Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

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LChackr
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Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:07 pm

Hi all!

I have an old Mac with an Apple MPEG decoder card and I am looking for a copy of the Macintosh MPEG version of Return to Zork. Does anyone know where I can buy/find a copy of this?

I grew up playing Return to Zork and the Zork games have been some of my favorites for years. I would love to find the MPEG version of this game. If anyone could help me I would greatly appreciate it.

lordskylark
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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by lordskylark » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:35 pm

I used to have the Mac MPEG version of Return to Zork not too long ago, but I recently sent it to someone else.

I do, however, have the ultra rare DOS MPEG version of Return to Zork still.

LChackr
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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:47 pm

D'oh! I guess I was a bit too late then. :(

If you manage to find a copy or if anyone else has one I would be very appreciative!

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MacCentris
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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by MacCentris » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:49 am

I have Return to Zork for Mac, is that what you're looking for? I'm not sure what you mean by Mac MPEG version? The Mac version had noticeable better graphics than the original DOS version, and all characters played movies when speaking, no more mummy looking characters with only their lips moving. What I truly miss is the digital soundtrack. To save room in the disc, they turned the music into midi tracks, which allowed for the full video sequences, but I have to admit, I miss the majestic sounding melody from Boos' Gift Shop and the enchanting melody when you entered underground East Shanbar for the first time it was amazing (and do you remember the music from the Fool's memorial)!? Anyway I used to backup my games to rapidshare until they turned it into a pay-only site. Have no idea how to backup my games anymore. :( A 1993 game I doubt anyone would want to make money out of it. Fortunately, the mac version is full even in backup archive (not like the DOS in which you lost digital output when backing up into an archive). It is best if you backup the disc image that way the Mac recognizes it as a disc. I own 2 original Mac Discs, and the one bundled with Blackthorne.

By the way, I should mention you wont be able to run this without Sheepshaver in any G-mac (G3, G4, etc. I run in iBook G4 10.4) - I did try Basilisk II and it didn't work for me there. There is a component in OS 9.1 that the game needs to run properly and Classic DOES NOT run it (you get no video). If someone knows how I can do an online backup, let me know. I think I have an iMac first generation Rom with it.

Edit: System Requirements: 68030/25Mhz Mac (68040 recommended) 4MB RAM + 2 virtual memory (8MB recommended) double speed CD-ROM drive, System 7.0 (System 7.1 recommended), 3MB available harddrive space.

LChackr
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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:30 pm

MacCentris,

There is an MPEG version of Return to Zork for the Mac where all of the video sequences and animations are encoded in MPEG. This version was not sold in any retail outlet that I am aware of. It was shipped along with the Apple MPEG Video System. You can find details here:

http://www.forcedperfect.net/hardware/c ... diasystem/

Thanks to some tips from lordskylark I was able to find a copy.

The overall video quality appears to be substantially improved over the retail version. After all, in order to get the video in the game to play back on a 68030 machine the video compression had to be pretty substantial.
The Mac version had noticeable better graphics than the original DOS version, and all characters played movies when speaking, no more mummy looking characters with only their lips moving. What I truly miss is the digital soundtrack.
That is true although I don't like that the regular Mac version doesn't feature the full motion animations like the DOS version. Instead the Mac version basically displays a series of still frames and does transitions. I definitely agree that one of the bad things about the DOS version was the 'mummy' talking. It really looked horrible. The digital soundtrack was also great in the DOS version.

I haven't had time to play through the MPEG version yet so I am not sure what all of the differences between it and the retail Mac version are yet. WHen it comes to running it - I am running it on vintage hardware so luckily there is no need for an emulator. :)

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by MacCentris » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:44 pm

LChackr wrote:That is true although I don't like that the regular Mac version doesn't feature the full motion animations like the DOS version. Instead the Mac version basically displays a series of still frames and does transitions. I definitely agree that one of the bad things about the DOS version was the 'mummy' talking. It really looked horrible. The digital soundtrack was also great in the DOS version.
I think I know what you mean, the areas where "walkthrough" was active it displays several still shots, similar to a video shot in 6-7 frames per second, it wasn't perfect. But seeing the movies with the characters throughout the game was a big improvement. I wish I had known about an MPEG version, and may someday get it too. I have several discs of each version I've been familiar with, but the MPEG version was something I hadn't heard of, thank you for sharing.

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:51 pm

I did check and the MPEG version doesn't work on a machine without the Apple MPEG card. So it looks like it can't be emulated - it needs to be run on vintage hardware with the correct card.

lordskylark
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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by lordskylark » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:55 pm

That's the same reason that I cannot get the DOS MPEG version to run either.

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:00 pm

Luckily I have an old Mac with the right card. ;D

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by MacCentris » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:10 pm

Sounds like someone is bragging ¬_¬ Anyhow I'm happy for you.
I might just get one of those someday, I've got a couple of old Macs (Mac IIsi, IIci and PM8500/180). I just hope I can find that MPEG thing for one of them :-\
Oh well.

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by LChackr » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:56 pm

Sounds like someone is bragging ¬_¬ Anyhow I'm happy for you.
Haha, maybe a little. :) Actually it was quite a bit of effort to get this all put together. It was even more difficult finding the MPEG card than finding this version of RTZ but luckily there are still a few floating around.

It is unfortunate that it is so difficult just to play the 'high quality' version of RTZ. Unfortunately not only do you need the card but the card but the card only works in specific Macs. The link I posted above gives you the details but basically the only 68K Macs it works in is LC/Performa 580 series and 630 series. The only PowerPC Macs it works in is the 5200/6200 and 5300/6300 series. The card physically cannot be connected in other machines because it needs both an LCPDS slot (data in) and a special 34-pin AV connector (video out).

When I tried to play the MPEG version of the game in a mac without the card there was simply no video. When a video clip clip 'starts' the screen just goes blank. Clearly in order to play a video the game engine tries to hand off the video data to the MPEG card for decoding and if that card is missing ... nothing.

Sadly I am sure the same is true of the MPEG DOS version. I don't have any experience with it but I am guessing the only way to get that to work is to build an 'old school' PC that has a Reel Magic ISA card. I don't know how difficult it would be to find a Reel Magic card but if you are looking for one I really hope you can manage to find one. Either way if you are interested in a project, PC or Mac it's probably best to start looking now because the parts and machines are unfortunately going to get more and more difficult to find.

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Re: Looking for RTZ MPEG Version

Post by MacCentris » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:56 pm

LChackr wrote:The link I posted above gives you the details but basically the only 68K Macs it works in is LC/Performa 580 series and 630 series. The only PowerPC Macs it works in is the 5200/6200 and 5300/6300 series. The card physically cannot be connected in other machines because it needs both an LCPDS slot (data in) and a special 34-pin AV connector (video out).


Hmm, now that you mention that, I happened to come across an LC about 3-4 years ago with a blue colored video out connector apart from the monitor one. It was a rare thing to come by, I don't know what happened to it, maybe still in my parents house, or who knows. My memory is not that good. It may not be the same though.

I will look into that and see what I can find, it seems the Macs the card supported were very few. Unfortunately, none of those Macs is capable of recording (that I know of). My 8500/180 is an AV machine perfectly capable of recording many things on screen and yet the card wouldn't work with it. I guess I can't beg you to record the gameplay and post it on YouTube :-\ (and recording with a camera would definitely defeat the purpose, since those usually look terrible)

But it's absolutely exciting to know there was such thing and they didn't settle for the limitations the original game copies brought. It's also nice to know that Activision took the time to release the game in every possible format at the time. Tell that to Bethesda the makers of Fallout 3... my husband bought it last year only to find that the laptop he bought brand new only 6 months before, was already too obsolete to play it. I couldn't care less for that game but I feel bad for my husband still.

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