Is there a version of code golf that requires the most convoluted solution instead of the tersest?

I think it might be humorous (and informative) to see answers that exemplify the worst of some languages and architectures.


  • largest code base wins
  • scoring is the same as golf (byte count, omit scaffolding (e.g. usings in c#))
  • all code must pertain to the solution (no superfluous code)

If the code base is sufficiently large, it might be better to post a gist or otherwise link to the code.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is rule number 3. We're not aware of an objective definition of "superfluous code" that effectively prevents arbitrarily large solutions. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 26, 2017 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


Yes. It's called .

  • \$\begingroup\$ You just made my day. Thanks. Will mark as answer when I can. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 26, 2017 at 6:39

Elaborating on Mego's answer a little, the tag you're looking for is . However, there aren't that many questions with that tag, because:

  1. The challenge quickly spirals out of control with astronomical byte counts
  2. It takes a lot of effort to enforce challenges so that they don't follow 1
  3. Restraints can be somewhat ambiguous, so that ambiguity is taken out of context, which therefore turns the challenge into 1

It's a lot of effort, but if you can pull something like that off, then you've definitely got a good challenge!


Since no one else has mentioned it, it sounds like you'd be interested in the The International Obfuscated C Code Contest. It's all about incredibly complicated, unreadable code. They don't make any claims about objectivity, they appoint judges who spend a long time working through solutions - one of the reasons they only run it every couple of years.

Some of the prizewinners are pretty amazing though - well worth a look.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I'll check it out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2017 at 10:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gregsdennis See also the Obfuscated Perl Contest, one of the winners is mentioned in this essay (ctrl-f "Mayan") although the entire essay is worth a read. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 28, 2017 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another great one is (was) the : underhanded C context (where programs have to do what is asked of them and appear complitely innocuous, but contain a "bug" that maliciously does something bad in certain conditions) : it is very eye-opening on the dangers of programming (closed or open source) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2023 at 22:11

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