The Gostak

The Gostak is a text adventure using English grammar, but a mostly unknown vocabulary. It was written in 2001 by Carl Muckenhoupt. Part of the fun of playing this game is figuring out how all the unknown verbs and nouns interact. People have described it as discovering an alien civilization through the eyes of one of its inhabitants. The story begins like this:

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 discren them.

But you are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. And no glaud will vorl them from you.

The phrase "the gostak distims the doshes" was coined in 1903 by Andrew Ingraham to demonstrate how it is possible to derive meaning from the syntax of a sentence even if its terms are entirely unknown.

The Gostak won the 2001 XYZZY Interactive Fiction Awards for Best Use of Medium and Best Individual Puzzle.