This is actually a question about an Inform 5 story file, circa 1996.
I know we have Glulx Strings (as one example) for getting printed text out of compiled story files today. What tools were available in 2003 to extract text from a 1996 I5 game? What would have been used (assuming this was a thing at the time)?
Yeah, the ztools suite (including txd) was released in '92 and it’s as revelatory (for zcode games) as glulx-strings, just noisier from the point of view of someone wanting only the text. A short sample from Zarf’s 1995 A Change in the Weather (albeit with a recent txd):
Routine R0238, 0 locals
TEST_ATTR G1e,#09 [TRUE] L0001
PRINT "The excavation has left rather a lot of dirt and dried
mud near the path."
L0001: JL G83,#08 [TRUE] L0002
PRINT "The excavation has left rather a lot of dirt and mud
near the path. It's all been soaked by the rain, and it's pretty messy."
L0002: PRINT "The excavation has left rather a lot of dirt and dried
mud near the path. Some of it has been wetted down."
Reform, which decompiles to Inform 6, didn’t come out till 2004-01-31.
But maybe more importantly, the Z-machine spec came out in 1997 and it became straightforward for any programmer to see how it would be done, without even having to delve through source code.