JZT: an awesome homage to the DOS era adventure game ZZT

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One of the several games that would result in me spending many an evening staring into the orange gas plasma display of my Toshiba T3100 was a game called ZZT. ZZT is a shareware title written for MS-DOS in 1991 and as it happens, also the debut game from Epic Megagames1.

I had honestly all but forgotten about ZZT and the many fun filled evenings that the game had once provided me with, that was until I stumbled upon the subreddit /r/roguelikes. Looking up at the predominantly ASCII based games I was suddenly reminded of ZZT and went searching on Google to see if a copy of it still existed. Eventually one click lead to another and I ended up stumbling upon the website of JZT (jzt.xyz).

Get ready, because here comes the nostalgia wave

JZT is an in-browser game, developed in an identical style to ZZT as a homage to the DOS-era adventure game. The incredible thing is that JZT not only gives you a massive nostalgia hit, but also excitingly comes with its own game world editor (albeit in beta stage at current2.)

I had originally planned a couple of hours of my evening to write up some ideas for articles, but instead I ended up playing JZT the majority of that time; and while I did discover two small bugs in the process, one was fixed within a few minutes of my reporting it and the second I feel is a throw back to the limitations of how the ZZT scripting engine works.

JZZ, save often is all I can say

The game is as you would expect from an adventure game rather linear in its story line and it tends to nicely ease you into how to interact with the game world - often reminding you that you really should be saving often lest you get stuck and loose half an hours progress.

I imagine that unless you had already played ZZT back when it came out you will not feel nostalgic twinges seeing the Code page 437 character set and limited colour pallet. However the game play really is quite fun if retro style games is your thing and the really exiting thing about this remake is not just the game itself but rather the game world editor which given how many unique game creations came out of the ZZT world editor would be interesting to see if JZZ can pull it off.

I certainly recommend you give jzt.xyz a visit and play it for yourself.


  1. Yes the same Epic Megagames that later went on to become responsible for providing us with Unreal! 

  2. Visit JZT's facebook page for information on accessing the level editor.