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Your journey starts Inside the Barrow. You must find and acquire items and treasures to help you as you navigate through this area of the Great Underground Empire, trying not to get lost, or get eaten, or have a spell cast on you, or die in many other ways. Everything is achieved using text commands that the narrator, Zork, will do his best to interpret and then explain the results of your action. Remember that there are many, many puzzles to which you must be creative and discover a solution to, and sometimes it's not always clear what the puzzles even are! You may even find a different solution than what is listed here. In many cases, there will be subtle hints if you are paying enough attention, but occasionally you just have to go ahead and try something crazy.

As you journey on, there are many paths that you can choose, and the game does not run in a linear fashion. You will quickly find the Carousel Room to be the central hub of the game. As such, the areas are generally divided by the different directions you can travel from that room, with a few further-separated sections. Usually these areas are named for the first room you reach coming from the Carousel Room so that you will know which section of the walkthrough to switch to.

Every page will start with a map showing all the rooms you can travel to in that area without solving anything. Which of the 8 compass directions are needed to travel between areas will be clear, as well as U for up and D for down. At the very end of the page will be a complete map of the area, with all accessible rooms shown.

In your travels, you will occasionally encounter the Wizard of Frobozz himself, who may cast a spell on you! There also may be situations you run into where you end up in complete darkness. And unfortunately, there may be times when you die... but without the game ending! These are all explained in the final Special Situations page.