Zork on the IBM Mainframe (VM/370 CMS) it lives!

There we have it, after a LOT of fighting the emulators, missing bits, LOTS of help the hercules-os380 mailing list, and the EXCEPTIONAL of one Paul Edwards, and it’s running.

It seems to be Dungeon version 1.2C

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01-MAR-81 Late Dungeon Edition
This is a version of Zork on VM/370

The problems with it are:
-Lack of an endgame.
-Simple parser (no compound sentences).
-Numerous bugs and spelling errors.
But so what.

If you encounter problems or find logic, spelling, or usage bugs,
keep them to yourself.


It’s a little odd playing zork on a mainframe…

Zork on the Mainframe?

Ok, I know this title 99% of the time is a ‘oh whatever’ as most people seem to have confused mini’s with mainframes… PDP-10’s, PDP-11’s, VAX’s (even the massive 11/780), were all minicomputers…

But I came across this post, which just mentions in passing that there was a port of dungeon (zork) to the IBM Mainframe…

And rescued via the internet archive, is Melinda Varian’s home page, which includes…. Dungeon in VMARC format…

The sad thing is that I can barely remember logging on to TSO, using ISPF, and getting out… I was so bad with the system that I’d use an empty file as a template, as copying files was easy, but creating a file on the host took me a whole day.

I vaguely recall using this IND$ thing to transfer files, but I don’t know what you need exactly to facilitate it…

So I’ve downloaded hercules/380 along with the VM370 SixPack and… remembered that I don’t… remember much, let alone enough to actually operate VM/370.

I tried passing VMARC files through PC ARC, and got.. nothing, I even manually byteswapped the files to get nothing.

Oh well I’m at an impass, but maybe some mainframe dude will see this one day, and take a peek.

Oh it’s the end of 2010, welcome to 2011.

I got it to run on VM/370 CMS.

IBM 370 emulation on MS-DOS!

Where there is some flap going on in the Hercules mainframe emulation package, which caught my eye… I was wondering what other mainframe emulators are out there for the PC?

Sadly the answer is not a heck of a lot… There is sim390, which is geared to running the MUSIC/SP operating system, however the author died a few years ago, and it seems that there will not be any more releases, nor any source release.

There is also this old program, PC/370. And it provides an environment much like DOSBox, in that it traps and emulates MVS OS calls, and executes mainframe code on your PC!

PC/370 is old though, the last version was released around 1988! However it’ll run on dosbox just fine, and FAST too! I was clocking over 6million operations a second on one of the benchmarks!

While also looking around at PC/370, I came across this site, which includes a full PDF copy of the book “Mainframe Assembler Programming”. Special thanks goes to Bill Qualls for making this great resource available!

A special note, if you try to unzip the pc370.zip file, it’s so old that there is some encoding method not 100% supported by a bunch of modern unzip programs.. You may need to unzip with real pkzip.

A neat feature of PC/370 is that you can use the PC graphic modes… like the simple demo plot XY…

PC/370 plot XY

PC/370 plot XY

Anyways, that’s about it!