Availability of original Infocom interpreters?


My apologies if this is an “inappropriate” request - I don’t think it is, but I leave that to the moderators to determine.

The basic nature of my request is whether the original Infocom-authored DOS interpreters for the five Solid Gold releases (HHGG, LGOP, Planetfall, Wishbringer, and Zork I) are available.

Yes, I’m very much aware of Frotz and the many similar and derivative interpreters (and the quasi-ability to hack one interpreter to work for another ZIP), but for this specific application, using the original DOS-based interpreters for each game is strongly preferred.

The real challenge is finding the things. The one for HHGG came with LTOI I, which was nice - but from everything I’ve read in my research, none of the others were ever released as part of a collection outside of one Virgin Mastertronic CD, which is long since out of print and effectively impossible to obtain.

I own all of the (original 35, at least) games many times over - gray box, a few folios, LTOI I and II, Masterpieces, and the genre-specific CDs - for DOS, C64 and Amiga. I’ve obviously got all of the datafiles (in fact, I did some work correcting some bugs in the ifarchive patch software, in case my pedigree is doubted - it’s right there in the source code :wink:. This, to the best of my knowledge, isn’t a “piracy” request as much as it is a “where in the world did these things go?” request (having a full collection of every original interpreter as released for every platform might seem silly to some, particularly with the glut of very good third-party interpreters, but historical preservation is important!).

I’m more than happy to be pointed in any direction that would lead to the SG DOS interpreters. =) If you prefer, feel free to use the ifarchive patch tool and make me “de-patch” from an existing (non-SG) Infocom DOS interpreter for legality purposes. :wink: Ideally, I’d like all the files that were included (minus the DAT/ZIP, of course, which I do consider intellectually “iffy” and already have anyway), including the batch file, EXE, and any other supplemental files as shipped directly from Infocom.

If you actually have the Virgin Mastertronic release (was it UK/Europe only, for those of us trapped in the States? :slight_smile:, I am particularly interested in hearing from you if you are so inclined. =)

Thanks very much for any assistance that may be offered, and my sincerest apologies if this request is ‘out of line’ (though again, for preservation purposes, I certainly hope not!).

Warmest regards in text gaming forever,


You’re talking about the interpreters that came in the grey-box editions for PC?

You might try the DOS interpreter from the free Zork I-III re-releases. I don’t know if it’s the same, and I haven’t tried it myself (I only downloaded those for the data files), but I don’t see why Activision would go to the trouble of writing a new terp for a free promotional download.

zarf: No, I’m talking about the interpreters that came with the gold-box editions for PC (i.e. the “Solid Gold” releases, the sticker reads “Solid Gold Interactive Fiction” on the right-bottom hand of the box.

Draconis: Unfortunately, those are all the pre-SG releases - I believe Zork I uses r88 in everything Activision has ever released.


I have managed to acquire the original Solid Gold DOS interpreters for all but Wishbringer. If you happen to have WISHBRIN.EXE, I’d love to hear from you. =)

And, of course, if for some reason you should have need of any of the four other SG DOS interpreters, feel free to reach out to me.


Notice any significant differences among them, or from the other v5 interpreters?

There is a clear evolution between them, where you can see support being incrementally added (in terms of file size) to support features with each subsequent release. In terms of comparison with third-party interpreters, my reading of some of Graeme Cree’s older research suggests they are significantly less tolerant of bugs in the story file, crashing outright instead of gracefully running out of heap, etc. They are also noticably slower to start, presumably from building binary trees when loading the story…there appears to be some sort of “decompile” step going on in the beginning, evident during the “Microsoft Compiler” screen. This can be readily seen even with HHGG SG, which is the most common variant, being the one (for whatever reason is anyone’s guess) SG title Activision shipped in collections like LTOI.


Through a bit of experimentation, I’ve found the following Solid Gold DOS interpreter command-line switches of note (case-insensitive):

/c - color mode (no prompt)
/g - alternate game to load, with or without .dat extension, no spaces, Z5/SG only (e.g. /gplanetfa)
/m - mono/black and white mode (no prompt)
/x - I have no idea. The screen colors (at least on VGA) are wonky - cyan on gray - and the font changes to what appears very much like the Amiga Topaz font.

I have not been able to locate any documentation on these switches - if anyone knows what /X actually does, I’d be very curious to know.


Are the original Infocom interpreters capable of loading non-Infocom story files? That is, can they be hacked to load something built by Inform? If only for informational purposes, I’d be interested in seeing how the Infocom interpreters react to some undefined/unspecified parts of the Z-machine Standards Document.

I don’t see why they wouldn’t, although most Infocom interpreters generally supported only the subset of required functionality for a specific version required to make a specific game work (per past interviews with the Implementors).

I think this falls under the category of “try it and see”. :slight_smile:


I’ve run a lot of different z5 story files with the Beyond Zork terp; never saw any weird effects.

Same here, I have almost every version ever produced except the for the following:
zork 1 release 2 “dat” file.
zip 1 & cp/m interpreters.
I am looking for them everywhere and cannot seem to find them, whether to download or to buy.
If anyone has any thoughts about where to acquire them please let me know.

can pm me at jmmowery54 (at sign) att (dot) net
ps I am into very old stuff.

I goofed
the correct email addy is jmmowery54 (at) gmail (dot) com

The patch for Zork 1 version 2 is in the archive:

Thanks but that does not help me since I am not sure what to use to apply the patch to the appropriate dat file.

The program’s right there in the same directory: http://ifarchive.giga.or.at/if-archive/infocom/patches/zpat-2_3.zip.

Sorry, I am not seeing any .com or .exe file for DOS, only for old Windows, unless those are the files you referring too.

You could run it in Windows or Wine, or just compile the source code.

Not sure how to compile as I have never done nor tried that before.

ok, I think I have release 2 now. I am lucky that I have an old computer with Windows XP still running on it and I used the windows .exe and zork1 R88 to patch it to zork R2 and it seems to work fine. Now I have both R2 and R5 working.
Now to find the real actual release dates for R2 and R5, since neither use the date as the serial number.
thanks for all your help