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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Zork Returning As a Browser MMO 108

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-a-new-starcon-game dept.
Gamasutra reports that Jolt Online Gaming is teaming up with Activision to revive the Zork franchise in the form of a casual, browser-based MMO. The Legends of Zork website provides some basic background information: "The Great Underground Empire has recently fallen and the land is in disarray. The Royal Treasury has been sacked. The stock market has collapsed, leading even mighty FrobozzCo International to fire employees from throughout its subsidiaries. A craze of treasure-hunting has swept through the remnants of the Great Underground Empire. The New Zork Times reports that trolls, kobolds and other dangerous creatures are venturing far from their lairs. Adventurers and monsters are increasingly coming into conflict over areas rich with loot. It's a dangerous time to be a newly-unemployed traveling salesman, but it's also a great time to try a bit of adventuring." Gamasutra also has a brief interview with Jolt's CEO, Dylan Collins. There's no word yet whether or not players are likely to be eaten by a grue.
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Zork Returning As a Browser MMO

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  • Grue! (Score:3, Funny)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday January 16, 2009 @06:48AM (#26480107) Journal

    You know both the men and the women will be eaten by the grue.

    • Re:Grue! (Score:5, Funny)

      by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:25AM (#26481341)

      throw bottle at grue

      There, that should take care of him.

    • by russotto (537200)

      FROTZ GRUE

      (Different trilogy, same mythology.)

    • by SQLGuru (980662)

      May I be the first to say: For the GRUE!!!!!

      Of course, they'll have to tweak things so that they wimp-ify the Grue race and everyone will complain.

    • No, just women.

    • by Eudial (590661)

      But today's people don't read text. It has words and stuff in it. The warning message must permeate culture. MC Frontalot has already made a song [youtube.com] about it. But it isn't enough. A full feature film with Matt Damon forgetting to bring a torch and being eaten by a Grue is also necessary to get the message through, and a spinoff TV-series with a gang of teenagers examining a string of eaten people in dark areas.

  • ...and you are likely to be spammed by a Grue!

    (Joke stolen from Silly friend - couldn't resist... ;)

  • Planetarion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oneofthose (1309131) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:25AM (#26480289) Homepage
    This is the same Jolt that owns the legendary Planetarion (http://www.planetarion.com/) browser game. They don't seem to invest a whole lot of money into Planetarion but apparently are creating an entirely new game. This is sad for me because I prefer science fiction and strategy over role playing and loved Planetarion back in the days. Jolt recently got bought by Omac Industries (http://omacindustries.com/). They also own Nation States, a popular nation simulation browser game.
  • by yotto (590067) on Friday January 16, 2009 @07:33AM (#26480319) Homepage

    Gee, someone should have thought of this YEARS AGO [wikipedia.org]!
     
    Oh wait they did.
     
    I'm on dialup, so got tired of waiting for TFA to load. Maybe it's graphical and awesome and whatever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      More proof white guys shouldn't rap.
  • Zork? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kpainter (901021) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:22AM (#26480545)

    The Great Underground Empire has recently fallen and the land is in disarray. The Royal Treasury has been sacked. The stock market has collapsed, leading even mighty FrobozzCo International to fire employees from throughout its subsidiaries. A craze of treasure-hunting has swept through the remnants of the Great Underground Empire...

    Sounds a bit too much like reality to me.

  • by PoochieReds (4973) <(jlayton) (at) (poochiereds.net)> on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:35AM (#26480615) Homepage

    ...that can survive being turned into a MMORPG. Most developers tend to think that making a game into a MMOG adds value, but I tend to think it's the reverse.

  • 1. Are any of the people involved with the original in on this? I know TFA says that they were in contact with Activision regarding backstory, but that's not necessarily the same thing.

    2. Will there be a Blackberry-friendly site? They mention the iPhone (booo! hiss!), so I assume there's a mobile version of the site, but they specified iPhone, not mobile, and I'm a paranoiac at heart.

    When I read this headline in my feed this morning I almost wept. Zork was the first computer game I ever played (in 1985, at

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by VolkerLanz (1005127)

      1. Are any of the people involved with the original in on this? I know TFA says that they were in contact with Activision regarding backstory, but that's not necessarily the same thing.

      I think that's rather unlikely. Mr. Collins explicitly says in the interview that he's "continually searching for people who were involved in the games over the years" and quotes only Activision as a source for the "entire mythology". None of the original Zork Implementors works (or has worked in the past) for Activision.

      Also, the artwork on http://www.legendsofzork.com/ [legendsofzork.com] makes you wonder if Mr. Collins has really caught up with the "entire mythology". This adventurer is from anywhere but from Zork -- not

      • by tuffy (10202)

        This adventurer is from anywhere but from Zork -- not with that torch in his hand.

        Perhaps he's properly removed it from Zork 3's Viewing Room...

      • by jonadab (583620)
        > This adventurer is from anywhere but from Zork -- not with that torch in his hand.

        Maybe his lantern ran out of oil, although one wonders why he didn't just frotz it.
  • I am both excited and full of dread. This has a chance to be a great MMOG but my nostalgia and high expectations tell me it is likely to both be (1)Not true to the spirit of the original games and (2)less fun. Maybe I should just go hunt those down instead.
  • Free Zork! (Score:3, Informative)

    by agnosticanarch (105861) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:15AM (#26480845) Homepage

    In related news, Infocom (?) is giving away Zork I, II and III on their website. infocom-if.org [infocom-if.org]

    Now I'm definitely more likely to be eaten by a grue.

    ~AA

    • by Bambi Dee (611786)
      Nah, it's a fan site. But since I can't get Arthur, Beyond Zork, Enchanter, and Planetfall off the various non-PC format floppies I bought them on, I may start feeling somewhat entitled...
    • Actual Z-Code:

      location = Beginning;
      move watch to player;
      "You step onto the landing ramp leading down toward the surface of the legendary lost planet of Magrathea. ~Announcement, announcement. This is Eddie (the shipboard computer). Someone is leaving the ship on a strange planet without wrapping up all nice and warm. It'll all end in tears, I just know it...~ The voice fades behind you.^^Ramp^The wind moans. Dust drifts across the surface of the alien world. Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian appear and urge you

  • http://www.kingdomofloathing.com/ [kingdomofloathing.com] beat them to it :D
    • Agreed. Play KoL!
      • by nschubach (922175)

        I played KoL some time ago and I didn't see anything that made it "communal." It felt like a Browser based Myst with stick figures.

        Did they actually add interaction with other people and dungeons or did I stop playing in the "tutorial" section because I couldn't stand it anymore. (The humor is somewhat interesting though.)

        • There is a clan dungeon and from the looks of it others in the future. If you want to talk to people in it there is chat and even a some radio stations linked to some of the chat channels with some of the game devs having slots in the schedule.
  • ...nuff said.
  • Sometimes when I look at web-based "MMOs", I feel like I'm in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.
  • by syousef (465911) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:37AM (#26480983) Journal

    "The Great Underground Empire has recently fallen and the land is in disarray. The Royal Treasury has been sacked. The stock market has collapsed, leading even mighty FrobozzCo International to fire employees from throughout its subsidiaries

    So it's reality based then?

    • by russotto (537200)

      "The Great Underground Empire has recently fallen and the land is in disarray. The Royal Treasury has been sacked. The stock market has collapsed, leading even mighty FrobozzCo International to fire employees from throughout its subsidiaries

      So it's reality based then?

      No. Reality is Zork based. Though it's not clear who is playing the role of Megabozz (who destroyed the original GUE). Henry Paulson, possibly. Or of course George Bush, though he seems more likely to be the last Flathead (styled "Dimwi

  • When was Zork ever "casual"? Cruel is more like it.
  • There is a twitter version (grugru) kinda working.

  • Even though the FrobozzCo has fallen on some hard times, I assure you that everything will be fine once we get our government bailout money.

    -JBFrobozz

  • Eat Me (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Auto-Cannibalism will do nothing to improve your situation.

    -Float!

  • Are probably pushing 50, probably 40 at least, right?

    Is there really a good demographic to target with an MMO? I know there are people in that demo that play MMOs (I'm one) but overall I think you're getting a pretty small slice of the pie by going after that crowd with a nostalgia angle.

    It can (regrettably) work for movies recycling old TV shows, but the time and money commitment for someone to partake of that is much, much less.

    I just don't see it. I always figured those TV show remakes are easy to pitc

    • 35. And when I played WOW (left just before the expansion pack, influx of rude kids on the server, too easy to level, everyone in same gear, etc etc) there were a lot of people my age playing too.
    • by grikdog (697841)
      Pushing sixty five. I still play Mike Goetz' B03 version of Adventure, mainly just to enjoy how much faster a modern laptop running YAZE can generate the game than my original Kaypro 10. (Yes, pushing the red button does crash the emulation, but not Ubuntu Hardy.) I'd play Zork but revisiting the topiary garden can't be better than the original, now that we've seen (and can't scrub out of our memories) Edward Scissorhands.
    • I'm probably on the tail end of their popularity; I'm not even 30. As for proof I played it, check my nick.
    • I think you're shooting a little high on the age bracket. Infocom released Zork in 1980 (according to wikipedia). It continued selling it for years afterward. So, people in their mid-30's played it too.
  • Cool. I first played Zork on a VAX at Bell Labs, right before Infocom was formally formed in 1979.

    There's a great student paper (research project?) from MIT that quite nicely recounts the history of Infocom, the making of Zork, and their fall etc.:
    http://web.mit.edu/6.933/www/Fall2000/infocom/infocom-paper.pdf [mit.edu]
    (yeah, PDF sorry)

    Abstract from the paper:
    The success and failure of Infocom, a company founded by members of MIT's Laboratory
    for Computer Science, resulted from a combination of factors. Infocom succ

  • Talk about coincidence. A number of the staff in my department at work got into a conversation about old games and brought up such classics as Zork and Planetfall. And then, on the bus home, another group started talking about the 'bad' old days.

    Could it be that the gaming industry is suffering from remake-itis like Hollywood? Or does improved technology justify remakes?

  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Friday January 16, 2009 @01:36PM (#26483941)
    The first question clearly is going to be: Will Grues be a playable race?
  • Course ya do!

  • Apparently people haven't been satisfied with mere apostrophe abuse [apostropheabuse.com] and have taken to hyphen abuse [wordpress.com]. Take for example:

    newly-unemployed

    One never, ever hyphenates with an adverb ending in -ly. It's already clear by the -ly ending that it is an adverb and that it will be modifying the word that follows. To join it with that word with a hyphen is redundant.

    Meanwhile:

    Eight Legged Freaks
    Game Changing Performance

    These terms should have hyphens. Without them, the former is about eight freaks with legs and the latter about a performance being changed by the game.

  • > You can't get ye flask! [homestarrunner.com]
  • Pugh is from Colossal Cave Adventure not Zork.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adventure_(computer_game)/ [wikipedia.org]
  • ...what is a grue?

    rj

    • From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

      > what is a grue?

      The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

      • by Deadstick (535032)

        If you'd ever asked that question from the Zork command line, you wouldn't have had to go to Wikipedia...;-)

        rj

  • Back in the late eighties, I saw a short documentary about Infocom on TV. It was on the BBC (or maybe Channel 4) in the UK. Does anybody know if it still exists today online? I've looked for it a few times, but not had much success.
    I'm familiar with the "Get Lamp" documentary which has been in production for a while, but not sure if the director has located this video.

    • by andrewa (18630)

      Well, emailed the director Jason Scott, and it seems he knows about it but hasn't located it either.
      Take a look at "Get Lamp", looks great... I really enjoyed his bbs documentary, so expecting good things.

      http://getlamp.com/ [getlamp.com]

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