The Sourcerer's Apprentice

The adventures of David Heinemann in IT & software development

Zork Is Back

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After ~10 or so years since the Zork titles were last for sale, Good Old Games (GOG) has struck a deal with Activision to re-release them in the DRM-free digital download format we all know and love. For six Zorkmids Dollars you can now buy The Zork Anthology from GOG, which includes Zork I, Zork II, Zork III, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero and Planetfall. They all come preconfigured with DOSBox to provide a very 80’s experience, though you should be able to alternatively run the data files through a modern Z-Machine interpreter like Frotz.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite “complete” - a number of people on the GOG forums have already pointed out the fact that the pack includes Planetfall, but not the other Zork titles like Grand Inquisitor. This is because GOG seems to be selling the games in the same compilations they were originally sold in; The Zork Anthology was an Infocom compilation from 1994 which included the same titles. I think this is actually a good thing, because it seems to indicate that GoG plans to extend its Infocom catalog beyond just Zork, going as far as releasing the other compilations, or even the whole Infocom library. The other thing the pack is missing is most of the manuals and booklets. The Zork trilogy only includes a few scans of a stained copy of ‘The Great Underground Empire: A History’ and nothing else. Quality PDFs of the booklets, lovingly restored by fans, can be found aplenty on the web, but I’m not sure about the legality of this. If GOG could use these, I’m sure they would have.

Overall, I’m quite excited to be able to finally buy and play Zork. Having just spent an hour on it, I can say that it exceeded my expectations dramatically. Hopefully The Zork Anthology can last me until GOG releases the other Infocom title I’ve been keeping my eye on, A Mind Forever Voyaging, in all its glory.

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