?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Best alien universe ever. - I know it's wonky and I don't care [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kake

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Links
[Links:| Randomness Guide to London | Open Guide to Cambridge | Snake Soup | KakeFlickr ]

Best alien universe ever. [Aug. 28th, 2007|01:07 pm]
Kake
[Tags|, , ]

I have by now told literally hundreds of people about this game, and the only other person to go OMG BRILLIANT was uon. But I have not yet told livejournal! Some of you are bound to like it. So here it is:

The Gostak

You will need a z-code interpreter to play it; on my OS X laptop I use Zoom. Just download the gostak.z5 file from that link, and open it in Zoom/your interpreter of choice.

It's a game; it's a puzzle; it's a very, very good depiction of an alien universe from the perspective of one of its inhabitants.

The reference is to the sentence "The gostak distims the doshes", which is used to illustrate how syntax can convey meaning — we don't know what a gostak is, nor what distimming is, nor what doshes are, but we do know that distimming is something a gostak does to doshes, and we know that doshes can be distimmed by a gostak. As you play the game, you uncover meaning-in-this-sense, and you learn how things are related to each other; but there is no perfect one-to-one mapping of the gostak's language to English, and I have a strong feeling that the gostak's universe is very different from ours.

I "completed" the game a few days ago, but there's still a lot to discover and speculate on, so I'm still playing it.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: nou
2007-08-28 01:09 pm (UTC)
You don't need to. It's just a particular data format; I don't know the details of it either. "z-code interpreter" is analagous to "word processor". Just think of "z-code interpreter" as a blob of text that means "program that handles this kind of file".
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: valkyriekaren
2007-08-28 01:10 pm (UTC)
OK... I've tried googling for this, but mostly what I find is a lot of stuff for Unix and MacOS. I'm on a mchine that runs Windows and I'm having difficulty locating anything that looks right. This is probably hampered by not really knowing what the right thing should look like...
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nou
2007-08-28 01:13 pm (UTC)
There's a Windows version of Zoom here. The author warns that it's an old version, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't work, just that it won't have the latest whizzy features (which you may not want to use anyway).

If that's no good, then try adding things like "interactive fiction" to your Google search terms. And if that doesn't help either, let me know and I'll have a search for you!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: djm4
2007-08-28 01:13 pm (UTC)
Try going here:

http://www.ifarchive.org/indexes/if-archiveXinfocomXinterpretersXfrotz.html

... and downloading and running WindowsFrotzInstaller.exe [10-Aug-2007]

I haven't tried it, but it looks like a good bet.

Then download the gostak.z5 file from here:

http://mirror.ifarchive.org/if-archive/games/zcode/gostak.z5

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: valkyriekaren
2007-08-28 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

This game had better deliver! It's taking ages to download the interpreter thingmy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: djm4
2007-08-28 01:36 pm (UTC)
Of course, once you have the interpreter, there's a whole world of text-based adventures out there that you can play on it, most of which will download in the blink of an eye. ;-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)