BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND TWITTER BACKGROUNDS »

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Infocom and The Gallery of Zork



As I've mentioned on several occasions, I was a huge fan of Infocom's text adventure games back in the day. Actually, I should say that I AM a huge Infocom fan because even though it has been quite a while since I've played through an entire game of theirs, they still hold quite a fascination for me.

I won't torture you fine folks by prattling on for 10 pages in this post about how cool I think Infocom is (although I could!). No, I reserve the right to that hero-worship post later, but for now I just wanted to let you know about a cool website I stumbed onto this evening - The Gallery of Zork.

You might see scans of the fronts of game boxes at some Infocom tribute sites, but the guys at The Gallery of Zork really kick it up a notch. Yes, they offer high-resolution scans of the boxes (front, back, sides, and inside), but they also offer scans of pretty much every other Infocom item ever produced - the manuals, flyers, advertisements, Invisiclues books, newsletters, and all the the miscellaneous pack-in "feelies" that Infocom was famous for like the scratch n' sniffs from Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the pocket fluff and microscopic space fleet from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the swizzle stick from Hollywood Hijinx. Where my own copies of those items made off to I have no idea.

But perhaps best of all you can play ALL of the Infocom games online right on their website - and it won't cost you a single zorkmid!  I've seen some websites where some of the games are offered for online play, but it really looks like these guys have all of them! The Java box you play them in is somewhat small which is a little distracting, but that aside it seems to work great. I suppose you could even make the box bigger by reducing your monitor resolution while you were playing - I might try that.

If you want to skip directly to their online playable games page go to http://www.accardi-by-the-sea.org/Infocom/Online/. They have them all set up quite nicely.

If you would like to take a look at all the goodies for a particular game before you launch into playing it, or if you just want to check out all their other cool stuff, then go to their homepage at www.accardi-by-the-sea.org/ and just start wandering around. Lots of great stuff to see there if you are an old school adventurer like me. So don't Z around for more time to pass, head over there and take a L!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

17 comments:

Fallguy40 said...

Cool link! As we've discussed before, I was a big fan of these games back in the day. I'm going to try out some of the ones I never played.

MadPlanet said...

Me too. It's been so long since I've played one beyond just a minute or two checking out a website that I am curious how well they would stand up for me today. But I did play some of them from my Masterpieces of Infocom several years ago and I still enjoyed it so I expect good things. If you never tried Leather Goddesses or Hitchhiker you should try one of those classics.

Fallguy40 said...

I definitely played Leather Goddesses but I'm less sure about Hitchhiker. I'll try Hitchhiker to check.

My favorite was the Enchanter trilogy. Part 3 (Spellbreaker) was freakin' hard.

MadPlanet said...

I read that Enchanter was originally intended to be Zork IV. I'm assuming you played the 3 Zorks? Or at least 1 and 2? If I recall I was a little disappointed in Zork III. I never owned the original Enchanter so I'll check that one out.

Fallguy40 said...

I played the first three Zorks. Loved the first two. I honestly don't have any memory of part 3 so it must have been disappointing.

Enchanter was my favorite of that series. I would definitely recommend it.

MadPlanet said...

Actually as I think about it I believe I did play at least part of some of those games. Didn't you find books with spells in them and then read the books to add the spells to your abilities and the book itself disappeared? Then you could float or attack or whatever with the spells? Maybe I played it just a little but my recollection is very spotty. I must have played it briefly when I was checking out the Masterpieces compilation and just never came back to it.

Fallguy40 said...

You have a spell book that you write spells into as you find spell scrolls throughout the game. When you need to use a spell, you have to learn it first then use it.

the spell book also makes a great lantern since you have a spell for making something light up.

xarn said...

You have tea. You have no tea.

I loved those games. This site brings back good memories - and a few frustrating ones... ;)

MadPlanet said...

Ah Hitchhiker - one of my favorites. And even so I barely even remember the No Tea stuff. I'm gonna have to replay these things, with my forgetful brain they would probably seem brand new!

gnome said...

A truly brilliant site. And, I have to admit, I'm a lover of all things Infocom too.

MadPlanet said...

Hiya Gnome. I gathered that you were a fan from the talk at your sites and your recent guest spot at Captain D's. In fact all that chatting has caused a resurgence of my interest level in the genre. I even recently procured a copy of Sanitarium (which I had never heard of prior to your top 10 list) to give it a try.

Fallguy40 said...

What really surprises me about the Infocom website is the modest sales numbers for those games. Several were under 20,000 units and the best was like 350,000 units. Not much by today's standards.

MadPlanet said...

True, but their heyday was in the early to mid-80's so a lot fewer people even had computers. And they didn't have ports on the contemporary consoles like most games today - Atari Zork anyone? They were part of the delightful age before the PC-boom where games could be considered both wildly popular and cult-classic niche at the same time. Wait, did that make sense? Next up in nostalgic blather, why BBSs were better than the internet...

Fallguy40 said...

Hey, is there a way to save your games on the gallery of zork website?

I was messing with it the other day but I couldn't manage to save my progress.

Jeremy, Text Game Ninja said...

Man, I love the old zork/adventure/hitchhiker games. I am going to have to go back and play some of these once again.

MadPlanet said...

@ Fallguy40: Hmmm... I only played for a minute to check it out but now that you mention it I tried and I couldn't save either. I'll try to figure it out, but that would be a devestating flaw in their online system!

@ Jeremy, Text Game Ninja: Greetings Jeremy. Always a pleasure to meet a fellow text adventure fan. I don't suppose you went as far back as the Scott Adams adventure games did you? The VIC-20 was my original adventure gaming machine.

MadPlanet said...

FG40, I can't save my position either... bummer. If you figure it out let us know!