Classic Infocom Games Revived
How did this start
I recently (well, that is at the release of the Slashdot
article mentioned below) stumbled upon the good old time of text-based adventures, that is the ruling of interactive fiction companies such as Infocom, Magnetic Scrolls and Legend Entertainment (more information available). Being reminded of the 80s, and of the fact that at this time I did not have too much interest in these games (I was around 10 years at that time, and my english was not really fluent), made me wonder why I would not take the chance and play the games with such glorious names like Leather Goddesses of Phobos or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
In the beginning was the word...
...and this word was spread with an article on Slashdot.org about a newly released PDF-based paper on the history of Infocom (approx. 9MB, html-ized version from Adobe web-based pdf2html converter available here (no images, bad formatting etc.)), and the corresponding presentation (approx 5MB) given on the same subject by some students at the MIT.
ZIPs - Z-Code Interpreter Programs
The platform-indepent Z-code is (as the name already suggests) interpreted by a kind of virtual machine that is more or less tailored to its host operating system. The ZIPs available from this site come in various flavours:
- Z-Machine Implementation in Java
Official site of the applet-based Java ZIP, a free software project with its source codeavailable.
PalmFrotz V1.0 R6
Use this suite of three programs to play the z-Games on you Palm (or Visor or Workpad or whatever you have).
Comes with tools for Windows and Linux to convert the z-files into pdb databases in order to install them on the Palm.
Lou's Infocom/Linux page
Information on how to play the classics on Linux, either using the X Windows system, or terminal-based (text-oriented) interpreters.
WinFroptz V2.32 R5.3
Native Win32 emulator, that enables full-screen adventuring, keyboard shortcuts, saving/resotring games, and much more.
In June 2004, a version of WinFrotz 2002 with enabled text-to-speech support was released that you can get from binaryRevelations' download page. Please note that you will have to download both WinFrotz2002 TTS and the TTS package available on the download page, unless you already have the Microsoft Speech SDK installed on your computer. You may also want to download additional voices.
- Infocom/ZIP ftp site
If you browse through the information available on this site, you will find interpreters for systems such as Linux, OS/2, BeOS, WinCE and Psion.
Due to copyright restrictions, the games are no longer available for download. Please do not send me questions about the games
However, I decided to put a list of Infocom games on this page, which provides additional details on every Infocom Interactive Fiction game.
Some words of advice
If find yourself stuck in one of the many puzzles (I promise that this will happen frequently), or you just want to get more information on Infocom (via articles in the New Zork Times), you can find help at the following places:
- The Infocom Documentation project
Here you will find manuals, editions of the New Zork Times, and loads more.
- The Infocom Gallery
If you are looking for the contents of the original boxes (be it Greybox, Folio or Mastertronic version), this is the place to go.
These famous hints were written in invisible ink. That way, it needed a determined mind to actually use the clues, since there was no danger of "accidentially" seeing something you were not supposed (or not intended) to see.
- Infocom Walkthrough Archive
Provides you with step-by-step solutions, in case you don't want to spend time solving the puzzles, but rather enjoying the wonderful descriptions within the game... or you are just stuck.
- There are some "magic words" known to be arround in the games of Infocom. You can even get a T-Shirt with them at Copyleft.
More Information on Interactive Fiction
Resources on interactive fiction (IF) and adventures:
If you enjoy the stuff on my page, maybe you are interested in this page that states its mission as follows: "Home of the Underdogs is a non-profit site dedicated to the preservation and promotion of underrated PC games (and a few non-PC games) of all ages: good games that deserve a second chance after dismal sales or critical reviews that we feel are unwarranted". This means that they also have a lot of information on Infocom
Magnetic Scrolls Gallery
Do you remember "The Pawn", "The Guild of Thieves", or "Fish!"? Around 1985, when those games where released, they set new levels in gameplay and graphical sophistication. This great site has all those games available for download, including documentation material, maps, and solutions.
Legend Entertainment Company
After the downfall of Infocom, Steve Meretzky decided to join this company and programmed "Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls". I haven't played any of their games so far, so go and look for yourself.
Directory of IF at beebware.com
About.com's articles on Interactive Fiction
Ifiction.org has over 260 Z-code games for download.
IFArchive.org "is a home for interactive fiction (aka IF) games,
development tools, game solutions, and programming examples, and for
the Usenet newsgroups rec.arts.int-fiction and rec.games.int-fiction.
We want this site to be a place where all things related to the art
(and science) of interactive fiction can be consolidated." (Source: README file)
Another great source for new IF games is the annual Interactive Fiction Competition, held for the 10th time in 2004. You can get current and past entries.
- Reviews of Interactive Fiction games are published every 3 months in a newsletter published by SPAG, the Society for the Promotion of Adventure Games.
- Whitestick, a website "to assist the Visually Impaired computer user", provides a wealth of interactive fiction (text adventure) games for download.
The Colossal Cave Adventure Page is about the first, self-titled real interactive text adventure, Adventure (or ADVENTUR, due to 8 character restriction).
The 8-bit Adventure World provides interesting facts and downloads for adventures that we used to love and hate on the 8-bit computers like the Apple ][, Commodore C64 or Spectrum,
From the webpage: "We have an entire library of old Apple 2 disks online. [..] There are currently over 1100 disk images archived on the web site."
You can play several IF games online on this site, thanks to the fabulous ZPlet Interpreter.
Achim J. Latz,
Due to copyright restrictions, the games are no longer available for download. Please do not send me questions about the games.