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Zork

From Academic Kids

Zork can run on modern  interpreters, as well as the older models it was made for originally.
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Zork can run on modern Z-machine interpreters, as well as the older models it was made for originally.

Template:Zork universe

Zork was one of the first interactive fiction computer games and an early descendent of ADVENTURE (also known as Colossal Cave). The first version of Zork was written in 19771979 on a DEC PDP-10 computer by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling, and implemented in the MDL programming language. All four were members of the MIT Dynamic Modelling Group.

"Zork" was originally MIT hacker jargon for an unfinished program. The implementors named the completed game Dungeon, but by that time the name Zork had already stuck.

Three of the original Zork programmers joined with others to found Infocom in 1979. That company adapted the PDP-10 Zork into Zork I-III, a trilogy of games for most popular computers of the era, including the Apple II, the Commodore 64, the Atari 8-bit family, the TRS-80, CP/M systems and the IBM PC. Zork I was published on 5¼" and 8" floppy disk. Joel Berez and Marc Blank developed a specialized virtual machine to run Zork I, called the Z-machine. The trilogy was written in ZIL, which stands for "Zork Implementation Language". Personal Software published what would become the first part of the trilogy under the name Zork when it was first released in 1980, but Infocom later handled the distribution of that game and their subsequent games.

Zork is set in a sprawling underground labyrinth which occupies a portion of the "Great Underground Empire". The player is a nameless adventurer whose goal is to find the treasures hidden in the caves and return alive with them. The dungeons are stocked with many novel creatures and objects, among them grues and zorkmids. The Zork universe and timeline has been extended by several of Infocom's other works of interactive fiction.

Zork and its relatives are works of interactive fiction. Zork distinguished itself in its genre as an especially rich game, in terms of both the quality of the storytelling and the sophistication of its text parser, which was not limited to simple verb-noun commands ("hit grue"), but understood full sentences ("hit the grue with the sword").

The original Zork Trilogy:

  • Zork I: The Great Underground Empire (1980, Infocom)
  • Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz (1981, Infocom)
  • Zork III: The Dungeon Master (1982, Infocom)

Later additions to the series (all are text-only unless otherwise noted):

It should be noted that the Enchanter trilogy and Wishbringer occupy somewhat unusual positions within the Zork universe. Enchanter was originally developed as Zork IV; Infocom decided to instead release it separately, however, and it became the basis of a new trilogy. (In each trilogy, there is a sense of assumed continuity; that is, the player's character in Zork III is assumed to have experienced the events of Zork I and Zork II. Similarly, events from Enchanter are referenced in Sorcerer and Spellbreaker; but the Enchanter character is not assumed to be the same one from the Zork trilogy.) Although Wishbringer was never officially linked to the Zork series, the game is generally agreed to be "Zorkian" due to its use of magic and several terms and names from established Zork games.

Among the games bundled in The Lost Treasures of Infocom, published in 1991 by Activision under the Infocom brand, were the original Zork trilogy, the Enchanter trilogy, Beyond Zork and Zork Zero. A second bundle published in 1992, The Lost Treasures of Infocom II, contained Wishbringer and ten other non-Zork-related games.

A series of original novels based upon the Zork universe were also published in the mid-1980s, most notably George Alec Effinger's Zork Chronicles.

See also

  • The Zork timeline lists events in the fictional world of Zork
  • The Zork calendar lists months, days of the week, holidays, and years in the Zork timeframe
  • Zork magic lists spells, potions, and other means of magic in the Zork series
  • Encyclopedia Frobozzica, referred to in several games as an invaluable compendium of knowledge in the Zorkian universe
  • 69,105, a number that became somewhat of an in-joke in several Infocom games
  • Double Fanucci, a fictional card game with extremely complicated rules
  • The white house is where Zork I begins, and also appears in several other games

External links

de:Zork sv:Zork

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