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HUGE Game, Memorable, important in IF history, March 20, 2015
by GameStomper (Vancouver, WA)Related reviews: zork, infocom, dungeon, 1977, history, huge, treasure hunt, underground, fantasy, maze
ZORK (this mainframe version) is a huge game. I spent maybe five hours just working on the game and making maps before I started to feel stuck. I finally gave in and starting using some hint files (life's too short to not use hint files). It is frustrating to find that you had the right idea - just not the right verb/noun. For example I tried to "eat Eat-Me cake" and apparently my version wanted "eat eatme cake". Yeah, those are the kinds of things that you're glad you used a hint file for!
I spent about 2-3 weeks working my way through the game and putting together a solution & hint file guide. When I was finally finished, I really felt a sense of accomplishment! Not only was there 616 treasure-hunting points to earn, but also an additional 100 point end game. It really is a wonder of its time... and even more interesting knowing that only a small minority of people had access or knowledge about this behemoth growing to the limits of its maximum 1MB file size.
While the individual ZORK games underwent further refinement, and indeed became better games in focus, fun and functionality... it was a real treat to go back to the origins of ZORK. Like many others, ZORK was my introduction to Interactive-Fiction... so it was a heady mix of nostalgia and new discovery. All the major players are here - the Troll, the Thief, the Rainbow Bridge, the Flood Control Dam, etc. It's just bigger and longer than you remember (especially since your memory is likely ZORK I).
It's definitely worth playing, and even more fun if you haven't revisited the old treadworn land of Zork in some time. But from an IF history perspective, this was a milestone in the making. Zork became the killer-app for a number of early computers... and Infocom went on to produce some of the greatest works ever in this genre.
- And it all started here.
BTW, I think the best version is the inform port. It has the most flexibility in the words you can use, with a few added responses and synonyms that are not available in WinGlux and others.