Apr 17, 2001
Engine, Puzzle
44.3 KB
53 / 55
2.25 / 5.00

ZZT House Hunting

There's no places like ZZT homes. There's no places like ZZT homes. There's no places like ZZT homes.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Aug 19, 2018
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Smeesh's House as seen in Yoshi's Adventure

More Yoshi games! More crude homes, but I have to include this gigantic Super Nintendo. Details where they count.


There are a few collections of Dutch made ZZT games out there. It seems there was a bit of a small community of enthusiasts there in the mid 90s, and we're fortunate to have a few compilations of their releases. Whether its because of the language barrier and thus its own development of rules for houses in ZZT games, or just a single author with a cool idea, Asterix gives us a perspective otherwise unseen!

This home is wonderful looking, and takes the very challenging task of depicting a 3D room in ASCII, and completely pulls it off. There may not be a lot to it, but what is here, really pops out compared to anything else.

The Tree House as seen in Yapok Sundria

Yapok Jr.'s Yapok Sundria gets to be a little different as well. So far these homes have all been designed after human dwellings, but Louis the Hispid Cotton Rat is no human. He lives within the Bee Fly Ptarmigan Tree and so his space is a bit more unusual. Despite the change in species, the home still features the usual furniture such as a bed, toilet, and sink. What it does differently, is plays around a little more. This is the first toilet I've seen with an eject button after all.

Note - I decided to unlock it so, as seen in Cyber World

-Raptor as seen in Cyber World

Typically, a ZZT home is going to be one board, or maybe have a second board to have a dedicated second floor screen. Cyberworld defies convention and has a very large one story house. It's marked with large furniture, massive beds, a TV projecting light, a computer (or C-Uter) used by walking into a passage. I suppose it must be gigantic on purpose, as the second room doesn't have nearly as much in it. A little remodeling could have easily fit things on a single board, but then we wouldn't have a dining room table that's wider than the kitchen.

--< Introduction 1 >-- as seen in Indiana Jones And The Search For King Solomon's Mines

Generally these homes are very freeform, containing whatever the author decides is important enough to include, but in the case of the house of Indiana Jones, well, it's still very freeform, but there are definitely scenes in the films taking place in his home, so we can contrast it to Hydra's depiction here.

Perhaps most blatantly inaccurate, is the idea that Indy would have a second bed in his bedroom as if this were actually I Love Lucy. Aside from that, it's pretty spartan looking, several desks, a table, and once again a detailed bathroom containing a shower and I assume toilet? In this game, Dr. Jones's home is only ever presented in cutscene, so it's not all that important that his rooms are well furnished as there's no need for player interactivity.


In the cave as seen in Sewers of ZZT 1997's Sewers of ZZT doesn't have a whole lot going for it, but it does have this fantastic home on Neptune. This may very well be the only couch in ZZT ever drawn from behind, and it absolutely nails it. Okay, it's massive, but in this case it's necessary to be able to pull off the detail needed. The fridge has a nice looking door, and the TV antennae is pretty solid as well, but the couch is the real star here.


Gem Master's Mansion as seen in Gem Hunter

Tseng has an interesting idea of a mansion in the first game of the Gem Hunter series. I don't think anybody would call it a mansion if it wasn't for the game calling it one. The rooms are tiny, there's a waiting room outside the throne room where Gem Master sits, and it's far more sparse than many of the more middle class homes we've seen in Code Red or Cyber World.

There are also no chairs in the dining room!

Zarbedos' Cottage as seen in Quest For The Immortals

Sometimes a home isn't much, as in the case of Zarbedos' home here. He sits quietly at the only table, with a classic Alexis Janson candle of course. Perhaps the true best part about this board isn't the home, but that Zarbedos is described as wearing a leisure suit in the game's text.

Safe House as seen in When East Met West: The Phoenix Reich

Now this is quite a nice home! (Though I'd have it repainted and get some less garish carpeting myself.) A roaring fire, some attempt at creating 3D counters in the kitchen area, the chair neatly pulled up against the desk in the bedroom. The long hall to get to the actual living area is a bit overkill, but you have here something that looks like a place somebody would actually live.

Home as seen in Todd's Adventure

As always, the development of one author's skill over time doesn't mean there aren't folks just starting out. Here in Madguy's first ZZT release, Todd's house looks like something more out of Oaktown. It's free of STK outside of a background fade, and anything that isn't a bed is ambiguous.

Park as seen in Trailer Park ZZT

Not all homes are squares with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Here we get to see a simple trailer, and a messy one! As the 90s move on, and computers become more affordable, the income range that could afford computers only widened. Not everybody designing homes based on what they've experienced will have the blessing of a nice home in a quiet suburb. Or maybe I'm just reaching, and Mr. Smith here just wanted to mix things up a little with this trailer littered with beer cans and joints. A home that's truly been lived in.

Your House--START as seen in Blue Moon Fred's House as seen in Blue Moon Your House--START as seen in The Kave

If you want to trace a lineage, looking at Nadir's early ZZT worlds here you can readily see the Alexis Janson influence. These are all very much Code Red. By this point in time Alexis would have been solidified as one of the greats, and definitely someone to learn from. Still, Nadir incorporates his own visuals, adding some outer walls to try and give a bit of depth to the scene, plus lots and lots of carpeting. The back door in the second screenshot in particular looks great.

18. Forest - Healer's Inside as seen in Quest For Glory

Back in the world of fantasy with Quest For Glory, Hydra78 gives us a healer's hut that is filled with ingredients for herbal recipes and brewing potions. The structure is more much plain, and I get a kick out of the backwards looking bed whose head is away from the wall.

House - START as seen in MADF

Here in the Mishap Adventures of Daniel Fogerbockie we can again see that Alexis Janson design showing. Daniel has quite the bedroom as well! A very detailed and reasonable proportioned bed, arrow shaped CRT monitor for his computer, and a small TV. This board also combines the first and second floors onto a single board, having Daniel walk around a curve to simulate a descent. Daniel isn't allowed in his parents' room, and so it isn't even drawn. But the Fogerbockie home really shines once the player leaves it:

Out side as seen in MADF

The outside appearance of the home not only looks great, but it matches the interior perfectly! Even down to the smaller windows in Daniel and his little brother's bedrooms. The board captures the feeling of a neighborhood quite well, eschewing the usual setup of just a single home on a board, and offering portions of several, each with their own unique designs for yards and driveways. The partially obscured basketball hoop is an excellent design touch, and looking at this board really makes me want to try the game out...

Duke's Place as seen in Duke Nukem

Unlicensed games offer amateur programmers massive freedom, with the benefit of using established characters and themes so audiences have an idea of what they're getting into. What does Duke Nukem's house look like? Well... it's got a big bed to share with a beautiful woman, a fridge full of spam, a gun, and a cleverly designed closet made out of bracket characters. Other than that, I don't think Duke spends a lot of time at home.


Jami's Apartment as seen in Jami's Undercity

Here in the grim world of Jami's Undercity, Jami lives in a simple apartment. Her large dresser and her bed sandwich a pair of high heels, which she won't be needing on her journey to rescue her vampire boyfriend. Though much like Duke Nukem, her furniture is pretty basic. It's a very sparse looking home with a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, but nothing much for entertaining.

At least it's up to code and has access to a fire escape. That will certainly be of use when the cultists arrive at her door.


Intro as seen in In Dreams

If you're getting deja vu here with that computer and bed style, pay it no mind. We're looking at another Flatcoat Lab game. Some things stick around I suppose. What's more interesting to me, is that the rest of the furniture in the other rooms takes on a less object focused design. The living room is particularly blocky.

House1 as seen in Dr. Who Episode 1

I'm including this because I saw this game had a board called "House1" and this is what I got: massive torches.

The Start of my ZZT "career" as seen in The Kave: Special Edition

Like several other ZZTers, Nadir went back to one of his earlier titles to take a second pass at it and hopefully do it justice. The Code Red influences are fading away as Nadir comes into his own here, bringing in his own style of shaded beds, and his brilliant stovetop with hood in the corner of the kitchen. There also appears to be a body trapped in the walls! The object's code consists of a single comment of "IT'S A SKELLINGTON!!!" so Nadir's humor was also coming along here as well.


Francine's House as seen in Gem Hunter II: Special Edition

Like several other ZZTers, Tseng went back to one of his earlier titles to take a second pass at it and hopefully do it justice. Three years after the release of the first Gem Hunter, Tseng's artwork and architecture have improved considerably. Line walls for furniture, the usual potted plants, and even some rooms that aren't made entirely of right angles!

Ob'Awscwadi - Your house as seen in Deceiving Guidance

Hercules and Hydra worked together on this harrowing fantasy game which begins in a simple Elven village. The spellbook on a pedestal alone makes this a board worth featuring.

Intro II as seen in Stupid RPG: File One Complete

Okay but check out that pool table! Knightt must have been dang proud of it since it's even featured on the game's title screen. This may also be a record for the largest number of bedrooms in a ZZT home. Four bed. Zero bath. One pool table.

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