Zork I

Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels & Tim Anderson

27 June 1980

Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Bruce Daniels,Tim Anderson / Infocom, 1980 / Selected by Steve Meretzky

“Zork’s” earliest incarnation was as free software that made its way around the mainframe computers of United States technology companies from 1977-1979, introducing untold numbers of future game designers to the potential of computer interactivity and the very notion of computer gaming. “Zork” was a text-based adventure that used a powerful natural language parser, which allowed the game to respond to complex player commands like “Take everything from the wizard’s workbench,” or “Put the crystal orb into my pocket.” Within the context of the game world – described in sentences like “You are entering a dark passageway.” – players could do almost anything. “Zork’s” purple prose and medieval theme also helped establish the aesthetic of many action and role-playing games to come. In 1980, “Zork” was re-invented for the personal computer; divided into a trilogy, it became one of the best selling games of the personal computer revolution.