SQIJ!

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SQIJ!
Original SQIJ! Cover.jpg
One of the gods of horrible gaming. A game that was so bad that it was illegal to own.
Platforms: ZX Spectrum
Commodore 16
Commodore 64
Commodore Plus/4
Release Date: 1987
Developer: Jason Creighton
Publisher: The Power House

SQIJ! is an action/arcade game developed by Jason Creighton. It was available on Commodore 16, 64, and Plus/4, as well as ZX Spectrum. The game was programmed in Laser BASIC and came out in 1986.  

Official Description

Sqij was once a happy bird in the decadent days before the population holocaust. THEN THE FOOD RAN OUT. You control this mutant creature who will stop at nothing to satisfy its only driving life force. . . INSATIABLE, FEROCIOUS, VIOLENT HUNGER.

Gameplay

You play as a mutant dove/pigeon that explores various rooms. The levels involve avoiding enemies and going into openings in the walls, or "doors".

Why It Sucks

Note: Most of these reasons are for the ZX Spectrum version of the game.

  1. SQIJ! wasn't written in the BASIC code that the Spectrum normally uses. It was written in a third-party version called Laser BASIC. Since the computer would need a copy of Laser BASIC to run SQIJ!, the game includes an illegal copy of Laser BASIC in the code.
  2. You need to fix the code to make the game work correctly: specifically, the game activates caps lock mode, but will only recognize control inputs in lowercase.
    • The game's code makes no sense either, for example, the first line says "Go to 2", but there is no line 2.
  3. The controls don't work and they even fail when fixed. A British comedian named Stuart Ashen, aka Ashens, had fixed the game and made the bird move slowly into either door. He reported that "One exit did nothing, the other made the game crash. Who knows what kind of fun the developers originally expected this game to provide?"
  4. No playtesting. There is nearly no collision detection for a few walls, a few sprites doesn't move until a key is no longer held, and many glitches infest the game to the point where it can be nearly unplayable.
  5. Poorly drawn environment and sprites.
  6. Much like South Park Rally, when you run out of energy and die, the game mocks you by saying "What a plonker. You've just got yourself killed."
  7. A strange plot idea in general, which barely makes any sense. What is the population holocaust or how the "food ran out" are never explained.
  8. No Amstrad CPC version exists, despite that computer being one of the three popular 8-bit home computers next to the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Being an example of what NOT to do when developing a game.
  2. The game received a remake by Psytronik. This remake aims to fix all the problems of the game.

Reception

SQIJ!, according to many people, was one of the worst video games ever. It sold poorly and lives on as a poor example of programming and playtesting.

None of the magazines of the time have known reviews of the game.