Zork, Infocom, and other Interactive Fiction on Android, iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac
Our favorite old Adventure game and many Infocom games (like Zork, Suspended, Planetfall), as well as many newer “Interactive Fiction” games (like Spider and Web) are available for PC, Mac, iOS devices and Android devices.
Here’s how it works:
The original games were generally written for, or ported to, a portable virtual machine / interpreter called the Z-Machine.
In this realm, a game is embodied as Z-code file, and typically has a .zn file extension like .z5 or .z8, with n indicating the interpreter version it is made for (requires at least that version).
Z-Machine player apps
There are now Z-Machine interpreter apps on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Unix
The Google PlayStore usually has at least one interactive fiction Z-Machine players
Here is one:
The iPhone/iPad app is called Frotz, and is free in the Apple App Market
For Mac, there is Zoo
Z-Machine game libraries, and how to use them
There are various online libraries of Z files.
Here is the Z-Machine section of the Interactive Fiction Database (IFDB
(they don’t have the games that were commercial and never released as free, including most of the Infocom Games)
Here is a pretty complete looking library of downloadable Infocom games:
On Android and PC, you can just download the file (.e.g. the .z5 file) from an archive, then open it in the player app.
On iOS, you can go to one of these archives, click on a link, and when you are asked what to open it with, pick Frotz, and it gets added to your Frotz library (or get a file mailed to yourself and open it etc.)
Authoring new Interactive Fiction
You can write new Z-machine Interactive Fiction (IF) games or stories.
A popular free tool for doing so is “Inform”