Zak McKracken FAQ

(Please let me know of any dead links! Thanks.)


What is Zak?
About this site
Where to buy Zak 1
How to make Zak 1 work
Security codes
Zak music
David Fox interviews
More David Fox stuff
'Ballblazer' and 'Rescue on Fractalus'
Other SCUMM games
More about LucasFilm Games
If making Zak today...

What is Zak McKracken?

What is Zak McKracken?
'Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders' is a computer game created in 1988 by LucasFilm Games (now called LucasArts). It was built with the SCUMM engine (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion) just after 'Maniac Mansion,' and before 'The Secret of Monkey Island.' It runs on most of the common platforms of the time (Atari, Amiga, Commodore 64, DOS, etc.).

There are several fan sequels, but only one original.

About this site

This site is the world's largest collection of Zak McKracken materials. Come to that, it's the only dedicated general purpose Zak McKracken fan site in the whole world. So I guess that makes it the biggest, the best, the most popular, etc., etc.

My name is Chris Tolworthy

I made this site because one day my favorite Zak site (mindbenders) just disappeared. So I decided to archive what I could find, all in one safe place. I also want to draw attention to some overlooked aspects of the greatest game ever made.

Where to buy Zak 1

Legal, easy and cheap!

ZAK is now available at Grand Old Games! It's ridiculously cheap, so what are you waiting for?

Older versions

Zak McKracken, Zak McCracken, image - This is probably the easiest way to find an older copy. Search for 'Zak' or 'Classic Adventures.' Be aware that sometimes people mis-spell McKracken as McKraken or McCracken. Last time I checked there were three copies on sale, so if you don't find it first time, tray again another day.

How do I find a German edition of Zak?

I don't know! Try one of the fan sequels, they usually have German language message boards. Otherwise, try the German version of eBay (or its equivalent) or Google. Sorry I can't be more help.

How do I find a Japanese/Italian/Other edition of Zak?
The general advice is to check out your local eBay (or equivalent) and be prepared to buy a compilation that includes other games as well. "If you want the real, boxed version of FM Towns Zak, you'll have to look at the site called Yahoo! Japan auctions. Be warned: those auctions are only in Japanese, and you'll need a friend in Japan who is willing to receive the game and then send it to you, as transactions are inside Japan only." - ATMachine on Lucasforums. If you want to get hold of the Japense version, or the English version of the Japanese version, email me...

How to make an old copy of Zak 1 work on your computer - This should be your first stop. ScummVM is specifically designed to make Scumm games (and a few others) work on modern platforms. - DOSbox - get DOS working on your machine again! My first experience with Zak was the DOS version, and this lets you relive the old experience, command line and everything. If you used DOS, and want the complete nostalgia trip, then DOSbox is for you. Another point to note is that ScummVM and DOSbox approach the same problem in different ways. Each option (DOSbox and ScummVM) claim to be something like 95% complete for Zak, and they seem to work for me, but there is always the chance that some parts of the game work better on DOSbox than ScummVM, or vice versa.

(Note: both DOSBox and ScummVM seem to use the soundcard instead of the old DOS internal speaker, which I think is a shame - it just doesn't sound the same. But I am sure there are good technical reasons for this, and it is only a minor complaint.) - VOGONS (Very Old Games On New Systems) - if you want to emulate a particular old setup (C64, Amiga, FM-Towns, etc.) on your new computer, maybe these people can help.


Security codes

How do I find the security codes for Zak?
The legal version now pn sale no longer needs security codes, so it's probably OK to post them here. Old second hand copies may still need them. Getting the codes wrong and being stuck in jail is a great part of playing the original game :)

A different set: try these of the first ones don't work:

Zak music - The original music, from before the game was created! - music ripped from the game (you need to register at the site, and may need to click a couple more times than you expect.) - two remixes inspired by the C64 main theme - the best fan remix IMO.

David Fox interviews - the most recent interview - another one from 2004 - interview from before the days of Zak, mainly about Fractalus


Other David Fox stuff - The Fox home page (no, not the inferior imitation run by that Australian chap, the REAL Fox home page) - 'Computer Animation Primer,' the book that got him the job at LucasArts - an old article based on the book - DF (with Noah Falstein) on collaboration - DF on virtual reality - An amazing game site by DF and others, that sadly never saw the light of day

'Ballblazer' and 'Rescue on Fractalus'

More about David's first games for LucasFilm Games. See the original press conference videos - step back in time! See history being made! - BallBlazer - Rescue on Fractalus

And beyond computers... - One of Annie Fox's youth related sites - and another. Great stuff!

Q: "If you were given the resources to create an official sequel, what are your ideas for Zak McKracken 2?"
A: "I hadn't really thought of it before. Given my political leanings, there would also be some sharp satire poking fun at the establishment. Hey, maybe stopping all those aliens who took over the government?" - DF, from the adventure-treff interview - The title says it all. Site designed by DF and others. - Another self-explanatory title. - cartoons and politics!

Other early LucasArts games

Droidmaker by Michael Rubin - the story of Lucasfilm games and much more (book)

The LucasArts Museum - see the other classics, and see Zak in context. Screen shots, reviews, and more. - the first place to look for game info. Search for Zak, Maniac Mansion, or anything else. - the first place to look for SCUMM games.

More about 'Rescue on Fractalus': ID=65&ItemTypeID=BOX
And the ROM:

The LucasArts Game Group back in the '80s

The above interviews give a good overview. Also check out - an old article, from when Atari ruled the world

What would David Fox do different if making Zak today?

This is from a forwarded email, and used by permission. David was asked what he's do different if making Zak today:

"To answer your question, besides dead-ends (like being able to parachute out of the airplane without the teleportation crystal), I wish there weren't so many mazes! Thought they were a good idea at the time, especially to extend gameplay, but not at the cost of people getting pissed at the game. The best maze was the jungle maze... it really wasn't a maze at all. You just had to walk through two different openings (without ever backtracking) and you'd find your way out. Totally random appearances.

The maze inside the pyramid (or maybe it's the Sphinx) were especially frustrating.

Also, was it too hard to make it through the game without running out of money? Maybe one or two other ways to get additional cash without having to restart.

We were really limited with what we could say dialog-wise. That was primarily because we were limited to 2 lines of text at the top, and we didn't want people to have to read a lot. Pretty boring. And there's a huge lack of animation, compared to later titles (even Last Crusade, which came only a few years later, had a lot more custom animation). All that due to storage limitations on the original C64 platform."



That's all for now :)