by Graeme Cree
Release 2/Serial Number 050911

When I was very young my father read Tolkien's The Hobbit out loud. A couple of years later, after learning to read and reading the book on my own, I was very puzzled to find that a couple of minor things I remembered were missing. I specifically remembered a mention that Hobbits were larger than Lilliputians, and a mention that less friendly neighbors said that one of the Took ancestors had married a goblin, but these things simply weren't there, leaving me to wonder if the book had been embellished during the reading, or if I was just imagining things. It wasn't until years later, when I turned up a 2nd Edition of the book, that I realized that these things were in that edition, but deleted in the 3rd Edition, which I had read later. This led me to compile a couple of pages of other minor changes in the book that I kept until a complete list was published in The Annotated Hobbit years after that (Well, almost complete. One or two things on my list didn't make it into that book).

Infocom games are subject to the same syndrome, especially Zork 1, of which no less than 12 different versions exist. People who played this game on their old Commodore 64's and TRS-80's who now try to play it on a PC with Masterpieces of Infocom, Lost Treasures of Infocom, The Zork Anthology, The Zork Legacy Collection, et al, may have the same kind of phantom memories (i.e. "Wait a minute, I could have sworn that Zork 1 gave credit to Colossal Cave! Wasn't the bat supposed to be from Wumpus?").

In maintaining The Infocom Bugs List, I have had to play through most of the games many times, and in so doing have come across several oddities and changes to the various games that did not qualify as bugs, but still seemed worth mentioning. Most of them involve changes made to the programs over time, but there is also an assortment of observations, and miscellany. To some people, this stuff might seem incredibly niggling and unimportant, but to others it might just save their sanity. Items brought to my attention by others have been so credited.

This list is a work in progress, and like The Infocom Bugs List will be updated periodically.

As with The Infocom Bugs List, commands that should be entered into the game verbatim are in all caps and bold face. Direct quotes from a game are in bold monospace (in quotes if within a paragraph, and blockquoted otherwise).


      1. FORMERLY AN INTERLOGIC GAME:   Infocom's first 9 games, Zork 1, Zork 2, Zork 3, Deadline, Starcross, Suspended, The Witness, Planetfall, and Enchanter, all bore an additional trademark that described them as Interlogic games. This can usually be seen by issuing the VERSION command, or watching the copyright information at the beginning of the game.

The first four games after the Zork Trilogy have the Interlogic trademark in all known versions of the program. However, Planetfall and Enchanter have it in some versions, but not others. Enchanter is an Interlogic game in versions 10, 15, and 16, but not in versions 24 and 29. Planetfall is an Interlogic game in versions 20, 26, and 29, but not in versions 37 or 10.

The Zork Trilogy itself is a special case. The original blister pack versions of all of these games describe them as Interlogic Games on the cover of the manual, but none of them have the word mentioned inside the program itself (Although, "Xe Zoork triloojee" are all described as being "Inturlajik" games in the Lawanda Complex's computer in Planetfall).

With Infidel and all succeeding games, the Interlogic trademark was gone for good, however three versions of Planetfall and Enchanter compiled after Infidel's release still retained it.

Meretzky Comments:   "Interlogic" was just a stupid buzzword our advertising agency came up with. None of the writer's liked it and were quite happy to see it fade away a year or two later.

      2. THE ROSES MAKE NO SOUND:  As is well known, in most Infocom games, the parser only recognizes the first six letters of inputted words. For example, to Deadline, the words GARDEN, GARDENer, and GARDENing, are all the same.
      However, in many of the earliest games, when the game outputs a word you have typed, it only uses those first six letters, instead of the whole word you typed.
      For example, in all versions of Zork 2 except for Version 48, typing EXAMINE PORTRAIT on the first turn gives the response "You can't see any portra here." (instead of "portrait"). You can see the same effect in all versions of Zork 1 through Version 30, by typing EXAMINE SCEPTRE on the first turn.

      3. AFGNCAAP:  In Zork:  Grand Inquisitor, your character is known as AFGNCAAP (Ageless Faceless Gender Neutral Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person), a description of a large number of main characters in Interactive Fiction.
      Indeed, in Zork 3, when you encounter the figure that looks like you, both ATTACK MAN and ATTACK WOMAN will work when you are fighting him/her/it. Nice touch.
      However, in Zork 2, they do slip slightly and describe the main character despite themselves. One of the lines that goes by while you are bribing the genie is: "The Wizard looks at you as if you are a madman. (My italics) He tears his beard and stares at you fearfully."

Meretzky Comments:   Hey! The key words here are "as if "! If it said "The Wizard looks at you as if he'd seen a ghost" would that mean that the player-character must be dead?


      1. Yes, I know that Amnesia was published by Electronic Arts, and not Infocom, but it contains a feature so extraordinary that I must comment on it.

When I found a copy of this game and played with it, I simply could not get out of the program. The usual QUIT wouldn't work. Neither would STOP, EXIT, CEASE, HALT, FREEZE, SUSPEND, WHOA, "RED LIGHT", or anything else I could think of. As a last resort, I looked at the instructions, and was surprised to read this:

Quitting Amnesia
From a floppy disk
- Remove your Amnesia disk from the drive and press
Control/Alt/Delete simultaneously.

From a hard disk - Press Control/Alt/Delete simultaneously to reboot
your computer from DOS.

I had to read it twice! They actually wanted you to reboot your system just to leave the game!!?? This from a game published in 1986! Is it any wonder that Infocom ruled the Interactive Fiction market with an iron fist in the 1980's?


      1. A CLASSIC STYLE GAME?:   Arthur is the only one of the .z6 games that can be made to look exactly like one of the .z1 - .z5 games. Zork Zero and Shogun both look garbled if run this way. Journey is readable, but still retains the screen layout of the graphic version.

Arthur has a built-in function to make the screen look like a classic game, but this still uses the .z6 graphic font. However, if you use the Frotz shareware interpreter and start the game in text mode (i.e. frotz -d 1, then hit F6 on the first turn, the results will be virtually indistinguishable from a classic Infocom game.

Of course with Frotz being continually updated, Arthur may not be the only game able to do this for long.

      1. AMUSING RESPONSES:   At the beginning of the game, you PRAY in the church to get 10 Chivalry Points. Praying to an inanimate object (i.e. PRAY TO ALTAR) gives the response, "You are a Christian, or so I thought..
      No problem so far. But if you take the next logical step and PRAY TO GOD, you get you the generic Interactive Fiction response: "You can't see any god right here.". If you then try to settle this with the question WHERE IS GOD?, you are simply told "That's an excellent question. Just where is the god?" Thanks for nothing!
      Other funny responses:

You can't see any invisible knight here.

You can't see any there right here.

You are here.
This last works even before you know that you can change into the owl! It also works with the badger, turtle, salamander, eel, and human (!). Shades of Buckaroo Banzai. -- Steven Marsh


      1. One of the biggest foibles in this game is the fact that the command WHIP LION is completely different from HIT LION WITH WHIP. The first will work, the second will tell you that you are too scared to do it.

I went through a major hassle, when playing the first time, when I had to start over from the beginning, and suddenly could no longer tame the lion even though I knew I had done it before. I then went off on a long false trail, believing that the character had to perform some act of bravery to obtain the courage needed to whip the lion. When everything failed, I got a complete walkthrough from Quest for Clues, which got me past the lion, but left me wondering how it was different from what I had been doing. Only much later, did I notice that the two commands were different.


      1. SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED:   Brian Moriarty was very fair in implementing the effect of potions. The rule that they will not work unless you shake them first applies to bad potions as well as good ones (i.e. drink a Potion of Death without shaking it first, and it won't kill you.

      2. THE NEW NON-VIOLENT ZORK?:   In Beyond Zork it is extremely rare to actually kill an opponent in combat. Most victorious melees end with the vanquished monster running away in defeat (the Dust Bunny being an exception). Even the Wand (or Rod, Stick, Stave, etc.) of Annihilation produces this result. The old woman tells you that it produces "Instant death, with few exceptions.", though about the only being that you can actually kill with it is yourself.

What was the reason for this decision? Was it to make the game less violent? Or was it merely to provide a more realistic way of disposing of the bodies after combat than having them disappear in a cloud of sinister black fog?


      1. In any version, you can try to fingerprint any character in the game and get a badly fitting generic response.

Upon looking over and dusting the Duffy you notice that there are no good fingerprints to be found.
This even works with some characters who aren't present, such as Duffy, the gardener, and Robner. -- Chris Spiegel


      1. UNFROTZING:   Have you ever frotzed something, and wished that you hadn't? In Enchanter and Spellbreaker you can do something about it with the EXTINGUISH command. In Sorcerer, you're out of luck.

In Spellbreaker, trying to EXTINGUISH anything you have frotzed generates the response, "The magical glow fades."

In Enchanter, you can EXTINGUISH anything except yourself. EXTINGUISH ME generates the response "You can't turn that off."   EXTINGUISH SPELL BOOK (or anything else) generates the response "The [item] is now off."

In Sorcerer, trying to EXTINGUISH any frotzed item generates the response, "How? It's glowing by magic."

      2. UNWINNABLE?:   Which leads to another interesting situation. Many modern games go easy on the player, and make it impossible to ever get the game into a state where it can't be won. Infocom games were more hard core. In many of them, it's not only possible to get the game into an unwinnable state, it's possible to do it without knowing for some time that you have.

But Enchanter is the only game where a seemingly innocent command can get the game into an unwinnable state as early as Turn 1! Since you can't EXTINGUISH yourself in Enchanter, the command FROTZ ME on Turn 1 will make it impossible for you to ever be in darkness in the Gallery, which is required to be able to tell which portrait has the candle behind it.

      3. BURMA SHAVE:   If you go West from the starting position in Enchanter, you enter a series of locations, each known as "Long Road".

This is indeed a pretty long road. In fact, it goes on forever. Each "Long Road" location has a sign by the roadside. At the first Long Road location west of "Fork", the sign reads "Why". Succeeding signs read "are", "you", "going", "west", "when", "the", "castle", "is", and "east?", "Burma", and "Shave". If you continue going west beyond this point, it will say "The sign is too worn to be read."

The game will keep track of how many "Long Road" locations you've traversed, and make you go through them all again to return to the Fork, so don't screw around too much here.


      1. ZORK 1 SCOREKEEPING:   The Zork 1 demo appears in both of the 4-in-1 Samplers, but scoring is different in each. In the first Sampler, your score is reported out of "a total of 350 for the entire Zork 1." In the Second Sampler, your score is reported out of a possible 35, the number of points that can be scored in the Demo itself.


      1. I got a note from Wei-Hwa Huang which described a Games magazine article about Infocom that mentioned a container bug similar to the ones in Zork I, Infidel, and Starcross (this time involving the gown and the thing), which had been caught in betatesting. This bug does not appear in any versions of the game.

I tried to reproduce it by typing PUT GOWN IN THING, and then PUT THING IN GOWN, and got the amusing response: "You can't put the thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is in your gown when your gown is already in the thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is!"


      1.IS DEATH REALLY HELPFUL?:   Infidel has always been slightly controversial due to the fact that the only way to "win" the game involves getting yourself trapped inside the Pyramid awaiting posthumous fame.
      But is it really necessary to get yourself killed just to win a game, or is that a foolish impulse reaction on your part? After all, you receive the full 400 out of 400 points when you turn the final statue, not when you open the sarcophagus and trap yourself. Why not just turn that final statue, and then leave the pyramid, taking the five jewelled clusters (unfortunately, the scarab and gold and silver chalices must be left behind in order to get the full 400) with you as your retirement fund? The farewell note at the beginning of the game establishes that your workers left you enough to get back to civilization safely. The game won't officially end of its own accord if you leave the pyramid, but so what? Leave the pyramid, QUIT with the full number of points, and if that isn't winning, I don't know what is.


      1. CHEAT CODES:   LGOP has one of computer gaming's earliest known "cheat codes". After thousands of players were driven to despair, attempting to enter the correct sequence of Claps, Hops and Kweepas to make it through the Catacombs Maze, the Solid Gold version of the game added a special feature. On the first turn after entering the Catacombs, before moving anywhere, you can type the command $CATACOMB, to get to the end of the maze, with the raft and Cleveland Phone Book in tow.

      2. BOSS SCREENS:   LGOP also contains one of the earliest known "Boss Screens". Although it was later removed for the Solid Gold version, in the IBM Version, hitting CTRL-B and ENTER, will bring up what the file describes as "a harmless database screen". This screen (which was contained in a separate file called leather.scr), looked something like this:

Select a command from the menu.  Use arrow keys or type the command.
----------------------------Cornerstone V5.1---------------------------------
  Item                   Available From        Comments
  Shoe Horn   	         The Shoe Boutique     Don't pay over $12. Wait for
					       semi-annual sale.
  Rolling Pin            Hot Cross Buns, Inc.  Medium size works best.
> Nylon Rope             Butz Hardware         10 feet is enough; add 6 feet
>					       for each additional partner.
  Snorkel		 Scuba Duba Doo	       Do not use without lessons.
  Peanut Butter Spatula  El Kinko's   	       Easily breakable; buy 5-pak.
  Rubber Sheets          Medical Bedding of    Queen size must be ordered one
		  	 Mountain View	       or two weeks in advance. Avoid
					       generic brands.
  Steel Harness          Zeke's Harness Shop   Not recommended with fish.
  Vaseline Pump          "Mabel" (3rd & Main)  9 p.m. through 2 a.m.
  Sheep			 Daisy Hill Farms      Best right after shearing.
  Inflatable Milkman     Male Order Mania      Always get optional patch kit.
File: APPLIANCES	   Previous Mode: Titillate    	     Files Viewed: 69

This "harmless Database screen" is, in fact a simulation of Cornerstone, the powerful, easy-to-use Database software that bankrupted Infocom. The CTRL-B feature was built into the game's interpreter program, which was used in other games also, though none of them had Boss Screen files.


      1. Here's an amusing little sequence you can generate at the beginning of the game:

"Fat chance! This is a master key!..."

Well, duh!

      2. This is one of those things on the borderline between a bug and a quirk, and could just as easily have gone into The Infocom Bugs List .
      It may not be a bug, but it is at least something unexplained. The shape that menaces you on the roof of the Brown Building is after the hand. Unless you drive it away with the stone, it will eat the hand and leave you alone.
      But if you THROW HAND OFF ROOF, the shape will neither go after it, attack you, or leave you alone. It simply remains there, blocking your escape, and unless you have the stone to drive it away, the game is unwinnable.
      There may be a reason for this. Perhaps the shape is not too bright, and is waiting for you to somehow retrieve the hand, but the the game doesn't make this clear. -- Jeffrey Scott Nuttall


      1. THE LOST LORE OF INFOCOM:   In Nord & Bert, you can examine any object simply by typing the name of the object (for example, you can examine the Jack by typing JACK).

Very few people know about this feature. It was only mentioned in the original documentation to the game, and the generic instructions reprinted in the various Activision collections (Lost Treasures, Masterpieces, et cetera) have never mentioned it.

Nord & Bert is the only game where this will work. If you try this in any other game, you are told something like "There was no verb in that sentence."


      1. When I originally played Planetfall (my first ever Infocom game, and still the best one IMHO) I was thrown for a while by the fact that the description of the Patrol uniform said that it protected against "radiation and mosquitoes." This gave me the idea that the uniform must provide a way to get the spool in the Radiation Lab, if only I could find a helmet or something.

Apparently others had the same problem, because in all versions after Version 20, the description of the uniform is changed to say that it protects against "mild radiation." (my italics)

      2. ARE YOU GONNA TAKE THAT?:   In versions 20, 26, 29, and 37, if the player gives a TAKE ALL command, while Floyd is present, the game will (understandably) try to pick him up with all the other items, generating this response:

multiple purpose robot: You manage to lift Floyd a few inches off the ground, but he is too heavy and you drop him suddenly. Floyd gives a surprised squeal and moves a respectable distance away.

In a typical game, the player may see this several times, but fortunately in the Solid Gold version (version 10), Infocom had mercy and eliminated the problem. In the Solid Gold version, if you TAKE ALL or GET ALL while Floyd is present, the game interprets it as if you had typed TAKE ALL EXCEPT FLOYD

Meretzky Comments:   I think that this was a more global change than just Planetfall; I think the syntax substrate was changed so that TAKE ALL would only try to take objects which had the TAKEBIT set. I seem to recall, upon first playing Zork 1, TAKE ALL would get a response like:

tube: taken
red button: Not bloody likely
blue button: What a concept.

etc. I think it was just more noticeable in
Planetfall because Floyd is present so much of the time, and has such a long response to an attempt to take him.

      3. MORE THAN FAIR:   Planetfall certainly gives you ample opportunity to win the game. Although you begin feeling the effects of the disease when you wake up after your first night's sleep, it will not prove fatal until Day 9 (you die in your sleep after going to bed at the end of the 8th day).

A player who knows what he is doing can easily finish the game on the 2nd day. Even if you're playing for the first time, it will probably not take more than 4 days.

As the disease progresses, you become weaker and need more sleep. The medicine will help with this, but will not affect the time that you die. The game may become unwinnable before you actually die if you are no longer strong enough to carry the laser and miniaturization card, but no matter how you slice it, you have so much time to complete your mission that time is really not a factor at all.

      4. LESS THAN FAIR:   You must actually reach the Cryo-Room in order to survive. Although the rescue ship is waiting for you when you reach the Cryo-Room (assuming you have fixed Planetary Defense and the Radio), if you simply fix the proper items and wait around the Kalamontee Complex for the ship to arrive, it never will.

Similarly, if you repair the computer, start the reactivation process, and then just hang around the Lab Office waiting for Veldina's troops to come rescue you, they never will. You must pass through the mutants and go to them. (Of course, you're not supposed to know about her, so why would you be waiting in the office in the first place?)

      5. A CHRONIC PAIN:   Planetfall (and Stationfall) measure time in chrons. There are 10 chrons in a day. Assuming that a day in these games is still 24 hours, that gives us the following conversions:

     1 chron      = 2 hours and 24 minutes
     1 centichron = 1 minute and 26 seconds
     1 millichron = 8.64 seconds

      6. Floyd, like the adventurer in Enchanter, will hand you things if you ask for them, even if your load is too heavy to normally accommodate them. This makes solving the rift puzzle a tad quicker, and has been reported as a bug by Chris Lang and several others, although I don't think it is. If you're loaded down with items, holding onto something handed to you is simply not as difficult as bending over to pick it up yourself.

      7. SHORTCUT TO RESIDA:   The journey to Resida got a little shorter in versions 37 and 10. Try this experiment. Start the game and WAIT until you see the message about the explosion (i.e. "A massive explosion rocks the ship. Echoes from the explosion resound deafeningly down the halls. A door to port slides open."). Immediately go WEST and then issue WAIT commands until you land on Resida and die (because you never got in the webbing).

In versions 20, 26, and 29, you will die after 14 WAIT commands. In versions 37 and 10, it will only be 13.

What changed? Well, in versions 37 and 10, the turn where you get the message:

Through the viewport of the pod you see the Feinstein dwindle as you head away. Bursts of light dot its hull. Suddenly, a huge explosion blows the Feinstein into tiny pieces, sending the escape pod tumbling away!
You are thrown against the bulkhead, bruising a few limbs. The safety webbing might have offered a bit more protection.
and the turn where you get the message:
As the escape pod tumbles away from the former location of the Feinstein, its gyroscopes whine. The pod slowly stops tumbling. Lights on the control panel blink furiously as the autopilot searches for a reasonable destination.
were combined into one turn.

     8. Arthur DiBianca, looking at #3 (above) suggests that when you die on the morning of Day 9, that it is actually the rising ocean level, and not the disease that kills you.

It's true that the description of your death is incredibly vague:   "Unfortunately, you don't seem to have survived the night." It's also true that when you go to bed that night, the water level is up to the top steps of the Courtyard, just about to flood the Kalamontee Complex. And it's also true that you die at the same time, regardless of whether or not you have taken the medicine, which supports the idea that your death might be from some other cause.

On the other hand, if you fall asleep on the Crag the first night, you are told that it was the water that killed you. Furthermore, you die in your sleep on the morning of Day 9, no matter where you are; even if you have taken the elevator to the top level and slept on the Helipad. It took 8 days for the ocean to rise from below the Crag to the Courtyard level. You wouldn't think that it could flood both levels of Kalamontee Complex in just one night, but then, you never know.

The bottom line is that it is not entirely clear. I still think that you die from the disease, but other interpretations are possible.

ADDITIONAL: To settle the question, I asked the man, Steve Meretzky himself, about it via e-mail. He confirms that the death on Day 9 is due to the disease, and that whenever you die from water, the game tells you. He thinks that the message about dying on Day 9 was never intended to be seen by the player, and that the message was a backup in case a bug or unforseen circumstance allowed the player to survive that long. The game was intended to be won or lost before this point, and it is just a mistake if the medicine has no effect on this Day 9 deadline.

     9. MINI GRUES?:   When you fall asleep outside of a bed, there are two possibilities. Either you will wake up the next morning with a stiff neck, or you will die, like so:

Suddenly, in the middle of the night, you awake as several ferocious beasts (could they be grues?) surround and attack you. Perhaps you should have found a slightly safer place to sleep.

      **** You have died ****
However, you get this same message, even if you fall asleep on Station 384, while you are miniaturized. Oops! This doesn't qualify for the Infocom Bugs List, since it doesn't actually say that grues killed you, it just suggests that as a possibility. But if they are grues, how can we explain this? Are they Mini-Grues left over from Mini-Zork I?

Meretzky Comments:   Ha ha! Another possibility -- perhaps a few were lurking around the shadows of the miniaturization booth and got miniaturized along with you!

      10. THE RADIATION ROOM:   One of the biggest red herrings in Planetfall is the infamous Radiation Room, which contains two objects; a Brown Spool, and a lamp. The lamp seems that it must surely unlock the secrets of the dreaded Reactor Access Stairs and Office Supply rooms which have begged for solution since early in the game, and players have been known to spend hours trying to devise some way of retrieving the Lamp without dying in the process.

Thanks to good old American ingenuity, back door methods of obtaining these objects have been devised. One way is through the Rezrov Interpreter, which allows objects to be pilfered from remote locations. Another is by hacking the datafile to have these objects begin the game in a safer location.

The results of these efforts have been interesting, but disappointing, proving, I suppose that crime really doesn't pay after all. The Brown Spool is simply a dummy object that does nothing. It doesn't even fit in the spool reader.

The Lamp is a little better. It is a real lamp, that can be turned off and on and is flagged by the game as a light source. Unfortunately, it reveals that the Reactor Access Stairs location has no description at all. The Grues will not attack while the light is on, but the stairs go down endlessly.

Entering Office Supply with a light gives the message "You have discovered a serious bug."

      11. INSIDE INFORMATION:   As with #4, there's another thing you're not supposed to know about, but which you can obtain early if you do. If Floyd sees you using the magnetic cards enough, he'll eventually volunteer the fact that he has one too, and present you with a Lower Elevator Access Card. Or, if you're sneaky, you don't have to wait for him to get around to it. You can get it yourself any time he's turned off, like so:

In one of the robot's compartments, you find and take a magnetic-striped card embossed "Loowur Elavaatur Akses Kard.
If you want to be cruel to him later, you can try this:
"I've got one just like that!" says Floyd. He looks through several of his compartments, then glances at you suspiciously.

      12. SHOOTING BLANKS:   The Winter 1984 issue of The New Zork Times, in an article entitled A Zork By Any Other Name, describes the origin of Planetfall's title thusly:

Planetfall was titled Sole Survivor by its author, Steve Meretzky, and later shortened to just Survivor. When we discovered another game called Survivor, we decided we'd rather switch than fight. [Giardini/Russell, Infocom's ad agency] went to it again and submitted a list about 30 long, their favorite of which was Lost Planet. Reaction was less than enthusiastic, not the least because it reminded two of us of the TV series, Lost in Space. Blank suggested Planetfall during a long, frustrating meeting -- he thought he had seen it once in an SF book as a word meaning arrival on a new planet (much like landfall). Nobody really believed him, but it was never improved upon.

So was Marc Blank making it up, or did he really remember it from somewhere? Probably the latter, as he may in fact have been thinking of the 1974 novel Planetfall, by Martin Caidin.

As regards two of the unused titles, Sole Survivor wouldn't have worked, since we learn at the end that Blather survived also. Survivor later went on to become the name of a board game played by characters in Return to Zork.

QUARTERSTAFF: The Tomb of Setmoth

      1. 100% SAVING THROW VS. PICKPOCKETING:  I don't know which universe Quarterstaff is based on, but it certainly isn't Thieves' World. It is flatly impossible to take something from a living character (except in your own party) under any circumstances. Not a bug, the failure message makes clear that it was a conscious design decision, but it can have comical consequences. For example, even if you have beaten the Druid Guard (in the Dark Chamber) unconscious and locked him in the manacles, you still can't take the Scarab of Insanity from him without killing him first.


      1. FAST FORWARD:  Versions 292, 295, and 311 (everything except the IBM version) have an undocumented command that lets you jump to any scene in the game by typing $SCENE, a space, and the number of the scene to jump to (anything from 2 to 19). You can even jump to the end of the game on move 1 this way, though you don't get any points or rank for doing it. -- Gunther Schmidl


      1. All versions of Sorcerer have two images from Spellbreaker among the selection of images you get when casting the Vezza spell. One of them shows Spellbreaker's opening scene in the Guild Hall, and the other shows a pile of Foundation Cubes, already labelled. Apparently the general plot of Spellbreaker was outlined long in advance.

Meretzky Comments:   By the time I was finishing up Sorcerer, and got the idea of having Vezza responses that would be previews of the next game, it had been decided that Dave was going to be writing the third game of the trilogy. So I just asked him to write two text strings for me, and I just put them in without question. I don't think he'd done any significant work on the game up to that point, such as a general plot outline, but he'd obviously started thinking about it and had some of the major elements set in his mind already.

      2. In all versions of the game, the description of your room mentions what an unusual privilege it is to have your own private quarters. However Frobar and Helistar also have them, and no bunkroom is to be found anywhere. Of course, the Guild Hall has probably been condensed for game purposes....

      3. Though there is no food and water in Sorcerer, everyone who has played it knows that quaffing the Berzio (obviates need for food and drink) potion will prevent your starving. Does this effect last forever? No, not quite. According to the Invisiclues Booklet, "The effects of this potion will last for several days; this should be long enough for you to finish the game." Sure enough, around 800 turns or so into the game (more time than anyone should need), you'll die of hunger.

Interestingly, with or without Berzio, the Gaspar (provide for your own resurrection) Spell is of no use against starvation. If you die of it after casting Gaspar on yourself, you get something like this:

You pass out from lack of food and water.

**** You have died ****

Your guardian angel, draped in white, appears floating in the nothingness before you. "Gotten in a bit of a scrape, eh?" he asks, writing frantically in a notebook. "I'd love to chat, but we're so busy this month." The angel twitches his nose, and the nothingness is replaced by...

Forest Edge
Unfortunately, you are still long overdue for a meal and immediately drop dead again.

On a side note, before anyone asks, no it isn't necessary to sit there typing in hundreds of commands to find out things like this. Such things can be accomplished easily, using Frotz's "Playback" command. Simply create an ASCII file, enter a wait command, say, 10 times, then cut and paste the block of 10 to make hundreds. Then, once in the game, hit the Playback Option (Alt-P), to execute all the commands in the file, one after the other. Voila! You can now abuse the games as much as you like.


      1. PROGNISTICATION:   Just as Sorcerer presages events in Spellbreaker, Starcross appears to do the same thing, with a game published more than four years later. In the Log of the M.C.S. Starcross (part of the game's documentation), the entry for 3/28/2186 reads thusly:

Underway less than four weeks and I'm about to go crazy! First, the entertainment tapes were mislabeled. It's all highbrow stuff like operas and lectures. Leather Goddesses of Phobos was really something about the history of the Terran Union. What a rip-off!

I like to think that there are modern Infocom players going nuts wondering if LGOP was really on the drawing board that early (I admit it, I'm easily amused).

Really though, the explanation for this prescience is simple. The first nine Infocom games were originally issued in non-standard forms (folios or blister packs for most, a plastic flying saucer for Starcross). These packages often had little in the way of the goodies and extras that the later grey box games had (Often no more than a disk, manual and reference card). Later, when these original games were repackaged to match the rest of the line, the grey box format required each game to have some kind of ancillary reading material known as a "browsie". Games that didn't have these already would have one written for them (the log of the Starcross being one example). Though LGOP was surely not a glint in the milkman's eye when the saucer version of Starcross was issued, it was apparently on the drawing board by the time the game was repackaged.


      1. THE BOTTOM JUST GOT LOWER:   In Planetfall, Ensign 7th Class is the lowest rank in the Stellar Patrol. From the Planetfall manual: "You may start out at the bottom as Ensign 7th, but you won't have to stay that way for long..."

In Stationfall, the bottom has gotten lower. If you fall asleep on the Duffy, you'll wake up in the brig in the uniform of an Ensign 9th Class. In addition, while on the Duffy, you may encounter your old superior, Blather, who now holds the Rank of Ensign 12th Class.

ADDITIONAL: Oops, scratch that. In the original Planetfall game, there's a random response where Blather threatens you with the fact that there are openings for Ensigns 9th Class in the toilet scrubbing division. If the game and the documentation contradict each other, I'm inclined to believe the game.

      2. FLOYD, THE MARKETER:   In Planetfall, Floyd's death scene treats us to The Ballad of the Starcrossed Miner, a musical commercial for Infocom's science-fiction mindbender, Starcross.

In Stationfall, Floyd is at it again, this time shilling for Infocomics (a much harder sell than Starcross, incidentally). At random points, you may see this message:

Plato reaches the last page of his book. "Heavens! It appears to be time for another jaunt to the library. Would you care to accompany me, my boisterous friend?" "Oh boy yessiree!" says Floyd, bounding off after Plato. "I hope they have copies of my favorite comic, THE ADVENTURES OF LANE MASTODON!"

      3. PERCHANCE TO DREAM:   There are six dreams in Stationfall:

DREAM 1: Back on Resida
Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...The quiet, dusty corridors stir disturbing memories. You're back on Resida, the deserted, plague-stricken world where you met Floyd. A hot flush creeps over you, indicating that the virulent disease that conquered this planet is beginnning its insidious work on you...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

DREAM 2: Your Promotion Ceremony
Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...You wake up in a huge stadium, watching an important ceremony. It's a Stellar Patrol promotion ceremony on Tremain! Suddenly your own name echoes over the P.A. system -- and down below you see YOURSELF walking up the steps to the stage! The presiding admiral describes your heroism on Resida, mentioning that you were awarded the key to the planet, and then asks the ceremonial question, "Do you accept promotion to Lieutenant First Class?" You try to yell "No!" from the stands, but the words are lost in the vastness of the stadium...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...You find yourself in a spacepod outside the docking bays of a large space station. All the doors are closed. You snap on the radio, and discover that Floyd is in charge within the station. "Open the pod bay doors, Floyd," you tell him but he replies, "I'm sorry, I can't do that," and begins laughing and your air is beginning to run out...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...You gulp down the last of your Ramosian Fire Nectar and ask the andro-waiter for another pitcher. This pub makes the finest Nectar on all of Ramos Two, and you and your shipmates are having a pretty rowdy time. Through the windows of the pub you can see a mighty, ancient castle, shining in the light of the three Ramosian moons. The Fire Nectar spreads through your blood and you begin to feel drowsy...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

DREAM 5: Alone on the Duffy
Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...At last, the Duffy is approaching station Delta Upsilon Upsilon Phi -- your first rec leave in almost six months. It's even worth the six solid days of paperwork necessary for a standard half-day leave. Stationfall is millichrons away, but suddenly you realize that you're all alone on the Duffy! Frantic, you dash to the deserted bridge, but it's too late to stop the out-of-control Duffy from ramming the massive space station! The hull of the station rushes toward you...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

DREAM 6: Late With Your Assignment

Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

...You are strolling across Deck Four of the Duffy, when suddenly you remember that you were supposed to have Handwriting Legibility Evaluation Forms -- all nine parts, for every member of the crew -- on Captain Fussbottom's desk by 7800. It's 7790, and those forms are stored on the other side of the ship. You try to run, but the floor is covered with glue. You can hear the Captain calling your name, louder and louder, as you struggle to move your legs...

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.

DREAM 7: No Dream
Time passes...
You slowly sink into a deep sleep.

***** NOVEM 5, 11349 *****

You awake feeling refreshed and ready to face anything this new day might care to throw at you.


      1. THE PINK PACKAGE:  The biggest question surrounding this game has been the existence of the mysterious pink package version depicted in the "The Incomplete Works of Infocom" catalog, which had cover art completely different from the only version of the game that anyone has ever seen. At last an answer is available, thanks to Chris Forman, original curator of The Infocom Bugs List, who got it straight from Mike Dornbrook (aka Stan, aka Max), Infocom's Director of Marketing from 1983-1989, and the creator of Invisiclues, the Zork Users Group, and the New Zork Times (also the party pooper who sacked The New Zork Times "Yak Facts" column; a hasty decision which has haunted him down through the years).

According to Dornbrook, the catalog went to press in August 1984, a few months before the game was ready, and so a prototype package was used for the photo shoot. This package never existed in stores, so everyone can stop looking.


      1. Normally, when humans enter a room where Auda is present, you will get the message:   "AUDA INTERRUPT: Some talking mechanisms just entered the room." However, in no version of the game do you get this message when the humans first enter the complex through the Sterilization Chamber. Not a bug, but an omission, nevertheless. -- Frederick Ramsberg


      1. COMPUTER DATING?:   Here are a set of interesting responses you can get while in Monica's presence (in all versions of the game):

(Sorry, but English is my second language. Please rephrase that.)

(Your request was incomplete. Next time, say what you want Monica to make the love from.)

"Eat, drink, and make merry, for tomorrow we shall die!"

"That's between Mother and me."
-- This list is courtesy of the New Zork Times and it bears reminding that nobody had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky back then, so just lay off! I KNOW what you're thinking!


A quick word of background:  These days all games are made to work with a pre-existing operating system (i.e. Window 95, Dos 6.22, Mac OS, et cetera, or some combination of them.) In the 1980's though, it was not uncommon for games to come with their own operating systems. You would boot straight from a diskette into the game without having to go through a prompt or clicking anything first. It made it quicker to get into the program, served as copy protection, and though you couldn't store such a game on a hard drive, many machines didn't have them at the time, anyway. All of Infocom's Apple ][ games were packaged this way, as well as some of their early Macintosh and PC versions, and probably others. I've got a Cutthroats Master for the IBM PC made like this, and Zorktools provides utilities for copying such disks.

John Romero of IonStorm Games, who with Lane Roath coded the InfoDOS used for the Apple ][ version of Zork Zero (and which was later used on the other three .z6 games: Journey, Shogun, and Arthur), reports an Easter Egg screen, that can be accessed in any of these games by holding down both Apple keys during boot. It contains a quirky saying that they made up during an all-night coding session, and both their names. (see screenshot below)

I've gotten this to work both on my original Apple ][e, and by using Apple ][ disk images with the Applewin emulator (where the Alt keys are used to represent the Apple keys).

Zork 0 Screenshot


      1. ZORK 4 - A NEW HOPE?:   The title of Zork 1 was changed after its commercial release. Originally the name "The Great Undergound Empire" applied to the series as a whole, and Zork 1 was called "ZORK: THE GREAT UNDERGROUND EMPIRE - Part 1," in Versions 2, 5 and 15. From Version 20 onward, the roman numeral "I" was added to the game, and "The Great Underground Empire" applied to Zork 1 only.

      2. PYRRHIC VICTORY?:   Zork 1 is probably the only Infocom game where you don't have to survive to win. If you get the ancient map, and then get killed, you don't have to come back to life by praying at the altar. Simply go to the Stone Barrow in your undead condition to win with the full number of points.

Neither do the treasures matter after you've gotten the map. You can throw all of the Treaures of Zork into the Frigid River before going to the barrow, or you can take as many as you can carry with you. Your score and victory will be unaffected.

      3. HUNT THE WUMPUS:   In all versions of Zork 1 through version 30, if you enter the Bat Room without the garlic, you get the following message:

A deranged giant vampire bat (a reject from WUMPUS) swoops down from his belfry and lifts you away....

In versions 75, 76, 88 and 52, the reference to the Wumpus game is deleted and the message simply reads:

A large vampire bat, hanging from the ceiling, swoops down at you!


The bat grabs you by the scruff of your neck and lifts you away....

Meretzky Comments:   I think removing references like Wumpus and EBCDIC was just an attempt to remove inside jokes or other references that, as the PC revolution spread outside the original hacker core, would be understood by a diminishing percentage of players.

      4. FINITO?:   The game's final message also changed. Here is the original message, as it appeared in versions 2, 5 and 15:

As you enter the barrow, the door closes inexorably behind you. Around you it is dark, but ahead is an enormous cavern, brightly lit. Through its center runs a wide stream. Spanning the stream is a small wooden footbridge, and beyond a path leads into a dark tunnel. Above the bridge, floating in the air, is a large sign. It reads: All ye who stand before this bridge have completed a great and perilous adventure which has tested your wit and courage. You have gained the mastery of the first part of the Great Underground Empire. Those who pass over this bridge must be prepared to undertake an even greater adventure that will severely test your skill and bravery!
Play "ZORK: The Great Underground Empire, Part II".
In version 20, the final sentence was changed to:
Play "ZORK II: The Wizard of Frobozz".

In versions 23, 25, 26, 28, and 30, the phrase "You have gained the mastery of...." was changed to "You have mastered the first part of..."

In version 75 and 76, "You have mastered the first part of the Great Underground Empire," was changed to "You have mastered the first part of the Zork Trilogy,", and "Play "ZORK II: The Wizard of Frobozz"." was changed to:

The ZORK trilogy continues with "ZORK II: The Wizard of Frobozz" and is completed in "ZORK III: The Dungeon Master," available now at fine stores everywhere.

In versions 88 and the Solid Gold version (version 52), the phrase "available now at fine stores everywhere" was deleted.

Meretzky Comments:   Again, I'm just making an educated guess, but a lot of text deletions like this probably have the same explanation: Virtually all games were the maximum size they could be, for whatever the limiting disk size was among supported platforms. For the first few years, that was the TRS-80 Model I, which limited the total game size to about 78K. Usually a game would hit that limit months before release, and you'd spend half your time during the testing period finding stuff to cut out or condense to make room for the new text or code that was put in to fix a reported bug. Since bug-fixing continued to go on even after the initial release of the game, someone would usually have to find something unimportant to cut out whenever a bug was fixed.

      5. EBCDIC:   Extended Binary-Coded-Decimal-Interchange-Code was a (infamous) file format formerly used by IBM as an alternative to ASCII. In all versions of Zork I through Version 30, the description of the maintenance room is like so:

Maintenance Room
This is what appears to have been the maintenance room for Flood Control Dam #3. Apparently, this room has been ransacked recently, for most of the valuable equipment is gone. On the wall in front of you is a group of buttons, which are labelled in EBCDIC. However, they are of different colors: Blue, Yellow, Brown, and Red. The doors to this room are in the west and south ends.

In Versions 75, 76, 88 and 52, the last three sentences of this description are changed to remove the reference to EBCDIC:

On the wall in front of you is a group of buttons colored blue, yellow, brown, and red. There are doorways to the west and south.

Interestingly, the description of the Machine Room in Zork 2, which also had buttons labeled in EBCDIC, was never changed, even though at least one version of the game was released after the change was made to Zork 1. In fact, the Zork 2 description says that "naturally" the buttons are labeled this way, meaning that you must have expected that after seeing it in Zork 1.

      6. NORTH OF HOUSE:   In all versions of Zork 1 up to version 30, if you are at "North of House", and want to go to "Behind House", you can only go east. In versions 75 and later, you can go either east or southeast.

      7. GOTTA MATCH?:   In all versions of Zork 1 after Version 30, opening the matchbook will tell you how many matches are left. In versions through Version 30, trying to open it will generate the message "You must tell me how to do that to a matchbook." In these versions, the only way to tell how many matches you have is with the command COUNT MATCHES.

      8. ODD SYNONYMS:   In all versions of Zork 1, the deflated pile of plastic can be referred to as a "boat", but not as a "raft." Once inflated, it can be called either one.

Meretzky Comments:   In the early games, there was no way to change the name of an object (it's "DESC" property). Since the inflated and uninflated rafts had different names (something like "pile of plastic" and "inflated boat") it had to be two different objects; obviously, objects with not quite identical synonym properties.

      9. THE WORST DAM PUZZLE:   In most versions of Zork 1, there are two ways to obtain the platinum bar; either by saying ECHO in the Loud Room to change the acoustics, or by entering the room while the dam is refilling. In the first two versions of the game (version 2 and 5), the second solution does not work.

In most versions of the game, the room is "loud" when the dam is full or empty, "extremely loud" (meaning you can't stay there at all, you get booted out the same turn that you enter) while it is emptying, and "quiet" when it is refilling. In Versions 2 and 5, it is "loud" in all three circumstances.

Meretzky Comments:   This second solution was put in as a response to hordes of angry people complaining about how amazingly stupid the "Echo" solution was. (I was about 10 of those angry people.)

      10. GUESS THE VERB:   The coal machine long provided one of Infocom's very rare "guess the word" puzzles. In all versions up to Version 30, FLIP was about the only verb that would work on the switch (i.e. FLIP SWITCH WITH SCREWDRIVER). In Versions 75 and later, PUSH, MOVE, and probably a few more would work.
      Update: Alan Franzman points out that TURN will also work in all versions, making things a little bit better.

      11. READING MATERIAL:   In Zork 1, there are four bits of reading material:   The leaflet in the mailbox, the Zork Owner's Manual, the Tour Guidebook, and the matchbook. The text of each of these was revised in various versions of the game.


The leaflet in the mailbox in Zork 1 underwent a couple of revisions. This is the leaflet as it appeared in Versions 2, 5 and 15:

    ZORK is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortals.

    No computer should be without one!

    The original ZORK was created by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling. It was inspired by the ADVENTURE game of Crowther and Woods. This version was created by Marc Blank, Dave Lebling, Joel Berez, and Scott Cutler.

    (c) Copyright 1979 & 1980 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.

After version 15, the third paragraph with it's reference to the Colossal Cave Adventure game, was deleted, and the fourth paragraph was expanded. This is how the leaflet looked in Versions 20, 23, 25, 26, 28 and 30:

    ZORK is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortals.

    No computer should be without one!

    Copyright 1982 by Infocom, Inc.
          All rights reserved.
  ZORK is a trademark of Infocom, Inc.

Finally, the copyright paragraph was also deleted and the whole leaflet message was put in quotation marks, and combined into one paragraph. The leaflet in versions 75, 76, 88, and 52 looks like this:


    ZORK is a game of adventure, danger, and low cunning. In it you will explore some of the most amazing territory ever seen by mortals. No computer should be without one!"


There were four separate versions of the Zork Owner's Manual. The first one, appearing in Versions 2 and 5, looked like this:

You are the privileged owner of a genuine ZORK Great Underground Empire (Part I), a self contained and self maintaining universe. As a legitimate owner, you have available to you both the Movement Assistance Planner (MAP) and Hierarchical Information for Novice Treasure Seekers (HINTS). For information about these and other services, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to:

    Infocom, Inc.
    GUE I Maintenance Division
    PO Box 120, Kendall Station
    Cambridge, Mass. 02142

For version 15, the funny acronyms and hint instructions were removed in favour of a commercial for Zork 2, and looked like this:

You are the privileged owner of a genuine ZORK Great Underground Empire (Part I), a self contained and self maintaining universe. If used and maintained in accordance with normal operating practices for small universes, ZORK will provide many months of trouble-free operation. Please check with your dealer for Part II and other alternate universes.

    After Version 15, the manual was altered slightly to remove the reference to Zork 2, and to this game being part 1. Here's how the manual looked in Versions 20, 23, 25, 26, 28, and 30:

You are the privileged owner of a genuine ZORK: The Great Underground Empire, a self-contained and self-maintaining universe. If used and maintained in accordance with normal operating practices for small universes, ZORK will provide many months of trouble-free operation.

After Version 30, the manual was changed even more slightly, simply by adding a blank line after "Congratulations!" It appeared that way in Versions 75, 76, 88, and 52.


Except for minor pagination changes, The Tour Guidebook only changed once; for the Solid Gold version. Here is how it appeared there:

" Flood Control Dam #3

FCD#3 was constructed in year 783 of the Great Underground Empire to harness the mighty Frigid River. This work was supported by a grant of 37 million zorkmids from your omnipotent local tyrant Lord Dimwit Flathead the Excessive. This impressive structure is composed of 370,000 cubic feet of concrete, is 256 feet tall at the center, and 193 feet wide at the top. The lake created behind the dam has a volume of 1.7 billion cubic feet, an area of 12 million square feet, and a shore line of 36 thousand feet.

The construction of FCD#3 took 112 days from ground breaking to the dedication. It required a work force of 384 slaves, 34 slave drivers, 12 engineers, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. The work was managed by a command team composed of 2345 bureaucrats, 2347 secretaries (at least two of whom could type), 12,256 paper shufflers, 52,469 rubber stampers, 245,193 red tape processors, and nearly one million dead trees.

We will now point out some of the more interesting features of FCD#3 as we conduct you on a guided tour of the facilities:

        1) You start your tour here in the Dam Lobby. You will notice on your right that....

In previous versions, the paragraph beginning with "The construction of FCD#3 took 112 days" was not present.

Meretzky Comments:   This may be the reverse of what I was describing earlier. As we stopped supporting older systems, like the Model I, suddenly a game which was right at the previous limit might now be 5K or 10K below the current limit! This might be a case of restoring some text that was present in the original mainframe version, but was reluctantly cut out ~1979 in an effort to get the game to fit on a floppy.


The matchbook remained virtually identical in all versions of Zork 1. It was changed only once, and very slightly. This is how it appeared in versions 2, 5, 15, 20, 23, 25, 26, 28, and 30:

(Close cover before striking)

YOU too can make BIG MONEY in the exciting field of PAPER SHUFFLING!

Mr. Anderson of Muddle, Mass. says: "Before I took this course I used to be a lowly bit twiddler. Now with what I learned at GUE Tech I feel really important and can obfuscate and confuse with the best."

Dr. Blank had this to say: "Ten short days ago all I could look forward to was a dead-end job as a doctor. Now I have a promising future and make really big Zorkmids."

GUE Tech can't promise these fantastic results to everyone. But when you earn your MDL degree from GUE Tech, your future will be brighter.

In versions 75, 76, 88, and 52 the grammar was changed to eliminate a slight redundancy. The phrase "I used to be a lowly bit twiddler," was changed to "I was a lowly bit twiddler."

      12. HOLY VAMPIRE, IT'S THE BAT BUG, BATMAN!:  Well, actually "Holy Alliteration" (or "Holy Hyperbole") would be a bit more truthful. Strictly speaking this is not a bug, but rather a change in game mechanics.
      In all versions of the game up to version 30, if you enter the Bat Room with the garlic, and then try to take the bat (TAKE BAT, GET BAT, TAKE ALL, and GET ALL all work as commands), he will pick you up and transport you to a random location just as if you had entered the room without the garlic in the first place.
      In Versions 75 and after, trying to take the bat meets with the response "You can't reach him; he's on the ceiling." -- Allen Garvin

      13. KAMIKAZE PLAYERS:  In Versions 2 and 5, you can attack the Troll and Thief with yourself, like so:

If you insist.... Poof, you're dead!

   **** You have died ****

In versions 15, 20, 23, 25, 26, 28, and 30, this response is changed to "Suicide is not the answer." In versions 75, 76, and 88, it is changed to "You don't have the you.", but for the Solid Gold version (Version 52), it is changed back to "Suicide is not the answer."
     Apparently this is not a bug. If we equate attacking with "yourself" to mean attacking barehanded, the results sort of make sense. -- Gunther Schmidl

Meretzky Comments:   No, this is a bug. But an interesting one, for what it reveals about the Infocom game system. Each move was handled by a master routine called the "Main Loop" -- it was this routine which called every other routine in the game (either directly or indirectly). The goal of the Main Loop was to make sure that each input by the player was handled -- in other words, that you never got a ">" prompt again without some intervening text. This was done by giving a hierarchical series of routines the chance to handle the input. The three most important of these where the routine associated with the main parts of the input, as identified by the parser: the indirect object, the direct object, and the verb. They were called in that order, so the indirect object's routine always had a chance to handle the input before the direct object's routine had a chance to handle it. (Of course, the indirect object routine didn't handle every input, otherwise none of the other routines would ever get a chance. The verb routine, as the last one in the chain, was the only one which had to handle every response that got that far.) In this case, the indirect object is the object "me". It's clear that this clause of the "me" routine is just asking whether the verb is equal to KILL, whereas it ought to be asking whether the verb is equal to KILL and the "me" object is the direct object, before giving this response. If it did have such a check, the "me" routine would pass on handling this input, and the "troll" routine would probably handle it, and handle it more intelligently.

      14. BLOW IT OUT YOUR...MOUTH:  In all versions of Zork 1, the words "mouth" and "air" are synonyms, presumably because the only thing you might need to do with your mouth is blow out the candles.
         This can produce some unusual responses. For example:

There's nothing special about the blast of air.

You don't have the blast of air.
In versions 30 and earlier, the responses are worded slightly differently:
I see nothing special about the air.

I've known strange people, but fighting a nasty knife?
In the second instance, the early versions actually have a more reasonable response. It's a bit odd to be told that you don't "have" your mouth, but apparently you don't, and no version of the game will let you take it. -- WriterBob

      15. If you try to throw anything at the thief, the game believes that you're giving it to him.

      16. INSTANT DRAINAGE: In Versions 2 and 5, the reservoir drains and refills instantly when the bolt is turned. In later versions, it takes several turns for this to happen.

Meretzky Comments:   This is part of putting in that alternate solution for the Loud Room puzzle.


      1. In the first release of Zork 2 (version 7), the game is subtitled "The Great Underground Empire - Part 2.", in addition to "The Wizard of Frobozz." (See the discussion of the series title under Zork 1, for more about this).

      2. The Zork 2 InvisiClues book contains this question:

How do I go down the staircase landing without being killed?
A. In later releases (revisions) of the game, the landing is guarded by "magical" runes.
B. "Magical wardens," "green lines of enormous power," "close in on you as if searching for something.
C. You may proceed down the stairs and to the finish if you are carrying the Wizard's wand.
However, in the earliest known version of the game, Version 7, the Wand is necessary to win. Either the InvisiClues book is mistaken, or there is an unknown version of the game that predates Version 7.

      3. All versions of Zork 2 know the words "Ulysses" and "Odysseus" (from Zork 1), but have no response for them. The game simply returns no output at all and goes to the next turn. This is obviously a holdover from the days of the mainframe Zork. No version of Zork 3 knows either word. -- P. Darnows

      4. RUMOURS OF HIS DEATH...(or I'M OFF TO KILL THE WIZARD!):  Although (in most versions) you need the Wizard's Wand to win the game, there is more than one way of getting it from him. You can either order the Demon to take it from him, or you can order the Demon to kill him, and then take the Wand. Have you ever wondered what "really" happened (in the official history of Zork)? (i.e. Did the adventurer who later became the 2nd Dungeon Master kill the Wizard of Frobozz or not?)
      The answer is that the Wizard survived. How do you know? Simply play Sorcerer (which takes place nine years later). When you get the Aimfiz scroll, type AIMFIZ WIZARD OF FROBOZZ, and you will see that he is still alive and well.

      5. JACK KEZORKIAN:   In all versions of Zork 2 except for Version 48, you can kill yourself simply by typing KILL, getting this sequence:

If you insist.... Poof, you're dead!
In Version 48, you have to first specify that it's you that you want to kill, and are then told "Suicide is not the answer." .

      6. In all versions except Version 48, if you type ATTACK DRAGON while holding the sword, the game will know that you mean to attack with the sword and do so. However, in Version 48, this command will draw the response "With your bare hands? I doubt the dragon even noticed." In this version you must specify that the sword be used for the attack.

      7. Speaking of Version 48's obtuseness, if you type ENTER LIGHT in the Safety Depository, you will be asked "Which light do you mean, the shimmering curtain of light or the lamp?" In all previous versions, the game knows that you don't want to enter your own lantern, and lets you into the curtain with this command.

      8. In all versions except Version 48, either PUT STRING ON BRICK or PUT STRING IN BRICK will suffice to create your makeshift bomb. In Version 48 PUT STRING ON BRICK tells you "There's no good surface on the brick."

      9. VICTORY THROUGH DEATH:   On the other hand, Version 48 fixed a very serious glitch. In all versions of the game, the Demon/Genie's fee is variable. Items which get Filched by the Wizard are not required as payment, since there is no way to recover them without the Wizard's Wand. All well and good so far.
      But when you die, all of your inventory except the lamp is permanently out of the game, and in versions prior to version 48, items lost in this way are not required for victory EITHER!
      The potential for abuse here is obvious. I have a "walkthrough" of Zork 2 that I downloaded from which has a very novel solution to the Bank of Zork puzzle. The author could not figure out how to get the Portrait and Bills outside of the bank, but he didn't let that stop him. The walkthrough has you first go into the bank, pick up the portrait and bills, and then type KILL, killing yourself, and therefore putting the Portrait and Bills out of play, where they are no longer needed to win!
      In Version 48, this stunt no longer works. Filched items are still not needed to win, but items you lose when you die are.

      10. U.S. NEWS & DUNGEON REPORT:   Unlike Zork 1, Zork 2's newspaper underwent almost no revision at all. In all versions except Version 48, it appears like this:

** U.S. News and Dungeon Report **


Our correspondents report that a world-famous and battle-hardened adventurer has been seen in the vicinity of the Great Underground Empire. Local grues have been reported sharpening their (slavering) fangs....

"Zork: The Wizard of Frobozz" was written by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, and is (c) Copyright 1981 by Infocom, Inc.
In Version 48, the last paragraph was changed to read:   "Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz" was written by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank, and is (c) Copyright 1981, 1982, 1983 by Infocom, Inc.

      11. THE MATCHBOOK:  Similarly, Zork 2's matchbook was only changed once and slightly. In Versions 7, 15, and 18, a LOOK command says:  "There is a matchbook saying "Visit ZORK: GUE I" here.", and READing the matchbook says:

">> Visit Exotic ZORK: GUE I <<

Consult the Frobozz Magic Travel Agency, or visit your local computer store for more details."
In Versions 19, 22, 23, and 48, the LOOK command says There is a matchbook saying "Visit ZORK I" here., and when you READ the matchbook, the first line is changed to: ">> Visit Exotic ZORK I <<.

      12. INVISI RED HERRINGS?:  The Zork 2 Invisiclues book contains this question:

I have all the points but somehow don't feel finished. What do I do?
Answer E. is:
E. When the crypt is dark, the door is visible. (Of course, the crypt will never be dark if you are flourescing.) In release 18 and later, you will need to be carrying the wand also.
As far as I can tell, this is completely wrong. In no version do you seem to need to be carrying the wand to spot the secret door.

      13. IT AIN'T POLITE TO POINT:   Version 7, does not know the word "point" (or "aim", for that matter). Therefore, you cannot POINT the Wizard's Wand at anything to use it. You must WAVE it instead.

      14. In all versions of the game, the coin is referred to as an "engraved zorkmid" in a LOOK command, but a "priceless zorkmid" in an INVENTORY command. However, the game knows the word "priceless," but not the word "engraved."

      15. WIZARD-PROOFED:  There is an interesting and useful side effect of the Black Sphere, that is not mentioned in the Zork 2 InvisiClues book. While you are carrying it, the Wizard will still appear, but will never cast spells when he does.
      I had never noticed this before, as I had always created the Black Sphere just before using it. But in a recent playthrough, I created the Black Sphere as early as possible, and carried it with me while acquring the last few treasures. Every time the Wizard appeared, this was appended to the description:

The Wizard notices that you carry the Black Crystal, and with an unseemly haste, he disappears.
Heh, heh, heh! After the trouble that guy caused, this was a very nice touch.

      16. Most versions of Zork 2 have a completely different syntax for speaking to characters than that used in later Infocom games. You have to put your actual command in quotes, like TELL ROBOT "GO EAST", or TELL GENIE "GIVE ME THE WAND" .
      In the final version of Zork 2, Version 48, the game was updated to allow both this syntax, and the syntax used in other Infocom games. In Version 48, you can use normal commands like ROBOT, EAST, or GENIE, GIVE ME THE WAND.


      1. References to the old Infocom in Activision's first graphical Zork adventure:

            a) Rebecca Snoot mentions "that senile old Wizard, Frobozz, when you ask her about the joke book.
            b) Two of the jokes mention Flatheads in the punchline.
            c) Pugney mentions that the joke book was written by Bizboz.
            d) Alexis, the hellhound poodle is from Wishbringer.
            e) The Dwarven Sword of Zork (formerly the Elvin sword) is the one carried in Zork I-III.
            f) The non-password "swordfish" at the Lighthouse is from an earlier Zork game.
            g) Flood Control Dam #3 is from Zork 1. It looks entirely different, but as we later learn that it was destroyed in Zork:  Grand Inquisitor (and presumably rebuilt), that may close the loophole.

      2. Other external references in the game:

            a) The Blind Bowman is King Graham from the King's Quest series.
            b) The skeleton of Guybrush Threepwood (who claimed to be able to hold his breath for 10 minutes) from the Monkey Island series, and a rag with his initials on it, can be found in the bottle in Canuk's house.
            c) Jaws can also be found inside Canuk's bottle.

      3. Differences between the diskette and CD-ROM versions of Return to Zork:

            a) The CD-ROM version frequently supplies movie sequences to show motion from one place to another, and close-ups of character speeches. The diskette version does not.
            b) In the diskette version, once on the raft, you must click once to go south, and click a second time to go ashore at Shanbar. In the CD-ROM version, the entire raft ride is part of a video sequence.
            c) In the diskette version, after entering the elevator in the Inn, you go to the hallway, and must click on your room to enter it. In the CD-ROM version, this is replaced by a video sequence.
            c) In the diskette version, the bog maze is generated when the game begins, and never changes. In the CD-ROM version, the maze is re-generated each time you enter the bogs.
            e) In the CD-ROM version, the monitor in your hotel room can show a commercial for Whammoprin aspirin. In the diskette version it does nothing.
            f) In the CD-ROM version, after having a dream at the inn, you can exit, re-enter, and have the next dream immediately. In the diskette version, you must go above ground or to the wall of illusion before you can return and have another dream.
            g) In the diskette version, you can hold your breath for 30 turns in Canuk's bottle. In the CD-ROM version, it's only 20 moves.
            h) The geography inside Canuk's bottle varies slightly in the two versions.
            i) In the diskette version, the two negatives in your photo album turn into positive prints as soon as you win the comedy club contest. In the CD-ROM version, you must both win the contest AND take Cliff Robberson's picture.
            j) In the diskette version, all of Wizard Trembyle's appearances in the orb are done with the normal, cruder graphics. In the CD-ROM version, his three appearances in the lighthouse section of the map are done with higher quality video graphics.
            k) The opening credits to the diskette version just show the same title screen as on the box. The CD-ROM opening credits begin with a graphic recreation of the beginning of Zork 1, and show a long flyover over green hills before depositing you in the Valley of the Vultures.
            l) The CD-ROM version has CD-Audio music. In the diskette version, all of the music is MIDI quality.
            m) In the CD-ROM version, Rebecca can't translate her joke unless you've shown the book to Mavis Peepers. In the diskette version, she can NEVER translate it the first time you ask her to, even if Mavis has already seen the book.
            n) The graphics for a few of the locations are changed.
            o) The Diskette version contains The Yummy Bug.
            p) In the CD-ROM version, when you hear something that gets put into Mavis Peeper's notebook, you get the onscreen message "That's noteworthy". There is no notification given in the diskette version.
            q) In the diskette version, the copy protection questions might be anything out of the Encyclopedia Frobozzica. In the CD-Rom version, the copy protection only asks you to name a day of the week.
            r) A few of the responses are added, deleted, or changed. It's impossible to come up with a complete list, but an easy-to-find example is, that in the diskette version the Lighthouse Keeper has no comment about the book of matches, but in the CD-ROM version he'll say "Thanks, I don't smoke."


      1. When you find Antharia Jack's computer, you discover that he had been playing Planetfall on it when he left. However, there are two minor bloopers in the graphic.
      First of all, his screen shows the room description for Deck Nine of the Feinstein, but no text before that. It is impossible to make the screen look like this in any version of the game. The only game where you can get a room description with no preceeding text is in the Solid Gold version of Wishbringer, which clears the screen before executing a RESTORE command.
      The second blooper is more mundane. The final sentence says that the bulkhead is "cleared", when it should say "closed".

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