"Hello there pet. Nice to see a new face.
Did you bring me a meal?"
"N-no. I'm trying to help Mary."
"Aww, is my Mary hurting? She's a fragile
little thing, but I care for her. I take
it the sacrifice didn't go as planned?"
"No, it didn't."
"You look sad, pet."
"I just...want Mary to feel better."
"Hmm. I think you can help her. Here, take
"Thank you so much."
"Come back when you're done, I'd love
to...get to know you better."
• • • • • • • • •
"Hey Mary, can I tell you something?"
"I kinda...want to be a witch. I've wanted
to for a while now."
"Really? Well that's easy!"
"It is? It always seemed so out-of-reach
for a person like me."
"Nope. All you have to do to be a witch is
just be a witch. If you've decided to be
one, you are one. Simple as that."
"Then...I'm a witch."
"You're a witch."
• • • • • • • • •
Hey. This is a stellar game that I think perfectly exemplifies why ZZT is a great storytelling medium. At the time of the release, it would require DOSBox, adding a hurdle of complexity to get people to be able to play it, but these days with Asie's Zeta, it's incredible easy to share a small experience like this.
The story it tells takes serious issues like anxiety and expressing yourself and your romantic interests and presents them in a lighthearted but non-disrespectful way that's fun to explore. It's a very compelling game, despite there being so little actually to it. Atop The Witch's Tower demonstrates ZZT's parity with other story focused gaming mediums like Twine and Bitsy. It shows what a powerful tool it can be in the right hands, and how you don't need experience with ZZT to make something wonderful in it.
Thyer was working so completely outside the community that this game was made entirely with the ZZT's default editor. It wasn't until the livestream that he learned that tools like KevEdit even existed. It's really fascinating to see how a game this recent can capture the feelings and aesthetics of some of ZZT's earliest worlds by virtue of them being games first and "ZZT games" second. The programming is very simple, and demonstrates the power of ZZT's simplicity wonderfully.
It was a treat to play through it when it was new, and was great to revisit. If making a game seems daunting, this is the game that can sell you on trying out ZZT. If you have a story that needs telling, perhaps a white on blue smiley face can convey more emotions than their eternal grin would suggest.
The Worlds of ZZT project is committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.
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