Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'SQIJ!'

Rating:1 User: Digital Prawn

Infamous game, widely regarded in the ZX Spectrum community as the worst game ever written for the machine.

Whilst writing a negative review of it is rather like shooting a fish in a barrel, I do tend to wholeheartedly agree with the above assessment.

Everything about the game is wrong. The underlying idea of controlling some sort of mutated, docile bird does not actually seem appealing to start off with. It's written entirely in BASIC, yet the player-controlled bird "sprite" is so unwieldly and huge it's obviously going to run like molasses. The sprite leaves so called "droppings" on the screen as it moves around, due to one of the numerous bugs. Fatally though, it's just completely unplayable due to the sluggishness and awkwardness of the bird sprite.

The icing on the cake is of course the notorious "CAPS LOCK" bug, meaning the game can't even be played at all without BREAKing into the progam and manually POKEing it to fix this problem. Over the years, people have pondered how this could ever happen in a final release of a game which actually ended up on the shelves. There's just no rational explanation for it.

I have only touched on the most well known problems with the game, but believe me someone could write pages of further criticism of it if they were so inclined.

If you look at the code, you'll likely be amazed at the depth of abuse of the BASIC programming language. It's just totally insane. I've never seen anything like it. Hundreds of lines manually setting scores of meaningless numbered variables. "GO TO abuse" is rampant in the extreme.

The game could only ever be used as some sort of training exercise in how not to develop software. It has to be seen to be believed. Ironically, the title has become prominent due to its infamy. So, it won't be forgotten in a hurry!

Verdict: In terms of notoriety, Sqij is the nearest thing the speccy has to "ET" on the Atari 2600. The only difference is that we don't have any deserts in the UK in which to bury it.