This page is notable in being the subject of something from Chickenwire. I thought I'd mention that for the record. :-P
No aliens wishes to be your friend. They all want to see you DIE, motherfucker! Because a lot of aliens want to have your head and you're all EEK about it, so you run away and eventually blow up their planet or some such nonsense.
Examples: Escape From Planet Red, Space Fighter Mercenary, Captain Nick series
Exceptions: Code Red
The most annoying songs are often repeated over and over again during gameplay, forcing you to turn off the music.
Asylums in ZZT games usually contain completely useless info.
Examples: Stupid RPG, Island of the Jerks 4
An arena is a single board where monsters are constantly duplicated and you must fight them to gain score, gems, or other items.
Examples: Gem Hunter 2, Dogfight, You v. Stupidity 2, NO!
Barney is typically the most bashed thing in all of ZZT. He is either killed, portrayed as a villian, or humiliated. He is often a purple #char 2 smiley.
Examples: You v. Stupidity 1 and 2, Barney Exterminator 1 and 2, Corrupt Mind, Island of the Jerks 3
A homeless bum has info or an item you need.
Examples: Gem Hunter, Gem Hunter 2
The programmer puts himself into the game, usually as a minor character.
Examples: You v. Stupidity 1 and 2, Corrupt Mind, Gem Hunter:SE
Exceptions: See Cameos II
Sometimes, the programmer can become a member of the party/main character of the game.
Examples: It's The End Of The World!, Blue Moon, American Spy
Then there's the time the programmer puts the members of his own programming group into the game as minor characters.
Examples: Gem Hunter: Special Edition, Gem Hunter 3, Stupid RPG series
When a programmer does program himself into a game, he often gets into an arguement with the player.
Examples: About all of AKNeutron's games, Hollywood Hooker, Insanity, Stasis Qube(unfinished), Codename: Pickle
Most people who live in a house will not throw you out of the house when you enter it.
Examples: Sombrero, Gem Hunter 2
Code Red Theft
ZZTers "borrow" ideas, boards, and objects from Code Red more than any other game.
Examples: Coolness, The Signal, and lots of others.
In ZZT, every teenage boy and girl owns a rifle or gun, usually found in his/her closet, dresser, or nightstand. Ammo is also easily found.
Examples: Code Red, Blue Moon, The Kave.
You're asked a question through the use of a computer object, like your name or a password. If you fail to answer it correctly, an alarm will sound or the computer will hotwire you to itself and shock you faster than Richard Simmons telling you that he's pregnant. Your enemies are apparently good typists.
Examples: Code Red, Death Destruction.... and other stuff, Hollywood Hooker.
Crowbars are among the most common items you use in ZZT games.
Examples: You v. Stupidity 2, Weirdness Conspiracy, various old-school games
More than two-thirds of the doors in ZZT are locked.
When the game starts with the main character in his/
Examples: Idiots in Paradise, and some others.
Duct and Sewer pipes
When the player is forced to go through a complex system of tunnels, the board will have numerous false exits that lead to the player's death, for no real reason.
Examples: Blue Moon, Ned the Knight.
Gems usually represent currency in ZZT games, even if they're called dollars.
Examples: More than I can remember.
Exceptions: Gem Hunter series, City Adventure(use score, not gems)
Enigma Title Screens
These are title screens that copy Mission: Enigma's off-the-wall antics, or IS Mission: Enigma itself (note to Skullie: :-P).
Examples: Mission: Enigma(duh), Sivion(well, an ad), You v. Stupidity 1 and 2
A big evil corporation designed to make life a living hell for the player, similar to Shinra Inc in Final Fantasy VII.
Examples: Gem Hunter games(Evil Weasel), Stupid RPG, Code Red, Octagon(?)
Evil Sorcerers' Employment Agency, The
ZZT fantasy villains are never ordinary fighters, or sly thieves. They are always Evil Sorcerers/Warlocks/Wizards.
Examples: King's Quest ZZT, The Evil Sorcerers' Party (satirical)
In most games, curative items are often apples and the like.
Examples: Rhygar, Stupid RPG
Go for the eyes!
Bosses are completely immune to bullets, except for one or two weak spots. These are usually the eyes. Oddly enough, ZZT end-bosses seem to be completely unaware of the existence of sunglasses.
Examples: Several old-school games, Zion (unreleased), at least two of the Link's Adventure ZZT games.
Exceptions: One of the Link's Adventure giants must be shot in... a considerably lower portion of his anatomy. Second verse, same as first, for Lemmer and Scissorman in Gem Hunter 3.
Most instances in prison involve you escaping prison.
Examples: Escape from Planet Red
When you DO bust out of jail, you usually do so in the form of a handmade bomb.
Examples: They slip my mind at the moment.
Whenever the game involves the main character to be held in a prison, there will always be a moronic guard that will take you to a place that isn't so safe, from where you will be able to escape. In case this doesn't happen, it's very possible to find letters written by other inmates that will contain items that will help you the out of the cell (spoons, other kitchen utensils and rudimentary tools). Or you'll find combustible stuff to blow up the cell (see Jail II).
Examples: EFZI, Get out from the Mental Hospital, NextGame 33, Escape from Castle Zazoomda, Escape From Planet Red, etc.
Exceptions: Yindle, and some others.
Janson and Sweeney
In the closing credits of ALMOST ANY ZZT game, Tim Sweeney and Alexis Janson are thanked for their contributions(Sweeney for ZZT, Janson for STK).
Fading in/out yellow invisibles serve as lightning, which is often used for either the castle where the evil boss is found, or the title screen.
Evil Boss Examples: A Mario game that I played once, Dragon Woods(I think)
Title Screen Examples: Chickenwire
Little houses on the outside are actually much larger than they really are, once you enter.
Examples: Blue Moon, Gem Hunder series, Dragon Woods, Codename: Pickle, Teen Priest, You v. Stupidity, Barney Exterminator 2
The player argues with the "magic voice" or narrator.
Examples: You v. Stupidity 1 and 2, Codename:Pickle, Island of the Jerks 1-4, Teen Priest, etc.
Young boys in the medieval periods are always given their father's swords once the father dies.
Found in ZZT comedies, usually helps you.
Examples: You v. Stupidity, Corrupt Mind, Island of the Jerks 1-4
The only way to express grief, denial, and/or minor annoyance in a ZZT game is to fall on one's knees and scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Examples: Voyage of Four, Pipeline (in a spoofy sense, to be fair)
Exceptions: Any of the ZZT games based on "Evil Dead" movies - Ash expresses grief, denial, and/or minor annoyance by blowing things up.
Whenever you find an important note, it can be torn/smudged at places, hiding more important parts.
Example: Rhygar(?), Gem Hunter 3
If you can pick it up, you can use it.
Examples: Code Red, ESP Demo, Dizzy games
Most pillows are white ones that are not covered by sheets.
Potted plants are usually green torch symbols with either a boulder or a half-solid under it.
Examples: Gem Hunter games, Lebensraum
Exceptions: Teen Priest(uses a different char)
Exists only in old-school games, the game is just a demo and it begs you to register the game for the completed thing.
Examples: Town of ZZT
Save the World
General Code Red plot: Wake up, do crazy stuff in the morning, save the world.
Examples: Code Red(of course), Coolness, The Kave, Blue Moon, Dragon Woods, Stasis Qube, Kill Sailor Moon(ugh), It's the End of the World
The main character of the game pokes fun at the game and/or the author of the game.
Examples: Tseng games, Knightt games, some Zenith games
Directions, passwords, clues, and answers to puzzles are often found on a crumpled piece of paper.
Examples: Warlock Domain, others I can't think of right now.
People set aside entire rooms of their houses to devote to the collection of ammo, torches, gems, etc.
Examples: Aceland, Town of ZZT, some other old-school games
Found in ZZT comedies, can either help or hinder you.
Examples: You v. Stupidity, Island of the Jerks 1-4
Title Screen Music
Title screen music is short and usually repeats itself.
Examples: Tseng games.
In plenty of ZZT games, there's a toilet that may or may not have you flush it.
Examples: Mario ZZT games, Gem Hunter series
Shopkeepers might have an option that says "advice". Said advice is usually useless.
Examples: Ned the Knight, Gem Hunter games(have you noticed how many cliches I've followed? :-P )
The main enemy usually wants to blow up the world, or take control of the world's minds, or take over the world.
Examples: Lots of games.
Most ZZT games use violence. Blood is represented by red fakes.
Examples: Teen Priest, Gem Hunter series, November Eve
Exceptions: Aliens' blood is usually green or purple.
Most ZZT games start with the main character waking up in his/her bed.
Examples: More than I can list.
Ye Olde Schoole Invisimaze of Doom
Old-school mazes are made with invisible walls, even if these walls become instantly visible upon collision. Oddly enough, all invisible wall mazes are brand-new when the player enters - none of the walls have been activated. (Yes, I know the appearance is meant to simulate the "discovery" of a wall. I don't care.)
Examples: Town of ZZT, Aceland, Journeys
ZZT in ZZT
Some ZZT games have a little computer that you could play ZZT in. This leads to wacky antics, most of the time.
Examples: I don't remember off the top of my head.