I recently played all the ZZT games made from 1991 to at least the end of 2003, maybe beyond - nearly two thousand games in all. Of those I have selected just 66 to be included in my list of "best ZZT games ever."
One of these is "Aliens", a distinctly ancient game without much in the way of graphics and programming. Perhaps most of the mojo of this game is unintentional; i would not be surprised if it was. You are a soldier fighting (Aliens.), so we're told by the king. the game starts with an enigmatic "What am i doing here?" which could have been uttered by your character, one of the king's talking guards, or the narrator's eye now cast upon this unlikely hero, or intended to be uttered by you, the player, upon entering this gameworld. When you and your fellow soldiers are lined up in front of a bunch of aliens, the weapons of your compatriots are wholly ineffective - you must go in, guns blazing, only 50 ammo and a lot of scum to kill. The gameplay is much like any newbie game thereafter, with the strange addendum of people shouting catchphrases at you at every turn, things like "what you see is not what you think" when traversing a mountain range or "we are counting on you to kill their leader" when their 'leader' appears to be noting more than a bunch of discombobulated centipede segments. Perhaps if mr miller has played through his game even once, or had worked on it a bit more or been exposed to other games by which he could benchmark his own, we would not have this splended gem of oddness. I like it because it pays attention to the things that are important - giving the king a name, giving the soldier's story some attention beyond the introduction, giving us more during and even after the ass kicking ensues - while paying no attention whatsoever to those things which one would expect to pay attention to when making a game; do my objects do what they're supposed to do? Does the layout of my boards make any visual sense?
I hope beyond anything that games like this are somewhere, somehow, being made deliberately - with a little attention this game could be a classic gem, as is, it still shares the spotlight as one of the best zzt games ever.