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Source Code for Zork / Dungeon Game on the PDP-10 #VintageComputing

Zork

If you’re into classic games, like from the DEC minicomputer days and into the early (vintage) computer days, you probably remember Zork (or from the opening screen: Dungeon).

Zork is one of the earliest interactive fiction computer games, with roots drawn from the original genre game Colossal Cave Adventure. The first version of Zork was written between 1977 and 1979 using the MDL programming language on a DEC PDP-10 computer. The authors—Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling—were members of the MIT Dynamic Modelling Group. Infocom later brought out personal computer versions.

Zork distinguished itself in its genre as an especially rich game, in terms of both the quality of the storytelling and the sophistication of its text parser, which was not limited to simple verb-noun commands (“hit troll”), but recognized some prepositions and conjunctions (“hit the troll with the Elvish sword”). (Wikipedia)

If you would like to dig through the original source code, Lars Brinkhoff pointed me to the PDP-10 ITS system Zork source code now available on GitHub. There are other versions on GitHub including the Infocom Zork I in C (public domain) with history of ports to other computers.

This would make an impressive game for your next tiny computer handheld. Or perhaps use Alexa to speak your commands?


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