Zoom: Launching the Interpreter

Playing Interactive Fiction

Launching the Interpreter

Zoom playing Infocom's Trinity

Before you begin, you will need some interactive fiction story files. Many modern games are available from the IF archive, though you may find Baf's guide to be an easier way to find the games that you like.

The games from Infocom were most recently made available on the Masterpieces CD. This is currently out of print and is becoming somewhat hard to find. These games typically need to be renamed before they will play. For some games, you may need to download some extra files from the archive in order to enable their graphics.

Types of story that Zoom can play

The stories that Zoom can play can have one of a number of different file extensions. Z-Code games may have a .z3, .z4, .z5, .z6 or .z8 extension. Multimedia Z-Code games will have a .zblorb or .blb extension. Glulx games will have a .ulx, .gblorb or .blb extension. TADS and HUGO games will have a .gam, .t3 or .hex extension.

You may also come across games in their original Infocom formats. A little extra work is required to play these. This will be covered later in this section.

Launching stories

The easiest way to load a story into Zoom is simply to double-click it in the Finder. Zoom will open the story window and you can start playing right away.

You can also drag the story file to Zoom's icon in the dock, use the Open option in the File menu or use Zoom's built-in story organiser.

If you have had other interpreters installed on your system in the past, you may find that double-clicking a story file does not launch Zoom, but instead launches a different interpreter. To fix this, find the story you want to play in the Finder, ctrl+click it and select the 'Get Info' option from the menu.

Finder get info screenshot

Changing the 'Open with' to Zoom will change a single story file to open automatically in Zoom. If you click 'Change All...' after setting this, all similar stories will also play in Zoom.

Infocom games

Infocom distributed their games as a player and one or more data files. All of Infocom's Z-Machine games play in Zoom with no modification, but you may need to download updated versions of the resources.

For the PC versions of the games the data file that Zoom can play will have a .dat or .zip extension. With these games, you can just rename these files with a .z3 extension and play them right away.

The Mac versions of the games are slightly more complicated. The data and the player are together in a single file. You can play these games in Zoom using a very similar technique, though. Rename the file to have a .z3 extension, and then use the 'Get Info' technique described above to set Zoom as the default application to open the game.

Zoom does not understand the old resource format used by the Infocom games, so to play games with graphics you will need to download the resources in the modern 'blorb' format. Suitable files for all of Infocom's games are available from the ifarchive. The simplest way to get Zoom to use these with a game is to give them the same name as the game, save for the .blb extension, and put them in the same directory. Zoom will automatically pick up the resources and play the game wil full graphics.