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Zork source code, 1977

This repository contains the source code for a 1977 version of Zork, an interactive fiction game created at MIT by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling. The files are a part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tapes of Tech Square (ToTS) collection at the MIT Libraries Department of Distinctive Collections (DDC).

File organization and details


The files within this directory are the Zork specific files from the 9005196.tap tape image file within the /tots/recovered/vol2 directory of the ToTS collection. Most files are written in the MDL programming language and were originally created on a PDP-10 timeshare computer running the ITS operating system.

The files were extracted from the tape image using the itstar program. The filenames have been adapted to Unix conventions, as per the itstar translation. The original filename syntax would be formatted like, LCF; ACT1 37, for example. All files have been placed into this artificial zork directory for organizational purposes.

The lcf and madman directories contain the source code for the game.

The act2.27 and dung.56 files outside of the two main directories, are the decrypted versions of act2z.27 and dungz.56. The decrypted versions were created recently and added to this directory by DDC digital archivist, Joe Carrano, for researcher ease of access.

Files with extensions .nbin and .save are binary compiled files.

There was a zork.log file within the madman directory that detailed who played Zork at the time of creation. DDC excluded this file from public release to protect the privacy of those named.


This file is metadata about the Zork files, using the CodeMeta Project schema.

This file is the readme detailing the content and context for this repository.


A file tree listing the files in the zork directory showing the original file timestamps as extracted from the tape image.

Preferred Citation

[filename], Zork source code, 1977, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tapes of Tech Square (ToTS) collection, MC-0741. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Distinctive Collections, Cambridge, Massachusetts. swh:1:dir:8e217f31c231b37d573d1119dfd4da9dbd5be6cd


The ownership status of these files is not entirely clear. To the extent that MIT holds rights in these files, we are happy to support their broad public use. Any questions about permissions should be directed to


Thanks to Lars Brinkhoff for help with identifying these files and with extracting them using the itstar program mentioned above.