Mainframe Zork Edit
Zork was a text adventure game originally developed for the PDP 10 at MIT in 1977. Its name alternated between both Zork and Dungeon, but the name Zork stuck in the end. For more information, see Zork Origins.
The original Zork TrilogyEdit
The original three Zork games incorporated pieces of the original PDP 10 Zork. Zork I was essentially a subset of the original game, while the later two games included significant new content, but also reused pieces from the PDP 10 Zork.
- Zork I: The Great Underground Empire (1980, Infocom)
- Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz (1981, Infocom)
- Zork III: The Dungeon Master (1982, Infocom)
The Enchanter trilogyEdit
These three games form a separate trilogy, but despite not having the name "Zork" in their title, they are set in the Zork universe, and establish a lot of the canon that would be referenced in later games. They are all text games.
Enchanter was originally developed as Zork IV; Infocom decided to instead release it separately, however, and it became the basis of a new trilogy. In each trilogy, there is a sense of assumed continuity; that is, the player's character in Zork III is assumed to have experienced the events of Zork I and Zork II. Similarly, events from Enchanter are referenced in Sorcerer and Spellbreaker; but the Enchanter character is not assumed to be the same one from the Zork trilogy. In fact, in Enchanter the player's character encounters the Adventurer from Zork, who helps the player's character solve a puzzle in the game.
Other text games Edit
All these are text-only unless otherwise noted.
- Games that take place somewhere in the Zork universe:
- Wishbringer (1985, Infocom)
- Although Wishbringer was never officially linked to the Zork series, the game is generally agreed to be "Zorkian" due to its use of magic and several terms and names from established Zork games.
- Wishbringer (1985, Infocom)
- The Zork Quest series:
- Stand-alone Zork games:
Graphical games Edit
After a six year hiatus, the following games were produced:
- Return to Zork (1993, Infocom/Activision)
- Zork: Nemesis (1996, Activision)
- Zork: Grand Inquisitor (1997, Activision)
Later compilations and current availabilityEdit
Among the games bundled in The Lost Treasures of Infocom, published in 1991 by Activision under the Infocom brand, were the original Zork trilogy, the Enchanter trilogy, Beyond Zork and Zork Zero. A second bundle published in 1992, The Lost Treasures of Infocom II, contained Wishbringer and ten other non-Zork-related games.
Activision's 1996 compilation, Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces of Infocom, includes all the text-based Zork games; the Zork and Enchanter trilogies, Wishbringer, Beyond Zork and Zork Zero.
Activision briefly offered free downloads of Zork I as part of the promotion of Zork: Nemesis, and Zork II and Zork III as part of the promotion for Zork Grand Inquisitor, as well as a new adventure: Zork: The Undiscovered Underground. This led many to believe that the games had been released as freeware, even though the included license explicitly prohibited redistribution. Activision's legal department has recently stated that the promotion relating to those games has ended and that it is not legal to distribute the games or make them available for download.
Of six novels published as "Infocom Books" by Avon Books between 1989-1991, two were directly based on Zork: The Zork Chronicles by George Alec Effinger (1990) and The Lost City of Zork by Robin W. Bailey (1991). Two further novels in the same series are based on the same universe: Wishbringer by Craig Shaw Gardner and Enchanter, also by Bailey.
A parody series known as 'Pork' was released also starting in 1988. Uncyclopedia also has a small wiki-based game called Game:Zork, which is almost impossible to win, and losing tends to consist of being eaten by a grue.
As of 2006 an over-the-phone version of Zork entitled Zasterisk entered beta testing. Programmed by Simon Ditner using Asterisk and the Festival Speech Synthesis System, players can call in and play Zork over the phone by speaking voice commands. The results are read back by the automated text-to-voice synthesis system. It is now known as Zoip, a reference to VoIP.