thingy! you must get to the other side
in a dungeon-game like way!
• • • • • • • • •
The minigames are over, but Eurakarte must have had fun mixing up the gameplay, as the next floor does it again by creating a dungeon crawl. It's not much of a dungeon, seeing as it's meant to be a simulated outdoor environment, but it's some more variety. Now rather than shooting, Shapiro has to attack in melee by touching the various enemies.
Those enemies include clones of Scott Hammack for some reason? I don't think any of Hammack's ZZT worlds were dungeon crawls or even fantasy themed. Perhaps this is just wacky random humor or perhaps Eurakarte was mixing up his authors and meant for somebody who was a bit more prolific with dungeon crawls such as Anthony Testa instead.
Shapiro can pick up some cheeses for health, but there's also an item a little more in flavor with the dungeon crawl world:
Then there's also this statue.
it's a sculpture of Oxnard Montalvo, the
star of all those late night horror
ironically, the one thing i'm not scared
the statue heals you with its maJiKaL
• • • • • • • • •
I didn't recognize the name Oxnard Montalvo, and figured it'd be worth at least looking him up. If you're into B-Movies, that won't be enough to recognize the name, as Oxnard Montalvo is actually just a made up celebrity from the Nickelodeon cartoon Angry Beavers.
You got me Eurakarte. You got me good.
Taking the stairs upward once more leads to the most complex floor: A representation of ZZTer IRC. Calling these sort of games like Sim #Darkdigital and Burger Joint "simulation" games, is being very generous.
And so we depict the inevitable death of ZZT via scaring away anybody who might show any interest.
This next segment is pretty huge. There are something like a dozen denizens of IRC hanging out together and no obvious exit. Instead, Shapiro will have to solve a chain of fetch quests in order to eventually escape
Most of the ZZTer dialog is a bit more substantial than this, but it's all just a lot of nonsense really. But after all, that's what you're playing Shapiro for in the first place.
Quests include finding friends, delivering some Blue When Brand Sauce, and getting some chickenwire to help cage a chicken. It's a lot to get done, but the player is encouraged to explore the room and will likely just stumble across some progress naturally. The only difficult part is trying to remember who is who.
The first quest that can be completed is the one to find scissorman for Lemmer. These two were definitely a pair of names frequently seen together around the time this game would've come out. Here in Shapiro, the player gets to reunite the duo so Lemmer can toss him out the window.
Narcing his location will let Lemmer teleport scissorman to him, and then throw him out the window juts like he said he would. As a reward, Shapiro receives a door-fixer-o-matic
Scissorman's leaving of the stall also gives Shapiro a chance to pick up a stray urinal cake.
Nadir, the author of the comedic ZZT game Chickenwire, is of course is happy to take the urinal cake, and gives Shapiro some chickenwire.
Which can in turn be given to Viovis who gets his chicken caged and offers up some "blue sauce".
Shapiro knows when he's got a good deal.
The cool thing about 2018 is that I need to specify that I have no reason to believe this is intended as anything other than a random non-sequitur, and not in fact anal vore fetish material.
It all works out for Shapiro in the end though. The key can be used on one of the nearby lockers to obtain a fireproof suit. That, combined with the door-fixer from earlier allows access into the last bathroom stall that was very fiery beforehand.
The fetch quest chain continues, vampy is inside and gives Shapiro an inflate-o-friend.
This causes something else to happen rather than just letting Shapiro continue along the chain. Vampy teases Chuck who throws a little tantrum and drops something by his chair which he is adamant is not in fact a highchair.
The inflate-o-friend can be exchanged for rubber cement.
zzt.org admin dragonlord knows how annoying it is to have a responsibility to upload ZZT games. I feel him.
You actually need both items to proceed this time!
Dragonlord obviously cares not for updating the archive, and kind of has a breakdown.
And of course all of this was so Shapiro could pick up an ampersand that was on a table and blocked by dragonlord.
And that's Eurakarte's interpretation of #Darkdigital!
And now for Eurakarte's interpretation of... something. The penultimate floor looks pretty trippy, and maybe a bit confusing with its 6x4 layout, but it's actually not all that wild to get through.
Like with #Darkdigital, Shapiro needs to find the right order to interact with things in order to open up the next floor. The last floor would definitely be considered a puzzle, but the more abstract setup here makes it feel much more puzzley.
On the right pocket is a telescope that Shapiro won't do anything with just yet. Most of the coordinates have empty spaces, but there is a pillar with a hole in it that Shapiro can't reach into, and also a teleportation pad.
NetHack references abound. Zorkmids as currency appear in various other games, like, Zork, for one. A few years after this game's release, roguelikes (in particular ADOM) became a bit of a thing with the ZZT community for quite some time, and Eurakarte was definitely a fan of NetHack and ADOM so it's not all that surprising to show up here.
The numbers on the walls themselves don't seem to have any purpose other than setting up coordinates, but this 2 on the left wall will momentarily flicker, guiding the player towards it. Touch it activates a teleporter powered via a player clone, allowing the player to enter the strange face's nose. Once inside Shapiro can collect "a portable ZZT bear".
The bear quickly makes itself useful once Shapiro examines the one oddly textured wall along the southern portion of the main chamber.
ZZT's bears have the unique ability to destroy breakable walls. It destroys the bear as well however, which prevents them from being useful as traps. Similarly bears have extremely rigid movement compared to most other ZZT creatures. They'll only move when the player is aligned with them to a certain degree determined by their sensitivity stat. They're probably the least used ZZT enemy.
The wall smashing self destructive behavior most likely comes from ZZT's own inspiration of the Kroz series, which the same ASCII character is used for a wall destroying enemy as well.
Breaking the wall nets Shapiro a key, as well as causing one of the coordinates to reveal itself as a scroll which contains coordinates to use with the telescope.
The telescope reveals one of the stars in the corner to in fact be red, and provides Shapiro with some used chewing gum. My first though was to map the red star in the corner to the coordinates in the main room, but that didn't do anything. Instead, Shapiro is meant to use his newly acquired gum on the hole in the pillar to get the item inside, which just so happens to be one zorkmid.
Unsurprisingly, activating the teleporter with the zorkmid causes another teleportation, this time to the stars.
And finally, Shapiro obtains the coordinates necessary to get the next key. The player has to have these coordinates in order for the object hidden at them to do anything, so there's no speedrunner strat here.
The bad key machine opens the bad door. The thing is, I just assumed that was a regular old ZZT door and I'd get a blue key to open it, so I was just confused about what the machine was meant for, though not for long given that there's nothing left in the room to interact with. Shapiro can collect the red key, and use it with the green one from earlier to proceed to THE FINAL LEVEL.
But first! A dramatic confrontation.
DR. KABADBOT: Ah, shapiro. I see that you
found your way through Mt. Fobster and
my Maze of Weirdness, eh?
SHAPIRO: shapiro cares not for YOU!
KABADBOT: really, shapiro? well, I'm
taking your girlfriend and dashing off in
my personal blimp, so HA!
SHAPIRO: I must stop his blimp!
• • • • • • • • •
Kabadbot (remember him?) quickly flees the mountain leaving Shapiro to find a way to take on a blimp. Fortunately, a nearby computer can be used to remotely crash the blimp by providing some override codes.
I mean, it's an obvious joke, but I laughed.
Here in Kabadbot's penthouse apartment, Shapiro must solve the game's final puzzle. Some music loops during this, and it might seem like there's a time limit until Kabadbot gets away or something, but the reality is that the player has all the time in the world to find the three access codes.
One of which is written on a discard piece of paper in the pile in the corner. Easy enough.
A poster in the bedroom doesn't have a code, but it does have a portion of the key to the safe, which will certainly be helpful.
The joke is that Kabadbot has all these needless clues, but this is a pretty silly setup.
And there's the rest of the key.
With the "N" hint, Shapiro can use the filing cabinet effectively, which nets him access code three.
And lastly, is this first and final code in the safe. I wonder if it's deliberate or not to have the most difficult code to obtain be the first.
Touching the computer with all the codes lets Shapiro crash the blimp and save Shapiroette from Kabadbot. It's kind of abrupt with how quickly it all happens, but thankfully the game does give us an ending cutscene and not a sudden game over on the spot.
And so the Hindenburg crashes to the ground, ruining Dr. Kabadbot's kidnapping, and bringing the others to check out the wreckage.
I don't know why Zenith Nadir gets such a prominent role in this game. When Shapiro's finished talking with everyone, he can head into the passage to the epilogue?
Nadir appears once more, to moo randomly.
Shapiro's dialog here is one strikethrough away from being authentic Pokey the Penguin.
I already mentioned that there is no Lies 2, just Cares Not For Snakes. There is something about gaming culture that requires everything must get a sequel immediately after ending.
Eurakarte was probably also into biology. I want to say that his name was intended to be a corruption of "eukaryote", but I may just be imagining that.
The longstanding mystery of why Dr. Kabadbot blinks is finally solved.
Music: Euraka- oh, heck, do I have to
MY LONESOME SRIS!!!111!!!...sorry.
EURAKARTE CARES FOR ASBESTOS 2
And of course,
A few extra notes:
I hope you enjoyed the first cinema scene,
because ZZT deleted it no less that 5
Asbestos 1 is good.
Asbestos 2 is very good.
I wish there was an Asbestos 3.
Be sure to watch for Shapiro Cares Not
For Lies 2, because shapiro cares for
• • • • • • • • •
The game comes to its end with the usual credits and one last ad for Blue When. I am glad Eurakarte made sure to bring up issues with code getting deleted and ruining his opening cutscene numerous times. That's just a thing that happens with ZZT's editor sometimes!
What a timepiece! This game's brand of humor sticks out like a sore thumb when you play it today, and while randomness for randomness's sake might not hold up today, the humor at least isn't full of punching down like lots of the other games we've seen in this series. Shapiro is the essence of how ZZT games are formed: The author finds something they like (in this case Pokey the Penguin comics), and runs like hell with its style.
Despite its really obvious origins, the characters do feel like they are entirely Eurakarte's creation and not penguins replaced with geometric shapes. Calling it a rip-off would be too harsh. The comics and games feel like they mean well and want to use Pokey as a starting point for something grander. On the greater internet, you're certainly not going to run across people who know all about Mr. Shapiro rather than Pokey, but I think Eurakarte did find at least a little success within the ZZT community. There are a few more Shapiro games after this, and while none of them really were big hits, it's clear from looking at the reviews the series gained at least one dedicated fan.
The humor and characters might not be the most impressive today, but the core gameplay here does work. The game is a bit short, but everything feels cohesive. The closest thing to an annoyance is trying to remember who is who in #darkdigital when trying to deliver items to their intended recipients. You can very quickly play through Mr. Shapiro Cares Not For Lies, and you'll enjoy it as a quick little diversion. I just wish Eurakarte had expanded on the platformer engine a bit more because he was clearly onto something there. I'd say to give the game a shot yourself as it doesn't take a whole lot to get through.
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