Brandon Boyer

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Today’s guardedly optimistic revival: casual MMO developer Jolt (they of the recent Google Maps enhanced long-distance trucker MMO Trukz [which friend of Offworld Mathew Kumar recently detailed]) have announced a revival of Infocom’s foundational text adventure Zork as a browser-based casual MMO.

Though they haven’t yet detailed how the game itself will operate, they have said Legends of Zork will provide a persistent world for all its players, who will take the role of a “laid-off salesman and part-time loot-gatherer, as he explores the Great Underground Empire.”

Reassuringly, it looks to be as much a labor of love as any: the game’s blog notes that “Double Fanucci also makes an appearance, in the form of a full deck of 174 Fanucci cards that you can collect and use to improve your skills,” and furthermore says that its multiplayer return will extend to grouping for tougher quests and arena battles.

The young and the rookies can have a look at Matt Barton’s exhaustive History of Zork feature via Gamasutra, or play the first three games in the franchise online via ReZork to bone up as we anticipate the game’s launch.

Legends of Zork – The legendary adventure returns, to your browser.

The irony being no-one even reads them anymore – Offworld

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  1. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. If this predicament seems particularly cruel, consider who’s fault it could be… Not a torch or a match in you inventory.

  2. Considering how mind-blisteringly dull Zork III was, I’m surprised anyone still cares. You can still get the Japanese version of Zork, though (I saw it for sale somewhere just a few days ago… THAT has a soundtrack, which may be of minor interest to collectors. Still hebetudinouser than Zenses for Nintendo DS.

  3. D’oh!
    There I was hoping the “almost-Indie Cola brand” Jolt was bringing Zork to a browser.

    That would would have been *too* good.

    No disrespect to “casual MMO developer Jolt”, but they NEVER had an over-the top radio ad featuring 11khz “lightning SFX”, a high-lactose jingle AND uber-phrases like “TRASH YOUR COFFEE POTS!!”.

    Jolt Cola FTW.

  4. There used to be a multi-player text version of Zork on Dartmouth’s VAX network about 20 years ago that was the primary reason we used to hack into it. It was a blast. Wonder if anyone else remembers this or the “secret” bulletin board run by Apollo or the efforts to get rid of us by the “evil sysop” corwin…?

  5. Almost all republishings of Collossal Cave, Zork franchises, have thrown a monkey wrench in what made the games interesting and playable in the first place.

    Even if they are maintaining a terminal style text interface they are often missing a key ingredient important to game play, a text buffer.

    For instance Most playing Adventure on a mainframe, or Zork on their home computer, could quickly type in several moves AT ONCEE delimited with commas or returns, such as e,w,n,e,e,e,s,n, Xyzzy,plugh, get lamp and quickly get into a part of the game where the next puzzle awaits.

    Almost all iterations of these games I have seen lately FORCE you to read through the same description again for the umpteenth time before you can even enter your next move. None of the iPhone text adventures allow any text buffer. Its like leaving to get a sandwich during a commercial, then having to watch the sitcom from the beginning everytime you come back.

    I truly think some of the ‘re-developers’ don’t even think this through or try to play their own repackagings.

  6. Circularity’s all well and good, but I’m just not sure how fun this’ll be. Like #1 says, Zork is many, many years behind the times now – text-based games have come a long way in the intervening time, and this new game would do well to learn those lessons. But if it does, it’ll lose part of its Zorkian charm and be lost in a sea of other okay games. But if it doesn’t, it probably won’t be fun enough to keep players for long periods.

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