From time to time, I get questions from readers of Gold Machine about Infocom and related matters. I answer most of them, but I get stumped now and then. Can you help me answer these two questions?
In the Dungeon Master’s quiz at the end of Dungeon (mainframe Zork), one of the questions is, “What is the minimum specified value of the Zork treasures, in Zorkmids?” The answer, so far as I know, is “30,003.” A reader has asked: what the significance of the number? I.E., is it a hacker joke like the leaf count is?
“Drew, for years I’ve been trying to track down the cover of a computer magazine from the early '80s that was a hand drawn map of Advent. The magazine wasn’t about gaming, it was a business publication such as Datamation or a technical one such as Communications of the ACM. Are you aware of it or know of a way I might track it down?” Both of the periodicals mentioned were/are American, unless I misunderstand.
Anyone? I’m thinking of doing a “readers ask” section at the end of some posts where I would publish answers to questions like these. If you are the first to answer, I will credit you if you like. That would be my preference. Otherwise, I will cite an “anon.” Thanks in advance!
If I remember right, that number comes from a 10,000-zormid bill, a pile of 20,000 1-zorkmid bills, and a coin worth three zorkmids, or something like that. Meaning the humor is that you have some treasures worth so much and some treasures worth so little.
Regarding the treasure:
I don’t think there is any special significance of the number itself.
The value comes from a 10,000 zorkmid coin, a stack of 200 bills worth 100 zorkmids each, and a 3 zorkmid stamp. They are the only treasures described as having specific monetary values, and the values are only shown in the long description of each item given when you look at or examine it. In the case of the coins and stamp, it’s only in the ascii art.