Stupid RPG

Author
Knightt
Released
Jan. 1, 1999
Genre
Comedy, RPG
Company
Size
50.8ย KB
Boards
51 / 56
Rating
No rating

Closer Look: Stupid RPG

By: Dr. Dos
Published: Feb. 28, 2019

The first of far too many in a long running series by a notable and divisive ZZTer

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Same.

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I want this screenshot hanging in a gallery somewhere.

Jed: I'm getting bored.

Nitwit: Yeah. Me too.

F*gnuts: Man...this sucks.

Jed: Great choice of words, F*gnuts.

Nitwit: ...where the @*&$*(@ is Emcee?

F*gnuts: Dude, Noseblood took him.

Nitwit: No...I mean...what is he doing?

Jed: I dunno.

F*gnuts: Man...what about the crystals?

Jed: We would never be able to get them.

F*gnuts: Man. The crystals are a legend.

A very screwed up legend, man!

Nitwit: For once, he's right.

Jed: Yeah...ANYTHING could happen...

Things just kind of immediately de-escalate with the crew having abandoned their quest for the crystals as the status quo returns.

Later that night...

Jed's Radio: Joe Schmo is back to pass...

Receiver Billy Bob is open...

Schmo...RUNS!!!!

25!!!

20!!!

15!!!

10!!!

5!!!

TOOOOOUUUUUCCCCCHHHHHDDDDOOOOWWWNNNN!!!!!!

THE COLTS WON THE SUPERBOWL!!!
HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN!?!?!?!

THE COLTS WIN!!!!!
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!?!?!?!?

THIS WAS THE STUPIDEST GAME IN HISTORY!!!

I ain't a sports guy, but at the time of this game's release, the Colts hadn't won a Superbowl since 1971 and the drought went on until 2007.

While the rest of the amigos sleep, Lance finally wakes up! Whether inspired by the Superbowl results or not, he heads out to the bar.

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Bartender: Having a tough night, kid?
Don't worry about it.
Have a Creme Soda.

Lance: ...

Bartender: God, kid. You have amnesia.
You must have been to another bar.

Lance: ...

Bartender: Let me tell you a story.
On every continent across the world, there
is a crystal.

They are the Crystals of Stupidity.

These crystals only work when they are all
used at the same time.

This guy who was here earlier, Noseblood,
claims that he is gathering them all.
He plans to rule the life of the planet.

Lance: ...

Bartender: Someone's gotta save them.

And you may not be the one.

But go try, and kill yourself trying.

Why?

I dunno. Just do.

I think I'll shut up now.

Lance: ...

I'm still unsure what the rules on these crystals are. You need all four to control everyone, until it turns out you only need one, until it turns out that they can only be used all at once? So I guess we're back to all four being necessary again.

I do like "Just do."

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Interaction
  โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข
LANCE IS MISSING, MANNNNN!!!!

THE HELL!?!?!?!

THE ANGELS MUST HAVE TAKEN HIM!!!!

I'm not so sure about that.

BUT HE'S DEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAADDDDDDDD!!!!!

...where's Nitwit?

...he left, dude.

Shit. Where?

HE MUST BE DEEEEAAAADDD!!!!!

Oh, shut up.

...

Come on. Let's go.

Ok, man. But let's take the secret
staircase this time. Nitwit locked the
other way out.
  โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข    โ€ข

It's up to Jed and F*gnuts to find Lance and Nitwit. Except they're locked inside the hideout and have to take the other exit. The good news is this means not walking through through brown caves or whatever full of generic enemies. The bad news is that means a different dungeon full of generic enemies.

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Melborp's favorite game...
Noseblood's favorite color...
The two words of F*gnuts...
The purpose of the Crystals...

In order to actually leave, four passwords need to be provided which helpfully have hints around the room. Hope you were paying attention!

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I almost regret not censoring F*gnuts as Mandude.

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It's easy to have no idea where the alternate exit places you, since the explanation that the government building is connected to the hideout is a pretty forgettable detail, but here Jed is in the basement. The tiled background is kind of nice, and makes for probably one of the nicer looking dungeons honestly.

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Knightt introduces something to add a little variety to the game's combat, with a POSTAL ability to do a ton of damage but probably miss. "Kick your ass from here to Junon" was just a thing Tseng said sometimes. I don't think it's an actual line from Final Fantasy 7 because if somebody actually said it, it would be one of those things people beg to have kept in that remake.

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With the new POSTAL ability, it's just as easy as ever to try and avoid everyone. The door on the left, is locked as you'd expect, requiring a key from the other path to open.

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Said other path takes the player to a large room with a few computer workstations and two government employees. The first of whom warns the player not to touch his computer or die.

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The woman named Scarlet (who I have no idea if she's meant to be the same Scarlet from FF7) is happy to throw him under the bus at least. It's time to break a computer in the 90s.

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I'm trying to think how long it's been since I've had to restart or shut down a computer via control+alt+delete. I almost forgot how common that used to be. After shutting it down, Scarlet keeps her word and gives out the key. Her coworker doesn't seem to notice anything amiss.

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On the way back I managed to get caught by a statue enemy and try out the new postal ability. An ability which also replaced stabbing, meaning there are still only two options in a fight.

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Basic attacks don't do a lot of damage and it takes very little time to select the postal option since you can just hit page down to jump to the bottom, so it's my new strategy.

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This is such a weirdly amateurish board? Stupid RPG is hardly an example of brilliance in design, but this seems a bit out of place even for this game.

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This was the point where I decided to call it a day when I was first playing the game. Narrow hallways mean fights that can't be avoided. It's still just more of the same statue enemies from the earlier.

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A sign on the previous board guides the player, telling them there's a cafe here, and the top floor of the building to the north, which is once again behind a locked door.

Stopping the porn download was easy enough, but here Knightt just places the keycard needed on the ground to be picked up.

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The cafe is the last chance the player has to stock up on health and MP, but this is itself a cruel trick as the only combat left is one of the RPG battles with a health bar, so purchasing Pizza or Coke is a complete waste of money.

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The current customers include Beavis and Butthead for some reason.

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There's one list stair climb, this time without any Knightt graffiti on the board.

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The final floor has what's supposed to be a water fountain in the middle, but there's no animation at all so it doesn't really do a very convincing job. The soda machine isn't usable since it only has V8, tomato juice, and Mountain Dew, three drinks Jed abstains from.

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The final locked door has an actual message rather than just being locked!

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The only way forward is to the president's office, which means getting past Lara one last time. She asks if the player has an appointment, and the options are a simple yes and no! No flirting!

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Well, until you answer in the affirmative and begin calling her baby again.

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Despite getting into the office by claiming to be Razor, Razor is already in the office. A lengthy cutscene ensues. AGAIN.

President: Hello, Razor.

Razor: Hey.

President: So...I was told that you wanted
to see me.

Razor: Yeah.
You see, boss. I think I deserve a raise.

President: I see. 50% raise for you.

Razor: THE HELL!?!?!?
I mean...thank you.

President: I have the money to waste.
If you do your job, that is.

Razor: WAIT A MINUTE!!!!
I'm working here for free for Community
Service!!!

President: Enjoy your raise.

Razor: That wasn't nice, you bastard.

President: What did you say?

Razor: Uhm...I like...plaster?

President: Yah, I do too. Cya.

Razor: #*^$^#^)@%*)@#%^).

I don't know who this is, therefore I don't know what this means.

Jed: Wait a minute!
I'm Jed!

I'm F*gnuts, man!

Jed: And together we are...
Well...uhm...uh. Two Amigos.

President: That's nice.

Jed: Prepare to die.

President: Just a second.
I'm preparing.

Dum dum de dum.

De dum.

Okay.

That's not all though, as Razor walks away in frustration, Jed and the walking slur show up to raise some hell of their own. I forget why I'm even here at this point. We're just trying to go find Lance and this president has nothing to do with the villain at the start. I mean, he's an asshole, but none of the heroes in this story seem like the types of people to be particularly bothered by that.

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====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

The Worlds of ZZT project is committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.

This article was produced thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Support Worlds of ZZT on Patreon!

HEY-OH!

And now for a pathetic plug...

Hello. I am Knightt.

Do you want Romance?

Excitement?

Danger?

A game with a first file that has more
than one town?

Don't bother with Stupid RPG.

But, you don't want that.

So reserve today!

If you reserve, you get a free:
Silver Silicon Game Cartridge!
Stupid RPG T-Shirt!
And last but not least...How Knightt Stole
Christmas!

Just dial 1-800-Stupid-Me, and say...
Stupid me, please!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!?!
ORDER YOU @*$(^$)@ BASTARD!!!!

There comes a point in some ZZT games where you can tell the author is just as bored as the player is, and in the case of Stupid RPG it's right here. Though the board isn't entirely lacking in things of note, as this game did receive the "Special Edition" treatment about two months after its release with Stupid RPG: Silver Silicon Cartridge Edition!

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Things return to the cutscene already in progress, not even a fight with this president. But at this point I don't want any more fights and I'm just hoping this game will be done. Knightt even teased me with a dialog option to say that I don't want to fight, which works out since saying yes to the fight loops the "Do you really want to?" prompt.

Savant: Wise choice. Now get out of here.

Jed: Wait a minute, old hag.

Savant: Hm?

Jed: Have you seen a mute and a crazy guy
with a gun?

Savant: Wow, they're everywhere.

Jed: Have you?

Savant: Nope. Nope. Can't say I have.

Jed: Where are they?

Savant: Let's just say...
They're taking a trip out of town...

Jed: SHIT!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!?!?!?

Savant: Noseblood caught em.
He's bringing them to a place that has
been vacant for years.

Jed: In your bed?

Savant: Shut up.

Jed: Where?

Savant: I'm not telling.

Jed: Okay, caveman, fork over the keys.

Savant: Keys? What keys?

Jed: You know what I mean.

*bring*

Savant: Don't answer that.

*bring*

Savant: Agh.

*bring*

Savant: Hello?

Noseblood: I'm near the Pot Hole Exit with
those guys ya wanted.

Jed: SHIT!!!

Savant: Whee. Hurry, Noseblood.

Oh, I guess the president here is actually the president from earlier. So he's the president of some company and the president of this town? I don't know, but at least the fact that the party is confronting him makes some sense now.

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There's still one more cutscene here which I'm skipping entirely for everyone's benefit. In short, Razor gives Jed the passcode to exit so they can now run off and try and save Lance and Nitwit. This means that the weird gap at the bottom of the board is now a proper exit, and not a visual error.

Admittedly, the linewalls with a gap is a lot better than if there was just more sidewalk on the bottom. It's a visual indicator, just an inconsistent one.

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After that 3 second reprieve of crossing the street, it's time for a new cutscene.

F*gnuts: LANCE IS DEEEEAAADDD!!!

Jed: ...bastard...

Melborp: We didn't do it.

Jed: Why...why did you kill him?
He was a poor, pathetic mute!!!

Noseblood: We didn't kill him.
Now, go to hell.
Hiroth: I killed him.

Hiroth: I wouldn't kill me if I were you.

Hiroth: With the legendary hero out of the
way...

Razor: What!?!??!

Hiroth: Lance...is him, correct?

Jed: You should know. You killed him....
bastard...

Hiroth: Well, if you want the Insane
Crystal...

I'll see you in the Stupid Desert...
Melborp: Well, I guess I'll leave now...

Jed: Hell no!

Quite a lot happens at once here. Lance is actually dead, but the obvious killer denies it. Fortunately, the actual killer is close by to confess, and it's Sephiroth, who shows up and pretty much just leaves immediately. He sets up the sequel, and hints at a grander adventure, just by the virtue of clearly playing the same role as Sephiroth in Final Fantasy 7, who is the guiding force of most of the game's story afters its own introduction that's confined to a single city. Hiroth is going to be the reason the player starts wandering on a world map.

But first there's still Melborp (along with Karey and Noseblood). Jed confronts Melborp, running up to him and I guess grabbing him which brings us to...

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This game really sucks. It's bad. I'm just now noticing that "piece" is spelled incorrectly so that's something at least.

The two argue for another line or two, but let's be real, this is the iconic line we're looking at.

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It's time for the final battle, and you know, after the slog of cutscenes, monotonous fights, and one last casual push of homophobia, I hate to momentarily 180 here and say that the battle music Masamune plays here is actually pretty good.


I don't know if it's an original composition, or just a Final Fantasy track I can't recognize due to my limited interactions with any that aren't 1, 5, or 7, but it's actually worth listening to!

Aside from that it feels no different than the first fight, just now your magic attack is Iceโ€ผโ€ผ

It's still a damage race, but I won it on the first try. Probably because I knew I could burn as much MP as I wanted at this point.

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Cut to credits. The music is a repeat of the Chocobo theme from earlier which again isn't all that exciting.

Interaction
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Wait a minute. The second part isn't out
yet! Haw haw! Well...uhm...have some
yummy credits to eat. You looovee credits!

โ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘ Story โ–‘โ–‘โ–’โ–’โ–“โ–“
Knightt
โ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘ Programming โ–‘โ–‘โ–’โ–’โ–“โ–“
Knightt
โ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘ Music โ–‘โ–‘โ–’โ–’โ–“โ–“
Masamune
โ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘ Beta Testers โ–‘โ–‘โ–’โ–’โ–“โ–“
tseng
masamune
gchucky
โ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘Mentioned For The Hell Of Itโ–“โ–“โ–’โ–’โ–‘โ–‘
tucan, the nut who thinks that he
created Melborp.
Stupid RPG was originally planned to be
released on christmas day, but problems
lead it to a release date of new years
eve. Gwah.
Stupid RPG will have AT LEAST 3 files.
File Two is due for April 21, 1999, the
anniversery of my first year of zzting.
I hope you had fun. Cya in File Two!
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I'm a bit surprised Tseng was officially a tester here. The game feels so much like it wants to be a Tseng game that I'd have expected Tseng to be annoyed at how derivative it is. It must have had his blessing then! Additionally Knightt is laying claim to one of the most precise release dates I've seen in the ZZT community. To his credit, most ZZT sequels just never got made, while Stupid RPG: Disc Two is very much a finished product. Just one that didn't come out until halfway through December 1999.

Final Thoughts

Oof.

Playing this game honestly raised a lot more questions than it answered. I wound up digging around on the old ZZT wiki and through some ZZT magazine worlds to try and find anything on this game's reception since if it had any reviews in its day, they've since been removed when Knightt requested his games be taken off the archives.

I only managed to uncover two reviews, both of the special edition, by Nadir and an unnamed individual (I assume Ethan Hunt since he's the one who put the magazine it was contained in together). Neither really gives much insight, but Nadir claims to be looking forward to the second game. The anonymous review gives the game's story an 85% which is very generous and the highest rated attribute of story, gameplay, graphics, music, and programming.

While Knightt went on to become a major player in the ZZT community, it looks like it had far less to do with the Stupid RPG series and lot more with his active involvement on forums and IRC. He obtained a role as admin on zzt.org and made his opinions well known, often coming off as antagonistic.

Whether or not the ZZT community drama of the day involving Knightt is his own fault or not is hard to say with so little of that era surviving that wasn't captured in ZZT worlds. The fact is that he became a big name, relevant through the mid-2000s and eventually taking his leave quietly like the majority of the 90s crew.

But we're not here to talk about Knightt's rise, fall, and martyrdom in the eyes of ZZTers. No, we're here to discuss this mess. For the most part, it's simply a mess. The game is very incohesive and it seems very likely to have just been made up board by board with whatever idea was floating around in Knightt's head at the time. The characters, both the heroes and villains are both lacking in distinguishing features. We know Melborp likes blackjack because a lady in a bar said so. We know F*gnuts because that name stands out, but I kept finding myself having to double check who was in each scene as I wrote this.

The game wants to be a spoof of the RPG genre, particularly Final Fantasy 7, but only really does so by saying chocobo a few times, having some crystals that are almost never actually seen, and trying to introduce a major villain in Hiroth that has no leadup or followup that his presence just doesn't matter. If the city of Pothole is supposed to be this world's Midgar, it fails dramatically at capturing any of that city's aesthetics.

As an RPG, it also has RPG battles, but in such an extremely weak way as well. There's no thoughtfulness in enemy placement, variety, and the player never feels like they have meaningful choices in these fights. Admittedly, it's quite difficult to pull off this sort of thing in ZZT, but the lack of any sort of customization really hurts it. No weapons, no armor, no magic (in the minor battles), no leveling, just rolling dice and hoping the buffer of health you have is enough to let you roll longer and better than the opponent.

The major battles don't feel any better, upping the stakes to make the damage race more tense and adding in a single spell. To compare it to something like the 2007 Commodore title, Psychic Solar War Adventure is unfair to this game, but it does show how ZZT can be capable of accomplishing RPG combat in a way that feels strategic. A more relevant example from closer to Stupid RPG's release would be 1998's Nivek's Defender of Castle Sin which was released just two months earlier yet offers the player the ability to gain new spells and figure out their tradeoffs.

As Knightt's first title, Stupid RPG demonstrates the basics. The code works as intended, and Knightt has a playable RPG, but it just doesn't excel or even show promise at anything more. The game's strongest feature is that it has a neat looking pool table, and that can't even begin to put a dent in the crass writing and poor taste humor that doesn't offer anything to players today beyond the ability to awkwardly try and say it's a product of a teenage boy in the late 90s.

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