It’s natural that someone who knows I’m working on this documentary would want me to know the latest of any sort of news related to text adventures or Infocom or Adventure International and so on. As a result, probably a dozen people have brought to my attention that there’s an announcement for a Massively-Multiplayer-Online version of Zork out there.
I don’t have any insider knowledge on this, or how it will go. I don’t even have any opinion of it, positive or negative. I know that if you want to play the original Zork online, you can do so. And the current gold standard for browser-based MMOs (which this new Zork is intended to be) is Kingdom of Loathing, which comes highly recommended by many people (I haven’t played it myself).
If there’s anything I can be non-neutral about, it’s two different things:
- I am very happy to hear that Activision, whose relationship to Zork and the Infocom properties has ranged from silly to cruel, is allowing someone to develop the property further in some way. While it may or may not be all that accurate to the original works, it will certainly be interesting to see how the Zork name resonates with folks or gathers new ones.
- And speaking of accuracy, the character portrayed on the splash screen walks around with a torch. Someone should really have made it a battery powered brass lantern, because that’s what’s in the original. But this sort of nit-pickery is offputting, so good luck to those guys.
Another weird side-effect is that it has caused a rash of links and views to the music video shot with MC Frontalot in relation to GET LAMP, which has gotten released a good amount of time before the documentary will. If you haven’t seen it yet, go ahead and check it out; I’ll talk more about it in the future.