Zork, Infocom, and other Interactive Fiction on Android, iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac

Zork - Available on PC Mac Android iPad iPhone

Zork, Infocom, and other Interactive Fiction on Android, iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac

Overview

Our favorite old Adventure game and many Infocom games (like Zork, Suspended, Planetfall), as well as many newer “Interactive Fiction” games (like Spider and Web) are available for PC, Mac, iOS devices and Android devices.

Here’s how it works:

The original games were generally written for, or ported to, a portable virtual machine / interpreter called the Z-Machine.

For more info, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-machine
http://inform7.com/if/interpreters/
http://www.ifarchive.org/

In this realm, a game is embodied as Z-code file, and typically has a .zn file extension like .z5 or .z8, with n indicating the interpreter version it is made for (requires at least that version).

Z-Machine player apps

There are now Z-Machine interpreter apps on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Unix

The Android one is called jFrotz, and is free from the Google Play market
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.whj1972.jfrotz

The iPhone/iPad app is called Frotz, and is free in the Apple App Market
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/frotz/id287653015?mt=8

For Windows
http://www.davidkinder.co.uk/frotz.html

For Mac, there is Zoo
http://www.logicalshift.co.uk/mac/index.html

Z-Machine game libraries, and how to use them

There are various online libraries of Z files.

Here is the Z-Machine section of the Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB
http://ifdb.tads.org/search?sortby=rcu&searchfor=format%3AZ-Machine*

(they don’t have the games that were commercial and never released as free, including most of the Infocom Games)

Here is a pretty complete looking library of downloadable Infocom games:
http://www.pokenet.co.uk/misc/files.dev/dslinux/frotz/

On Android and PC, you can just download the file (.e.g. the .z5 file) from an archive, then open it in the player app.

On iOS, you can go to one of these archives, click on a link, and when you are asked what to open it with, pick Frotz, and it gets added to your Frotz library (or get a file mailed to yourself and open it etc.)

Authoring new Interactive Fiction

You can write new Z-machine Interactive Fiction (IF) games or stories.

A popular free tool for doing so is “Inform”
http://inform7.com/

 

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