Owzat (Virgin Games) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

By Virgin Games
BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 1.05


I bet Charlie Withall, Virgin Games' oldest programmer, had to use his Find utility a few times while he was writing this Basic cricket international. There are certainly plenty of PROCs and countless variables. It's not all foolproof either. My first set of entries resulted in 'No such FN/PROC at line 10085', but since it's in Basic nothing crashed irretrievably and the problem did not reoccur while play was going on.

The method of inputing the current state of play doesn't display too much common sense but I suppose it's all documented on those colourful Virgin card inserts. Still, I wouldn't call it user friendly.

When play commences, it's more like a one day game than a test math with either a wicket or scoring of some kind off every ball. This is during the automatic play option. If you choose to control the batsman then thngs can be slowed down just a bit with some defensive shots but this level of skill taes some time to perfect. On the delivery of each ball, the wicket is drawn in more detail (which still means stick figures) and the batsman's stance and bat position controlled using the N, M and , keys.

If you choose to control the bowler individually then the options are only to choose which bowler and to change the field. The keys for doing this are rather strange (D, R, V, G).

The actual screen display suffers, as any cricket game is sure to do, from characters which are too small. The fielders chase after the ball as it spoons in slow motion off the bat and fling it back with such force that I feel for the wicketkeeper figure. The figures are made up of single VDU23 definitions and there is a crude form of animation employed as they move about. The batsmen for some reason do not run. The bowler (be he fast or slow) runs back to his mark nearly as fast as he comes in.

The total score is kept up in the top right hand corner and there is full information about the current batsmen and the bowlers used below the playing area. Automatic play has a certain fascination as it merrily plays away to itself in the corner of the room but it does come up with some strange events. England all out for 57 in the first five overs of a test match against Australia, I hope never to see in a live contest. They lost the game by a mile but that might have been due to the fact that Bob Taylor came on as first change bowler even though he was categorised as slow and poor quality, not to mention the fact that he is a wicketkeeper.

Dave Reeder

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