CSSCGC 2020!
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Author: Kerl Machine Type: Spectrum 16K
Submitted on: 24th of November, 2020 Download or play online

Kerl sends us his first entry, entitled Masky. It describes itself in the included text-file as a “shoot-em-up/maze/simulation/tactical combat” game. This sounds very ambitious for a CSSCGC game, and considering the TAP file is only 1767 bytes long, it must be an incredible feat of size coding too! I can’t wait to load it!

Now we load the tape, and the title- oh hang on, there’s no auto-run on this. Extra crap points immediately for making me type ‘RUN’.

The plot of the game is that you play the role of Masky, the adjuvant to boost the efficacy of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. There are nine numbered blocks scattered randomly across the playfield, which shoot green dots towards Masky. Your job is to paint the viruses green, by positioning Masky so that the viruses are in the line of sight of the numbered blocks.

The graphics are fairly sparse, with the usual ASCII characters standing in for the various playfield elements. Surprisingly, the Masky graphic isn’t drawn using UDGs, but is instead the result of overlapping a chunky graphic block and a quotation mark. Sound is used throughout, mainly for the firing of the green dots.

Now usually, when someone sends their game in, that’s it. But for Kerl, it’s only the beginning. In total, he sent me three versions of Masky, from the initial submission on the 24th of November, to the final patch on the 27th. Either this means that Kerl is very conscientious, or did a shoddy job on the original. I think I know which it is.

If you get caught by the green dots, then the game is over. The efficacy of the vaccine is then checked by an interminably slow calculation, which determines how many of the viruses have been painted green. Perhaps the speed of the check is meant to simulate the rigor of a regulatory body? No, I’m being too kind – it’s rubbish programming.

All in all, Masky is a properly crap game, and represents an interesting way of shoehorning current events into an inadequate program. It feels good to have a game of such traditional craptitude after a string of unconventional entries.


Graphics Sound Gameplay Innovation TOTAL
29% 22% 31% 26% 27%