Zork: The Great Underground Empire Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling / Infocom 1981

The first game to feature a full-sentence parser, albeit a crude one by today's standards. Very derivative of Adventure, from the maze of twisty little passages to the orange smoke that accompanies ressurrection. Basically, a treasure hunt in a cave. Two mazes (counting the coal mine), a little randomized combat, and a nonsense puzzle or two. Much historical interest, however. Nearly everything in this game can be found in the Zork trilogy, although some crucial details are different. Available in various stages of its development; unlike Adventure, which used a very rigid database, this game was designed to be easy to modify, and got modified a lot. In 1977, two friends Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, who were students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Laboratory for Computer Science, discovered Crowther and Woods's game Colossal Cave Adventure. After completing the adventure game, they were joined by Tim Anderson and Bruce Daniels and began to develop a similar game. Their first production, Zork, also started on a PDP-10 minicomputer and spread quickly across the ARPANET. Its success was immediate, and the game, which would reach the size of a megabyte, enormous for the time, would be updated until 1981. On graduation, the students decided to stay together and to form a company and created Infocom on 22 June 1979. The idea of distributing Zork came to mind very soon, but the game was too big to port to the microcomputers of the time: the Apple II and the TRS-80, the potential targets, each had only 16 kb of RAM. They wrote a special programming language called Z-machine, which could function on any computer by using an emulator as an intermediary. In November 1980 the new Zork I: The Great Underground Empire was made available for the PDP-11; one month later, it was released for the TRS-80, with more than 1500 copies sold between that date and September 1981. That same year, Bruce Daniels finalized the Apple II version and more than 6,000 additional copies were sold. Zork I would go on to sell over a million copies.
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Full Demo Original Mainframe Version (@ IFDB)
Browser-Playable Version ( @ iFiction)
/ Reviews
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Browser-Playable Zplet Version ( @ Martin Pot's Page)
Browser-Playable Version ( @ ReZork)
Browser-Playable PHP Version ( @ THCNET)
Full Demo ( @ Infocom)
Full Demo ( @ XTC Abandonware)
Included in: Infocom Universe Bootleg Full Demo (provided by Gr.Viper & uploaded by Molitor) 389MB
Included in: The Zork Legacy Collection (1996) CD1 ISO ~294MB (uploaded by Molitor)
Included in: The Zork Anthology (1994) ISO Demo ~195MB (uploaded by Egon68) plus Zork II, Zork III, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, Planetfall.
Booter Image ISO Demo 66kb (uploaded by scaryfun)
included in The Comedy Collection - ISO Demo + Scans 4.7MB+80.7MB (uploaded by Internet Archive Software Collection)

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