Allison Parrish
a.k.a. Myth

What have you created with ZZT, or related to ZZT?

I did the Fred! series while I was but a small boy. Those games are, as a consequence, pretty much just accretions of ZZT cliches. Fred! 2, in particular, is a wretchedly gaudy, oversized pearl. But I had a lot of fun making it.

I only made Winter because I loved kudzu and p0p so much that I ached daily with envy. I made a bunch of 24hozzt games that some folks like, too: Nightplanet, Empty Spaces, Chicken Szechuan. You can tell that I'd read and completely misunderstood "A Catcher in the Rye" just before making the latter.

When you think about ZZT, what games come to your mind and why?

The theme music to Code Red 2 (is this an original composition or did Janson gank it from somewhere?). It gets stuck in my head and I imagine it fleshed out and all strung up, Nobuo Uematsu-style. The School Sucks series, because those were the first games I downloaded, and the first games I tried to emulate. Sivion! Nothing's better than Sivion, it was the total ZZT experience. I remember being shocked and challenged by everything drac0 did. drac0 contributed to my personal growth.

Have you created any games outside of ZZT?

I had lots of ideas for MegaZeux, but very little follow-through. (The notable exception is Honor Quest: SE, but the all the credit for that goes to Darren. Darren Hewer makes awesome games.) I was a scene gadfly, more or less. A classic case of put up or shut up.

Do you have any artistic pursuits other than making games?

My artistic to-do list has two items on it: (1) Record shoegaze folk-drone masterpiece and (2) Write novel. Maybe a graphic novel. Sort of a cross between H.P. Lovecraft and Dashiell Hammett. Has that kind of thing been done? Except mine will be set in outer space.

Uh, anyway, I have some music stuff up here:

What are you up to, lately (in life, generally)?

I never really had them before in my life, but right now I am having terrible allergies. Non-stop fits of sneezing, an itchy uvula, I want to tear out my tear ducts. I'm not sure if it's an adult onset thing or if I just hadn't felt the brunt of all these strange NYC allergens since I moved here from California.

I am not having a lot of fun at my job. Thankfully I'll be going to NYU in the fall. I'll be in their "Interactive Telecommunications" program, where I hope to learn about post-linear narrative from Douglas Rushkoff. Among other things.

Has your experience with ZZT or the ZZT scene made any sort of lasting impact on your life?

Oh, in innumerable ways. Mostly positive! Other interviewees have noted the benefits of having belonged to a community that welcomed teenage outcasts and valued creativity, and I'm completely on board with that sentiment. But there's more: without exception, the ZZTers and ex-ZZTers I keep in touch with, or at least keep up with, are amazing creative people. A lot of them are on my LiveJournal friends list, which is like a daily roll call of cool stuff. I love Dexter's songs and his radio show, and the excerpts from bongo/wynand's novel, and Chilly Willy and the Whimsy, and I'm sure yenrab's biology research is awesome. Scott Hammack is going to be a great filmmaker one day. Did you know that mono, like, runs a newspaper?

Anyway, it's a kick to be associated with these folks, no matter how tenuously.

What works of non-ZZT art have inspired you the most?

Music: Basically I wish all music sounded like Flying Saucer Attack. Like someone got high and conjured up a fuzzy universe in an afternoon. I love Casiotone for the Painfully Alone because of their obsessive devotion to one narrative and one sound. The songs are intricate but never complex. Oh, and the Jewelled Antler Collective. And early Elliott Smith. I guess I'm inspired by music that has an extemporaneous, ramshackle feel to it.

Games: I never played Final Fantasy when I was a kid, so I have really been enjoying the recent remakes for the GBA (FFI&II, FFIV). New first-party stuff for the Nintendo DS, like Animal Crossing and Electroplankton, have been recent inspirations as well.

Books: God, I wish I knew the first thing about books. Almost everything I read inspires me, even the stuff I'm embarrassed to have read (e.g., The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You).

Do you have any interesting stories to relate about ZZT or the ZZT scene?

I met yenrab once! She showed up in my kitchen and then we ate pizza at a Brazilian restaurant. True story.

Do you plan to create any games in the future, with or without ZZT?

Yes! Probably not with ZZT.

- June 2006