Mind Vomit by Zandor 12Title Screen (No, Really!)
Typically, September is a reasonably strong month, as American ZZTers get around to finishing the games they were working on during the summer. September 2003 saw the release of several interesting games, including Hellish Cave by Nixon, and Zandor 12's Mind Vomit. This month's pick falls on the latter. Mind Vomit is an extremely bizarre and surreal game, well-drawn and intriguing with the self-confessed influence of Viovis' 'visualties' games (such as The Motivational Speaker). It's pretty damned funny, too.Surrealism Rules Text Adventure
I've said it time and time again; randomness is perceived by too many ZZTers to simply be an easy way out of actually engineering a plot and character development. They don't realise just how difficult it can be to do effectively. Ninety percent of random games, in my opinion, never really shine, but Zandor 12 has here managed to pull it off, with impressive results.
The game consists of two major parts; an art section, featuring some bizarre and well-drawn non-linear art, and a game section, beginning with an extremely confusing story involving something about lines devouring coloured objects and changing them to text and continuing through the reuniting of a long-lost father and son, purchase of some buttered yams/hams/clams from a decidedly ursine shopkeeper, engaging in diplomatic discourse with Billy the electro-cactus, and demolishing game machines in the bowling alley of the man-eating cake ... the destruction of whom is, apparently, your ultimate goal.The Mystical Space Turtle!
The art in Mind Vomit, in both the art section and game section, is actually really good. The attention to detail is quite high, and there is evidence of careful planning and effort, belied by the game's nature; effects of light and shadow are duly noted, and there is some very creative use of colour for the backgrounds of many of the boards. There's a picture of what looks like Weebl saying "PIE!", a Z2 BARON, and a cob of corn. Granted, one of the boards is a puzzle where one is compelled to actually 'play' a ZZT toolkit, but nobody ever said mind vomit was always pretty.
As with all random games, after a while it begins to wear just a little bit thin. There's also no music (from memory), though there are definitely sound effects (such as for the time-honoured 'spoof ZZT error' joke.)Feet Clock
But with that said, and at the risk of any humourless fools throttling me, I found this game really, really funny, which is of course its main strength (as it is in most random games). The effort Zandor 12 has put into the variety of his jokes, and their depiction in well-drawn graphics, is not at all negligible, and the game overall left me feeling decidedly impressed.
While it's true that I would be very interested to see something slightly more linear in a ZZT game from Zandor 12 in future, Mind Vomit is an excellent first release, and is well worth the download.
8 / 10