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Closer Look: ZZTV 3

By: Dr. Dos
Published: Aug. 31, 2019

An experimental "magazine" for ZZTers to make anything they want

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Stoch 2 is more of the same. They're both very nice to look at.


Now this one's a novelty, a ZZT ant farm consisting of breakable walls and tigers that dig through them with stars.

Antfarm Version II Info
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   ▐ β–Œβ– β–β–Œ ▐ ▐  β– β–Œβ– ▐▐ ▐
Version 2.0

Welcome to ZZT Antfarm Version 2.0. This
is a bit more advanced than the original,
and has more features. You are basically
the one who supports the farm and you care
take it. The ZZT Antfarm is a simulation
of a real ZZT antfarm, but as most
simulations go, they aren't exactly like
the real thing and don't discuss all the

Anyway, the features are:

You are able to take a tour throughout the
antfarm and observe it in many different
views. This is so you may be able to study
their habits and see to it that all ants
are seen. Also, since ants have a natural
attraction to the scent of a human, they
tend to burrow in your direction but are
limited by the walls which surround you.

--Clearing out dirt
The ants use this wind force to remove
the dirt in the way. They have 2 different
wind forces.

Sometimes, as the days go by, the tigers
lay Larvae behind.

Use this to hatch larvae.

Destroy all the ant's creations, the days
go by.

This happens every time erosion is
selected. This is just a measurement of

After hatched, the young are the cyan ones
roaming around the place.

Some bugs: Sometimes the ants shoot into
the bug-free areas. This happens very
rarely, but in case this happens, press
the erosion button, and your health is
restored. Another bug is that when some
bugs hatch, they are unable to be
programmed to do what you want, so they
end up not shooting stars, and laying more
larvae, ETC. Also, sometimes if the eggs
are hatched near other elder ants, the
elder ants inherit the dirt clearing habit
the young do. Sometimes it even switches
roles where the cyan ants shoot stars.
This is rare. At times, the elder ants
undergo massive fire, where they massively
fire bullets to clear dirt instead of
the star, like usual. That is all

-Viovis Acropolis

P.S. I hope quiet mode fits better. If it
doesn't kick in, press escape a few times.
Oh, it is also better if this is done in
a higher speed. I reccomend second-highest
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It has a rather lengthy explanation, despite being extremely simplistic. You just watch the tigers dig, and tour around the perimeter to guide them towards the player.


The egg laying system isn't explained that well, as the tigers only throw stars on their own.


Instead, the player must use the erosion feature to reset the dirt, and then some of the stars are transformed into eggs which can then be hatched.


Unfortunately, ZZT doesn't have a way to adjust a creature's properties when spawning them during gameplay, so all the offspring will be cyan tigers that shoot bullets instead.


Erosion also increments the days counter which for some bizarre reason caps out at 9999 days. I can't even begin to imagine hitting the button that long.


"4" is unrelated to the point-and-click adventure game by Jojoisjo, and is instead just an ode to the number.


The store is just that, some shelves full of whatever, checkout lines, and a group of friends hanging out in the middle. It's very difficult to make out what exactly this is. Are these based on real people? Established characters? Are these just objects for the sake of having objects?


Some of the shelves contain things you might find for sale at a store, though likely not all of them together. Take me to this sock and comic store.


Other shelves just greet you or meow at you, as shelves often do.


The first of the group is CrimmyH who is shopping to remain alive.


Lyle's personality is that he collects stamps.


Fernando is the writer, traveling with the others for inspiration. He's written a zine that the player can take a look at, and what is ZZTV if not an interactive zine?

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Travel Brochures:
Trip to Montana

Trip to Oklahoma


Trip to Heaven

Trip to Hell

My fucking busstop

My fucking park

My fucking driveway

Helpful Guides:
Eating right!

Picking out the right travel agent


Guide to guides

Eat Brochure

Don't Eat Brochure

Spin Brochures around

Exit this cruddy menu

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But before we get to the zine, there are some brochures to read. A lot of them. Plus options to eat or spin them. It's a bit overwhelming.


Most of them are just goofy nonsense and pretty forgettable. Feel free to go through all of the brochures using the file viewer, but this one on eating right is the best one by far.


After talking with Fernando, the shitty magazine becomes readable. But if you were expecting another wall of text, well, yes, but not just that. It instead opens a gap in the wall letting the player exit to a new board.


The shitty magazine is "Verdammen Alles" (damn everything) and offers some much more coherent content about the ZZT community and Viovis.


The tone shifts to suddenly being intended as something informative, and Viovis can tell already that by including something in his ZZTV channel, it gets to live on for that much longer.


People have been declaring ZZT as dead or dying even as far back as 1999, which is a wild thing to say, as it's one of the more prosperous years for releases, and had a thriving community with very active forums and IRC groups.

Though, perhaps Viovis's point is that there's no real signs of life in that you submit you game, it gets added, and then nothing. A lack of feedback is of course a big killer to motivation to continue, and in most cases, you'd never have any idea how many people played your game unless it was a massive hit.

Also boy am I glad he chose to call it a morgue and not a museum.


Or perhaps he was more worried that ZZT wasn't being used as a tool for self-expression, but for jockeying for that praise and coveted Game of the Month title. Viovis's work stands out for rarely being a "game", and you get a strong sense that he was significantly more interested in sharing his creations than getting a numeric review score for a reception.

This being the era where every game had to have an RPG battle in it probably didn't help convey originality.

Verdammen Alles
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24hoZZT's, a torture, or a pleasure? I
like them myself. I enjoy playing them, I
enjoy making them, and I enjoy the little
thing of competition in them. That all is
the pleasure of them. I hate staying up
long, I hate having to play through those
games which are buggy or ugly, and I hate
the strike of impatience for feedback
after creating them. That is my way of
seeing them. The pros and cons balance out
in my point of view. I crave them, I
savour them, I make the most out of them
despite the results. I want to be in more
of them. One a season is too little, and I
feel that they should be whenever
necessary. People have recently complained
about people planning too many of them and
how they will become boring. I believe
there should be official ones, and
unofficial ones. The official ones with a
straight set of rules, pre-planned dates,
etc, while the unofficial ones can be
page-less and free-form, with less people
but more thorough in reviewing at the end.
I just appreciate all of 24hoZZT and the
concept because I tend to get something
done that way.
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Hey it's 1999 and Viovis is discussing the overlap between game jams and crunch culture. He was talking about this stuff in the previous century, and seems to be pretty ahead of his time.

Again you can see Viovis's interest in creativity with the idea of more frequent 24 Hours of ZZT events with the intent of making them smaller affairs with more detailed judging. Sure enough, this is exactly what modern game jams go through where the bigger the event, the less likely it is that your game in particular will get considerable time dedicated to it.

Verdammen Alles
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The year 2000 is coming by soon. What does
that mean to me? NOTHING. I'll just be
angst about it, as I should, because that
is how I come up with a result like this.
The year 2000 is endoursed way too often,
and everything about the endoursements are
fully unnecessary. All this stuff about
the end of the world or the Y2K is
annoying. If any of this were to happen,
I'd rather hear it once so I'm aware of
it, and not much further because it is
just one additional thing to worry about.
All this Y2K stuff at first sounded
feasible, before all the shoes and sports
cars. The concept made sense, the random
deletion of things, I am unsure of.
Basically, it was a bug the original
programmers didn't think of, and then they
realize it, with the thought of earning
additional cash by coming up with a fix of
the bug. That's all common, things could
happen. We could say nothing would, we
could say things wouldn't work as well as
before, but that doesn't explain the
market they came up with. I think it is
all just a conspiracy planted so they
could further the development of fooey
marketing. I'm tired of writing this now.
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And an insight into the Y2K scare, and the view that companies were taking advantage of some software bugs that would need to be fixed and turning it into a marketing opportunity, essentially scamming people with their services.

As far as "rants" go, this is a lot more relatable today than IRC wars.


That's all for da sto, and it's zine within a zine.

Tut's Tomb Legends was a game I hadn't heard of that looked to be fun after its demo. PPDV2 is the very much awaited sequel to the original, Purposely Protected Dynamic Visualities, some outsider art in a community full of outsider artists. While this one did come out, it wouldn't be released until March of 2001, so the few glimpses shown here are a very slow tease.

You will not enjoy this one.

Like, do not feel obligated to watch the whole thing, because this introduction goes on for so long and feels so meaningless. Admittedly, this is probably the point. However, if you told me this was a ruse to trick people into not looking forward to PPDV2, I'd believe that as well.


This is another vestigial ZZTV concept. Channel wars where two authors would have a back-and-forth at each other throughout releases? It doesn't sound very fun so it's not really a surprise that the idea didn't really go anywhere. Since DarkFLR left the project after this release, it looks like Viovis had the last word here and won the war! Congratulations Viovis on your insight into how nobody wants this.

His little signature is great though.


Wrench II, sequel to Wrench is another art board.


Does it mean anything? Does it need to? Does the first part in ZZTV 2 reveal anything? (No.)


Finally, Viovis leaves us with some thanks to DarkFLR and Nadir for helping make ZZTV a success.

Viovis's channel is definitely the most interesting one in this volume. It's most willing to showcase the unusual and not just rely on previews/reviews that you'd see in any ZZT company magazine.

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