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Return to Zork

aka: Return to Zork: An Epic Adventure in the Great Underground Empire, Return to Zork: Ein episches Abenteuer im großen Reich der Unterwell, Return to Zork: Une aventure héroïque dans le Grand Empire Souterrain

Description official descriptions

You are standing behind the white house. There is something in the mailbox. A video message from a wizard informing you that you are the sweepstakes winner to the Valley of the Sparrows... right now, by magic flight. Upon arriving at this mysterious place however, not everything is as it should be. There's nobody to meet you and those who you do come across don't seem to have any knowledge about a sweepstakes. It looks like this is a private vacation and you'll need to find your own way through this land.

Return to Zork is a first-person adventure game using live actors and video sequences. The game is similar to Myst in interface; the player is also able to rotate the viewpoint to discover new areas and uncover items that can be used or picked up. Various characters will be met along the way and spoken to via a system of dialog choices. The game allows the player to experiment with items in various ways, including discharging them; however, this often leads to "dead ends", rendering it impossible to complete the game.


  • リターン・トゥ・ゾーク - Japanese spelling
  • 决战大魔域 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 죠크행성 - Korean spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

99 People (90 developers, 9 thanks) · View all

Art Direction
Technical Direction
Lead Programmer
Audio Engineer
[ full credits ]



1001 Video Games

Return to Zork appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The endgame has one of the most frustrating bugs ever in the history of adventure gaming. In order to reach the final confrontation with the main villain, you have to throw every single item in the game that isn't nailed down into a pit to raise a bridge. The problem is, due to various bugs, you'll sometimes end up not raising the bridge even after throwing everything into the pit, making it impossible to progress to the ending and resulting in you having to restart the game from the very beginning.

Because this game was made before the WorldWide Web allowed for the widespread distribution of patches to correct post-production bugs, this error was never addressed and anyone playing the game will just have to hope they're lucky and don't run into it.

Cut Content

The singing tree mentions some "friends" who have brought you to her. This is a reference to the Mushroom People, who were in the game's original screenplay and design but ultimately cut out of the final version. The tree's reference to them was accidentally left in.


The creators of Return to Zork weren't familiar with the rest of the series, never having actually played any of the original text games.

Encyclopedia Frobozicca

Nino Ruffini, compiler of the Encyclopedia Frobozzica, merged the encyclopedia entries from Sorcerer and Zork Zero with text from some of the other Infocom games' box contents and a few of his own entries. The original version of the Encyclopedia was circulated around Delphi and the rest of the Internet until Activision came across it and asked Ruffini for permission to use it in RTZ so they wouldn't have to recompile everything themselves.

Floppy Version

The floppy version of this game came on an incredible 12 floppies! In order to play the game, you had to spend a fair amount of time installing it first by floppy swapping. It proved to be one more reason to get a CD-Rom drive for your computer.

Macintosh Version

In the Macintosh version of Return To Zork, many things that were not required for completing the game were eliminated. For example, in the original DOS version, showing the matches to the Lighthouse Keeper would trigger a response "Thank you, I never smoke cough". In the Macintosh version however, he simply has nothing to say about it.

MPEG Version

A special version of the game was released with re-encoded MPEG video for both DOS and the Macintosh in 1995. It was exclusively sold as OEM version. The Macintosh version came with the Apple MPEG Media System card and the DOS version came with the ReelMagic card.

Japanese PC Version

This version is fully dubbed and all game text are translated. The disc contains installers for DOS/V, PC-98 and FM Towns.

Korean and Chinese Versions PC Version

This version is fully dubbed but NO text is translated, not even in the menus. Chinese dialogue was recorded in Taiwan. This version was sold in both Taiwan and Mainland China (and possibly Hong Kong).

Planetfall Trailer

Return to Zork came with a trailer for Planetfall. Infocom/Activision was developing a graphic update of the the verenable favorite. Unfortunately, the game never saw the light of day.


The game's intro video begins with the text on a black screen "You are standing behind the white house. In one corner is a small window which is slightly ajar.". This text is copied from the first thing shown on the screen of the first Zork game. The video then shows you the house and rotates around it before finding the sweepstakes invitation in the mailbox (which is not what happens in the first Zork game).

Information also provided by Alan Chan, molokaicreeper, Scott Monster, Techademus, Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe and WildKard

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Zork Trilogy
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Zork: Grand Inquisitor
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Zork III: The Dungeon Master
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Zork Classics: Interactive Fiction
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Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz
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Related Sites +

  • Game Nostalgia
    Provides extensive background info for Return to Zork, pictures of the cast and examples of voice-overs, full credits with shots and info about the design team, a demo of the game, specific details about the game, various goodies, all musical themes, shots of every location in the game, saved games, a list of reviews, including a "nostalgic "review and tech specs.
  • Playing Return to Zork Windows XP
    Instructions by Inferno will tell you how
  • ScummVM
    supports Return to Zork under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 1219


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Derrick 'Knight' Steele.

SEGA Saturn, PC-FX added by Corn Popper. Windows added by Dragom. PlayStation added by Kabushi. FM Towns, PC-98 added by Terok Nor. Macintosh added by Cyborg.

Additional contributors: Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe, Jeanne, Shoddyan, martin jurgens, ケヴィン, Macs Black, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, trembyle, Kenneth Atkinson.

Game added March 28th, 2000. Last modified June 4th, 2023.