Unconfirmed Bugs

last updated 11-25-00

These are bugs that have been reported to me, or appeared in Chris Forman's bug list that I have been unable to make work. There may be one of 4 explanations for this: 1) The bug was reported in error, and doesn't really exist; 2) The bug was a part not of the game, but of Infocom's interpreter. Since I used zip.exe or frotz.exe to check out all of the bugs, I would not discover problems like this; 3) No one has ever published a complete list of all the different versions of every Infocom game ever published, and the bug may appear in a version that I don't know about; 4) The bug exists, but the reported description of how to produce it was in error.

A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING: The right side of the screen is truncated in Library Mode using the original Infocom interpreter in Version 79, but not in Version 77 or when using Frotz. As an interpreter problem, this strictly does not fall under the scope of this list, but is still worth noting. -- Linards Ticmanis

BEYOND ZORK: According to Chris Forman's version of the bug list, the potion of forgetfulness doesn't erase your map in Version 57 (the LTOI version), but does in all of the others, and he wondered whether it was a bug or an act of kindness on the part of Infocom. I could not make this one work. In every version, my map was erased. There may be some special circumstance which will protect the map from the potion's effects, but I couldn't find it. - GC

BEYOND ZORK: There is supposedly a bug similar to the "Dip me in Pool" bug. Typing "Hang me in Tree" in a location that has one one results in "the yourself" sliding out of the tree, onto the ground, never to be reclaimed. Re-entering the area later results in the statement "There's yourself here." -- Kris Raney
NOTE: I tried several commands, but was unable to climb the tree at all. - GC

BUREAUCRACY: According to Chris Forman's list, there is a bug in Bureaucracy whereby typing RING THE DOORBELL in front of your house produces the same message that you get when typing it in front of the mansion. However, in both known versions of the game typing RING THE DOORBELL in front of my house produced the message "You can't see any doorbell here."

DEADLINE: According to the New Zork Times, after the murder of Ms. Dunbar, two Dunbars may sometimes be present; one living and the other dead! It says that the bug is present in Version 18, but gone by Version 26. I was unable to reproduce this bug myself, and thus don't know when it happens or whether it occurs in Versions 19, 21 or 22.

ENCHANTER: An error similar to the Jug Bug reportedly allows the player to obtain any spell he wants simply by typing GNUSTO <spell name>. It isn't clear if this works with KULCAD, GUNCHO, or FILFRE. This one was corrected by Version 10.

THE LURKING HORROR: GIVE THE FUNNY BONES TO THE HACKER, and he will swallow them. However, the Bones remain in your inventory, closed and untouched. 
     NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in any version. When I tried, they left my inventory, but they still existed in the room. They couldn't be spotted by examining the room or the hacker, but when I tried to take them again, the hacker responded "Hey, no snarfage, loser,", which the game tells you means "Stop". -- GC

THE LURKING HORROR:   I haven't checked this out yet because it's a hit or miss proposition to make it happen. It is impossible for the player to carry the axe, flask or vat northwest from Sub-Basement to Tomb because they are too large to fit through the passageway. The only way to get them into the Steam Tunnel is to go the long way through the elevator shaft, which necessitates opening the padlock and trapdoor in the Tomb first.
      But Jeffrey Scott Nuttall reports that if the urchin steals any of these things, HE can carry them into the Tomb, and if you can encounter him there after he has stolen the Flask from you, you can take it back from him and get the Flask into the Tomb without opening the padlock and trapdoor first.
      Nuttall reports that when he did this, he tried pouring the liquid on the Padlock in the Tomb to see what would happen. It gave the regular message about the liquid shattering the lock due to the cold. After this, the lock continued to appear in the room description, even though it was gone.

MOONMIST: If you give another character a sequence of commands, ending with a request that the character follow you, the character will instantly appear at your side, no matter where he or she is. For example, lead a character to the first-floor gallery. Now type: [character], GO DOWN THEN GO WEST THEN GO NORTH THEN GO WEST THEN GO DOWN THEN FOLLOW ME. (You may have to abbreviate the directions to fit all of them into one command, depending on what interpreter you are using). The character should now be in the kitchen, but if you go east, into your room, he or she will instantly reappear at your side. This works in both versions of the game, but will only work after you have left the room in the dinner scene, as characters will not follow you until then.
    NOTE:  Based on further information from Chris Forman, I have now gotten this to work, but I am not convinced that it is a bug. Movement in Moonmist, for both the player and the non-player characters seems to be much faster than in other Infocom games. For example, in the situation listed above, the player can him/herself get to the kitchen from the gallery in one turn (and one minute!) with the command GO TO KITCHEN, rather than having to enter all 5 directions, which would take 5 minutes, regardless of whether they were entered one command at a time, or with all 5 directions on one line. In fact, the player can go almost anyplace in one turn with the GO TO command, so it's not surprising that the NPC's can go there and back again. Perhaps it shouldn't have been done that way, but it appears to be deliberate.

NORD AND BERT COULDN'T MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT: Although he couldn't recall details, Chris Forman once got the game into an unsolvable state by performing several actions out of sequence, with the skeleton in the bathtub in the "Meet the Mayor" scene. He remembers being unable to interact with the skeleton, despite the fact that the room description said it was still there.
          Len Pitre confirms that this is accomplished simply by Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater before Deep Sixing The Skeleton. Throwing the baby out empties the tub (which disappears and can't be refilled) even though you still need it to be able to Deep Six the Skeleton. It's not clear if this is a bug or not. If not, it's certainly a design weakness, as there's no indication that you should hold off on emptying the tub unless you happened to look in the closet first. And most people would assume that an emptied tub could just be refilled if necessary.

PLANETFALL: Ordering Floyd to take an item is interpreted by the game as if the player typed TAKE FLOYD. -- New Zork Times
     NOTE: I could not get this one to work. In all four known versions, asking Floyd to take something just made him say "Enough talking! Let's play Hider-and-Seeker!" (...good old Floyd.) -- GC

SORCERER: In earlier versions, it is possible to get and GNUSTO the Golmac spell. Trying to leave with the Golmac scroll causes a paradox, and you lose your grip on the rope if you try to enter the room with the spell book. However, if you cast the GASPAR spell on yourself, and then leave the room without picking up the scroll, you'll reappear in the room after you're resurrected. When this happens, all your possessions will be intact, and you'll be able to take the scroll and GNUSTO GOLMAC. Unfortunately, the Infocom programmers never planned for this, so casting it elsewhere in the game doesn't accomplish anything. Interesting trick, though.
     NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in any version. In the early versions, you didn't reappear with all your possessions, and in the later versions, you didn't reappear with the golmac scroll. Either I did something wrong, or there is another version of Sorcerer not on the above list where this trick works. The Golmac spell can be Gnustoed in Version 4 of course, by using the "Take any Scroll" bug. -- GC

SORCERER: In an early version, you could open the trunk with a Rezrov spell, although you would fail to gain points by doing so, and thus be unable to finish with a perfect score. I can't find a version that this works in, not even Version 67 (a beta-test datafile that is outside the scope of this list), however it was reported in the New Zork Times, so it must exist somewhere. -- Graeme Cree

SPELLBREAKER: In Version 63, it's impossible to offer the merchant an exact number of zorkmids in exchange for the magic carpet (for example, you can't OFFER 250 ZORKMIDS). All you can do is offer him the opal or the coin.
     NOTE: I had no problem offering an exact number of zorkmids. Either OFFER 250 or OFFER 250 ZORKMIDS worked. If it were impossible to offer a specific number of zorkmids, there would be no way to haggle the price down to 500. -- GC

STARCROSS: You can climb into the viewport of the Starcross or the alien ship, but can't climb back out. You get the response "Super-brief descriptions", as if you had typed the SUPERBRIEF command. There is apparently no way out other than restarting or restoring... -- Chris D. Lang
     NOTE: I couldn't make this work in either Versions 15 or 17. - GC

STARCROSS: Trying to shake an object puts the game into an infinite loop.
     NOTE: I couldn't get this to work either. - GC

TRINITY: THE SHINING BUG - This involves getting a string of garbage from shining the splinter without specifying an object. It is not present in the LTOI version. Earlier versions should have it, though. -- C.E. Forman
     NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in either version 11 or 12. -- GC

THE WITNESS: In Version 13, you can trap Phong in the following way (or something like it). Take the keys from Phong. Go outside to the front door and ring the bell (although Phong has to be far from the door when you do this, I think), and then unlock the door and go inside and wait for Phong to go out the door to let you in, close the door and lock it. Phong will be both inside and outside the door. I'm not sure if this is the exact way to do it, as I've only managed to get him trapped once, and the following times it didn't seem to work, so maybe there's more to it than that. -- Edan Harel

ZORK I: Ethan Dicks refers to a review of Zork I which stated "In one of the original versions of Zork I, it was possible to be killed by a random caving in of rocks. However, due to a bug in the scheduling system, this could happen when you were outside in the forest. Meteors, no doubt."
     I've never seen this happen in version 5. Perhaps the review refers to one of the mainframe versions of Zork.

ZORK I: The Two Boats Bug. In all versions up to at least version 23, it is possible to create a situation where there are two boats in play, the inflated boat, and the pile of plastic. I have a saved game showing this phenomenon, but have been unable to discover yet how to deliberately create it. -- Graeme Cree

ZORK I: Alan Franzman reports a situation where the thief spares you, then thinks better of it, like so.

Your stroke lands, but it was only the flat of the blade.
Shifting in the midst of a thrust, the thief knocks you unconscious with the haft of his stiletto.
The thief, a man of good breeding, refrains from attacking a helpless opponent.
The thief, forgetting his essentially genteel upbringing, cuts your throat.
It appears that that last blow was too much for you. I'm afraid you are dead.

*** You have died ***

ZORK II: If you look into one of the three spheres when they are all in the same place, the game will recursively describe the room as seen through each sphere, which will overflow the interpreter stack.
     NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in any version. If I looked into a sphere while holding all three, I saw only darkness. If I dropped them all and looked into one, the room was described normally, with no crash. However, one of the two spheres that I didn't look into was always missing from the room description. -- GC

ZORK II: Another minor parser bug: Start the game, and try using a pronoun in your first command, such as EXAMINE IT. You should get the reply: There's nothing special about the . This happens in other games running early versions of the Infocom parser. In games where the problem has been corrected, it will say "There's nothing special about the ."
     NOTE: This is in fact a parser bug, and not a bug in the actual game. It also occurs in both the IBM and Apple ][ original interpreters in Deadline, Infidel, and most of the early games. With frotz, you will always get "There's nothing special about the ." -- GC

ZORK II: If you time it right, you can blow up the base of the volcano while in the balloon. This requires dropping the bomb on the ground and lighting it, then crawling into the basket before it explodes. If you do it right, the computer should tell you that the balloon settles to the ground, followed by "You can't go that way." -- John Payson

ZORK II: I made this work before, but somehow it doesn't work for me now. In Zork 2 (and probably other early games), using the word IT more than twice in a row would make the game forget what "IT" was. For example, the third time I tried to EXAMINE IT, the game said "I see nothing special about the random object."

BETA-TEST DATAFILES Betatest datafiles are not considered in this list, as they were never intended to be seen by the general public, and because betatest programs are "supposed" to have bugs in them. Nevertheless, there are a couple of beta versions of Infocom games known to be floating around, whose existence is worth noting: GAME VERSION Seastalker 86/840320 Sorcerer 67/000000 Zork 1: Das Grosse Unterweltreich 3/880113

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