Submission #8988: CloakTheLurker's ZXS Brad - The Game in 02:02.34

ZX Spectrum
Brad - The Game
BizHawk 2.9.1
Brad - The Game (2014)(MykeP)(128K)[CSSCGC].tap
Submitted by CloakTheLurker on 4/1/2024 5:03 PM
Submission Comments

About the game

This is an unofficial port of a text adventure game made for CSSCGC 19, a competition for coding crap games held online in 2014. Brad - The Game was written by Elbe Spurling, formerly known as Brendan Powell Smith,[1] and is very loosely based on her own family members. In Brad - The Game, you control the author's uncle, a filthy basement dweller whose aspirations are cruising around in his van, scoring with his dream girl Katie and getting another cameo appearance on Webster. You can read a review of the ZX Spectrum port on the CSSCGC 19 website (archived link).
This run aims to complete an ending in normal mode. The original game was coded in HTML, while the ZX Spectrum port by Paul E. Collins converts the game to BASIC. It is one of the largest ZX Spectrum files in .tap format, at 1.5 MB. The port uses a multiload system with deliberately inefficient data block arrangement,[2] which results in excruciating loading times. Loading the start screen without fast load takes around three hours, and to load the next screen would take even longer.
However, we have the power of BizHawk on our side 😏. Using the Datacorder controls in TAStudio, we can skip to the exact block we need to progress while running the game. Is it hacking, and therefore an invalid run? Yeah, but I ain't got time fo' dat 😤.
Through playing the original game, I found these endings:
Killed by vampire (4 turns)
  • "Go back to sleep." (sleep)
  • "Quick! Pants!" (quick-pants)
  • "Snarf it."
  • "W"
This is the ending I chose. The route mimics a classic text adventure, with the other choices poking fun at its tropes.
BASIC error (5 turns)
  • "Go back to sleep." (sleep)
  • "Quick! Pants!" (quick-pants)
  • "Snarf it."
  • "N"
  • 1st wrong choice (oops)
This ending (user file) is really neat, as it emulates a BASIC prompt to make it seem like you made a mistake while loading. It takes longer to get there, so I didn't choose this one, but I uploaded it in video form:
Eaten by pile of refuse (4 turns)
  • "Go back to sleep." (sleep)
  • "Quick! Pants!" (quick-pants)
  • "Reach inside blindly" (reach-blindly)
  • "Defy the gnarly refuse pile. Keep the human hand." (defy-pile)
This ending (user file) is sub-optimal, since you need to press a key to read the next sentences at the final screen.

Potential improvements

Using sub-frame emulation for the datacorder controls would speed things up considerably . A better solution would be to hack together a .dsk version of the port that's way faster than tape, but then there'd be no joke to point at 🤷‍♂️.

[1]: Elbe Spurling still uses her former name in publications, such as The Brick Bible (Facebook source)
[2]: Each block is stored in alphabetical order according to the original game's file names.
Last Edited by CloakTheLurker on 4/3/2024 2:46 AM
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