Who Or What Is A Frobozz?
There are many possible ways to answer this question. Within the context of the lands and times of the Great Underground Empire of Zork, we can turn to the Encyclopedia Frobozzica for our answers. There is both an easy to use webbified version and a slightly more complete PDF version (having added appendices about the numbering system, music, Double Fanucci, magic, and world religions).
The following articles are taken from The Encyclopedia Frobozzica, with kind thanks to the Thaumaturge Johnboz.
First Of All, Frobozz Is A Place
Frobozz, an ancient province in the northern part of the Westlands, is the site of many historic settlements such as Galepath , Mareilon , and the Castle Largoneth . This province of Frobozz corresponds roughly to the Kingdom of Quendor during the reign of Entharion . After the downfall of the kingdom in 883, the entire area came to be referred to as the Land of Frobozz, after its largest province.
Secondly, Frobozz Is A Person, Two Persons In Fact
The Wizard of Frobozz was once a member of the influential Accardi chapter of the Enchanters' Guild . This Wizard was a strange little man, usually wearing a long cloak, a high pointed hat with astrological signs, and a long stringy beard. Once a court wizard, he was exiled by Dimwit Flathead after accidentally turning Flathead's castle into a mountain of fudge.
This blunder on the part of the Wizard was probably caused by his senility and his inability to utter a spell that did not start with the letter F ("Fudge"). Almost two centuries after this incident, in the year 948, the adventurer who would eventually become the second Dungeon Master ordered a demon to kill the Wizard, thus bringing to a close the life of a confused and befuddled soul who had confounded other adventurers for years.
J.B. Frobozz Although history tells us that FrobozzCo has its origins in a company formed by King Duncanthrax , it is popularly believed that it was really founded by a J.B. Frobozz, whose motto was "Sell Good Magical Aids."
Finally, Frobozz Is A Large Multinational Conglomerate...
FrobozzCo International is a vast conglomerate of thousands upon thousands of companies. It can trace its origin to the Frobozz Magic Cave Company, which was formed at the behest of King Duncanthrax in 668 GUE. Affiliated companies, such as the Frobozz Magic Dirt Disposal Company, and the Frobozz Magic Underground Sewer Installation Company, soon followed. The same year, FrobozzCo International was formed as a parent company for the burgeoning subsidiaries. By 743, there were more than 17,000 subsidiaries.
That same year, a young entrepreneur named John D. Flathead graduated from the venerable Borphee Business School. John D. founded Flathead Industries to invent other companies, which it would then sell to FrobozzCo. Within three years, Flathead Industries had an annual income of 80 million zorkmids . Eventually, the conglomerate decided to buy FI, renaming it the Frobozz Magic Company Company.
Once John D. became one of FrobozzCo's 39,000 vice-presidents he was quickly able to become Chairman of the Board, as eventually would nine generations of his descendants. When John D.'s older brother Dimwit became king, FrobozzCo received every contract for Dimwit's incredible projects. Hundreds of new subsidiaries were formed daily; in the year 778 18,000 additional companies were formed or taken over. FrobozzCo, whose company motto is "You name it, we do it," was able to proclaim that it produced everything from aardvarks to zwieback. John D. Flathead's longtime goal was for FrobozzCo to control every single zorkmid of commerce in the Great Underground Empire . This was realized in 789 when the lone holdout, a small rutabaga farm in Mithicus, finally sold out to FrobozzCo.
This financial explosion led to the construction by the Magic Cave Company of a huge 400-story company headquarters in Flatheadia in the year 781. This building, designed by Frank Lloyd Flathead, was easily the tallest, most impressive building in all of Quendor . However, it would not stand forever. In 883 the Curse of Megaboz destroyed Flatheadia, forcing FrobozzCo to relocate their headquarters to Borphee .
It is interesting to note that the first Dungeon Master, who indirectly caused the destruction of the Flatheadia headquarters, was rewarded by Megaboz with a controlling share of FrobozzCo's stock. Despite this puzzling political situation FrobozzCo thrived right up through the end of the Age of Magic . In fact the company made a killing in the fall of 966 by issuing a Special Crisis Edition of their Magic Catalog to convince people that even at a time when magic was failing, FrobozzCo wouldn't fail them. In this catalog they proclaimed the official FrobozzCo business philosophy: "Sell good magical aids at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like super enchanters, and they'll always come back for more."
The Encyclopedia Frobozzica Is:
Copied Right, 966 GUE, by the Frobozz Magic Encyclopedia Company.
Editor; Nino Ruffini Final Edition, Revised Second Printing. Copyright 1993 Nino Ruffini.
Webbified at The Frobozz Magic Web Company by the Thaumaturge Johnboz.
Document processed by The Frobozz Magic HTMLifier, Version 2.3 on 13 July 1995.
1st PDF Edition, Tuesday, October 28th, 1997. PDF Edition copyright 1997 John D Holder.
Frobozz Magic Web Company and the Frobozz Magic Internet Companies are under different management.
The History Of The Implementers
The Great Underground Empire does not exist in a vacuum, the Implementers have their own history of the Empire of Zork. You can even find operational software for some of the Implementer's magical incantations!
The three-part history of the intrepid implementers : Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, Dave Lebling, and Tim Anderson makes for some interesting, if rather lengthy reading.
My own involvement with Zork started back in early 1980, playing it on a PDP-11 running the RT-11 operating system. The game was called Dungeon back then. This was probably the stolen port to FORTRAN done back in 1978 that Tim Anderson talks about in the history. About the same time I also played Adventure by Crowther and Woods on the same system.
I never really did play the personal computer versions of Zork I, II, or III when they were originally released. They are now available for free download from the Infocom historic mirror site in both Windows (DOS) and Macintosh versions. If you're a Windows user, get the DOS versions the Win95 files are bigger, hard to install, then they don't quite work right (funny characters at the prompt). These are text based games (no pretty pictures). The Infocom historic mirror site also has walk throughs, hints, and other playing help.
In addition to Zork I, II, and III; I have had the pleasure of playing the graphic games: Return To Zork and Zork Nemesis.
We here at the Frobozz Magic Internet Companies are proud to be a part of such a rich heritage, and a part of the FrobozzCo International companies.
PS: almost none of this is true.