Not a Review – Zork

This is not how I pictured it...

Why am I writing about a video game that came out 35 years ago? A game that is five years older than myself? One that consists of nothing but short paragraphs of descriptive text? Well, because I played and beat it for the first time last week. And, that is reason enough. Zork is what is now called a work of interactive fiction but at the time of it’s release was called a computer game. If you played the game back when it was released for home PCs you either had a pirated version or found the game hanging on a store shelf in a little plastic baggie with a photocopied manual. Oddly, enough I sometimes think that we’re going back to that era with the tiny plastic cases and anemic manuals… Today? You can play the game just about anywhere: on your iPhone or this website’s 404 error page.

So why now? Why did I wait so long to play Zork? I know I’ve had a copy of the game in some form since 1995 but I don’t think I ever even found the entrance to the underground empire until last week. I finally decided to sit down and play the game, for real, after being reminded of it by Ready Player One. Zork never played a role in shaping me as a gamer. I do know though that it did shape many of the people who designed the games that did have a role in my young gaming life (though probably not as much as Colossal Cave which isn’t mentioned at all in RPO) Zork is one of those games that every gamer seems to know of, if only as the name of an old game. Some know that it was an influential early adventure game. Some have played it, some have managed to complete it. I’m going to say the majority of those people are over 30. The beginning of a new year seemed the appropriate time to tackle all the IF games I’ve known and read and talked about for years. I started with Zork because it’s the one that people make the most fuss about. Continue reading “Not a Review – Zork”

Beer of the Week #18: Espresso Stout

Kiuchi Brewery's Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout

from the importer’s site (the actual brewery’s site doesn’t mention this stout(?!):

From Japan’s most prestigious brewery, the very unusual character of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout stems from the fact that Kiuchi Brewery is using the recipe of a Russian Imperial Stout as base. Saphir & Northern Brewer hops are used.

from the bottle:

Japanese dark ale brewed with coffee beans

from my notes:

deep, dark brown almost black. Thick, tan, large bubbled head that quickly dissipates and leaves nice rings as you drink. Smells of oatmeal, malts, and roasted coffee. Tastes of coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Manages to successfully incorporate roasted coffee without making the beer taste like nothing bit burnt toast. Very smooth drink with a pleasing light, bitter finish.

Lot’s of coffee stouts go overboard on trying to infuse their beer with the flavor and smell of coffee that end up ruining the beer as all that effort does nothing but make the beer taste like burnt toast or dirt. I know some people enjoy an earthy or peaty flavor to their alcohol but not me. Hitachino Nest manages to thread that needle and deliver a great beer.


Rating (out of five):