Before Tim Sweeney made Unreal, he made this great little game called ZZT. Oh, what fond memories I have of playing ZZT at work on my old Packard Bell 486SX.

Anybody else remember?

Man I got my problems
And my problems, they got me
It ain’t easy being an object
In a game called ZZT

Yep, I remember it :)



Yeah. ZZT was a crazy fusion of adventure-style content exploration, pushable-block puzzles, and a really awkward combat system. The scripting language didn’t have much support for spicing up the puzzles or combat, so the most interesting mods were the ones that focused on narrative and exploration.

I have especially fond memories of Code Red, by Gregory Janson. Janson took the multiple endings meme, in which you have an otherwise linear game that forks into multiple endings near the end, and moved the fork all the way to the beginning. The result is that from a single starting point, you have nine essentially independent story lines. All of them, from what I recall, took a mundane setting and added some sort of conspiracy theory more-than-meets-the-eye twist. I don’t think this was so much a unifying design decision as it was Janson’s schtick, but it’s a good schtick.