.z8 or .zglorb? Which one should I use?


I’m new to the scene, even though I used to play text adventures back when computers were 8bits. I’m glad to find a thriving community, but it’s a bit difficult to understand how to use everything. My first question is the one in the title, but it comes with its own subset of questions.

I want to play Lost Pig, but I don’t know which file to use, the z8 or the zglorb? I’ve read a bit and if I understand correctly, zglorb allows for graphics but not z8? Or can both contain graphics? Both files have different sizes, maybe it’s just because of the format. Is it just a case of picking the one that will play in your favourite Z-machine interpreter?

I want to play the stories on an old computer. For several reasons, one of them being that on my main PC I’m one click away from the Internet and all its distractions. Right now I’ve settled for my Amiga, for which Frotz has a build. It seems to take all the modern formats, but will I miss stuff by limiting my environment?

I want to go further back in the history of computers, and use one with a Z80 in it. Unfortunately it seems no Z-machine interpreted has been written for the Amstrad CPC, even though all the Infocom V3 classics has been ported to it. Or did I just miss it?

In any case, the Z80 seem to feeble to handle anything beyond V3, maybe V5. Infocom sure never ported their V4 and V5 games to it. Are there stories still written for this limited format, or has everyone else moved to V8 and playing in a browser? I still have plenty of classics to play (the CPC has a lot of text / still images adventure games, quite a few being in French and spanish) but I was hoping to keep my options open.


(Andrew Plotkin) #2

zblorb can contain graphics, but for most games there is only a cover image (which does not appear in the game itself – it’s the same title image you see on the IFDB page.) zblorb can also contain metadata like title/author/release date. This is useful if you’re processing a large batch of IF game files, but it doesn’t change the play experience.

So in the case of Lost Pig, it doesn’t really matter. Both files are marked “latest release”.

(For other games you might see an older .z8 file and a newer .zblorb file, and then you’d want to play the newer one.)

I don’t know whether the Amiga version of Frotz supports .zblorb. You’ll have to try it.

Occasionally someone releases a V3 game for nostagia reasons. In fact most authors have moved off the Z-machine entirely to Glulx (.ulx or .gblorb), which is a 32-bit VM and generally more flexible. But there are definitely no Glulx interpreters for historic hardware platforms.



I play most of my IF on my iPad using Frotz for convenience sake (and I hate playing on a browser.)
You transfer them to your iPad using a data transfer on your PC so I try to only play/download games in zcode.

All I know its that Frotz (for iPad) does support .gblorb, .zblorb and all the z’s like .z5 etc. Therefore it probably supports for Amiga (but maybe won’t…) But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t support any other formats.


(David Kinder) #4

ZBlorb means a Blorb file containing a Z-code game file. Blorb files are a bit like a sort of a zip file, containing the game file and anything else it needs. That might be graphics or sound files, but usually it just means some metadata describing the game and maybe a ‘cover art’ image. There are tools to pull the Z-code game file out of a ZBlorb file. On the Amiga, the last release of Amiga Frotz can read ZBlorb files, so you should be okay there.

GBlorb means a Blorb file containing a Glulx game file. There is a port of Glulxe for the Amiga, but it’s very simple (no graphics or sound, and no proportional fonts, either). The Amiga is probably about the most limited system that can cope with all this - the old 8-bits just have too little address and disk space for it to be practical.