Zork


Title           Zork
Game Type       Adventure
Publisher       Infocom
Players         1
Compatibility   All (intepreters available for just about anything)
HD Installable  Yes
Submission      Tom Waddington (tom@waddie.org.uk)

Review
Zork is probably the most famous text adventure game series of all time.
Based upon the mainframe text adventure Dungeon, which was itself heavily
based on Adventure, the original text adventure, its influence can be seen
in every text adventure of quality since. The mainframe Dungeon game was
broken into three parts which were then extended to form the commercially
released Zork Trilogy.

Zork certainly isn't the best adventure series of all time. A couple of
the puzzles rely on chance events and it's possible to get the game into
an uncompletable position. The parser isn't quite as good as it later
became, lacking the handy typing shortcuts, but then if you have any sense
you'll play it via the Frotz interpreter that handles them even if the
game doesn't.

Occasionally dodgy mechanics aside, the world of the Great Underground
Empire is absorbing and usually very funny. The humour works better if
you're a veteran of Infocom adventures because many of them make obscure
references to the others, but even if this is your first taste of Infocom
adventuring there're plenty of laughs to be had.

Infocom were the masters of logical and lateral puzzling. The parser is
large and flexible enough that you rarely have problems with knowing what
to do but not what to type to achieve it and the descriptions are
evocative and filled with clues. Even after you've completed it there are
still in-jokes and comical responses to go back and find.

These might not be the best games Infocom ever released, but they are
surely the most important. No other text adventure has had such an effect
on computer gaming. The fact that these games are currently in the process
of being ported to run on the next generation of mobile telephones stands
as testament to their timelessness. You can't call yourself an adventure
fan until you've played Zork.

Winningly, almost every Infocom text adventure is currently available in
the Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces of Infocom collection from
Activision. Although the CD is designed for PC and Apple Macintosh, the
data files can be used with the Frotz Infocom game interpreter.



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