I am about to embark on a quest to learn about different types of video games. The four quests will include narrative games, action games, simulation games, and other categories. Stay tuned because as I play through these quests, I will add my thoughts and ideas about each type of game I play.
Zork 1: The Great Underground Empire
Written between 1977-1979, Zork was one of the earliest fiction computer games created according to Wikipedia. Just by looking at the game, one would have no idea where it takes place or what the game is about. I only found out the plot and setting of the game by reading about it on Wikipedia. All you see when you play is a black screen and words telling you what you see and what is taking place in the game. Everything is pretty much left up to the imagination. The player then inputs commands in order to move along in the game such as “go east” or “turn lantern off”. I also learned only through additional reading that the objective is to collect the Twenty Treasures of Zork and install them in the trophy case.
While playing Zork, I had to remember that for its time, this was probably a pretty fun and inventive game to play. Players probably enjoyed the trial and error aspect. They probably also weren’t looking for a lot of flash or graphics or even sound like one would find in the video games of today. Even with its lack of detail, Zork provides a lot of mystery and intrigue for the player. It also provides humor especially when you try to open boarded doors and windows and tell it to eat garlic!
I played the game for close to half an hour. I made it into the house, picked up a sword and lantern, ate some food, had some water, and then couldn’t figure out what to do next. I tried all directions, but couldn’t get any real information, so I gave up and quit the game. There were cheats online that I looked at later that made the game a lot more fun, but I only made it through because of the cheats. This type of game would be a lot more fun if you could actually see something on the screen rather than picture it all in your head. Maybe that is why the fictional games of today also include graphics so that the player can envision themselves in their role. It might take away from the mystery and imagination involved in the game, but it makes it somewhat easier to maneuver through it.
I had trouble getting many of the versions of Zork 1 online to work, but here is a link to the one I played. In addition, here is the site that helped me find my way out of the house. Continue reading