Zork I: Storm-Tossed Trees   2 comments

This map came with the commercial packaging. I’ve never been quite sure what part of the Zorkiverse this shows.

One significant difference between playing this game compared to the original mainframe version is that back then, it was second in my project after Adventure. This time, it’s after I’ve played a long sequence leading up to 1980, and the effect is like stepping from silent movies into sound, or black and white into color.

I’m not meaning just the parser (which does allow all the full features of Infocom and modern games we’d expect, as opposed to requiring two words only). I haven’t been using the expanded parser that much. I even had to adjust at one point went finding the lantern at the start of the game; I typed ON which works just fine in some of the two-word games, but Zork was expecting TURN LANTERN ON. Whoops.

It’s more just the detail and atmosphere. You start outside, by the famous boarded-up white house, with no direction at all. Then you’re left to discover there’s a world underground. This matches a lot of the games from the same era, but even outside, it feels like all the senses are being used.

> listen to trees
The pines and the hemlocks seem to be murmuring.

You hear in the distance the chirping of a song bird.

> s
Storm-tossed trees block your way.

The small, quiet details feel like writing, not just functional description, but writing for its own sake. There is still one foot in the just-the-facts style:

Clearing
You are in a clearing, with a forest surrounding you on all sides. A path leads
south.
On the ground is a pile of leaves.

but enough extra detail to be satisfying.

> count leaves
There are 69,105 leaves here.

> jump in leaves
Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!!

> move leaves
Done.
In disturbing the pile of leaves, a grating is revealed.

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Posted June 23, 2018 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Zork I: Storm-Tossed Trees

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  1. It amuses me that 69,105 has its own Wikipedia article.

  2. Pingback: Lazy Reading for 2018/07/01 – DragonFly BSD Digest

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