Zork and Colossal Cave Adventure
By user12607856 on Sep 22, 2005
At a Los Altos Library sale a couple weeks ago, I bought The Zork Anthology for a buck. Since then I've downloaded the first three Zork text adventures, which Infocom are making available for free, for Windows or Mac. The original MIT version is also available, including source code.
I'm using the book to help me quickly
cheat get up to speed on each
game. With the current generation of graphics based computer adventure games, text
adventure games like Zork are like dinosaurs, but I still have a fond affection for them.
I think it's because I spent a lot of time with the original Colossal Cave Adventure game by Crowther and Woods in the late 70's. Colossal Cave Adventure was the historic first "interactive fiction" game. This was on an old PDP computer. I have a small claim to fame from those days. I got so good at this game that I could get all 350 points (including the lousy last point) in 32 minutes. Each of the moves was hard-wired into my brain. I could even navigate that twisty maze of passageways without a single false turn. Of course, I had to look at the source code in order to learn how to do this.
A couple of comments on that Adventure game. One of the authors, Don Woods worked for Sun for quite a while which was cool. Like Tim Bray, he used to wear a wide brimmed hat everywhere. It's also one of the best commented programs I've ever seen. Very readable, which is even more impressive as we're talking about FORTRAN code here. Since then it's been ported to a variety of languages. and extended several times. Source code is available for most of these versions.