ZX Spectrum Games – Orphaned Sequels

Kikstart2 inlay
I’ve been entering all my old ZX Spectrum games and software into a database. Whilst doing this I noticed something a bit odd.

One of the games I own is called Kikstart 2. It’s a motorcycle trials riding game, almost certainly inspired by the BBC TV show Kick Start, albeit with a spelling change to avoid having to pay licencing fees. I particularly liked this game as a child, possibly because it included a course designer which allowed you to make your own courses, which I enjoyed doing.

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Webpage Scraping Bookmarklet

Screenshot of online formI quite often have to add new films into the database of my website british-film-locations.com. As well as adding the film I have to add data about the director and actors in the film as well. This is quite time consuming, so I created a system to simplify the task.

Firstly, I go to the page for the film on the Internet Movie Database, then I click on a specially-written bookmarklet. This runs some Javascript code which takes the IMDb URL, strips out the ID number of the film, and sends it to a PHP script on my website.

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SQIJ! – Worst video game ever?

Recently, I’ve been sorting my retro-gaming collection a bit. Specifically, I’ve gone through all my ZX Spectrum games, seeing if all the tapes/inlays/boxes/etc. match up. Also, I’ve been checking the games against the comprehensive World Of Spectrum online database, just to see if I have anything interesting or as-yet undocumented.

As it turns out, I do have something of interest: I happen to own a copy of the lowest-rated game in the entire database. You might think that in order for a game to be the lowest-rated – especially from an era when there were some really terrifyingly crap games released – it would have to be something a bit special.

And you’d be right.

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MPO to JPG converter

It’s funny what interests people on the internet. One of the most popular things on my website is my program for extracting JPG files from MPO files. I originally wrote it when I heard about the release of Fuji’s first 3D digital camera – more as a programming exercise than anything else. I just bashed it out without too much thought, and no optimisation, assuming that there were probably other, better, programs out there.

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My first date with Eliza

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Turing test. Alan Turing was an English mathematician, cryptanalyst, and all-round geek. He was one of the pioneers of early computing, and is often regarded as the father of modern computer science. He was such a geek, in fact, that he once wrote a computer chess game, and then, because no computer existed at the time which was powerful enough to run it, he had to simulate a computer to run the game – doing all the calculations himself!
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