Infocom’s ingenious code-porting tools for Zork and other games have been found

Enlarge / Zork running on a Commodore 64 at the Computerspielemuseum in Berlin, Germany. (credit: Marcin Wichary (CC by 2.0 Deed))

The source code for many of Infocom’s foundational text-parsing adventure games, including Zork, has been available since 2019. But that code doesn’t do anything for modern computers, nor even computers of the era, when it comes to actually running the games.

Most of Infocom’s games were written in “Zork Implementation Language,” which was native to no particular platform or processor, but ready to be interpreted on all kinds of systems by versions of its Z-Machine. The Z-Machine could be considered the first real game development engine, so long as nobody fact-checks that statement too hard. Lots of work has been done in open source realms to create modern, and improved, versions of these interpreters for pretty much every device imaginable.

The source code for these Z-Machine implementations (virtual machines, in today’s parlance) appeared like a grue from the dark a few days ago in a GitHub repository owned by Andrew Plotkin. Plotkin, a major figure in modern and classic text adventure realms (and lots in between), details what they are and how he found them in a blog post on his site.

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Author: Kevin Purdy. [Source Link (*), Ars Technica – All content]


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