Adam Sommerfield

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Adam Sommerfield, 2019. From social media.

Enthusiast and promoter of ZIL (Zork Implementation Language) and ZILF (the ZIL compiler from Jesse McGrew), Admin of the ZIL Group on Facebook, also player and reviewer of games through YouTube Channel 'Banana Retro'.

Personal Information

Born in Nottinghamshire in the UK Adam started in the world of text adventure games at the age of 7 playing Scott Adams games on his Commodore Plus-4 (a 7th Birthday present). Learning Basic, as many kids of the era did, he enjoyed creating simple text-only adventure games featuring himself and his friends in local places such as home, school, the park etc Later he enjoyed playing many of the homebrew and cottage-industry games, many published by Zenobi, on his ZX Spectrum +2 in the early 1990's. After graduating from West Nottinghamshire College with a HND in Computer Science he moved into the world of work, and that was the end of his initial dabble into text adventure games although a love of retro technology and 1980's computers and games remained.

In 2017 whilst researching 1950s MIT computer history Adam learned about the LISP language and the early artificial intelligence work, this prompted an interest in LISP which led to learning that a LISP-dialect called ZIL (Zork Implementation Language) had been created by MIT students in the late 1970's as part of their technology & tools to be used to create the brilliant Infocom games company and their text adventure games; shortly after renamed interactive fiction. After learning that it was possible to code in ZIL and create new games using Jesse McGrew's ZILF Adam set to work creating a small community to learn ZIL and promote its use alongside ZILF.

ZIL and ZILF

Contacting Jesse McGrew the pair started the "ZIL - Zork Implementation Language" group on Facebook (see links below). Since then the use of ZIL and ZILF has steadily increased and the Facebook group enjoys active membership and includes a number of former MIT DM and Infocom Imps including Tim Anderson, David Lebling, Marc Blank, Bob Bates and Greg Pfister.

As of 2020 the Discord server for ZIL is becoming the central location for more technical discussion and project collaboration, with the Facebook group remaining active for general discussion and social interaction.

Release of the Infocom Source Code to Github

In April 2019 Jason Scott of the Internet Archive (WayBack Machine) uploaded the original ZIL source code for all of Infocom's interactive fiction games. This resulted in an increased interest in ZIL and ZILF, the number of Facebook group members increased from 60 to over 600 members within the month.

YouTube Channel - Banana Retro

Through his channel on YouTube, Banana Retro, Adam plays and reviews various IF and text adventure games along with other retro tech.

Links