Zork is one of those computer games you’ve probably seen referenced a lot - maybe even played at some point or another. Not that it’s a video game, but rather its a text based game - a work of interactive fiction. And indeed, playing Zork is rather like one of those “choose your own adventure” style books, only with far more humor, more choices for the reader, and the terrifying grue.

Playing Zork on Linux does not require installing DOSBox or some other DOS emulator, but instead requires the installation of a Z-Machine interperter (Z-Machine being a basic virtual machine that executes the data files for Zork and other interactive fiction titles). On Linux, one option is Frotz, which supports nearly all the versions of Z-Machine that Infocom put out, save for some of the features in the sixth version.

To install Frotz on Ubuntu, enter the command:

sudo apt-get install frotz

It is likely that other distributions include Frotz in their repositories as well.

Of course, being able to install Frotz is useless without a game to go with it. Fortunately, Infocom has released Zork I, Zork II, and Zork III for free download, which can be found here.

It should also work with any of the old Z-Machine games that you might have (or find) game disks or files for.

Having downloaded and decompressed these files, you simply enter:

frotz filename

Where filename is the Z-Machine file. In Zork I, this file should be in the DATA folder, entitled ZORK1.DAT.

And with that final command, you enter an underground empire and many lost hours of productivity.


help - anon

Hi, i'm trying to download zork and i cannot open the infocom file or frotz in my terminal. If you could post a more detailed walkthrough for how to code the file that would be very helpful. thanks.

Frotz - eugene

In short: Download the zip file for Zork Copy the Zork zip fle into a new folder called Zork From terminal: cd /home/[name]/Downloads/Zork unzip zork1.zip cd DATA frotz ZORK1.DAT