One thing I never though I’d get into, text adventures. I bought the Zork Anthology on GOG
. Featuring, Zork 1, 2, 3, Zero, Beyond, and PlanetFall. Now yes you can technically get Zork 1 through 3 for free on Infocom’s website
, but the version on GOG is guaranteed to work straight out of the box (well in this case download) on your brand spanking sparkling Windows 7 (or 8, if you’re a lunatic) machine. But what’s also cool about the GOG version is the content that they throw with it such as maps, manuals, history articles about the game and it’s lore. There’s a lot more in this package than just dumping Zork DAT files into a Frotz emulator.
So, whilst I was on a podcast with good ol’ IndieSeoul. I found a copy of Zork 1 for the Japanese Sega Saturn. First I thought, “A text adventure that fit on a 1.4 mega byte floppy on a 700 mega byte CD? What a waste!” But soon I discovered that even when the game is still a text adventure, it has a pretty cool looking FMV intro with music. and whilst playing the game, you have a monochrome image in the background of the scenery in the game behind the game’s text.
Interestingness, the game plays using the controller, but you string together pre-set verbs and nouns together to make a command using up and down on the directional pad. Mind you it’s all in Japanese, so I have no real idea what it says, though I can recognise the house and the forest in the beginning of the game.
In the last few days though, I had an odd hankering to play this Zork game, it was sitting on my hard drive doing a lot of nothing, so I booted it up and went on an adventure!
|The famous first steps in Zork 1
There was just something that took me on Zork that I couldn’t describe, maybe it was the mystery about why I’m in front of this house, or why I’m in this world, but I have to do something, so try everything in the confines of typing commands on the screen. So if there’s a door you can open, you’d type “open door”, or if there’s a troll to fight you’d type “attack troll”. It’s a pretty cool experience, especially if you’re like me who went to University, did IT as a major, and learnt commands on Linux terminals. It took me back to my Uni days, despite the fact I went to university 23 years after the release of Zork 1.
One thing I found about this text adventure, is that I could totally imagine what’s happening in the game. It’s writing is very “direct”. Unlike my writing, where I like to waffle a lot, yeah I’m honest with myself, Zork 1 get’s the story directly to you with the least amount of text possible without feeling like you’ve missed out on anything.
|Zork 1 running on my Nexus 7!
But one thing I do enjoy is how I know have Zork 1 running on almost everything! I have it on my PC through DOSBox
. On my Raspberry Pi using Frotz
. and on my tablet and smart phone with jFrotz
. Now I wish there’s an English version of the Sega Saturn game to add to my “What can I put Zork on to” list. Maybe there’s a way to hack it onto the Wii, 360 and PS3, heh!
So yeah, I’m now going to see if I can beat Zork 1 and get onto Zork 2! 😀