Zork: The Cavern of Doom

A friend and I were reminiscing the other day over one of the IF adventures we both enjoyed as kids, an Inform adaptation of a CYOA gamebook from the Zork universe called "The Cavern of Doom–I think this might be it. I replayed the game today for old times’ sake, and from what I can tell it is quite literally the contents of the printed book rendered as a zcode file; all traditional IF commands aside from the meta ones have been disabled, and the only actions players can perform are turn the page (n) or choose an action from a list of numbered options. I’ve never run into anything like it since, but thinking about things from the perspective of accessibility, I realize gameifying the book in this fashion was kind of a cool (and probably unintentional) way of making such material accessible to the visually-impaired crowd. I’d be curious to see if anyone here knows (1) why this book was turned in to a game, (2) how it ended up in the public domain, and (3) why the individual who created the port stopped at just one. Oh, and here’s a link to the game’s IFDB page for reference.


I don’t remember the discussion (2003 predates this web forum) but the answers are pretty obvious:

  • The person in question (Manfred Pfeiffer) just thought it would be cool and decided to do it;
  • It’s not in the public domain, he just decided to do it;
  • Once he did it, he didn’t feel like doing it again.

(The CYOA Zork books say “copyright Infocom”, so presumably Microsoft owns the rights now.)

A scan of the book with PDF and text is here: Gamebook: Zork 3 - The Cavern of Doom : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

The text is probably OCR, and it’s not very error-checked, mind you.