Nine or more Infocom games, the original Zork trilogy plus Zork Zero and Beyond Zork as well as the Enchanter trilogy, and possibly The Lurking Horror, all take place in a shared universe centered around the Kingdom of Quendor and/or the Great Underground Empire, the dynasty of the Flatheads, etc.

In the shared Infocom universe, what does "Zork" mean? "Zork" is the name of the games but what does it mean in-universe?

2 Answers 2


Actually, at the very beginning of The Sorcerer the player starts out in the Enchanter's Guild of "Acarddi-By-The-Sea" where there is a library that contains the Encyclopedia Frobozzica. If you look up "Zork" in the encyclopedia the entry is

Zork is a classic folk myth about a treasure-hunting adventurer who became a master of magic. It has been translated into novels, theatricals, giant wall murals ... almost every imaginable medium.

So "Zork" is a cycle of myths, akin to Gilgamesh or The Odyssey in our world.


Word of God, Zork doesn't have a clear definition. Nino Ruffini, who wrote the Encyclopedia Fribozzica and was the main Zork lore expert for Activision, mentioned several times in the evolving design doc for Zork: Nemesis that Zork shouldn't be used or defined in the actual game.

I grabbed the following notes from the design docs of Zork Nemesis, located here.

In response to the original intent to name St. Yoruk "Yoruk of Zork":

Incidentally, given that we don't really know what "Zork" is exactly, keep in mind that it is risky, and even a little strange, to call him Yoruk of Zork.

In response to the naming of "The Medical Guild of Zork" and "University of North Zork":

I would recommend the following replacements for the places mentioned in the files of Sartorius: The Medical Guild of Zork could become the Quendoran Medical Association, again avoiding the question behind the meaning of the word Zork. University of North Zork could become Galepath University, allowing us to avoid the idea that Zork is an actual physical place. It has seemed to be more of a concept than a location in previous references.

For what it's worth, although he wasn't listened to on all of his points in the document, it looks like the developers went out of their way to correct at least these two inconsistencies.

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