ZZT Clichés

Authored By: Unknown
Published: Aug 9, 2010
RSS icon

This was a sort of a ripoff of Cosmo Canyon's RPG Cliches page, made by myself all the way back in 1998, if memory serves me correctly. It's jumped around several of my websites (including my current site, Incomprehensibility), but since I'm now a staffer here at Z2, I might as well pretend that I'm doing something.

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

Annoying Music
The most annoying songs are often repeated over and over again during gameplay, forcing you to turn off the music.
Example: MADF

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

Bums/Homeless People
A homeless bum has info or an item you need.
Examples: Gem Hunter, Gem Hunter 2

Cameos I
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

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

Cameos III
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

Cameos IV
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.

Contributor: PeanutsPat
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.

Dress Up
When the game starts with the main character in his/her room, there is a door-looking object that will tell you to go and dress, usually showing messages like "Nobody wants to see your naked ass, foo'!", and stuff.
Examples: Idiots in Paradise, and some others.

Duct and Sewer pipes
Contributor: Rothul
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

Evil Corporations
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
Contributor: JohnWWells
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!
Contributor: JohnWWells
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.

Jail I
Most instances in prison involve you escaping prison.
Examples: Escape from Planet Red
Exception: Chickenwire

Jail II
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.

Jail III
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
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

Magic Voice
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.
Example: Gladiator

Found in ZZT comedies, usually helps you.
Examples: You v. Stupidity, Corrupt Mind, Island of the Jerks 1-4

Contributor: JohnWWells
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

Packrat Blues
Contributor: JohnWWells
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

The Solution
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.

Contributor: JohnWWells
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
Contributor: JohnWWells
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

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.

Top of Page
Article directory
Main page