Zork I

by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling

Episode 1 of Zork
Zorkian, Cave crawl

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9 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
Perfectly Balanced, November 6, 2007
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

Zork I holds a special place in my heart. Although I had played Adventure and enjoyed it, I fell in love with Zork I. Adventure was ultimately frustratingly random and obscure, but Zork I was descriptive, challenging, and intriguing. It kept you hungering to find out just what was around the bend, and what the next puzzle would reveal. If you factor in the state of the technology at its release, when moves would occasionally cause the floppy disk drive to whir, you can get a feel for the fun that playing IF was then. You never knew just what would happen when that disk whirred.

In Zork I, you are an adventurer and the world is your oyster. While the plot may be tired by now, when Zork I was released, this was novel. Blame the following deluge of rip-offs and hacks for the decline of the cave crawl genre, not one of the founding games. Though to be fair, a goodly part of Zork I occurs outside, so the "cave crawl" genre is a rough fit.

The prose is evocative without being excessively detailed and by turns slyly humorous; the puzzles are easy-to-medium in difficulty; the parser is head-and-shoulders above Adventure's, which is to say just a step or two behind modern Inform. Also worth noting is that Zork I encourages you to explore by not introducing movement-blocking puzzles right away. This is a key factor in the sense of immersion.

While Adventure opened the world of IF to many, it was Zork I that made people want to stay. If you have never played this game, play it by all means.

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