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The Gostak is an interactive fiction game written as a linguistic experiment. The language of the game is ostensibly English, but with all adjectives, nouns, adverbs and verbs replaced by strange "Gostakian" words. The game's opening paragraphs provide a good example:
Finally, here you are. At the delcot of tondam, where doshes deave. But the doshery lutt is crenned with glauds.

Glauds! How rorm it would be to pell back to the bewl and distunk them, distunk the whole delcot, let the drokes uncren them.

But you are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. And no glaud will vorl them from you.
The player's commands must be entered in this odd language, as well. The main challenge, then, is figuring out the meaning of Gostakian vocabulary from context, possibly with a lot of note taking. Even then, the meaning of some words, and the exact nature of the setting, remains ambiguous throughout the game.


The Gostak Z-machine The game's opening
The Gostak Z-machine Even the help file is written in the strange language.
The Gostak Z-machine We're doing... something. Somewhere. Apparently.

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  • XYZZY Awards
    • 2001 — Best Individual Puzzle (Deciphering the language) — Winner
    • 2001 — Best Use of Medium — Winner
    • 2001 — Best Puzzles — Finalist
    • 2001 — Best Individual NPC (The droke) — Finalist
  • IF Comp
    • 2001 — 21st place

JudgeDeadd (26854) added The Gostak (Z-machine) on Aug 24, 2018