CPSC 240 — OOA&D — Spring 2024

Homework — "Project background"

Due: Saturday, Feb 10th, midnight

What's "Zork?"

Zork was an early text-based adventure game that Stephen played as a child on his Commodore 64 computer (with 64k of memory -- "k" as in "kilobytes"). Unlike graphical games, it requires some imagination in order to play. (It is kind of like reading, as opposed to watching TV, in this regard.)

This genre of computer program will play a central role in this course, and hence it is to your benefit to spend a little time now getting familiar with how it works. It's fun!

Your tasks

To complete this assignment, do the following:

  1. Skim the Wikipedia page about the Zork franchise.
  2. Start a game of Zork, using one of the many online versions available.
  3. Explore by typing commands and reading the output. Some good commands to start with are "open mailbox", "take leaflet", "read leaflet", "inventory", "north", "east", and "open window". (Note that you can abbreviate directions with the letters "n", "e", "u" (for "up"), etc., and you can abbreviate "inventory" with "i".)
  4. You will learn that the overarching goal of Zork I is to acquire treasures (there are twenty) and put them into a trophy case. Go find them, adventurer. To get full credit for this assignment, you must find at least five treasures, put them in the treasure case, and tell me your final score and rank. (See below.)

Quote, "cheating," unquote

Yes, you may, if you wish, Google around and find online materials and walk-throughs that can help you in your quest to find treasures. But don't do this right away. Undergo some challenge and pain first.


To submit this assignment, send an email to cpsc240submissions@gmail.com with subject line "CPSC 240 -- project background turn-in") and with answers to the following questions:

  1. Approximately how many total copies of Zork has Infocom sold?
  2. Besides adventure and danger, what other element does the leaflet in the mailbox promise that Zork contains?
  3. What's a grue?
  4. Of the rooms you explored, which do you think had the best atmosphere (i.e., which did you think was the coolest), and why?
  5. Name one simple English verb that the Zork interpreter doesn't understand that you would have expected it to understand.
  6. Which treasures did you find and put in the trophy case?
  7. What was your final move count, score, and rank? (The "score" command will give you this information.)