These days, Tim Sweeney and his company Epic Games are best known their Unreal and Gears of War franchises. But in the early 1990s Epic’s flagship game was a quirky ASCII adventure game called ZZT.
Playing ZZT and using its world editor was a formidable experience for Anna Anthropy (who has been known to develop a few quirky games herself). So much so that she even wrote a book about the game. You can read an excerpt of Anthropy’s book here and try out ZZT for yourself on Archive.org using their brower-based MS-DOS emulator.
Town was Antropy’s first foray into using Twine, a visual programming language for the creation of hypertext interactive fictions (what we used to call text adventure games). I used Twine (as well as Inform 7) in a few of my classes and love how easy it is for my non-programming students to use. The version I taught (1.3.5) was a bit cranky and had some twitchy bugs that I had to teach work arounds. But there’s a shiny new 2.0 version out that looks like it has breathed some fresh life into the software. I can’t wait to try it out!