Zork Map

I recently came across this map of Zork drawn between 1979 and 1981 (according to the map legend) by a Steven Roy. According to the Brittlefish site, the map was originally published in DEC Professional (a magazine for DEC managers) in November 1982 and later scanned and made available on-line by Tom Almy.

I like the map because it begins with the network diagram that was standard issue for all Infocom games but then goes on to build the landscape that the network existed in. Each node (nearly always rectangular nodes) of the map is a “room” in the game and connection lines are the passages between the rooms. Roy has built the landscape on top of these nodes, doing what he could to align them to the geography they are supposed to represent. It is a bit as though someone were to draw a map of London landmarks using the London Underground Map. The map suggests to me all that is hidden by these nodes, all the possible connections that the reader can never be certain to have found. When working through these fictions, often the only way to know if you had finished the game (or rather that you had not finished the game) was that the score would always show that there were more points to earn: “Your score is 0 (total of 350 points)”. To create an infinite possibility of space in the fiction, the game makers would only have had to include about 20 points in that total beyond what could be achieved. So when you finished Zork, no matter how well you had done and how much you had explored, discovered and found, you would still see “Your score is 350 (total of 370 points)”.

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