Sunday, October 10, 2010

Free word games: Zork for Kindle, Parchment: The Interactive Fiction Archive

Bill Ray, at TheRegister (UK) reported today that "Kindle users get Zorked out" and says it's "Better than a bonkbuster."  He discovered that "Kindle users can now lose themselves in the worlds of Zork I, II & III..."

 Yes, for free too, in that Kindle 2's, DX's and Kindle 3's  (UK: K3) can use the 'Experimental' web browser to go to and play the "minimalist version aimed specifically at Kindle users."  (I imagine that Amazon will be happier if you can use the WiFi capability with this.)  I tried it with the Kindle 1, but that model can't handle the interactivity aspect since it handles only choices from rows of words instead of actual words.

Ray adds that "Zork was one of the first text-based adventures, spawning a legacy that led to generations of gamers screaming 'pick up the bloody thing' while trying to guess the exact phrase required to complete the desired action...."

DownloadSquad's Erez Zukerman headlines his report "Zork for Kindle makes e-paper a next-gen gaming platform"  In the picture at the top, from their site, you can see they've just used the Kindle's web browser to go to

To get there:
Turn your wireless On - using the Menu's topmost option

At the Kindle Home screen, you can just start typing "" -- the Searchbox will come up at the bottom to hold these words, and then you just move the 5-way button to the right until you get to the "go to" option.  Click on that to be taken right to the word game.

You may or may not see the following:

'Welcome to! To jump in to a quick game at any
time, press 'Enter'.

Type 'help' to get some basic system commands and advice.
Existing users can log in by typing 'login '.

Zuckerman cautions that you'll often have to press the Enter key twice and that the screen blanked out at least once while while he was playing and it was resolved once he hit the Enter key again, but it was of course confusing.

Technology Punch says that according to Wikipedia, "'Zork was one of the first interactive fiction computer games and an early descendant of Colossal Cave Adventure...'" and adds that "Zork on Amazon Kindle and other e-Reader devices is condidered as the reinvention of three decades old game."

At MobileRead Forums, Krystian Galaj writes:
"I heard this works on Kindle: "

UPDATE 10/11/10 - The Parchment page and its interactive fiction games works only for Kindle 3.  The page uses javascript that the Kindle 2 and Kindle DXG doesn't recognize.
  Added info for Kindle 3 users. Type 'intro' when there to get info on the types of commands that are normally recognized in these interactive games (would apply to the Zork game too).

To get to the Parchment website:
Turn your wireless On - using the Menu's topmost option

At the Kindle Home screen, you can just start typing "" -- the Searchbox will come up at the bottom to hold these words, and then you just move the 5-way button to the right until you get to the "go to" option.  Click on that to be taken right to the many word games.

When you get there, you'll see:
' Parchment is a web-based Z-machine interpreter by Atul Varma. It is powered by Tom Thurman's Gnusto engine.

Below is a list of z-code based interactive fiction titles made available by The Interactive Fiction Archive. You can click on an entry to start playing it. '
There are a ton of these to try.  I haven't tried any of them - am just reporting they're available and hoping they'll prove fun for some of you.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. I love the Zork games, but the list of Parchment games does not show up on my Kindle 2. It only tells you what Parchment is powered by and says there should be a list below. Do you know of any other way I can acess the games?

  2. Nice idea. But for the fact that free surfing is deactivated for european Kindles. I can only access, and nothing more. It was activated in july, but deactivated afterwards...

  3. Nancy,
    Sorry that I did not test out the listing on Kindle 2 when I wrote that.

    Just now I thought enabling Javascript on the Kindle would work but it didn't.

    Then I took the list with all the identifying description on the Parchment page and tried to make an explicit file of links that would work since the links are complete, but the Kindle 2 won't load any of the stories, alas, as it just doesn't recognize that javascript.

    These do work well on the Kindle 3, but the layout is such that the fonts used are smaller ones to fit into the page they make for browsers. While one could play these in Landscape mode, it's awkward to turn it around to type your entries.

    There's no cursor showing but when you type, you're put on the input line and then pressing the Enter-key works. Congratulations on even playing these as they just stymie me. :-) It's fun to see some descriptions come up when you tell it where to go though. I'll add this question and response to the body of the blog article.

    In the meantime, you can access them on the computer, if curious.

    Sorry, I couldn't get you a better answer.

  4. Anonymous,
    Some are still finding web browser activated in some parts of Europe, and I've encouraged people to contact Customer Service to see if they have better answers now.

    I haven't forgotten about this subject and am eventually going to write something about it, as the product pages did change again.

    Could you write a comment to to say what country you're based in and just log your ability or inability to 3G web before and now?


  5. Anonymous,
    One other thing, I have the Kindle 3 and have been trying these only at home where I do have a WiFi. Haven't tried it outside and suspect it'd be slower. It's fairly slow waiting for the server to respond to your input and display the new story text.

  6. Thanks, I've been looking all over for this. Absolutely hooked now.

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