A strange little man in a long cloak appears suddenly in the room. He is wearing a high pointed hat embroidered with astrological signs. He has a long, stringy, and unkempt beard.

The Wizard draws forth his wand and waves it in your direction. It begins to glow with a faint blue glow. The Wizard, in a deep and resonant voice, speaks the word "FAQ!" He cackles gleefully.
 

(2.0) Infocom

This is part 2 of the Frequently Asked Questions list for the group rec.games.int-fiction, a Usenet newsgroup for the discussion of Interactive Fiction games and related topics. To read a specific question, use your newsreader's search function on the string "(n)", where n is the question number, or click on one of the links below if you are viewing this in HTML.

Contents of this file:

(2.0) Infocom
(2.1) What happened to Infocom, anyway?
(2.2) How did Infocom make those neat packages?
(2.3) Hey, anybody know how I can reach Steve Meretzky?
(2.4) Classic Infocom titles
(2.5) Previous Infocom compilations you still might find
(2.6) Recent Infocom products
(2.7) Infocom's historical artifacts
        Hard-to-find and early products
        Non-Infocom "Infocom" offerings
(2.8) Missing game pieces
(2.9) What is a Z-Machine?
    Recommended interpreters
(2.10) Where can I get free Infocom games?
(2.11) Creating your own adventure games
Part 1 covers the elements of rec.games.int-fiction. Part 3 covers non-Infocom game producers.

The current maintainer is Stephen van Egmond. Questions and information should be mailed to mailto:svanegmond@home.com. The most recent version is at http://bang.dhs.org/faq/

The dream dissolves around you as his last words echo through the void....

>AIMFIZ FORD PREFECT
As you cast the spell, the moldy scroll vanishes!

After a momentary dizziness, you realize that your location has changed, although Ford Prefect is not in sight...

Dark
You can make out a shadow moving in the dark.

>LOOK AT SHADOW
The shadow is vaguely Ford Prefect-shaped.

Vogon Hold
This is a squalid room filled with grubby mattresses, unwashed cups, and unidentifiable bits of smelly alien underwear. A door lies to port, and an airlock lies to starboard.

Ford removes the bottle of Santraginean Mineral Water which he's been waving under your nose. He tells you that you are aboard a Vogon spaceship, and gives you some peanuts.

>ASK FORD ABOUT INFOCOM
A long silence tells you that Ford Prefect isn't interested in talking about Infocom.

Ford yawns. "Matter transference always tires me out. I'm going to take a nap." He places something on top of his satchel. "If you have any questions, here's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (Footnote 14). Ford lowers his voice to a whisper. "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but you'll never be able to finish the game without consulting the Guide about lots of stuff." As he curls up in a corner and begins snoring, you pick up the Guide.

>CONSULT GUIDE ABOUT INFOCOM
The Guide checks through its Sub-Etha-Net database and eventually comes up with the following entry:
 

(2.1) What happened to Infocom, anyway?

This information is taken from [what was once] the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games FAQ, with thanks to Infocom's Stu Galley for passing it along:

[Thanks to Dave Lebling (Infocom co-founder) for the definitive info on this]

Infocom never went out of business. It went deeply into debt to develop a database product (named Cornerstone) that was a commercial flop. It went shopping for a merger and found Activision, which later changed its name to Mediagenic. What did happen is that in May of 1989 Mediagenic closed down the "real" Infocom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and laid (almost) everyone off. All the releases up through Zork Zero, Shogun, Journey, and Arthur were developed in Cambridge.

Mediagenic licensed the UK rights to the games to Virgin Mastertronic about two years ago.

Mediagenic went nearly bankrupt, was taken over by outside investors, and taken through a so-called "pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy" in January, 1992. As part of that process, they changed their name back to Activision, moved from Silicon Valley down to LA, and recently merged with a company owned by the investors (called The Disc Company). Activision continues to release new products under the Infocom label, including collections of Infocom's text adventures. Their graphical CDROM adventures have been greeted with dour grunts on rec.*.int-fiction, but the games seem to be improving in quality with every new release.

You begin to feel distinctly groggy.

>WHAT IS A ZORKMID?
 

(2.2) How did Infocom make those neat packages?

From: Dan Schmidt 
Newsgroups: rec.games.int-fiction

Fredrik Ekman  wrote:
>I am wondering who wrote the stuff that came with the classic Infocom
>packages, such as the Enchanter "History of Magic" or the Leather
>Goddesses comic-book. Was it the game authors or someone else?
>Was there some kind of "editor" for the game packages that had the
>over-all responsibility for art, text and extra gimmicks?
I work with Mike Dornbrook, so I asked him. Here's his response: [MD developed InvisiClues and had an illustrious career in Infocom's marketing department.]

There were actually quite a few people involved in creating the package elements for Infocom games. The game authors (we called them "the implementors") were the primary writers. The first exotic package was for Deadline (the third game, after Zork I and II). It was created because Marc Blank couldn't fit all the information he wanted to include into the 80K game size. Marc and the ad agency, Giardini/Russel (G/R), co-created the police dossier which included photos, interrogation reports, lab reports and pills found near the body. The result was phenomenally successful, and Infocom decided to make all subsequent packages truly special (a big benefit was the reduction in piracy, which was rampant at the time).

The first 16 packages were done in collaboration with G/R. David Haskell was the primary copywriter for Infocom materials (ads, catalogs, package elements, etc.). G/R typically did the "fluffier" pieces. Infocom's game implementor (and one of the co-founders) Dave Lebling wrote "The History of Magic" in Enchanter, but G/R wrote the "True Tales of Adventure" in Cutthroats. [The attentive reader will note that Sorcerer has a creature named "Geearr", which is absolutely not a coincidence. --SvE]

We were spending a fortune on package design ($60,000 each on average in 1984 - just for design!), so we eventually decided to bring it in-house. I hired an Art Director, Carl Genatossio, a writer, a typesetting/layout person, and someone to manage all () "feelies" in the packages. These folks (plus an occasional contractor during busy periods) did all the packages, hint books, New Zork Times, sell sheets, etc. from 1985 until the end in 1989. There were two writers during that time period - Elizabeth Langosy for most of it, then Marjorie Gove. Again there was a mix of game implementor writing and "marketing" writing. For instance, Steve Meretzky wrote the comic book in Leather Goddesses, but Elizabeth wrote the newspaper in Sherlock.

An unsung heroine of Infocom was our Production Manager, Angela Crews. She was responsible for acquiring the scratch-n-sniff cards, ancient Zorkmid coins, glow-in-the-dark stones, etc. which made the packages so distinctive. It was often an incredibly difficult task.

As for who oversaw all of this, again, there were many responsible. The Product Manager (first me, then Gayle Syska, then Rob Sears) worked with the Implementor and the Art Director to come up with a concept for the package and hammered out the details of the elements. All of these folks were intimately involved in the approvals, editing, tweaking, etc. which all of the elements underwent over a 3 to 4 month period. And many others (from the President, to Sales, to Testing) put in their two cents along the way.

I would estimate that each Infocom package had 1.5 man-years of effort invested in its creation.

Regards,
-Mike Dornbrook

You begin to feel indistinctly groggy.

>LOOK UNDER MATTRESS FOR IMPLEMENTOR
 

(2.3) Hey, anybody know how I can reach Steve Meretzky?

The members of the original Infocom crew have moved on to other positions. Any kind of "where are they now" would probably be wrong, out of date, and almost certainly unwelcome. David Lebling has recently surfaced on rec.*.int-fiction to comment from time to time, and so has Liz Cyr Jones, Brian Moriarty and others. Other implementors may be lurking; nobody knows.
You see nothing else interesting.

>CONSULT GUIDE ABOUT CLASSIC INFOCOM PRODUCTS
The Guide checks through its Sub-Etha-Net database and eventually comes up with the following entry:
 

(2.4) Classic Infocom titles

Classic Infocom is generally defined to be anything before Return to Zork. Activision owns the rights to all the Infocom games and trademarks, and occasionally releases them in some repackaged form or another.

Activision is currently [footnote 42] selling a compilation of classic Infocom called "Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces". This CD (which works on PC or Mac) meets practically every wish of the rec.games.int-fiction readership, except for wide availability. There is little Activision can do to force stores to carry their product.

The CD includes the following games: A Mind Forever Voyaging; Arthur: The Quest For Excalibur; Ballyhoo; Border Zone; Bureaucracy; Cutthroat; Deadline; Enchanter; Hollywood Hijinx; Infidel; Journey; Leather Goddesses Of Phobos; Lurking Horror; Moonmist; Nord And Bert Couldn't Make Head Or Tail Of It; Planetfall; Plundered Hearts; Seastalker; Sherlock; Sorcerer; Spellbreaker; Starcross; Stationfall; Suspect; Suspended; Trinity; Wishbringer; Witness; Zork Zero; Zork I; Zork II; Zork III; Beyond Zork.

Notable by their absence are Hitch Hiker's and Shogun, which are not included since the rights to distribute those games have reverted back to the original authors.

Also included is the top 6 winning entries from the 1995 Interactive Fiction authorship competition, a "Very Lost Treasures of Infocom" section containing old game ideas, statements of principle, and e-mail archives from Infocom's heyday. All maps and documentation are provided in Adobe Acrobat format which can be ()

The packaging bears little resemblance to the originals; notably absent are the plastic or metal trinkets that were included in packages (for example, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy included peril-sensitive sunglasses, a "Don't Panic" button, a zip-lock baggie containing a microscopic space fleet, and () home and planet). Infocom's original packaging is legendary in the software industry.

Cost: about $20 US, it has been seen in reasonable quantity at Best Buy stores and should be at Babbages', Sofware Plus and others. It can be ordered direct from Activision or from your favourite online CD-ROM retailer (visit Yahoo for a list).

If you are looking for pirated copies of classic products, don't bother asking on this newsgroup. In fact, don't bother at all. Many of the games rely on materials in the game package for copy protection, either in the form of knowledge you would have by reading it, or data that you need to look up.

Ford is curled up on the bed, snoring loudly.

>FOOTNOTE 42
 

(2.5) Previous Infocom compilations you still might find

Infocom, in its pre-Activision days released trilogies containing a subset of the trinkets found in the original packages. Like almost all other original Infocom packages, these are now collectors' items. Infocom released the Zork, Enchanter, Classic Mystery, and Science Fiction trilogies.

Activision has released its own series of compilations:

"The Lost Treasures of Infocom I"
is a collection of 20 Infocom games. You may be able to obtain it through mail-order outlets or used from someone who doesn't want it anymore. The package was available for the IBM PC, the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga. The CD and floppy editions were identical.

The games in LToI I were:

  • Zork I
  • Enchanter
  • Deadline
  • Starcross
  • Zork II
  • Sorcerer
  • Witness
  • Suspended
  • Zork III
  • Spellbreaker
  • Suspect
  • Planetfall Zork Zero
  • Ballyhoo
  • Infidel
  • Stationfall
  • Beyond Zork
  • Moonmist
  • Lurking Horror
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The LToI 1 package was available for the Apple IIgs through the Big Red Computer Club, which sought and received permission from Activision to produce a IIgs version which used a hacked-up version of the InfoTaskForce (ITF) interpreter and did not include Zork Zero. Matt Ackeret's IIgs port of Zip is far better: ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/

The package includes a manual which contains photocopies of all the original manuals and game pieces (such as the trading cards from "Spellbreaker", which are needed to solve a puzzle in the game), but some information is missing -- see section 2.7 below.

The package also contains a hint book, which looks like somebody took all the Invisiclues booklets and typed them into a text file. The hint book is riddled with spelling mistakes, formatting errors and other problems, but in most cases the mistakes are not serious enough to keep you from using it.

"Lost Treasures of Infocom II"
contained most (but not all) of the remaining Infocom text adventure games, and retailed for $29.95 through retail and mail order outlets. The games in the 3.5 disk version were:
  • Seastalker
  • Wishbringer
  • A Mind Forever Voyaging
  • Trinity
  • Cutthroats
  • Hollywood Hijinx
  • Bureaucracy
  • Border Zone
  • Plundered Hearts
  • Sherlock
  • Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It
The CD-ROM version contained Shogun, Arthur and Journey in addition.

LToI2 was produced for the Macintosh and PC only. Users of other platforms can play the non-graphical games by transferring the files to their machine and playing them with a ZIP. (See question 2.8.)

This package contains photocopies of the original packaging, but does NOT contain a hint book: Instead it contains a 1-900 number which you can call to receive hints which is probably dead by now. Some information is missing for Bueaucracy. See question 2.7. LToI2 also incorrectly identifies Kevin Pope as the author of Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It. Kevin Pope drew the cartoons which were included in the package. Jeff O'Neill wrote the game.

After Lost Treasures, Infocom released its topical Collections. These are considered inferior to just about every other collection.

Mystery Collection
Ballyhoo, Deadline, Witness, Moonmist, Sherlock
Adventure Collection
Border Zone, Plundered Hearts, Cutthroats, Trinity, Infidel
Comedy Collection
Bureaucracy, Hollywood Hijinx, Nord & Bert
Fantasy Collection
Enchanter, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Seastalker, Wishbringer
Science Fiction Collection
Hitchhiker's, Suspended, AMFV, Starcross, Stationfall
Zork Anthology
Published by Activision in 1994 as a CD companion to the pseudo-Infocom title "Return to Zork". It contains Zork I, Zork II, Zork III, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, and oddly, Planetfall.
You begin to feel groggily indistinct.

>EAT PEANUTS
You feel stronger as the peanuts replace some of the protein you lost in the matter transference beam.

An announcement is coming over the ship's intercom. "Ed tgrykonx jcavfluu nx jchotha otoyefti ltruvupirbi swrotrueft ochoollzitchogrya rd tfudeftd t ow ctrufudx jp wkonvuphuvd te h oulpkonz zollcava ri li lo ti l oe hfudx jirbtrugrys gvupp work oo sthaquio ta btoyr gkonr ga r or gz zr gi skwazitz zkwaa rerl ow cfluirbwroorktoyfimthad tulp oe he hfluo simbchogryr gu ni s."

>CONSULT GUIDE ABOUT RECENT INFOCOM PRODUCTS
The Guide checks through its Sub-Etha-Net database and eventually comes up with the following entry:
 

(2.6) Recent Infocom products

Activision is working to build a following for Infocom's universes based on the modern trend to humongous games sprawling across hundreds of megabytes. Their offerings to date:
Return to Zork
A mid-1993 entry for the IBM PC, set far in the "future" of the Zork series. Difficult, hunt-the-pixels, graphical interface. A Macintosh version was released in mid-1994. PC Demo is available. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/demos/zorkdemo.zip
Zork: Nemesis
A graphical CD-ROM adventure released in 1995. The interface has improved somewhat; the game includes amusing references to the Zork universe, but the plot is said to be irregular and the puzzles somewhat inconsistent. Said to be a huge improvement over RTZ.
Planetfall: The Search for Floyd
Originally said to be due out in 1995, this project was killed at Activision, revived with a release date in January 1997, then finally killed. The publically-accessible vestiges of this game include the demo included on the Masterpieces CD and some posts made by an Activision representative under the name "floydhere@aol.com", available from Deja News.
Zork Grand Inquisitor
Due to be released in 1997, this is Activision's most recent efforts in the Zork universe. The only thing I know is that it will incorporate a kind of multiplayer gaming: one user can "drive" the adventure while another watches. The users can swap controls and exchange messages. I can't access more information because Activision's site will serve pages to Netscape or Microsoft browsers only. Booooo.

>CONSULT GUIDE ABOUT OTHER INFOCOM PRODUCTS
The Guide checks through its Sub-Etha-Net database and eventually comes up with the following entry:
 

(2.7) Infocom's historical artifacts

There are a handful of games and other Infocom products that are not included in any of the compilations. These products range from hard-to-find early Infocom products to non-IF games made by other companies and marketed under the Infocom brand name.

For more information about Infocom products, version numbers and Infocom products that were never released, see Paul David's Doherty's "Infocom Fact Sheet", which is periodically posted on rec.games.int-fiction and is also avaialable at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/info/fact-sheet.txt.

Hard-to-find and early products

The Infocom Sampler (pre-1984?)
This was the first of three demo products written by Infocom, containing (we think) excerpts from Zork I. The existence of this sampler is deduced mainly because a later version of the Sampler has serial number "ID2", suggesting an earlier "ID1".
The Infocom Sampler (1984, 1985)
This was the second of three samplers, containing excerpts from Zork I, Planetfall, Infidel and The Witness, and also containing a unique two-room puzzle that involved catching a butterfly. Available for virtually every computer on the market in 1985 (including the Osborne, Kaypro II, TRS-80 Color Computer, etc.) Superseded in 1987 by the third and final Infocom Sampler. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/demos/sampler1_R55.z3
The Infocom Sampler (Fall 1987)
Third and final sampler containing puzzles from Zork I, Trinity, Leather Goddesses of Phobos and Wishbringer. IBM PC, Apple II and Commodore 64. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/demos/sampler2.z3
Fooblitzky (Summer 1985)
A graphical game involving deductive logic, by Marc Blank, Michael Berlyn, Brian Cody, Poh C. Lim and Paula Maxwell. IBM PC, Apple II, Atari XL/XE series.
Shogun, Journey, and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur
Versions for the Apple IIe and Amiga were produced, but are now rare. IBM and Mac versions are on LToI 2 CD-ROMs as well as Masterpieces. Shogun has been seen running on an Apple IIgs; it used IIe graphics rather than the IIgs' super-hires mode.
Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Summer 1986)
Activision chose not to include the original LGoP in either of the Lost Treasures packages, possibly to prevent confusion with the inferior sequel (see below) that was published at about the same time. A coupon in the LToI II package offered the IBM PC version of this game for an additional $10; versions for other machines, including the Apple II, Macintosh, Atari and Amiga, can only be obtained used, and you will probably have to look for awhile.
Leather Goddesses of Phobos II: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X
This 1992 offering from "Infocom" had more in common with Leisure Suit Larry than with the original Leather Goddesses. Available for the IBM PC.
The New Zork Times and The Status Line (1983? - 1988)
The legendary Infocom newsletter. The name was changed in mid-1986 due to threatened legal action by a lesser-known newspaper serving a smaller area (Infocom promptly began using old newspapers for packing material when shipping games to their customers; by coincidence the NYT was the paper of choice for this purpose). Thirteen issues were published under the name 'NZT'; one issue (Spring 1986) was titled '****' and the remaining ten were published as 'TSL'. The newsletters are now collector's items, and a complete set is rare. Some articles are archived at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/info and at http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pete/Infocom/

There is an effort underway on rec.games.int-fiction to create complete electronic editions of these newsletters. Watch this space for more information.

Cornerstone (Fall 1984)
Infocom's one and only attempt at a commercial business product (see section 2.1, above); probably of interest only to purists. IBM PC version only; description in Winter 1985 NZT.

Non-Infocom "Infocom" offerings

Infocomics (1988)
Many believe that this is the point where Infocom-as-a-publisher ended and Infocom-as-a-brand-name-for-lesser-products began. IBM PC, Apple II, Commodore 64/128. At least four of these $12 'comic books' were published:
  • Lane Mastodon vs. The Blubbermen
  • Gamma Force in Pit of a Thousand Screams
  • ZorkQuest I: Assault on Egreth Castle
  • ZorkQuest II: The Crystal of Doom
Some comments from Steve Meretzky on Infocomics:
How depressing, I thought that InfoComix were long forgotten.

[...] The InfoComix were a joint venture between two Cambridge companies, about a mile from each other: Infocom, and Tom Snyder Productions. TSP was most well-known for doing educational software and kids games; probably their most successful product was Snooper Troopers. (We're talking early '80s here.) (An aside: Tom Snyder went on to create a successful animated cable TV show, something like "Dr. Katz".) (Another aside: the programmer who created the InfoComix engine, Omar Khudari, went on to found Papyrus, a very successful creator of computerized car racing games.)

TSP created the InfoComix engine (of course, it wasn't called that yet), created a rough version of the first product on it ("Pit of a Thousand Screams" or something like that), and approached Infocom about creating more products using the same engine. The Infocom top brass was attracted to the idea, I think particularly to the idea that we could put out $10 games and still make money.

Various people at Infocom then wrote scripts for the InfoComics. I wrote the Lane Mastodon script. TSP then took those scripts and did all the artwork and programming. I think Infocom might have contributed some testing personnel toward the end of the project cycle. It's a while ago, and I didn't pay too much attention to it after the initial script, so my memory is fuzzy. I believe there were a total of 4 Infocomix; a fifth one was killed in mid-development; it was going to be a much more adult-oriented product, a murder mystery inspired by the movie "Body Heat". And yes, I wrote the LGOP comic book (although the idea of doing it as a 3D comic was Brian Moriarty's idea).
-- Steve Meretzy

Quarterstaff: The Tomb of Setmoth (Fall 1988)
Activision purchased the rights to this Macintosh game from Simulated Environment Systems in late 1988, and reworked the text and user interface. The game is a graphical RPG similar to a number of D&D-type games on the market. Infocom planned to release this game for the Apple IIgs and IBM, but only the Macintosh version was ever published.
BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception (Fall 1988)
Activision now sells this game and its sequel (BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge) as part of a three-game package of BattleTech-related games. Developed by Westwood Associates. "Available in November [1988] for the IBM, in February [1989] for the Commodore 64/128, and in [Spring 1989] for the Apple II series and the Amiga." The IBM, Amiga and Commodore 64 versions have been sighted; the status of the Apple II version is unknown.
Simon The Sorcerer
Infocom was used as the label for IBM and Mac distribution for this Sierra-style graphical adventure. Amiga distribution was by Adventure Soft.
Circuit's Edge
IBM and "other 8-bit platforms". A science-fiction RPG based on Effinger's world in the story "When Gravity Fails". An Amiga version may have been planned or in production, but it was never released.
Mines of Titan
IBM, Apple IIe and "other 8-bit platforms". A science-fiction RPG set on the moon Titan. Originally released as _The Mars Saga_ on the 64. Written by Westwood Associates. An Amiga version may have been planned or in production, but it was never released.
Guards burst in and grab you and Ford, who comes slowly awake. They drag you down the corridor to a large cabin, where they strap you into large, menacing chairs...

Captain's Quarters, in the poetry appreciation chair
This is the cabin of the Vogon Captain. You and Ford are strapped into poetry appreciation chairs. The Captain is indescribably hideous, indescribably blubbery, and indescribably mid-to-dark green. He is holding samples of his favourite poetry.

>ASK THE CAPTAIN ABOUT MISSING GAME PIECES
One of the guards lightly bashes your skull with the butt of his weapon and says (Ford translates for you):
 

(2.8) Missing game pieces

Here is a list of missing or hard-to-find info in the Lost Treasures game packages. All have been typed in and are available at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation
Ballyhoo
The original packaging included an advertisement for a radio station, WPDL AM at 1170 KHz. You will need to tune the radio to this frequency (or TUNE RADIO TO WPDL) to get a vital clue. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation/ballyhoo.lost.stuff
Lurking Horror
Your Login ID, an important part of one of the early puzzles, is *not* missing from the LToI manual. It's just hard to find. (Hint: It's written somewhere on your Student ID Card.)
Bureaucracy
Some important information from the Popular Paranoia advertisement is missing, as well as the Beezer card application in triplicate is absent from the LToI 2 package. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation/bureaucracy.lost.stuff
Moonmist
Your friend Tamara will make frequent references to the letters she wrote asking for your help; unfortunately, these letters are not included in the LToI package. The full text of these two letters is available from the ftp.gmd.de archive, with many thanks to Mark Howell for typing in these letters from the original package. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/shipped-documentation/moonmist.letters
Zork Zero
The original documentation for Zork Zero contained information about the game's on-screen mapping, which may be activated by typing in the command "MAP" at any time during the game. No mention is made of this in LToI 1.

Also, some versions of the LToI package may be missing a (vital) map of the "Rockville Estates" section of the game. The map is a blue() Company") showing an 8 x 8 grid of octagonal rooms connected by lines representing passages. You cannot win the game without the information on this map.

Some copies of the LToI manual include this map on a page that is apparently numbered "40b" (the preceding page is "40a", and the next page is 41 -- the page with the map is not numbered), suggesting that the map was inserted after the first () the LToI manual include the map on page 2 of the Zork I instructions.

If your copy of the manual is missing page 40b, and you cannot find the map anywhere else in the game package, call Activision technical support at 310-207-4500 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm PST) and explain the situation to them. They should provide you with a replacement map.

If all else fails, the ASCII drawing on the next page is a rough but accurate rendering of the "Rockville Estates" blue() Zork Zero. This map is provided for use by legitimate owners of the Lost Treasures of Infocom package only.

     0     1     2     3     4     5.... 6.... 7        Goobar -
                               .'    .'    .'           I left my hardhat
     8     9    10    11    12....13    14    15        out in lot 0.
                             : .'          .'           Please pick it up
    16    17    18    19    20    21    22....23               Thanks,
             `.          .'    .'    .'                         Quizbo
    24    25    26....27    28    29    30....31
           : .'                .'  :
    32    33    34....35    36    37    38....39
     :       .'          .'              : .'       To
    40    41    42....43    44....45    46    47....GUH-95
     : `.    .'  : .'    `.          .'    .'
    48    49    50    51....52    53    54    55
       `.              : `.        :       `.
    56....57....58    59    60    61....62....63
                                              ._____________________________
    Work still to be performed in Phase Two:  |Frobozz Magic Construction Co
      * Removal of temporary passages         |       ROCKVILLE ESTATES
      * Installation of emergency exits       |  Phase Two, showing all work
      * Installation of sprinkler system      | completed through 29-Mum-880
      * Construction of Concierge apartment   | 1:440 | drawn by S. Fzortbar
The Vogon Captain says, "Ofudgrythafudo tw cchoe ho tz z ocavtrup wwroz zl mfluz ztruqui." A guard grabs you and Ford, and drags you toward the hold. Ford whispers, "Don't worry, I'll think of something!"

Vogon Hold
In the corner is a glass case with a switch and a keyboard. It looks like the glass case contains:
an atomic vector plotter

Ford begins trying to talk the guard into a sudden career change.

>TYPE 'HELLO'
The hold of the Vogon ship is virtually undamaged by the explosion of the glass case. You, however, are blasted into tiny bits and smeared all over the room. Several cleaning robots fly in and wipe you neatly off the walls.

**** You have died ****
Your guardian angel, draped in white, appears floating in the nothingness before you. "Gotten in a bit of a scrape, eh?" he asks, writing frantically in a notebook. "I'd love to chat, but we're so busy this month." The angel twitches his nose, and the nothingness is replaced by...

Darkness
It is pitch black. You could be eaten by a zmachine.

>WHAT IS A ZMACHINE?
 

(2.9) What is a Z-Machine?

A zmachine or ZIP (Z-machine Interpreter Program) is a program that interprets and runs Infocom game data files. Infocom used a way-ahead-of-their-time implementation scheme that allowed them to develop one game that would run on any of 26 different computers, using a ZIP program specific to that computer and a data file common to all machines.

The Z-machine specification underwent several extensions at Infocom. The first two versions are obscure and you aren't very likely to encounter them. Version 3 ("Standard") is the format for the majority of the files in the Lost Treasures of Infocom series. Version 4 ("Plus") was a brief experiment that quickly lead to version 5 ("Advanced"), a size suitable for creating fairly large adventures of the magnitude of Curses or Trinity (about 256K). Version 6 ("Graphical") has recently been deciphered and can handle story files about twice as large as version 5.

Until version 6 arrived, all the Z-machines were text-only. Version 6 added some graphics primitives and is the format used in Arthur, Journey, Shogun, and Zork Zero.

With the release of Inform 5.5, the public-domain compiler for Infocom format files (see below), Graham Nelson has proposed two new versions (7 and 8), the first non-Infocom "extensions" to the standard. Version 8 is identical to version 5 but with twice the storage (512K). Version 7 has not yet been used in any released game.

Mark Howell wrote "ztools" -- a collection of C source files for dumping vocabulary, version, font, graphic and other information from Infocom games, for converting IBM bootable disks into story files, and for disassembly of story files to Z-code assembly language. Ztools is maintained by Stefan Jokish. There are also numerous other "tool" programs for Infocom files available by other authors for other platforms. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/tools

As a point of history, Infocom generated their Z-code files by compiling the Zork Implementation Language (ZIL) with a compiler named ZILCH. ZIL is a dialect of a Lisp-like language called MDL. MDL is ancient history, and ZIL seems to have disappeared entirely, though some code fragments can be found in back issues of the New Zork Times.

The ftp site has a considerable collection of Z-machine interpreters. Frotz is the most accurate implementation, but other interpreters may have more bells and whistles for your particular platform. They are at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters

Gareth Rees maintains a mini-FAQ with information on which interpreters are recommended for which platforms, and what to do if you can't find an interpreter for your computer. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games/infocom/how-to-play-these-games

There are some other ZIP programs at GMD that are not listed in Gareth's mini-FAQ. They range in quality, but some are fairly portable and have interesting source code. The best all-around is Frotz. These are available at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/; remember to look in the 'old' subdirectory.

Recommended interpreters

DOS, Windows, OS/2, BeOS, Windows CE, Amiga, (sort of) Linux, Psion Series 5
Frotz by Stefan Jokisch mailto:jokisch@euklid.informatik.uni-dortmund.de. Plays all games, version 1 through version 8, and conforms to Z-Machine Standard 1.0. Supports timed input (Border Zone), graphic font (Beyond Zork and Journey), mouse and function keys, command line editing and history, small save files, sound effects (Lurking Horror and Sherlock), cheat functions, multiple UNDO, input line recording and playback, and European characters (Zork I German). ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/frotz/
Psion 3c, some Unix variants
itf by the InfoTaskForce. Uses resources for configuration under X11. Supports V1-V8 games (except V6), color and proportional fonts, command history, command-line editing, and compressed save files. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/itf/
Apple Newton
Yazi by George Madrid and Sanjay Vakil. The shareware version present here ($25) is somewhat crippled: you can save your game at any time, but the games saved after more than 50 moves cannot be restored in the shareware version. http://www.scrawlsoft.com/products/yazi/info.html for the most recent version.
Java
Zax by Matt Kimmel. Supports all z-code versions except v6, and is very nearly compliant with Specification 1.0 of the Z-Machine. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zax/
Acorn RISC OS, Macintosh, Unix
Zip by Mark Howell. Zip implementations vary somewhat in their features, but it has proven to be an excellent interpreter.

There are a number of Zmachine interpreters for the Macintosh based on Zip. The most popular is probably Andrew Plotkin's MaxZip, which behaves like a proper Macintosh program with resizeable windows and proportional fonts. It does not, however, support the graphical games. Matthew Russoto's Zip Infinity is another option. It supports the graphical font used in Beyond Zork. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/zip/

You may notice increasing discussion about a particular interpreter being Specification (n) compliant, where (n) is some number like 1.0. The "specification" is a document by Graham Nelson, based on earlier work by the InfoTaskForce, which describes rigorously how a Z-Machine is supposed to behave. An interpreter is said to be Specification- compliant when it conforms to this document. Frotz is the only interpreter compliant with the specification available for all platforms. Zip 2000 on the Acorn complies with the specification as well.

Some games may eventually require your interpreter adhere to a particular Speficiation version, especially as the Specfication is extended over time.

As a point of note, there is some debate over whether Z in "Z-Machine" should be pronounced as "zed" or "zee". Nobody seems willing to agree on which sounds better. [Though I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't prefer "zed". -Ed] Everyone says "zed" with the exception of Americans and Canadians raised on American programming, who say "zee". The original prounciation was probably "zee".

>NE
Oh, no! A lurking Z-machine slithered into the room and devoured you!

**** You have died ****

Now, let's take a look here... Well, you probably deserve another chance. I can't quite fix you up completely, but you can't have everything.

Potting Room
This light room is full of pot plants, flowers, seeds, ornamental trowels and other miscellaneous garden implements.

A pair of yellow rubber gloves hangs from a hook on one wall.

Aunt Jemima, who has for years collected varieties of daisy, is engaged in her regular annual pastime of deciding which species make the best chains.

>ASK JEMIMA FOR WAREZ
Jemima screeches with irritation.

 

(2.10) Where can I get free Infocom games?

Since Activision bought Infocom, Activision now owns the copyrights and trademarks on Infocom's products. This means it's illegal to have a copy of any Infocom product you didn't pay for.

Don't bother asking publically where you can get copies of Infocom's games, or any other copyrighted IF work or starting a debate on the topic: you will be met with impatience and hostility.

The regular posters here are fans of the art form of interactive fiction, and admirers of the software developers who create that art. They are the last people in the world that you should expect to agree, or to remain silent, when some loser advocates ripping off those developers by pirating their work.
-- Patrick M. Berry, rec.games.int-fiction poster
Some developers of older games (e.g. Polarware and Scott Adams) have disclaimed any commercial interest in their games and have permitted them to be redistributed on the IF archive. If you are interested in game archaeology and want to preserve old works, try to get in touch with their owners and get permission.

Infocom's complete collection is sold by Activision in compilations for around US$20. Although the boxes indicate support for only Macintosh or IBM PC computers, owners of non-PC, non-Mac computers need not despair. You can purchase one of the anthologies listed above, transfer the data files to your computer somehow, and use one of the available interpreters to run it. See question 2.8 for information on interpreters.

Your interpreter should support at least v3 files. Some of the larger games (Trinity) are version 4 or 5. Zork Zero, Arthur, Journey and Shogun are v6 games, for which the only currently-available interpreters are Frotz (for Mac, Amiga, and Unix) and Zip 2000 for the Acorn. There may be more. Check the index files under ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/interpreters/

There probably isn't a legal problem with doing this. Of course, if you sell your package, you should destroy the copies you've made.

Copyright issues with respect to samplers, invisiclues, New Zork Times issues, and other things which Activision, in practice, will never want to redistribute, have not been resolved.

Activision can be reached at:

     Activision/Infocom
     P.O. Box 67001
     Los Angeles, CA, USA 90067
     Order line: 800-477-3650 (US)   [anybody have one for Europe?]
     Tech support: 310-207-4500 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm PST)

>E.E.S.E.LIE DOWN.SLEEP.
You sleep unexpectedly deeply, but just as you think you are starting to wake up, you experience a sudden...

Premonition
It is a frosty, clear night, but there is a scent of camp-fires burning in the distance. You are passing through the landscape as if a ghost, and all seems faintly unreal. To the east is one side of an animal-hide tent, but there is no way in from here. To southwest, some soldiers sit around the embers of a fire. There is a terrible sense of something about to happen.

>SW
Camp Fire
A motley platoon of soldiers are sitting about the embers of a fire.

>LISTEN
 

(2.11) Creating your own adventure games

There are numerous systems available for developing interactive fiction. A detailed comparison and exposition of their features is available from the rec.arts.int-fiction FAQ. Briefly, though:
  • Inform, a freely distributable compiler which allows you to generate Infocom-format story files that can be played with any Z-machine interpreter.

    The Inform language and libraries are excellent. They were designed to support the requirements of a Zork I-style game and provide the means to modify the parser, manage timers and daemons, change personalities and much more. It has C-ish syntax. This system does require a certain degree of programming knowledge. The documentation (in 3 parts) is pretty good; the 220-page Designers' Manual should be read even if you don't want to use Inform in favour of a different system, as it provides an interesting insight into what goes into developing a game. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/infocom/compilers/inform6

  • TADS also has a strong following; it has its own web page which is available at http://www.tela.bc.ca/tela/tads/.
  • Hugo is a fairly recent system whose only weakness appears to be a lack of popularity and an established source code base to learn from. Its home page can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/5976/hugo.html
  • AGT is useful for people who are not able (or willing) to program. It is a language, but not a very complex one and most people are able to get started quickly. Make sure that the demands of your game can be handled by AGT before you start coding. http://www.markwelch.com/agt.htm

There are many other IF development systems available, and some background and information on them will appear in the next section. For the best information on the subject, visit rec.arts.int-fiction and read its FAQ. ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/rec.arts.int-fiction/FAQ

>NE. E. N. TAKE IRON MASCOT
The Druid catches sight of your ghostly hand taking the mascot, and immediately begins her occultations, cursing you and your ill-gotten gains. But she is unable to make contact with you, and turns furiously to the tapestry, hissing "lagach" to the Bear. At once a sudden swirl of wind seems to pull her into the rough cloth, dissolving her to nothing.

You wake up, shivering with dread.

>WAIT
Something feels very wrong indeed. Your hand begins to burn.

In an astonishing freak accident, a meteorite hurtles through the Earth's atmosphere and then straight through your head. Anyone would think you had a curse on you (anyone, that is, still able to think).

**** You have died ****
Press any key to continue.
Stephen van Egmond