Hacked phone runs Zork, gets lamp

A few months ago, [Ulysses] had a project in mind that would run Zork on a TDD. Although it was a bit of a struggle getting the project ready in time for the Bay Area Maker’s Faire, the accompanying build blog tells us it was more than worth the effort.

After hooking up the guts of the phone to an Arduino Pro, A modem was modified so the acoustically coupled TDD could be interfaced. Although the TDD display is only one line, [Ulysses] is transmitting the text at only 45.5 baud, So even the slowest reader could keep up with the story. For running the actual code, initial attempts at using an Arduino Pro, and then Arduino Mega proved unsuccessful because of the limitations of sram in these AVRs. After discarding the idea of running Zork on an Arduino, the project was finished with a single board FitPC computer mounted inside the phone.

The code of the project runs Zork on a port of the Infocom Z-code Interpreter Program, or ZIP. A lot of interactive text adventures were put out in the Z-code format, so we’re guessing it would be trivial to have this project run Leather Goddesses of Phobos, or the amazing Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a very nice project, and we could easily see ourselves sitting down with this project, a two liter bottle of Shasta, and an all-Rush mix tape on a Saturday night.

14 thoughts on “Hacked phone runs Zork, gets lamp

  1. Why not store Zork in a eeprom and simply do branching reads for area blocks? IT certainly is withing the ability of a Arduino to run zork.

  2. I was going to say “InB4 I could have made it work on an Arduino” but I was too late. -_-’

    Great hack!

  3. This suggests a really good idea: Connect the device to text-to-speech and have the game be played entirely through the phone and keyboard, without a screen. It’d be amusing and good for blind people.

  4. you can play zork via SMS if you text ZORK to 41411. i used to, anyway, when i had a physical keyboard on my phone. somebody should mod an Atrix to have a physical keyboard, idk why Android + good specs + keyboard is an invalid combination.

  5. Wait, he’s got a $40 Seagate Dockstar box sitting there in the picture, and he bought an Atom-powered SBC… to run Zork?

    There is no kill like overkill.

  6. @LSK: Just had a similar thought – so when do we see the next plain old telephone equipped with a speech module and an Ethernet cable, to ring then (when picked up) read out loud twitter updates every time they happen for a twitter account…? :)))

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