xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
[personal profile] xyzzysqrl
Well this is the most fucking esoteric thing I'm gonna play this year, I bet.

So over on Celine's blog, she suddenly pulled out a suite of ZZT games from 2003 that were part of a contest that was never formally judged. ... SURE WHY NOT, LET'S BE JUDGES ON THE INTERNET IN 2003.

I haven't played a ZZT game in over a decade so this oughta be fun. I don't even know what the community standards are.

OUTSIDER LOOSE IN THE VOTING BOOTH Y'ALL.

So my scale is like... 1/10 would be "you actually fell asleep on the keyboard and submitted an empty project file titled "AFGNDERP.ZZT" and 10/10 would be "This is almost like an actual game with the quality my teenage self remembers and you did it in a single day you badass."

Let's get judgmental.



Played in a random order based on how much I like the look of the title:

SIDDIS: Opens with a screen apologizing for being a load of crap so we are ON THE RIGHT TRACK THIS MORNING boy howdy. ... Okay this sure was... abstract? A town is destroyed by a volcano, then the player walks past the lovingly detailed face of a horse, and the town is back and there's a rainbow and... is this the afterlife? Did I just play a three-room silent Indie Game About Death? Uh. Nice art, no story, little gameplay. 3/10.

SMITH24: Very nice title screen. Unfortunately, no actual way to start the game without using the board editor. The game is two screens you walk through, then your little space explorer encounters a virus that makes you black and oily (uhm.) and the rest of the game is cutscenes, including what I can only describe as a "room shaped like a burning question mark" which makes me feel like maybe Rybread Celsius was just working in the wrong medium. After this you become a schmuck from New Jersey who keeps a gun under his lamp and decides to investigate a news report, steps out his front door, and is instantly torn apart by zombies because the author ran out of time. ... I'm sorry, I LAUGHED and not in a nice way. 2/10.

OOFAUT03: This is more what I expect from my ZZT experience based on my younger days, a game fixated on toilets, body horror humor, and poop-eating. I forgot for a minute I wasn't played a roguelike and just attacked enemies by mashing into them and it worked somehow?? so that's okay. The cutscenes are nonsense, the gameplay is a brutal hailstorm of bullets, and the plot is -offensive- nonsense but technically this has gameplay and comes to an actual conclusion which is more than the last two, and I feel like this fulfilled all my expectations of a ZZT game. Let's give this a big ol' 5/10 for aspiring to the bold heights of adequacy and not quite getting there but by god y'all tried.

DISASTER: This is the autobiography of someone who made a game they deeply regret apparently. 100% cutscene but well-drawn. I hope whoever this is has eased up on themselves a little since 2003. Uhh 4/10 because I feel sorry for them.

ERN56: Well crap, this is ACTUALLY A REAL GAME. Like, a good one. Short, silly, but it's within the project scope and offers some puzzles, isn't gratutiously cruel, has a fun little randomized combat system in there, and manages to wrap up without going "uhhhh I ran out of time." Trapped-in-a-bunker stories are bread and butter for adventure game writers, huge sections of the "plot" went nowhere and did nothing, but I don't care. 8/10 for actually being a fun thing I'm glad I played today.

KEWLIEZ: Oh sweet jesus this was a wave of lolmeme humor. You know, lotzzzz of zzzs!!! and exclamation markz!!! and lolrandumz and thx kby. Also, KITTIEZ! YAY KITTIZESZ! 4/10 but only because I loved this kind of thing in 2003 and I'm giving you nostalgia points. You're on thin ice here in 2018, mister.

SILICATE: You are a government man from the government and they run a program on you that enhances your mustles and you can flaten people and you use your cybernanopunkbots to punch them all real hard and THIS IS PLAYED SERIOUS in spite of the fact that the combat tutorial orders you to "touch your opponent as fast as you can" and then they die and go "NARG!" So... uhm. Lots of laser walls. Lots of combat. Lots of find the key. I would have made this if I were smart enough to make ZZT games as a kid, I swear to god. I'm sorry. 5/10 because this was a real game I couldn't beat so I don't know how it ends. Alternate Universe Me, I hope you are well.

DAVESAST: An interesting beginning about merpeople and deadly oil leaking into the ocean turns into Flappy Mer. Due to emulator lag I hit a piece of debris and died like seven consecutive times in a row, which I found so funny I'm just gonna leave it at that. 4/10 for atmosphere and art. F-- on the swimming. You can do better.

So there we go. That's the full suite judged, and here are those scores to recap:

SMITH24: 2/10
SIDDIS: 3/10
DAVESAST: 4/10
KEWLIEZ: 4/10
DISASTER: 4/10
SILICATE: 5/10
ERN56: 8/10



I have no idea how I submit these scores. Presumably I just wait until someone comes by and checks my card. ... uh, Celine?

...anybody?

...well I'm gonna play some Code Red while I wait.

Date: 2018-05-30 03:38 pm (UTC)
chalcedony_starlings: Two scribbled waveforms, one off-black and one off-white, overlapping, on a flat darkish purpleish background. (scribble twins)
From: [personal profile] chalcedony_starlings

[αβ] Sometimes we wonder whether we'd be better off if our predecessors back in that day had been part of the “actual” ZZT Community.

No consensus has ever been reached. c..c

Date: 2018-05-30 11:33 pm (UTC)
davidn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidn
These are great :) Submit them to the doctor! https://www.patreon.com/posts/judgment-day-18557857

ZZT is accidentally such a unique and incredible environment, and it's so interesting to see what people outside the community make of it :)

Date: 2018-05-31 12:50 am (UTC)
davidn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidn
And it just went up this minute! https://museumofzzt.com/article/300/page/1/judging-the-autumn-2003-24-hours-of-zzt Reading through now :)

Date: 2018-06-11 01:37 am (UTC)
rowyn: (smile)
From: [personal profile] rowyn
Let's give this a big ol' 5/10 for aspiring to the bold heights of adequacy and not quite getting there but by god y'all tried.

I laughed at this probably harder than I should have. The bold heights of adequacy! XD

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