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Closer Look: ZZTV 3

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

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Aug 31, 2019
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Welcome to GLTV...
...all stuff, all the time!
Sit back and enjoy our 4 hours of quality
veiwing... up next, the 6:00 news! Then
enjoy some culture on, "Art with Sister
Rosiline..." and after that see the newest
action program here, "JetpackMan!" ...and
be sure to see, "EgoHour: gerbil blabs on"
at 9:00!

Disclaimer: this is the "zzt space-time
continum," so that means that it won't
acctually take 4 hours... don't worry.
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Gerbil receives the distinction here of being the first person to make a channel showcasing a game that's been covered as a Closer Look before, with Scooter. Gerbil also happens to stick pretty tightly to the TV theme, but does it in a way that feels a bit nicer than Ringworm's.

We've got our remote and our popcorn, and the station is tuned to Gerbil Land TV, so let's begin with the six o'clock news.

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The following program is brought to you
in part, by...

The Tiki Temple!

Hello, friends! Have you ever wanted a
real Tiki? Nether have I, but if you did
and couldn't get one, why not settle for
a Tiki page-Idol insteed? It's easy! Just
go down to the Tiki Temple at...
...and take a look at the numerous Tiki
graphics they have there! Pick out the
Tiki of your choice and put it up on your
main page! It's that easy! They also have
a big selection of backgrounds and
graphics for your personal page!

"...hey, this is kinda' cool..."
- tUcan
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Gerbil really sticks with the original concept, having ads before each channel segment of original content. In this case, the ad isn't for anything ZZT related, but a webpage dedicated to Tiki idol icons.

And yes it's still preserved.


Now for the actual news, as told through a highly interactive anchorman.


He's just as confused as to how this works through a television metaphor as the rest of us.

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...and now we would like to welcome our
special guest, Charles Darwin!

Darwin: er... thank you, Anchorman!

Anchorman: ...and thank you for being on
our show, Mr. Darwin...

Darwin: The pleasure's all yours...

Anchorman: ...so, it says here that you
want to clear up some misconseptions
about your theory...

Darwin: That's right... you see, many
teachers and scientists believe that
evolution is just one species being
replaced by another, if any of you recall
that little chart that shows monkeys
lined up, each looking more human the
farther down the chart you go. The very
end of the chart shows a human/ape man
holding a spear...

Anchorman: But the shirt your wearing
shows the monkey at the end of the chart
holding a rifle...

Darwin: er... yes, I know. This is my
Rage Against the Machine shirt I always
wear... quite clever acctually...

Darwin: ...anyway, It's just not like
that... you see, when I was studying the
Galapogos Islands trying to figure out
why the animals there were... well, just
so damn wierd, I stumbled onto this
little theory called...
Evolution by Natural Selection
...it means, basically, that animals
don't just get replaced by somthing
better, or that the species magically
changes into somthing better. It means
that the animals who's natural designs
were, as we in the science world like to
call it, "crappy," died off before they
could mate and make more faulty animals
just like them.

Anchorman: ...er, example?

Darwin: okay... say there is a species of
turtles that lives in a grassy valley...
okay? These turtles happen to be white.
So, one of the mommy turtles has a bunch
of babies. And say one of these babies is
a mutant. A genetic aberation that turns
out to be green. While all his brothers
and sisters (who are white) are being
snatched up by hawks or whatnot, he's
hidden in the grass, because he's green.
Now this turtle lives longer and mates
alot more than his white friends, passing
his genes around. If more turtles turn
out green, they will mate more and live
longer than the white turtles. Then...
one day, thousands of years later, all
the turtles in the valley will be green!
Clever, isn't it?

Anchorman: ((blink blink))

Anchorman: Okay... get out of here before
you bore us to death, you old coot!

Darwin: augh!
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Only in the medium of ZZTV can you get an explanation of natural selection from Charles Darwin wearing a Rage Against the Machine shirt. It's an amazing line.


The anchorman will have nothing to do with it however.

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gerbil's zzt news!

Welcome welcome! Today in the news...

gerbil updated Gerbil Land
You can now look at two upcoming games
and download the Hungry Monster minigame,
as well as visit the many links on his

trap.cx crashes!
Well... not really, the problem is rested
entirely in our faulty, outdated browsers,
but the News Producer's Manual clearly
states that nomatter how slanderous the
report is, broadcast it if it sounds
sensational. Right? :)

The Tiki Temple puts up two new Tikis
Puku, the god of pleage and death, now has
two idols to represent his power, a full-
color one, and a bloodred contour. Also,
you may now get a Tiki webcounter holder.

Gerbil Land reaches 100 hits!
Apearantly, 4 people have clicked 'reload'
on their browsers 25 times... :)
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The news offers another glimpse back in ZZT's history. There is no backup of Gerbil's personal site available today though. The biggest news is issues with trap.cx (later mtrap.org), which was a major hub for hosting ZZTer websites. It looks like it is/was ran by college students.

At this point in time the outage was likely temporary, but the inevitable death of the service led to a lot of abandoned ZZT websites being lost for good.


Once all the news has been read, it's time to sign off and check out the next show, after these messages:


My brain keeps thinking this is some weird McDonald's parody, but I think it's just parodying the action-hero trope where the hero is named McSomething. We'll never know for sure as it's unreleased.

Sister Rosiline
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Hello, and welcome to Art with Sister
Rosiline. Today, we'd are going to disscus
certain religious peices of art...

...like this flaming pentagram here...

It is obviously a sign of Satan, although
the traditional satanic pentagram is
facing downward. This is a Wiccan
pentagram with flames over it. Obviously,
gerbil is a big retard who gets his non-
conformist religions mixed up...

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In 1999, making your pentagram wrong meant admonishing yourself for the mistake because of the effort required to correct it. While KevEdit lacks the ability to flip a selection, it does have copy/paste so you could at least grab it one row at a time. Cool pentagram though.


Next is a quick plug followed by a demo of Scooter, a game covered in a Closer Look already!

This is one of those games whose title screen really sells you, so I think the inclusion here was definitely a good call, seeing as how prior to the Museum, ZZT archives didn't have screenshots.


The demo of Scooter looks to be no different than the final release. Gerbil doesn't bother explaining the controls, instead instructing the player to just try them out. It's still got the cute squishing animation when Scooter falls off a ledge, and you can still eat some broccoli for bonus points.


The only thing I noticed is that the second level is "Cavy Vally" instead of just "Vally" as it is in the final release.

Scooter can't actually die here (though the player can trigger a game over by hitting the unexplained self-destruction button twice), but Gerbil took the extra precaution of adding a passage to leave that can be accessed without completing the level. Unfortunately for him, the passage winds up going to a board in DarkFLR's channel by mistake. Beating the level properly reveals the normal level exit passage which does work correctly.

It's probably a safe bet that anybody playing a ZZTV volume wants to see everything in it, but the Scooter demo is technically hidden behind the art show. I think it should have gotten its own passage on the menu just to ensure the most eyes on it.


The next show is "JetpackMan", which offers up an original minigame, that I wish was a little bit longer than this one board diversion.


A lot of poorly coded ZZT games that want an object to follow the player will just have it loop /seek which works, but also pushes the player everywhere. In most games it's annoying (the correct thing to do is check if the object is adjacent to the player before trying to move), but here it's the gimmick, pushing the player endlessly as a jetpack.


I kind of just flew around the UFO that shoots bullets downward and ignored the lion as well, and while I don't know if this is a good enough idea to make an entire game out of, I do think you can do something with it for more than just one board.

It does still suffer from the flaw that when you change direction, there's going to be a moment where the player is diagonal to the jetpack object meaning moving towards the player is 50/50 for two directions. This would make quick movements frustrating as the jetpack can't be consistent. (Though I'm wondering if you could use player clones to track the last direction the player stepped in and manually move it to the correct location.)


Touching the jetpack object also causes it to stop pushing you for a moment which gives the player time to pause before rushing through the UFO's bullets if they don't just go around the whole thing.


But really, I probably want more JetpackMan just for Jetpack Doggie, who is the coolest dog in ZZT by far.

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EgoHour: gerbil blabs on

Hello! My name is gerbil. I've been in the
world of zzt since I was in 4th grade (6
years now). I've been kinda' reclusive
in those six years, and even though some
people have been zzting half as long as
I have, they are more likely to have twice
as many titles as I. My name is gerbil
because someone at camp said I acted like
a "psychotic gerbil." I later found out
that he meant "psychotic squirrel,"
because I was appearantly writhing in
evilness, like the way squirrels commonly
do. So, needless to say, the rest is

...acctually, it kinda' makes sence.
Gerbils are known to hide in their cages
under woodshavings and away from their
owner's eyes. I guess I was hiding from
the zzt world by refusing to release any
of my games to the public.

Well, there you have it. If you want to
find out more (and who would?) then you
can do so by going to...

Thank you, and goodnight.
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Finally, Gerbil's last show is just some text about himself. In an online world where social media is maybe invite-era LiveJournal at best, honestly posting things in these ZZT collections probably got more people to see them than a post on a random Geocities page ever would.

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