Text-adventure interview with Zork co-creator

Zork co-creators Marc Blank and Dave Lebling are to be awarded the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Pioneer Award, a prestigious prize, and a well-deserved one. It's amazing to think of Zork's creators as just a couple of guys who're still kicking around, doing stuff -- like learning that the authors of Gilgamesh are living down the street and sometimes doing speeches at publishing industry banquets. Wired interviewed Dave Lebling and another Infocom designer for their piece on the story, and have presented the resulting interview as a text-adventure game you have to play in order to read.

Text Adventure: Zork Creators Honored With Pioneer Award [Chris Kohler/Wired]


  1. I used to have a “Move The Rug!” bumpersticker. I’m glad this version missed no tricks:

    >move Dave

    >That would be less than courteous.

    These guys should have gotten this award long ago.

  2. So great!! It’s posts like this that hooked me on BB a long time ago; otherwise I’d lose track of all this great stuff.

        1. Congratulations! But did you try:
          Looking at the small door
          Looking at the key
          Taking things from the shelf in the presence of Dave?

  3. Wow, that took me waaaaaaay back. I’m actually proud of myself that I remembered most of the general commands. That was lots of fun. :)

  4. Zork was probably the first “clone” game really.  It’s pretty similar in style and approach to the original Adventure game.  I guess having come into gaming via playing Adventure (XYZZY and all that) on a Teletype terminal, Zork just seemed a copy of an already great game.

    1. Have you explored the forest yet? Sometimes birds are attracted to shiny things like keys.

      READ LETTER for more clues.

  5. I’m a little confused as to why I’m in a field West of the house, yet the door to the house is North of me.

    Maybe it’s a really big house?

  6. Thanks Chris, for spending the time to create this!  I played and completed most of the Infocom text adventures when they were new, and I think I still have the hand-drawn maps that I made to help me through them.  A college friend and I would often buy the same game, then give each other hints on solved puzzles if asked.

    People who haven’t played Zork might want to try typing “xyzzy” and “plugh” for examples of authentic, old-time Infocom humor.

    Thanks, Marc, Dave, and Steve for many hundreds of hours of great fun!

  7. bravo, this reminded me of my first computer game, Pyramid 2000. While not Zork, it was a text based adventure and it was on a cassette tape. That’s right kids, once upon a time games came of cassette tapes. Because of games like Zork I ended up ignoring my studies to program MUDs in college. Ahh good times.

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