Zork is one of the earliest interactive fiction computer games, with roots drawn from the original genre game, Colossal Cave Adventure. The first version of Zork was written in 1977–1979 using the MDL programming language on a DEC PDP-10 computer. The authors—Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling—were members of the MIT Dynamic Modelling Group.
When Zork was published commercially in 1980, it was split up into three games: Zork: The Great Underground Empire - Part I (later known as Zork I), Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz, and Zork III: The Dungeon Master. This was due to the size of the game and its inability to fit on floppy disks of the time.
The player begins in the Barrow from Zork I armed only with the trusty brass lantern and the elvish sword of great antiquity from before. The purpose of the game is not initially clear. The Wizard of Frobozz is soon introduced. The wizard was once a respected enchanter, but when his powers began to fade he was exiled by Lord Dimwit Flathead. Now bordering on senility, the wizard is still a force to be reckoned with. The player's goal in the wizard's realm is to avoid his capricious tricks and to learn to control his magic.
"Feelies" were not included until the 1984 "Grey box" re-release.