a.k.a. Yapok Jr.
What have you created with ZZT, or related to ZZT?
I made one game for ZZT, Yapok-Sundria, and a sequel for Megazeux, Castle of the Aardvarks. They were significant in popularizing a sub-genre of adventure games in which weird little animals collect useless items.
When you think about ZZT, what games come to your mind and why?
There are better ZZT games than Chris Kohler's Yoshi series, but that’s what comes to mind. Sorry. They are masterpieces of incoherent plot, copyright infringement, and toilet humor—the three pillars of game design for 12-year olds.
Do you have any artistic pursuits other than making games?
I record hip hop music. I rap about topics like campaign finance reform, fishing, and the extinction of the dinosaurs. It’s actually pretty good, but you won’t find it anywhere.
What are you up to, lately (in life, generally)?
I’m married, recovering from graduate school, and looking for a job as a landscape architect.
Has your experience with ZZT or the ZZT scene made any sort of lasting impact on your life?
Sure. ZZT allowed me to fulfill my childhood dream of making my own video game so I could get on with my life. Also, the ZZT/MZX scene was a wonderful refuge from middle school in which being weird actually helped me make friends! However, by high school, I was getting bored of ZZT and spent most of my time on swim team, academics, music, and dating. Compare this interview to that of my friend Jonathan Dewbre and the lesson will become clear.
What works of non-ZZT art have inspired you the most?
Lewis Carrol books and Monty Python movies inspired my absurd sense of humor. A few other pieces of—well, not art—were directly quoted in Yapok-Sundria. I had an animal alphabet coloring book and tape cassette, which featured animals so obscure that I have never been able to confirm that they exist (i.e. yutyut, yamane). There was a Player’s Choice magazine that previewed Megaman X for the Super Nintendo but misspelled or mistranslated the names of the bosses. The asphalt amoebas and their lore were created by myself and some students in my sixth grade class as a fruit snack jingle for what must have been a heinously stupid assignment.
These days, I listen to underground hip-hop and read Jared Diamond, but that’s not worth getting into here.
Do you plan to create any games in the future, with or without ZZT?
If you found Yapok-Sundria funny (not everyone does), you might be interested in a word game I may have invented. Its intended use is for long car trips, although I played it with my groomsmen at my wedding reception. To play the Word Disassociation Game, say three words in rapid succession. If another player can think of any obvious connection between the words, you lose, and it’s the next person’s turn. For instance, “cucumber fruitbat pumpernickel” is no good because at least two of the words are food items. “Apricot numbat snorkel” is a winning hand.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I think I’ll close with a prayer. Oh, Bee Fly Ptarmigan, great god of nosebleeds, non-sequiturs, and uncomfortable pauses, bestow upon us your great torrents of silliness. I give thanks for the many synonyms for pubescence, o tomentose one, o hoary bringer of mirth, o hirsute downy marvel of fuzz. The rich may pass through the nostril of the wildebeest, but carapace of Karl Rove is superb.
- July 2007