrum community, this year it’s being hosted by 44-year-old Jamie Bradbury from Hull. “I got involved about seven years ago, when I came back to the first computer I had as a kid,” he says. “I always wanted to make my own game; it was an unfulfilled childhood ambition. Now, I’ve got the bug. It’s fun to cook up the stupidest possible idea and enjoy the misery of whoever has to review the damn thing.”

[Host Jim] Winston-Smith says 62 people entered the 2021 CGC. His role as judge involved reviewing the games. “I like to do it properly, so would spend enough time playing each game until I’d thought I’d seen everything. Usually, I’d seen everything in five minutes,” he says. “Entries included Mono-Rail Simulator, where you control the signals and points of an urban mass transit system that somehow runs on batteries; Zonkey Kong, a downgraded Donkey Kong; and Ricky Gervais’ Simon, a take on the classic Simon game where you have to repeat a sequence of Ricky Gervais’ laugh at three different pitches.”

The origins of the CGC hark back to a 1983 compilation tape called Cassette 50 by Cascade, which featured 50 games such as Barrel Jump, Fishing Mission and Race Track. It was billed as “hours of entertainment for all the family at a fraction of the cost”, and came with a free Timex calculator watch – but the games turned out to be legendarily awful. “Most were so poor, they would have been rejected from magazine type-ins,” says Winston-Smith. Computer game magazines of the time would print listings of game code that readers could type in to play primitive games – if they managed to perfectly copy the code, that is, which almost nobody could.

The Guardian

As someone who grew up in the 80s where bad games were real traps we tried to avoid when buying a new video game, I feel this contest hard. There was nothing worse than saving up for a game, which you only knew about maybe from Nintendo Power, getting home, and realizing it was insanely-difficult or just a pile of crap. I'm looking at YOU Captain Skyhawk!

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