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SQIJ!

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SQIJ!
Sqij-1987-the-power-house-zx-spectrum.jpg
A game that was so bad that it was illegal to own.
Protagonist(s): Sqij
Genre(s): Action
Platform(s): ZX Spectrum
Commodore 16
Commodore 64
Commodore Plus/4
Release: 1986
Engine: Laser BASIC
Developer(s): Jason Creighton
Publisher(s): The Power House
Country: United Kingdom

SQIJ! is an action game developed by Jason Creighton. It was available on Commodore 16, 64, and Plus/4, as well as ZX Spectrum. The game was programmed with Laser BASIC and came out initially 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 bird named Sqij and explore various rooms. The levels involve avoiding enemies and going into openings in the walls, or "doors".

Why It Intentionally Sucks

NOTE: Most of these reasons apply only to the ZX Spectrum version of the game.

  1. Perhaps most infamously, the ZX Spectrum version of the game is entirely unplayable unless you correct an error in the code to make the game work correctly: specifically, the game activates caps lock mode, but will only recognize control inputs in lowercase, meaning that Sqij will not be able to move at all until this coding mistake is corrected.
    • Even when the corrections are made, the game is still an utterly broken mess. A British comedian named Stuart Ashen, aka Ashens, had fixed the aforementioned control input problem and made the titular 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?"
      • The game's code makes no sense either; for example, the first line says "Go to 2", but there is no line 2.
  2. SQIJ! wasn't written in BBC BASIC, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The environment and characters' sprites are extremely poorly drawn. The spikes look distorted and the bird looks more like a pigeon rather than being mutant.
  5. There are no in-game sounds other than some beeps at the title screen.
  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 the population holocaust is or how the "food ran out" are never explained.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. The box art is quite good, and bird Sqij's design is really cool.

Reception

SQIJ!, according to many people, was one of the worst video games ever made. 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.

Trivia

  • The game received a remake by Tardis Remakes that fixed the many problems that the original game had.
  • The reason as to why the ZX Spectrum version turned out so bad is because the game's programmer, Jason Creighton, had a falling out with the Power House, as he was never given a copy of the C64 version of SQIJ! when they asked him to make a conversion of the game for the ZX Spectrum. Creighton then designed the game to be as deliberately bad as possible in the hopes that they'll reject it. However, the Power House accepted the game and released it twice, once on its own, and again as part of a compilation.

Videos

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