In hindsight, the limitations of ZZT were very freeing — with such a limited palette of options, you couldn't bite off too much more than you could chew, and you had to get creative to make anything work as intended.
My palette has increased since then, but the principles are still the same. I haven't touched ZZT in years, but in a way my career has been built on it.
Sometimes on HN you'll find someone involved in the original game, and their stories are usually interesting.
So think again when you hate on emoji :p.
(I wanted to do the ascii smiley face but it doesn't seem to be supported. 2018 everyone).