Hm…seems to me there are some pretty serious misconceptions about text adventures going around this thread…
Zork, like all the other Infocom Games were highly descriptive and
detailed. The PLOT was always the highest priority on their games.
Um…what!? Zork had no plot, to speak of. Gather treasures. Put treasures in trophy case. That’s…about it. Later Infocom games did have more developed plots, yes, but Zork, not so much.
(Highly descriptive and detailed, yes, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with plot.)
In my opinion Infocom’s games were more in-depth and detailed, and true
to the term Interactive Fiction. But this style appealed to a limited
audience and therefore the market did not lost very long, and the
company went out of business.
Nope. A limited audience? Infocom’s games were massive hits! And at the time Infocom went out of business, its games were still selling extremely well. The company went out of business not because its games weren’t selling, but because of some unrelated bad business decisions. (Like sinking all its capital into a piece of business software called Cornerstone that bombed completely.) And by that time, Infocom had managed to establish enough of a monopoly on text adventures that when it went under there was no one else around to pick up the slack.
Maybe text adventures could still be sold today, if someone were willing to put enough money into advertising them to pique the public’s interest. Maybe not; maybe today’s gamers are too fixated on graphics. Either way, though, it’s a mistake to say that Infocom went bankrupt because text adventures stopped selling. It would be more accurate to say that text adventures stopped selling because Infocom went bankrupt.
As far as which was more influential on future games, though…well, actually, I’m going to say King’s Quest, but not for the reasons you might think. I’m going to say King’s Quest because Zork wasn’t the first text adventure anyway. Dungeon / Colossal Cave was. If Zork hadn’t been made, someone else would certainly have followed in Colossal Cave’s footsteps. (In fact, I think someone else did; I’m not sure I’m remembering right offhand, and don’t want to bother to check the chronology right now, but I think the first Scott Adams adventure games (not the Dilbert Scott Adams; different guy) predated Zork in the commercial arena, so Zork wasn’t even second.) Whereas King’s Quest basically pioneered a whole new genre (the graphic adventure).
However, if you were to ask whether Colossal Cave or King’s Quest was more influential…that might require a different answer. Colossal Cave was the first adventure game; without it King’s Quest would never have happened. (Sure, you could argue that someone else might have invented the text adventure later…but then again, by the same token, you could argue that if King’s Quest hadn’t come along, someone else might have invented the graphic adventure later, too, so that argument really isn’t worth much.) So by that token, there might be grounds for saying that Colossal Cave was more influential. Still, as I said, King’s Quest did pioneer a whole new genre itself, and I think really it doesn’t make sense to say either of those games is more influential than the other. They came at different eras (so to speak), and were influential in different ways, and trying to claim one over the other as more influential smacks of the proverbial comparison of apples and oranges.