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ZORKAHOLICS GALORE... By Tim Lee Continued ...<<<Back
My heart is racing. I am actually SWEATING . I save the game location with a practiced keystroke, and just for the heck of it, I type: "%!&# you!"
The floppy's busy-light flickers, the disk whirls. Computer byte-brains are flying out of the floppy drive's bay door. Then, the mighty ZORK responds:
"I am sorry, but I do not understand the word 'YOU'."
It is too late, anyhow. I crack up laughing.
"You smell like bat guano. Your tongue looks like spaghetti. You are drained of blood. You are dead. Would you like to restart?"
ZORK was a wonderful game whose days were numbered in the same short moments as those sound-effect-ridden Radio Day shows. Gone forever and - - if my math is correct - - remembered by few. Usually it's the off-the-wall Simply Tim yarns that draw so many reader responses. I'm amazed. Tuesday's "STICK SWORD IN EAR" story was one of them. Most folks wrote about how nice it was to have tripped back down memory lane; how the old game of ZORK had also drawn them into its rich tapestry of intrigue; how they, too had called in sick and had forever fallen under ZORK'S mysterious spell; how old-fashioned IMAGINATION was lacking in today's modern computer games; how kids can't enjoy PURE music anymore without accompanying videos; how the act of reading a book is disappearing from our culture; how no one sends bona fide, handwritten letters nowadays. . .
You get the idea.
By golly, let's get back to ZORK - - what an
adventure! So many ex-ZORK folks replied to Tuesday's story I decided to search
Google for ZORK+DOS just for the fun of it. Incredibly, ZORK is apparently alive
and well as I soon discovered at this site where you can find info and
After installation, the game is started by
going to that new folder and clicking on the "ZORK1.BAT" file. ZORK will then
open in a typical old-fashioned DOS window (at least in Win 98 or below),
although I'm not sure about Windows XP. When I playfully called ZORK up and
caught sight of the opening prompt after so many years, the hairs on the back of
my neck bristled with anticipation.
Copyright Tim Lee 2003
More about early computers: The Commodore and the Kaleidoscope.