deKay's Lofi Gaming

The CSS Crap Games Competition

About The Competition

Every year, the cheery folk that inhabit CSS relive the ‘excitement’ of such god-awful releases for the Spectrum such as Cascade Cassette 50 – a tape containing 50 BASIC games, none of which were even slightly good.

These chaps and chapesses turn their programming hand (or sometimes, foot, it would seem) to producing the worst game known to man. Marks are awarded for pointlessness, bugs and lack of playability, and deducted for realism, programming skill, and lack of crapness.

There are several rules to the competition. Basically, your game has to be crap, but in a ‘really awful’ type way. There’s no point making a game that you just can’t play for whatever reason.

However, you can ‘help yourself’ by making crap graphics, crap sound effects, crap controls, etc. Varants on the Duncan ‘kangaroos in the top paddock’ MacDonald seminal classic ‘Advanced Lawnmover Simulator’ are looked at unfavourably due to the unoriginality of the program – unless a new twist is added.

It started back in 1996, when a crap game competition was decided upon between the regulars of comp.sys.sinclair following a suggestion by poster Lee Tonks (more commonly known as Blood)[EDIT Jan 2016: Apparently this isn’t quite true! See this comment!]. Drawing inspiration from Rich Pelley’s Crap Game Corner from YS and the aforementioned Cascade monstrosity, it’s gone from strength to strength (or something) over the years, with some of the worst games ever created being entered.

Because of it’s ties with the Cassette 50, it is recommended that each game filename is only three letters long, to keep it in line with the Cascade original. Precisely why the Cascade tape had three letter filenames is unclear, especially since this caused a few duplicates. In more recent years, this “rule” has gone out the window anyway.

It has also become tradition that the deadline for each year’s competition is constantly re-evaluated throughout the year, and is regularly put back until ‘later’ 🙂

The Competitions

I hosted the 2005 competition on this very site, but over the years it has been hosted by many other Spectrum folks. You can see the remains of the official sites by following these links:

1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000
2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005
2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010
2011 | 2012


Thanks to everyone who has contibuted to the competition over the years. Some of the text on these pages was written by Blood, Alistair Nelson and Graham Goring. All games are copyright their respective authors. Any errors or omissions should be reported to me.


  1. Pingback: CSSCGC 2011 « Program : Bytes : 48k

  2. It bloody didn’t! It started when I made the suggestion based on the Cascade 50 tape. Which we were having a discussion about. I suggested doing our own.

    But since I didn’t post anything like as prolifically as Lee Tonks, and wasn’t as chummy around the group, surprisingly he’s decided it was his idea.

    But it wasn’t. It was mine. Although if Dejanews existed back then, you might not find the posts, cos I x-no-archived them, believing that Usenet posts should either decay naturally, or only be stored on the tape archives of anonymous nerds around the world, never to see daylight. I had to hex-edit Forte Agent to alter the name of another header, but I got my no-archive.

    Of course it was part of a long discussion, which I didn’t start, but I specifically came up with the idea of having c.s.s do our own version of the Cascade tape, before anyone else did. Might have been one of those ideas where somebody else would have had it if I hadn’t. But they didn’t have to. Cos I did.

  3. I’ve been looking round for old posts on Google, but there’s nowt. I have most of every file I ever had, copied from computer to computer, on my old hard drive, now in a USB case, but I dunno if owt that early. It was from my old Demon account I think, or my U-net one briefly before that.

    For this false claim against my person, in damages I demand 50p and a calculator watch.


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