Some new text adventure stuff for 2.11BSD

Adam Thornton athornton at
Fri Jan 3 23:12:21 CST 2020

I'm having a party on Saturday January 11 (and if any of you are in Tucson,
or want to come to Tucson for it, you're invited; email me for the address
and time).

Although the party is Elvis-themed, it's really about boardgaming and
classic videogaming.

So I kind of wanted to put a general-purpose Z-machine interpreter on my
PiDP-11, so that people could play Infocom (and community) games on a real

Turns out there wasn't really one, so I ported the venerable ZIP (which I
have renamed "zterp" for obvious reasons) to 2.11BSD on the PDP-11, and I
also wrote a little utility I call "tmenu" to take a directory (and an
optional command applying to files in the directory) and make a numbered
menu, so that my guests who are not familiar with Actual Bourne Shell can
play games too.

These things are at:


Both are K&R C, and compile with the 2.11BSD system C compiler.

My biggest disappointment is that the memory map of Trinity, my favorite
Infocom game, is weird and even though it's only a V5 game, I can't
allocate enough memory to start it.  Other than that, V5 and below seem to
work mostly fine; V8 is in theory supported but no game that I've tried has
little enough low memory that I can malloc() it using C on 2.11BSD.


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