Appendix F. Canonical Story Files

Story files are mechanically best identified by their release number and serial code, which are written into the header information at the bottom of Z-machine memory. The release number can be anything between 0 and 65535 but is usually between 1 and 100. The serial code can consist of any six textual characters but is usually the date of compilation, arranged YYMMDD: thus 970619 refers to June 19th, 1997. The notation

Release number.Serial code

identifies particular story files: for example the first production copy of 'Enchanter' is 10.830810.

Paul David Doherty's investigations into Infocom's released games have resulted in the following list of all known story files compiled by Zilch, the Infocom compiler:

Version 1 story file
Zork I5. (no serial code)

Version 2 story files
Zork I15.UG3AU5
Zork II7.UG3AU5

Version 3 story files
Deadline18.820311, 19.820427, 21.820512, 26.821108, 27.831005
Enchanter10.830810, 15.831107, 16.831118, 24.851118, 29.860820
Four-In-One Sampler I26.840731, 53.850407, 55.850823
Four-In-One Sampler II97.870601
The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy47.840914, 56.841221, 58.851002, 59.851108
Hollywood Hijinx37.861215
Leather Goddesses of Phobos118.860325? (beta), 50.860711?, 59.860730, 59.861114
Lurking Horror203.870506, 219.870912 (s), 221.870918 (s)
Mini-Zork I34.871124
Moonmist4.860918, 9.861022
Planetfall20.830708, 29.840118, 37.851003
Plundered Hearts26.870730
Seastalker86.840320 (beta), 15.840501, 15.840522, 16.850515, 16.850603
Sorcerer67.000000? (beta), 4.840131, 6.840508, 13.851021, 15.851108, 18.860904
Spellbreaker63.850916, 87.860904
Starcross15.820901, 17.821021
Suspended5.830222, 7.830419, 8.830521, 8.840521
Wishbringer68.850501, 69.850920
Witness13.830524, 18.830910, 20.831119, 21.831208, 22.840924
Zork I23.820428, 25.820515, 26.820803, 28.821013, 30.830330, 75.830929, 76.840509, 88.840726
Zork II17.820427, 18.820512, 18.820517, 19.820721, 22.830331, 23.830411, 48.840904, ?.841220?
Zork III10.820818, 15.830331, 16.830410, 15.840518, 17.840727

Note that the two samplers and the mini-Zork are in the public domain and may be downloaded from Internet archive sites. One form of 'Zork I' can be downloaded freely from Activision's Web pages promoting the Zork brand name.

The two problem children here are 'Seastalker', a submarine game which produces a sonar display across the top of the screen (and thus needs more sophisticated screen control features than the other Version 3 games) and 'The Lurking Horror', which uses sound effects (hence the "(s)" notation).

Version 4 story files
A Mind Forever Voyaging77.850814, 79.851122
Bureaucracy86.870212, 116.870602
Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head Nor Tail Of It19.870722
Trinity11.860509, 12.860926

Version 5 story files
Beyond Zork47.870915, 49.870917, 51.870923, 57.871221
Border Zone9.871008
The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy SG31.871119
Leather Goddesses of Phobos SG4.880405
Planetfall SG10.880531
Sherlock21.871214, 26.880127 (s)
Wishbringer SG23.880706
Zork I SG52.871125
Zork I German3.880113 (beta)

The "SG" games were "solid gold" revisions of existing Version 3 games, adding on-line hints and an UNDO command. Regrettably these are not the versions distributed by Activision on their recent re-releases of the Infocom back catalogue.

One form of 'Sherlock' uses sound effects. 'Border Zone' introduces timed input. 'Beyond Zork' features a character-graphics font. But the most interesting file is the German translation of 'Zork I', which was never commercially released, introducing an alphabet table to the format.

Version 6 story files
GameMacAmigaApple IIIBM
Arthur54.890606same as Mac63.890622?74.890714
Zork Zero296.881019366.890323383.890602?393.890714

The rule that story files should be independent of their target computers was dropped for Version 6 games and this leads to copious footnotes and exceptions in sections 8.8 and 16 of the standard. Story files for a particular game are substantially similar to each other but use fonts, pictures and so on slightly differently.

Note that a new Infocom game, Zork: The Undiscovered Underground was published by Activision in 1997. 16.970828 is the only public version I know of: however, note that this file was compiled by Inform and not by Zilch. It is therefore not useful as a witness to Z-machine rules.

Contents / Preface / Overview

Section 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16

Appendix A / B / C / D / E / F