Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zork is Frustrating

Frankly I can't think of a game that screams visual aid more than the game Zork. At first creating a map was something I though would be interesting and would give me a good idea of what it's like to be in a secluded wooded area somewhere in the middle of nowhere. After a short time I realized that it was instead more like maneuvering through a forest blindfolded with someone describing what the place looks like to me, yeah frustrating, and impractical. After my failed attempt at making a map I decided Google would solve my problem. Search query "Zork map" FOUND! "Now we're in business" I thought to myself. For the next few hours I then proceeded to follow the directions of the map and maneuver through the environment of Zork with little problems. Finally I reached a point where it was very obvious that my game was a different mod of Zork and the map seemed to not lead me to the same places that it was describing. A good analogy would be trying to drive to through Cleveland using a map of Ohio; some of the places that are near and in Cleveland are probably on that map, but not everything. So after collecting a few more objects and going in random directions in order to find some landmark that was on the map I reached a crossroad. Now I had to decide whether I really wanted to put the time in and create a map (again) or sign off. After a quick glance at my scribbled out, poorly drawn, map I chose the latter.

I'm now left with two questions. The first one about how people had "fun" while playing this game and why it was so popular? I guess I cannot grasp it because I’m used to gaming in the 21st century with the luxuries of a GUI. The second, deeper, question is how did people navigate through vast areas of the unknown and map places out so others can find it? The level of detail required must be EXTREMELY important since Zork clearly lacks the ability to distinguish between the seemingly never ending slews of forests I’ve been in for the past few hours.

Alright enough ranting, it wasn't all that bad. C+ because at least it was educational, right?

1 comment:

Adam Johns said...

Here's a quick answer to your second question. It's not that Zork can't distinguish between the various parts of the forest. Rather, it chooses not to. In other words, figuring out how to map various mazes (with the forest being one of them) is part of the challenge of the game, although even those of us who like this sort of thing might not go so far as to call the mazes "fun."