a tale of two games

Man … hunting for an apartment in New York is such a roller coaster ride. Two days ago, I had three appointments to check out apartments for this weekend. Less than twenty-four hours later, that number has been dwindled down to just one (one cancelled due to them not wanting any guy roommates, and the other rescheduled due to the fact that the person moving out is still there). I am seeing a place tonight, and it’s in my number one spot (Park Slope) so I’m crossing my fingers. I’ll keep the stanus.net updated!

Since I’ve pretty much been tethered to my computer for this entire week (ah, craigslist!), I’ve been doing a lot of internet searching. I’ve come across an old adventure game engine called AGS (Adventure Gaming Studio) that I used briefly in 1999 to create some video games (of course, none of them were finished but in my defense the programming seemed way over my head at the time). I recall putting it aside eventually due to never having enough time, but I’ve recently uncovered a huge underground gaming community based around it. I’ve already played a few of these amatuer games (they’re much in the style of the old Sierra and LucasArts games of the early 90’s … think Secret of Monkey Island) and they’ve got such a great, homebrewed vibe to them.

Now, I’ve always been a big fan of video games. I started by attempting to understand my dad’s Atari 5200 while still just a larva in the early 80s – fun note: I have yet to purchase any gaming system that has a higher sticker price than what this dinosaur retailed for in 1982 (not so fun note: that record will shatter when I eventually get the $600 PS3). I was programming text-based choose-your-own adventure styled games by the age of 10 using BASICA, and heavily involved in the Nintendo system (when I finally got it) – even subscribing to the infamous Nintendo Power for a year or two (yes, under the so early 90’s name of “Radd Syckes”). I ate, breathed, and slept video games so long that I hungered for a way to finally design graphical games, myself. Enter: ZZT!

ZZT was an ASCII-based graphical engine (think smiley faces as being the best it could produce) that had a relatively robust design system. I was intrigued by its power and old-school charm, but when I came across the large, underground following it had I knew it was true love. I recall switching with Steve during TGIF – every half hour one of us would get the tv and the other would get the computer to work on our newest ZZT game. Everyday after school was spent trolling the AOL archive for the latest game to download from the community. I even threw in my own 2 cents with a game called “Batmonkey” – a stupid parody that seemed funny at the time. Eventually, other, faster and more powerful engines came out and the support for ZZT dried up. I moved on with my life.

This story comes back full circle when I discovered AGS and it’s online community. It seems so much like ZZT, only updated. I’m hoping not to go too overboard with this hobby (as is my usual m.o.) but the draw is great. At least it breaks up the monotony inbetween ad-checking. I’ll keep you posted whether or not I start any games, or if I decide to post anything about my old ZZT games (yes, I still have some) … oh, and if there’s any news on the apartment front, as well. Heh.



  • “chateau le faggotte” isthebestwine
    Monday, September 25th, 2006 at 18:56 | #1

    “people just passed out on the benches (something I want to do sometime). ”

    Careful what you wish for–sounds like this “online community” might be capable of letting you fulfilling the park bench dream! Then again, I’ve always said being a bum probably isn’t so bad–after all just look how many people do it.

  • le hypocrite
    Monday, September 25th, 2006 at 18:57 | #2

    by the way, shouldn’t you have enough time now to finish euroblog, or at least make it as funny as it was when it happened??

  • Monday, September 25th, 2006 at 19:30 | #3

    Mayhap. In other news, the most recent Hibernation Sickness entry approaches it’s 3-month birthday!

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