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You Are Likely To Be Eaten By Another Grue

Zork lives! The grandpappy of interactive fiction has been slumbering since 1997’s graphical adventure Grand Inquisitor, but it’s due for a surprise, browser-based return later this year. Details? Not a lot as yet, really. Legends of Zork is being handled by Irish outfit Jolt Online Gaming, with some sort of backing from Activision. There’s no word on whether any of the original Infocom team behind the classic Zorks are involved. Oh – just one more thing. It’s an MMO.

[Pauses for screaming and shouting].
Thing is – it’s an ideal property for an MMO. The idea sounds basically like The Kingdom of Loathing with less satire and meat gags, so there’s no reason at all it wouldn’t work. There’s also no reason at all a fantasy dungeoneering game needs to be called Zork, but never mind. Could be a lot of fun, if it manages to successfully squeeze genuine adventuring and exploring into the MMO structure. There’s no mention of it being text-based like its progenitors, but the fact it’s entirely a browser jobbie and will even run on an iPhone suggests what imagery it does have will be on the static side. The stark simplicity of Trukz, another browser-based MMO by Jolt, reinforces that – so there’s every chance this will be fairly in keeping with those early Zorks. Trukz, incidentally, is an MMO about haulage. I’m amazed Jim isn’t playing it, frankly.

Keep an eye on the Legends of Zork site for more, but meantime there’s a press release conveniently pasted below. To get yourself up to speed on what Zork was and why Grues are so mean, have a read of Gamasutra’s extensive retrospective, and go play the original Zork in a browser for no pennies here.

Jolt Online Gaming today announced that it will be publishing Legends of Zork™, which will give players the chance to once again take up the mantle of Zork™, this time via an Internet browser.

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.

LegendsofZork.com will provide online gamers with a persistent online adventure, playable from any Internet browser. Players take up the role of a recently laid-off salesman and part-time loot-gatherer, as he explores the Great Underground Empire. Designed to provide gamers with a casual MMO game they can play on their laptop, desktop or Apple iPhone (in school, work or on the bus), there’s nothing to download, just go to www.legendsofzork.com

“As a complete Zork geek, I’m very proud to be releasing this title”, stated Dylan Collins, CEO of Jolt Online gaming. “Anyone who plays MMOs will definitely like to spend some time with Legends of Zork while they’re taking a break or browsing around the web. It’s very addictive”.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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