Zork: Activision gives it some love in an unusual way!

http://www.destructoid.com/zork-also-hidden-in-call-of-duty-black-ops-186858.phtml - via Call of Duty.

How bizarre.

I heard this on an IGN podcast and was going to post about it. Interesting.

This is (an example of) why I think it’s a little shortsighted when people complain that every article about IF starts by talking about “You are likely to be eaten by a grue.” It’s a cultural touchstone of sorts, and people think it’s kind of cool. Isn’t that the sort of thing writers should be mentioning, before (hopefully) going on to say how things have changed since then?

Perhaps the question is whether it’s more like mentioning Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead when you’re talking about Tom Stoppard or mentioning “Valley Girl” when you’re talking about Frank Zappa.

People who want to see the form as more literary probably feel the grue stuff gives the wrong impression? Personally, I feel that it’s a sign of a mature art form to be comfortable with all forms of expression under its tent, rather than riven with subgroups who wish the others would disappear. Probably wise not to look too far down one’s nose at the historically biggest crowdpleasers, either, since they pleased crowds for reasons that it’s important not to forget. Plus, the field of artists is not exactly busting out at the seams so that oddballs or die-hard classicists can be casually discarded. Look at Japanese manga — they’ll do recipe books in that art form, even. It’s a sign of the amazing robustness of that movement — nobody takes it as a reflection on the form.

So, more people doing or mentioning more things in IF or portraying their vision of IF in a way that I may not be personally interested in or think is the best possible vision of IF? That isn’t a problem I need to be too concerned about having.


I haven’t seen that complaint, actually.

I grouse a little when an article about IF starts with “It’s been dead for twenty years – but guess what!” But you’ll note I kind of did that myself, when I started doing publicity this month.

I do not hesitate to mention the grues (and the twisty little passages), because people do remember them.

Sarah Morayati says pretty much that here (I think I agree with everything else in her post). That’s just something I’ve read recently and can find, though; I think I’ve seen the same complaint elsewhere, though I could be misremembering.

“It’s been dead for twenty years!” does seem pretty annoying, though when I found out about the modern IF scene my reaction was approximately “Whoa! They’re still doing those? I haven’t thought about them for fifteen years!”

I said it a few threads down.

It’s like if every mention of a cool new movie began, “Remember Casablanca? Here’s looking at you kid!” even if the movie wasn’t a romance. People who like films, but not romance films, would get sick of it pretty quick. Surely even fans of Casablanca would get bored with it eventually?

It might make sense, if Casablanca was the only movie any of the readers had ever heard of.

Casablanca is better than about 99.99% of movies released today, so mentioning it way more often than people already do would not be a bad thing. Anyway, I can see the point — repetitious things get boring. I agree. This isn’t a matter of childish fixation on a random detail though. These particular parts of gaming history do deserve attention. Just because some may have given them all the lifetime attention they think they deserve, doesn’t mean everyone has. Some people are still burning through them. Some never got what was so great about them and probably need to learn. Some may see depths in the classics that many others have never seen, and thus simply aren’t done with them, yet. Art is personal. Kind of odd to declare that ‘Everyone should be personally over and past these particular works of art.’

As an example, it can be annoying being a veteran on some technical web forum but that doesn’t mean newbies aren’t necessary, and newbies always come in with a distorted view of things fed by the simplifications of popular culture. It’s annoying – it’s also life. So that’s all I think it is. Most everybody has to go through the ‘omg they aren’t dead’ stage and ‘remember Zork’ stage on the way into this medium. Best not to yank the red carpet out from under them, and I think that’s exactly what it’s like for people indulging in nostalgia, etc., when somebody implies to them that they shouldn’t be interested in this medium for that particular reason; it’s like the geeklove train has been cancelled after everybody but you is already at the destination. Most of us rode the nostalgia train to get in here, at some point in our pasts. And now nobody’s supposed to ride it anymore?

I say let them come. I say send out more nostalgia trains. Ever hear of ‘bait n switch’? 8)


It’s just that some of us can’t ride it, because we’re too young.

Good point. Most of the younger people I’ve introduced to IF, first heard me talking about it in let’s face it a nostalgic way, and then got curious.

Has anyone here tried this yet? I’d love to know what happens if you crash Zork, such as by typing EAT BOAT when you’re in the boat.

Awesome. Somebody’s gotta try this.

The first Zork I ever played had a bug where if you tried to open the front door of the white house from inside after the trap door in the same room had already been discovered, there would be an unrecoverable error. But I believe that was just in an earlier mainframe version (I was playing by modem on a PDP) as I have never been able to reproduce that error in any other version I have seen in the days since.


Ehm… Why do some ppl want so badly to reduce everything oldschool related to text adventures?

I mean, I found it really cool … And instead ppl are bitching about it … Ehm… Okay… Maybe including one of the comp games, half of which are half finished would be better eh?

yeah, perhaps a good idea. It’s not like CoD players will unlock and play Zork for more than, what, 2 mins? I’m also pretty sure they’ll try “shoot mailbox” and “shoot door” and quit when it gets them nowhere. So, a half finished game would get them the same deal.

This is not a bonus for player who don’t care, it’s really just a lame maneuver to ensure that Zork and other Infocom titles never really get released into the public domain, because it’s being used in a commercial package.

No it isn’t, because copyright law doesn’t work that way.

I think you’re being unnecessarily pessimistic. Sure, most players won’t find Zork hidden in their copy of Black Ops, and many of those who do won’t be interested. But Black Ops is a huge best-seller, and if it piques the curiosity of even a tiny fraction of CoD players, it’ll be good for the community. We’ve already had one new member join this forum after being introduced to IF through CoD’s Zork.

@ namekuseijin : so “CoD players” according to you are mindless bastards who just shoot things in games… lol , ok … :stuck_out_tongue: And I suppose you ONLY play interactive fiction? Lol, enjoy life mate, gaming is good … Whatever…

I liked though the “shoot mailbox with shotgun” if I could in that specific version I could add it, would make for a nice inside joke…

Now, seriously, you know what Clint Eastwood said about some holes, so imho the Zork presence even if it’s just there will make some ppl hear about TEXT Adventures (as we called them in the good old days) for the first time and it’s very good…

For the copyright stuff I don’t know at all, I guess Andrew knows better :wink: :slight_smile:

Nope, I also play console games such as Zelda, Shadow of Colossus, Prince of Persia, God of War and the likes…

indeed it would…

if you are the one coming from COD, you can see it has not succeeded besides bringing an old fart (“as we called them in the good old days”) due to nostalgia. IF doesn’t need more nostalgic farts, it needs new blood.

I guess Zork in COD might help a little bit more than someone like you who’s bitching on an IF forum :mrgreen: … And who are you who will decide what IF needs ? :laughing: Funny guy :slight_smile: