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Reviewer: Grrrl
Developer: Chris Young
Genre: Button Masher
Platform: Spectrum 48K
Language: BASIC


Filetype Download Link Description
Z80 choppy_bird.z80 Spectrum 48K Snapshot
Title screen

Back in CSSCGC 2002 the world was introduced Air Force Moves (AFM)* - 5000KM of difficult terrain with SPACE controlling your helicopter's lift and O/P allowing you to move left and right around it. Aside from the eye-straining choice of green heli on cyan sky - which was awful - the rest of the game was very much crap (in a funky skillo sort of way.)

* This was also the year we had Top Shelf Challenge 3: Newsie's Revenge - Phwoaar!

Fast forward eleven years and Chris is watching the news about Flappy Bird, seeing Bob's ZX81 homage and all the forum chatter and had an epiphany - surely he could easily butcher his AFM entry and make his own Flappy clone?

Title screen

So here we are and I implore you to make the effort to look at the BASIC behind this one - REM after REM of AFM code lazily commented out to make a crap game barely a game at all!

Chris has made some effort by adding some instructions (complete with scroll? as it tails off the screen a bit.) This is where the improvements end, however, as the KEYBOARD option is as reliable as ever...

"The challenge starts on the title page, where it is quite literally impossible to define all three keys correctly." - Paul Equinox Collins (2002)

Off we go then

The left and right movement of AFM is gone and you're now fixed to the centre of the screen, but aside from that things are mostly similar to before. For each frame forward you move your 'bird' (Clever - Ed) loses a unit of height, unless you press the SPACE in which case you 'flap' increasing your height. The aim of the game is to fly between the gaps of the approaching obstacles. If you hit the top or bottom of the screen, or one of the obstacles, it's game over.

For me there are two problems with this new game mechanic.


Firstly the collision detection is just plain unfair and secondly the 'flap' sends you so high above your previous position that it's very difficult to time it through a gap in the middle of the screen and almost impossible to do so at either the top or the bottom. I can't do much better than 2 on most goes.

I'm not really one to go messing around with CSSCGC BASIC games (okay, maybe I am,) however, on this occasion I decided to give myself a fighting chance.*

* I don't see this as cheating, but rather overriding Chris' decision on what makes a playable game.

Double figures

Just one minor amendment:

	 160 IF a$=r$ THEN LET hy=hy-2 (was hy=hy-4)

This just makes the flap less aggressive - more SPACE required, however, easier to get through the gaps.

In honour of this being the CSSCGC 2014's 11th game I was now able to set that as the High Score Challenge. I defy anyone to play long enough to beat that!*

* For Super Gamers: The original game's goal of 5000 still appears in the code but has been commented out on line 291. Un-REM that and you can go for the big one!

The genius of taking a previous CSSCGC entry and managing to make it crapper still cannot be denied, however, I'm not sure if I approve of such lazy recycling. I'll be watching you people!

Now, where's that copy of Top Shelf Challenge 4?


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