Alien (1993-05-08)

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Livestream - The Evan Darrow Collection

The first of the worst. A ZZTers famous for low quality work gets their due. But is the title that deserved?

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Feb 25, 2023
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♦ Livestream of the following 6 ZZT worlds. Originally streamed on February 24th, 2023 ♦
• (0:00) "Terminator 2" by Evan Darrow (1993) []
• (16:48) "Role Play" by Evan Darrow (1993) []
• (24:12) "Alien (1993-05-08)" by Evan Darrow (1993) []
• (39:39) "Catalog of ZZT Games From Darrow Software!" by Evan Darrow (1993) []
• (50:09) "Brawlers Demo (Restored)" by Bob Pragt, Evan Darrow, kristomu, PogeSoft (2022) []
• (57:30) "Evan Darrow Catalog SE" by Evan Darrow, Knightt (2002) []

Oh this is just too many games.

A voter selected theme of "Entertainingly Bad Games" provided a good opportunity to visit the works of Evan Darrow, the ZZTer with the unfortunate luck of being the first record "bad" ZZTer. His low quality games turned his very name into an insult, with the name being instantly recognized by ZZTers decades after he left the scene.

Realistically, he was just some kid making some non-great games like so many others. Why it was him specifically that became known for awful games when he was far from the only one out there making them remains unknown.

Starting with Terminator 2, based on the movie, the game starts on the wrong board. Cop objects stand still and shoot in random directions. Your job is to rescue young John Connor and his mother before entering Cyberdyne and destroying the Terminator arm they've been studying. Is it good? No. Is it funny? Sometimes intentionally even! Also the windows on buildings are conveyors that spin endlessly for some reason.

Role Play is more of a ZZT fantasy adventure. Save women in peril. Receive kisses. Or don't. Then help find a missing daughter that was captured by an evil knight and dragged off to some cave. Lots of stars in this one, and the iconic Evan Darrow twist ending.

Alien is another game based on a movie. This one also starts on the wrong board, but the boards aren't actually attached to the rest of the game, making things rather confusing. Darrow draws a neat little space ship. The game proper is the most playable one yet, easily hitting the mark of quality you'd expect of a board filled with tigers and spinning guns were it some other new ZZTer's game in the AOL era. Another twist ending too!

Then the catalog which showcases individual boards from the previous games and others. This one was a real surprise as there's almost no descriptive text to explain the games' story, gameplay, or how to get them. Includes a board from "The Search for the Lost City", a recently recovered world that was unavailable for years. There's a "FUTURE" game as well that remains MIA. Plus, two boards from upcoming games, one of which utilizes a basic Space Invaders style shooting engine, showing that like any other ZZTer Darrow was honing his skills over time.

There's an order form board as well, if you're curious what he's charging for all this. It's fittingly Darrow.

AND THEN, the Brawlers demo, a patched up recreation of a lost Evan Darrow game that was found in corrupt form in a donated collection. Entirely object based, and still dreadful, but by far the most ambitious game yet, focusing on melee combat and utilizing STK for an extended palette.

And finally, Knightt's "Evan Darrow Catalog SE", riffing on the popularity of Special Edition remakes of ZZT games. A feast of late 90s ZZT shading while maintaining Darrow's lacking gameplay, all as a gag. I thought it was funny at least.

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