CSSCGC 2020!
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Explosion

Author: Luny (website) Machine Type: Spectrum 16K
Submitted on: 13th of January, 2020 Download or play online

Explosion breaks the current streak of resurrected games, because it is an entirely new creation by Luny, hence we can expect a somewhat different experience this time, as it wasn’t written in earnest like Aliengun or SUICIDE, but was specifically designed to be crap.

I’ll be honest – I’m not really sure what to make of it. In a way, it is somewhat similar to my own CSSCGC entry from some years ago, Fly Catcher. Explosion, like Fly Catcher, occupies an incredibly small amount of memory, and starts off with an instruction screen that doesn’t provide much instruction at all. The only thing we are told to do is “find the bomb”. Pressing any key will reveal the playfield, with the stickman and the bomb placed randomly on the screen. The only other detail is the boundary, made out of checkerboard characters. The stickman is controllable with the standard QAOP configuration, and moves at a decent speed, but flickers like crazy – it was a pain to get proper screenshots of the action!

Once we manoeuvre the stickman over the bomb, a terrible blast occurs (represented by an asterisk). Luny’s creativity really shines here; instead of using the beeper to emulate the horrendous boom, onomatopoeia is employed, with “BOOM” appearing at the top of the display (presumably Luny got their start on a ZX81). I find this ending somewhat ironic, as the graphics suggest our friend going out with a bang, but the lack of sound instead implies going out with a whimper. After a short pause, the program restarts from the beginning, showing the instruction screen again. And so it goes on. Walk around, find bomb, get killed, start again, etc.

Luny never sent any additional instructions with the game – this is all we get. But that can itself be a good thing, for the game is a blank canvas from which we can extrapolate what little there is to allow us find the deeper meaning (and to let me pad this out to five-hundred words).

Could this be perhaps a commentary on warfare? A lone soldier wanders out across No Man’s Land, treading carefully across the barren landscape, sticking to the treads in the mud, avoiding the landmines. Then, caught by surprise, they trigger one. A tragic moment, lost in the emptiness of the landscape, and silenced by the suffocating void.

I don’t know. I can’t say much about this “game”; usually with entries, there’s little elements I can dig my hooks into, but there’s so little here! The only value I can see this having is as a beginner’s programming tutorial. I can’t even say it’s a good crap game, because it’s not a game, and it’s not crap, but just empty.

You can download a ZIP archive of Explosion from the link in the info-box above, including both the original TZX version (which I’ve only managed to load properly in Spectaculator) and a TAP conversion which works in all emulators.

Scores

Graphics Sound Gameplay Innovation TOTAL
24% 7% 22% 43% 24%