Aeon Emulator Blog

April 13, 2010

MegaZeux

Filed under: Aeon, Fun & Games — Greg Divis @ 7:00 pm

I’ve covered both ZZT and Super ZZT, but I really can’t leave it at that. Something of a community formed around ZZT, making games and exchanging them through BBS’s and some of the online services that came before the web. At least one of these folks decided that it was time for a proper update. In 1994, a software company (which so far as I can tell consisted of one guy), released MegaZeux as shareware. When you start it up, it runs the intro to its included game, Caverns of Zeux.

MegaZeux Title Screen

Like ZZT, MegaZeux displays all of its graphics in 80×25 text mode – but it pushes this “genre” of game about as far as it can go. Many of the characters used to make the image above aren’t part of any 256-character code page – MegaZeux actually changes them on the fly.

Caverns Title Screen

In addition to custom fonts, the game features a vastly more powerful game creation tool where you could customize nearly every aspect of the game both in the editor and using the game’s scripting language. The sample game alone did crazy stuff like create animated tiles by constantly reprogramming the character set, all from the game’s scripting language.  Oh, and it plays .MOD files as background music. WIN.

For a fan of ZZT like me, this game was pretty much the best thing ever, and while I made some stuff with it, other fans got a little more hardcore.  To see what you could pull off with a text-mode game, check out some of the screenshots below from a few other MegaZeux games which were made over the years.

Honor Quest Image 1 Honor Quest Image 2 

Weirdness Title Weirdness Image 2

I had so much fun with this game that I had a short-lived project where I tried to remake it back in 2003. I had something I built from scratch that could import MegaZeux games (not perfectly), and with a few of the limitations removed. I lost interest in working on it eventually, but I understand others had more patience after I left the scene.

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