During the decades since Infocom released their interactive story game Zork to world-wide acclaim for microcomputers, the genre of interactive fiction (IF) is still immensely popular, with a surprising number of modern IF works targeting Infocom’s original Z-Machine runtime for 8-bit micocomputers. We’ve seen a number of improved runtimes and languages for the platform over the years, with [Linus Åkesson]’s Dialog language a newcomer.
As for Dialog itself, its documentation provides a detailed overview of the language’s capabilities, which claims to be inspired by both Inform 7 and Prolog. Its goals are to be easy to follow, with a minimal number of language concepts, and high performance. As the documentation notes, many Z-Machine based stories exist today that are unplayable on vintage hardware due to lack of optimization.
We covered Zork and the Z-Machine a while ago in some detail. We think it’s great to see that there’s still so much interest in the platform. Maybe someone will write an Å-Machine implementation for a Commodore or MSX system one of these days to see how it compares to Infocom’s Z-Machine. Here’s to another few decades of the Zork-legacy.