comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition

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The comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition (also known simply as the CSSCGC) is an annual competition for crap computer game development.[1] It is specifically targeted at the Sinclair Research range of 8-bit computers including clones, derivatives and emulators of those systems.[2]


The competition was originated by posters to the comp.sys.sinclair newsgroup and was inspired by the Cascade Cassette 50 compilation,[1][3] an early example of shovelware, as well as Rich Pelley's Crap Game Corner from Your Sinclair Magazine.[4] It started off in 1996[5][6] merely as an idea to "outdo" the original Cassette 50 tape by producing a compilation of newsgroup members' own efforts.[7] During subsequent years, it evolved into the present-day form of competition. As of 2011, the event has taken place every year since 1996 and by the end of 2010 a total of 785 entries had been submitted.[5][8] To date, the competition has remained an informal hobbyist, community-driven event. Although it lacks any formal organisation or centralised controlling body, it remains an unofficial feature of the retrogaming community to which other games are sometimes compared.[9][10]


Generally, the aim of the competition and criteria for entry and ranking have been loosely defined.[11] The focus has tended to be on low-quality games which reproduce the look, feel and unplayability of those found on the original Cascade Cassette 50 tape.[11] Also, games which parody, satirise or even extend those of the original Cassette 50 tape have been submitted. In later years the scope had broadened considerably with many newer titles bearing little resemblance to those on the Cassette 50 tape. Some accepted titles have consisted of technical tricks, joke programs or applications rather than games.[12] Authors have also submitted deliberately good programs to the competition.[13] A significant proportion of submissions have the word "simulator" in the title, a reference to Codemasters games that often had "simulator" in the title and often alluding to simulating something either completely mundane or conversely something well beyond the realistic limits of an 8-bit system.[12]

Since its inception, the competition had originally been dominated by UK-based entrants and judges, although in 2008 for example, the competition gained considerable international participation, with games being submitted from several countries including most notably Spain,[14] Argentina, Italy & Russia. Of particular note were the submissions of games in the Spanish and Russian languages and an eventual competition victory by a Spanish development team.[15]

Submissions are very often written in interpreted Sinclair BASIC, suitable because of its slowness and limited audiovisual features.[1] However, submitted titles have also been developed in Z80 machine code, compiled BASIC, Small-C (using Z88DK) and FORTH amongst others.[12]

The vast majority of the games submitted are for the ZX Spectrum platform, which was the most successful and popular Sinclair computer.[16] However, games for the ZX80, ZX81[17] & Jupiter Ace (a non-Sinclair "derivative" computer) as well as several other related computer models have also been submitted to the competition.[12] The exact list of permitted hardware platforms as well as the scope of allowed software is at the complete discretion of the incumbent judge, with variations in the rules commonplace from one year to the next.

In theory, the competition is organised, hosted and judged by a different individual each year, although some organisers have hosted and judged it on more than one occasion.[8][18] The host and judge are often the same person. However, as in the case of the 2005 competition, the judge can be a different person than the host. Some confusion seems to exist regarding the terms loser and winner. The winner should be considered the author who produces the worst game, and the loser the one who produces the best game. Typically, the loser of the competition is asked to be the host and/or judge of the following year's competition, whilst the winner may receive a low-value prize, or perhaps nothing at all apart from the recognition of having won. Another informal tradition is that the closing date of the competition may be deliberately set further back by the host whilst the competition itself is running,[19] often adding to the confusion and disorganisation that has been a hallmark of the event. However, as the rules vary according to the judge of the day, these practices are not always upheld. Over the years, the competition has generally maintained a whimsical and humorous approach to retro game development and judging.

Availability of submissions

Zipfiles containing previous competition submissions are available for download at the Crap Game Finder archives. Previously, all competition entries were archived at the World of Spectrum FTP site. Although since the discontinuation of that FTP server, entries up to the year 2012 also remain available via the World of Spectrum website and the mirror. CSSCGC submissions are ordinarily considered freely distributable, assuming that permission has been granted.[20] Entries up to and including CSSCGC 2014 are also organised and catalogued at Unsatisfactory Software's 'Crap Game Finder' website.[8] However, technically the copyright status of submissions can vary. For example the 2006 competition rules stated that all games are copyright their respective authors [4] whereas the 2008 and 2009 rules simply stated that all authors agree to free distribution of their submissions.[21][22] In at least one case, an author has withdrawn a submission and rescinded distribution permission on it.[23]

Table of competitions

The following table is necessarily incomplete since full ranking of all submissions has only been carried out in the later competitions.[24] Also, in 1997 no ranking was applied at all, as the emphasis was in producing a crap game compilation, rather than a competitive event.[25] Some of the earlier websites' original links are now dead and therefore omitted from the table. Others are now only present in archival form, for example on World of Spectrum or the Wayback Machine.

Year Judge/Organiser[8] Website Number of entries[8] Winning Title Winning Author Losing Title Losing Author
1996 Blood (The 1997 page immediately below covers both the 1996 and 1997 archives) 60 Anthea Turner's National Lottery Simulator Alan Moore - -
1997 Blood 51 - - - -
1998 Barry Salter

(only top-level link to competition page exists - the csscgc page itself was not archived)

54 ZX Spectrum Emulator Derek Jolly - -
1999 Alistair Nelson & Graham Goring 41 Sheepdog Ian Collier - -
2000 Graham Goring 53 Erotic Pinball Chris Young - -
2001 Adam D. Moss 37 Fire Electric Pen Joe Mackay - -
2002 Paul Equinox Collins 21 Millionaire Chris Young - -
2003 Dave the Lurker 75 Crap Invaders Woody - -
2004 Jim Langmead 69 Falling Paul Equinox Collins - -
2005 Starglider/deKay 45 George Best Deathbed Simulator, The Alex Taylor - -
2006 Matt Rudge 37 Celebrity Arses Crapman Advanced Big Brother Head of Security Simulator Chris Young
2007 Chris Young & Phillip Lake 41 Dobsonic Defendor (Gold Edition) David Mackenzie The Quest for the Golden Egg Digital Prawn
2008 Digital Prawn 123 The Ultimate First Communion Simulator The Mojon Twins Lapland Theme Park Manager Cruddy Software
2009 Guesser 37 Whack-A-Nun Ben Rapier Knot in 2D (Machine Code Edition) BloodBaz
2010 BloodBaz 42 Complete Useless Machine Simulator Dr. Beep Homeless Horace Mulder
2011 The Mojon Twins 44 Random Walk Richard May Drawlander Arda
2012 Arda 26 Mathman R-Tape Ninety Nine Paul "Equinox" Collins
2013 R-Tape 102 Joystick Hero pgyuri Super UDG Fighterz 2 Turbo MykeP
2014 MykeP 57 Shadow of the Beef Paul 'Eq.' Collins Advanced London Marathon Simulator Challenge leespoons
2015 leespoons 81 Honey I Shrank The Screen Simon Ferré Sex On First Date Gabriele Amore
2016 Gabriele Amore and Simon Ferré 30 Supermassive Black Hole Simulator Herman S.P.N. Sausagy-Chippleton Thunderturds death squad
2017 Garry Wishart (GReW) 23 ? ? ? ?
2018 Shaun Bebbington (dead link) 26 Thermal Ski Chris Young GO RACE! Simon Pitter
2020 John Connolly (PROSM) 43 Mental Rally Kerl Corona Capers Jim Waterman
2021 Jim Waterman ? ? ? ? ?

Example submission screenshots

The Quest for the Golden Egg (2007), ZX81
Space Whale (2009), ZX Spectrum
Commode Nybbler Part Deux (2009), ZX Spectrum
Smiler in Arrowe Land[26] (2010), ZX Spectrum
Turbo Rubber Ducky Shootout (2010), ZX Spectrum
MEMPTR Snake (2011), ZX Spectrum


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 comp.sys.sinclair Folklore FAQ
  2. Everything you never wanted to know about the CSSCGC
  3. "CSSCGC2002 result; CSSCGC2003 kicks off; CC50 is 20 years old" - ZX Format issue 4, pages 18–19
  4. 4.0 4.1 About The Competition
  5. 5.0 5.1 Crap Games Competition
  6. The ZX Spectrum on your PC
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Crap Game Finder
  9. "Hall of Shame: Chase HQ" - Retro Gamer, issue 5, page 16
  10. "Interface - Alex Xor о положеннии дел игровой индустрии на ZX Spectrum." - Adventurer, issue 15
  11. 11.0 11.1 comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 CSSCGC 2008 Results
  13. "The King of Crap" - ZX Format, issue 1, page 8
  14. "El peor jeugo del mundo tiene premio" - Fanzine Bytemaniacos
  15. The Ultimate First Communion Simmulator
  16. ZX Spectrum
  17. "CSSCGC 2003 Results" - ZX Format, issue 7, page 16
  19. The CSS Crap Games Competition
  21. CSSCGC 2008 Rules
  22. the CSSCGC rules
  25. See the file "MANUAL.TXT" inside the archive.
  26. "Hello Smiler" - Micro Mart, issue 1096, pages 102–103

External links

Article license information

This article uses material from the 18:51, 3 June 2015‎ version of the "comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition" article on the English-language Wikipedia and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Previous contributors are listed on the original article history page.