Zork: Welcome to Hell

fcd(This is part of my journey playing through Zork.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

You want to know another little thing that’s been bugging me about Zork so far?  It’s almost completely devoid of people.  That’s not what I expect in an adventure game; I go into these fully aware that I’m going to be rubbing shoulders with an entire cast of zany and often tempermental folks.  But so far, it’s just been me and a now-dead Troll.  I should’ve kept him around for company.  Hopefully I’ll meet some folks soon!  Nothing like exploring a great underground empire all by yourself.  That alone feeling is why I never took a liking to Myst.

So alone and befuddled, I continue to perform my Google Mapping service by poking and prodding about the place.  I climb down to the base of the dam and find some plastic.  I go back to the maze off of the troll room, but the game doesn’t let me go past the first room as everything looks alike.  Then I find a mirror room, and am rewarded for looking into the mirror with the response, “An ugly person stares back at you.”  Ah, the timeless humor of 1980.  I also can’t take the mirror; the game tells me it’s too big and I should just “give up.”

A nearby cave system takes me, yup, to the entrance of Hell.  My sword is glowing blue again (thanks Frodo!) and I have a feeling that this is probably a good time to save.  Oddly enough, there are a bunch of jeering spirits that won’t allow me to pass (or talk to them), so I can’t get into Hell.  Why am I trying again?  Because, like Mt. Everest, Zork is “there.”

There isn’t much else to see down here without (presumably) solving a few puzzles, so what I want to do before I start experimenting with inventory is to head back up to the surface world and finish mapping up there.  I’d hate to have missed something that I’d need later on.

The only way back up is through the art studio, and that requires me to drop a huge amount of my inventory.  I really, really hope all of that stuff will stick around for later.  All I’m carrying now are my wits and the lantern.  Go Team Lost!

5 thoughts on “Zork: Welcome to Hell

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus July 24, 2013 / 1:20 pm

    Well, we are talking about ancient history here, stuff that had to run well in 48K of RAM on a 1MHz processor. People in games are recourse hogs, so when you don’t have many resources… well, I am not sure that the absence of people is all that bad when compared to people who only have one or two responses for you.

    I recall Zork being somewhat aimless when I played it, at least relative to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which had a strong and well-known story to back it up. HHGTTG is one of the few Infocom games I was able to finish. I still have the “Don’t Panic” button that came in the box, but the “I got the Babel Fish” T-Shirt I purchased later is long gone.

  2. Syp July 25, 2013 / 9:03 am

    Hey at least you got the Babel Fish!

  3. Triski July 25, 2013 / 2:12 pm

    The stuff you drop does stay there – that’s one way to map the mazes to know when you’ve come back to the same spot. Drop something unimportant and see if you run into it again.

  4. Drake August 4, 2014 / 8:50 pm

    I killed my self and I can’t get out of hell. What do I do?

  5. Dan April 15, 2017 / 12:16 am

    @Drake: Pray

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