Skip to main content

Full text of "NZT3.3"

See other formats

“All the Grues 
That Fit, We Print” 

Puzzle — pp. 7 & 8 
Sports — p. 6 
Ask Duffy — p. 5 

VOL. 3. . . .No. 3 

SUMMER 1984 





Nights on Hardscrabble Island are lonely and cold when the lighthouse 
barely pierces the gloom. You sit on your bed, thinking of better times and 
far-off places. A knock on your door stirs you, and Hevlin, a shipmate you 
haven't seen for years staggers in. 

"I'm in trouble," he says. "I had a few too many at The Shanty. I was 
looking for Red, but he wasn't around, and I started talking about.... Here," 
he says, handing you a slim volume that you recognize as a shipwreck book 
written years ago by the Historical Society. 

You smile. Every diver on the island has looked for those wrecks, without 
even an old boot to show for it. You open the door, hoping the drunken fool 
will leave. "I know what you're thinking'," Hevlin scowls, "but look!" He 
points to the familiar map, and you see new locations marked for two of the 

"Keep it for me," he says. "Just for tonight. It'll be safe here with you. Don't 
let—." He stops and broods for a moment. "I've got to go find Red!" And with 
that, Hevlin leaves. 

You put the book in your dresser and think about following Hevlin. Then 
you hear a scuffle outside. You look through your window and see two men 
struggling. One falls to the ground in a heap. The other man bends down 
beside him, then turns as if startled and runs away. Another man then 
approaches the wounded figure. He kneels beside him for a long moment, 
then takes off after the other man. 

It isn't long before the police arrive to tell you that Hevlin's been murdered. 
You don't mention the book, and hours later, as you lie awake in your bed, 
you wonder if the book could really be what it seems. 

Cutthroats is Infocom’s first new product to appear in the new 
package design. 

That is just the beginning of 
Cutthroats, Infocom's newest title in 
the Tales of Adventure genre. Writ¬ 
ten by Michael Bcrlyn ( Suspended, 
Infidel) with the assistance of Jerry 
Wolper, Cutthroats promises to be 
another Infocom classic. 

The story takes place on Hard¬ 
scrabble Island, a dying little seaport 
all but forgotten. The island hasn't 
got much to offer, and diving off the 
treacherous reefs has long since lost 
its charm. So when the chance of a 
lifetime is dropped into your hands, 
you're ready for action. True, your 
cohorts are untrustworthy. Granted, 
keeping the sunken treasure a secret 
is practically impossible on such a 
small island. Naturally, diving alone 
in new areas is dangerous. But if you 
keep your head and get the treasure, 
the riches will more than offset the 
risks you have to take. 

There are a number of new twists 

in Cutthroats. Dealing with a group 
of shady characters is one thing, but 
having to cooperate with them as you 
do in Cutthroats is another. The 
character interactions differ from 
those in other Infocom stories since 
the plot requires everyone involved 
to agree on taking risks together. In 
Cutthroats, you're not the leader of 
the expedition, you're one of four 
people whose survival depends on 
working together. 

Cutthroats comes with a book 
entitled "Four Shipwrecks Off Hard¬ 
scrabble Island." There's also a map 
showing where the shipwrecks went 
down, a price list from Outfitters 
International, a tide table and, of 
course, the True Tales of Adventure 
magazine. It is a standard level game 
and will sell for $39.95 on most 
systems. Q 

- InfoNews 

New Packaging 

Infocom has been known for its 
remarkable packaging since it began 
selling Zork I. At the time, software 
was sold in plastic bags, often with 
mimeographed manuals. Along came 
Infocom with full-color, profession¬ 
ally produced blister packs. 

Over time, Infocom packaging 
became more and more noteworthy. 
Deadline - with its police file full 
of reports, clues, photo, and even 
pills found near the body - was 
another software packaging break¬ 
through. Next to appear were 
Starcross , in its distinctive "flying 
saucer," and Suspended , with the 
white mask which catches attention 
from 50 feet away. Planetfall , 
Witness , Enchanter , Infidel , 
Sorcerer , and Seastalker were a 

Roundup - 

bit less far-out in appearance and 
shape, but continued Infocom's 
tradition of interesting and useful 
package elements. 

Now we have taken the next step. 
We believe that we have created the 
most innovative package in the 
industry. Measuring 9" by 7 " by 
1". the first thing you will note is that 
our new packages are consistent in 
size and look, without sacrificing any 
of their individuality. The package 
opens like a book to reveal a conven¬ 
ient 24-page "browsie" and improved 
technical manual ("browsie" is our 
term for the section which ties into 
the game). The disk and package 
elements are packed in a re-closable 
tray for convenient storage. These 
packages will store very handsomely 
on your shelf. 

continued on page 7 



SUMMER 1984 

Editorial Page 

3-Aug-84 10:43:14-EDT,580;000000000001 
Mail-From: SWG created at 3-Aug-84 10:40:00 
Date: 3 Aug 1984 1040-EDT 
From: Stu Galley (SWG at ZORK) 

Subject: grue songs 
To: everybody at ZORK 

What songs do you think grues might sing around a campfire, if they 
ever made campfires and felt like singing? 

Flow about: 

"I could Flave Lurked All Night" "I Get a Nip out of You" 

"Lurking in the Dark" "Stayin' Alive" 

"I've Been Lurking on the Railroad"* "Sunglasses at Night" 
"Strangers in the Night" "Flelp!" 

"Tonight We Lurk" "Fley, Grue!" 

* Please, no jokes about what kind of railroad. 

3-Aug-84 11:01:02-EDT, 226;0000000001 
Date: 3 Aug 1984 1101-EDT 
From: Jerry Wolper (JW at ZORK) 

Subject: Re: grue songs 
To: SWG 

In-Reply-To: Your message of 3-Aug-84 1040-EDT 
"Flere Comes the Dark" 

"Fangs for the Memories" 

"Slaverin' Alive" 

“I’ve been playing Zork for three years 
and I haven’t gotten into the house yet.” 

As seen in June 1984 Computer Games Magazine. Reprinted with permission. 


3-Aug-84 11:15:32-EDT,366;000000000011 

Date: 3 Aug 1984 1115-EDT 

From: Steve Meretzky (SEM at ZORK) 

Subject: Re: grue songs 
To: SWG 

In-Reply-To: Your message of 3-Aug-84 1040-EDT 

1) A grue would never light a fire, or stick around if someone else did. 

2) Grues don't sing, they gurgle. 

3) Isn't it a little early in the day for you to be drinking? 

4) How about "Grue Moon"? 

3-Aug-84 11:42:18-EDT,466;000000000001 
Date: 3 Aug 1984 1142-EDT 
From: Stu Galley (SWG at ZORK) 

Subject: Re: grue songs 
To: SEM 

In-Reply-To: Your message of 3-Aug-84 1115-EDT 

1) No problem. All they need is a source of intense, flickering DARK. 

Remember all those weird things you 
wrote on your Owner Registration 
Card because you thought no one 
would ever read them...? 

Zork I - 

"The best of all adventures. I am a 

Richard, 15, Douglaston, NY 
"Wow! I love it! I love every game 
you make! Who needs graphics any¬ 

Jeremy, 13, USAED, Japan 

Zork III - 

"Infocom's games are the reason for 
buying a computer!" 

Ariel, 15, Mission, TX 

Suspended - 

"The robots have become family 

Arlie, 37, Chester, MA 

Zork/Planetfall - 

"I use these games as rewards for 
good performance in my class." 

Ken, 47, San Juan Capistrano, CA 

Planetfall/Infidel - 

"I missed a car payment to get these 

Joseph, 20, Ocean View, NJ 

Infidel - 

"Closest thing to literature yet." 

Carol, 32, Honolulu, HI 

Zork is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc. Enchanter, Sorcerer, Starcross, Suspended, Planet- 
fall, Deadline, Witness, Suspect, Infidel, Seastalker, Cutthroats , and InvisiClues are trademarks of 
Infocom, Inc. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a trademark of Douglas Adams. 

2) Ditto. Gurgling songs is okay by me. 

3) Isn't it a little early in the day for you to be assuming that I didn't get 
this idea last night? 

4) Yaaaaaaaaaay! I guess grues love a new moon because the night is 

4-Aug-84 13:17:17-EDT,290;000000000001 

Date: 4 Aug 1984 1317-EDT 

From: Brian Moriarty (PROF at ZORK) 

Subject: On the incompatibility of Grues and Campfires 
To: SWG 

Silly Stu! How could a Grue even get near a campfire? Too bright! 

Maybe they could have a '60s psychedelic party instead... with black 

QJlje Hmk ainu's 

Chairman Albert “Al” Vezza 
Contributing Editor Jeff “Jeff” O’Neill 
Semi-Contributing Editor Steven “Steve” Meretzky 
Non-Contributing Editor Hollywood “Dave” Anderson 
Features Editor Dave “Dave” Lebling 
Entomology Artist Tom “TV” Veldran 

Puzzle Editor Jon “Buckingham” Palace 
Puzzled Editor Michael “Mike” Dornbrook 
Vacationing Editor Marc “Mark” Blank 
Production Manager Angela “Angela” Raup 

© 1984 Infocom, Inc. 

SUMMER 1984 




By Stu Galley 

for The New Zork Times 

I got hooked on interactive fiction 
in early 1982, when I tested a 
preliminary version of Deadline. I 
had seen Zork and thought it was 
interesting, even fun, but the fantasy 
theme and the arbitrary nature of the 
puzzles did not excite me personally. 
But Deadline was different: it had a 
realistic setting, a realistic and coher¬ 
ent puzzle to solve, and a semblance 
of plot in its events and movements. 
So when, in the summer of 1982, I 
got the opportunity to work on a 
sequel, I took it! 

The working title was "Invitation 
to Murder." Marc Blank had 
conceived the plot and made some 
sketches of the scene of the crime. 
The most significant part of the plot 
was Linder's death scene, which 
Marc had placed in a dining room 
with the detective and the other 
characters attending a dinner party, 
like the final scene in The Thin Man. 
Except for someone on the phone 
and someone else in the bathroom, 
everyone would be a witness to the 
death. Using the Deadline package 
as a model, Marc imagined that you 
would learn about the characters 
from newpaper stories instead of 
police interviews, and that the post¬ 
mortem reports on Linder would be 
sealed inside an envelope with these 
instructions: "Do not open this pack¬ 
age until instructed to do so." 

With Dave Lebling's help, Marc 
had outlined the story in a few type¬ 
written pages: who the main charac¬ 
ters were, what their motives were, 
what evidence there would be, what 
you would see before the shooting, 
and so on. So I began my moonlight¬ 
ing work at Infocom by expanding 
on that outline: completing the per¬ 
sonal histories, designing a realistic 
house, and running the story forward 
and backward through my head, with 
all the variations I could imagine, 
until I was convinced that there were 
no "holes" in the plot, that it made 
sense no matter how you looked at it 
or made your way through it. 

Then the programming began. I 
made a copy of the Deadline 
program and ripped out everything 
that I didn't need: the house, the 
characters, the evidence, and the 
plot. Then I could build my own 

story on the foundation that was left. one. The Los Angeles area got cheap information about the case, the news- 
I decided to begin with the house, so electricity from Boulder (now paper stories that tell you about the 
that I could play the game as soon as Hoover) Dam, completed in 1935, so main characters, and an instruction 
possible, even before I put in the the late thirties seemed like a good manual. There should also be some- 
characters. As I had hoped, it was a choice. I didn't want the complica- thing tangible that relates to Linder's 
thrill when the fledgling program let tions of wartime living, and most fears and his relationship with Stiles: 
me walk around this house in my people now think of World War II the suicide note from the police file 
imagination! By the time the shoot- starting in 1939, so that was too late, on Mrs. Linder's death. We all 
ing first occurred, I was ready to quit And '38 has the same digits as '83, wanted something even more 

my regular job and work at Infocom the year of writing, so I chose it. tangible, something like the pills in 

full time, at least. Next, I wanted a contrast with Deadline that no one could forget. 

In late January 1983, the program Deadline , so the season had to be But what evidence could you gather 
held together enough for me to winter, and I think of February as the before even entering the property? 
demonstrate it to the folks at our epitome of winter, with no connota- Finally the idea hit us: something 
advertising agency, as long as I tions of New Year's Day or the that a character could have dropped 

didn't stray too far from the main line spring to come. The day should be just outside the property, something 

change the setting from contempo- Friday, so that a police detective 
rary to the golden age of American could plausibly have time to check 
mysteries, the 1930's. Since Mike out the case after work, and the 
Berlyn had also suggested this, I got moon should be nearly full, so that 
a copy of Raymond Chandler's The darkness would not play a part in the 
Big Sleep , and within a few pages I mystery. That settled it: February 18. 
was convinced! Soon my office (I didn't realize, until the day arrived, 
bookshelf had an old Sears catalog that February 18, 1983, was also a 
and a pictorial history of advertising Friday!) 

(to help me furnish the house and In early February, Marc and I met 
clothe the characters), the Dictionary with the agency's designers at a 
of American Slang (to add color to restaurant to figure out how to 
the text), and a 1937 desk encyclope- supply the evidence in the package, 
dia (to weed out anachronisms). The designers argued strongly that 

Now, how to choose a particular everything in the package should be 
date for the story, as in Deadline ? I available to the detective before the 
wanted a contrast between our story begins, with none of this sealed 
present-day view of the thirties and envelope business. We already knew 
the characters' view, so I decided to that the package should contain the 
make the house a "modern" electric telegram that signifies your first 

intriguing, informative, and true to 
life. How about a phone number 
cryptically scribbled on something? 
How about a restaurant matchbook? 
And so it was. 

Soon the agency began seeking 
sources of authentic-looking props. 
Western Union was kind enough to 
supply the design for a 1937 
telegram, and American Optical 
(another client of the agency) 
supplied copies of their ads from the 
period. Used magazines and pulp 
novels from a second-hand store 
supplied more ads and plenty of 
ideas for the package cover and 
magazine layout. The Register news¬ 
paper in Santa Ana was a great find: 

continued on page 4 



SUMMER 1984 

Mail Bag, 

The "Call the Exterminators" article 
in the Winter issue of The New Zork 
Times generated more mail than any 
other article we have run (excluding 
the puzzles). We'd like to thank those 
of you who wrote to us. We are 
unable to print all of the letters re¬ 
ceived due to space considerations. 

Dear Mr. Vezza 
and Staff of NZT: 

Thank you very much for The New 
Zork Times. I am a real Infocom 
groupie. I love all of your games 

.. .Anatomy of a Game 

continued from page 3 

not only did they give us permission 
to reprint, but also they sent enlarge¬ 
ments of several possible front and 
inside pages from their microfilm 
archives, so that we could pick the 
one we liked best. All the type had to 
be set again, to match our fictitious 
stories, but the photos were usable. 
Many of the original stories were 
funnier than any we had time to 

Meanwhile, back at the program, 
the "alpha" test had begun, when a 
company tester played the game over 
and over, looking for bugs and in¬ 
consistencies. He discovered signifi¬ 
cant "branches" in the story that I 
had overlooked. For example, what 
if the player sneaks into the house or 
doesn't go in at all until too late? The 
first possibility raised too many 
complications, so we decided to lock 
all the outside doors. For the second 
case, I had to invent a new sub-plot 
that could involve trying to accost 
Stiles and get new evidence, or 
trying to get past Phong after Stiles 
had come and gone. 

The "beta" test began in mid- 
March, when we sent copies of the 
program and the prototype package 
to some friends and volunteers 
outside the company. Based on their 
reports, and on continuing testing at 
Infocom, we decided to add some 
features to round out the story: 
giving the characters responses to 
questions about yourself, letting you 
handcuff the corpse, putting the L.A. 
Times (found in the Harvard library ) 
in Linder's office, using its radio 
schedule to make the radio programs 

because they are challenging and 
they respect my intelligence rather 
than insulting it. 

As a result of this addiction. I 
really appreciate getting first-hand 
beef on what's new and forthcoming 
from the Infolabs. I thought that you 
should be commended for your in¬ 
formative and humorous publication. 
I am sure that I speak for thousands 
of others. The puzzles are also 
challenging, and a lot of fun. too! 
Another great idea. 

I have questions for your summer 
edition: How do you determine the 

authentic, and so on. 

In late April, we sent out copies for 
final testing, which we call the 
"gamma" test. During this time, I got 
the feeling (which was typical. I was 
assured) that there was no end to the 
little bugs that kept appearing, and 
that maybe I should throw away the 
program and start over. But finally 
the bug reports trailed off as the 
deadline for production neared. In 
late May, I declared the program 
finished, prepared master disks for 
all the different computer versions 
that Infocom sold at the time, and 
sent them out for duplication. It 
wasn't until July that The Witness 
appeared in stores, and it was several 
months later that the first magazine 
review appeared. 

What was the biggest thrill in the 
whole process? I don't know, 
because there are many thrills: 

► designing the story, when the op¬ 
portunities seem so rich; 

► playing the game myself for the 
first time; 

► watching someone else play it for 
the first time; 

► making a complex feature of the 
story work, after many trials; 

► seeing a package design that I feel 
good about; 

► seeing a complete package, "hot 
off the press"; 

► seeing my creation on the shelf (or 
in the window!) of a store; 

► reading a favorable review of the 
story; or 

► getting a special piece of fan mail 
from someone who got hooked on 
interactive fiction because of me! g 

point value for the solving of any 
particular puzzle or treasure? What 
happens after Zork VT1 Are you 
going to carry the Zork series further, 
to 7, 8, and 9? Again, congrats. 
Thanks for reading my letter. 

P.S.- Crush Spinnaker and Lotus! 

Editor's response: The point 
values for treasures or problems are 
related to the difficulty of attaining 
or solving them (with some 
exceptions, such as the 2 point 
treasure in Zork I). Different 
problems are more or less difficult 
for different people, but on average 
large numbers of points are 
associated with difficult problems. 
As for Zork VII etc., that would be 


I am only 13 years old, but a true 
adventurer. The article "Call the 
Exterminator" reminded me of a 
mirror that fights back in Zork I. 

The player types HIT MIRROR 
WITH SWORD and Zork replies any 
one of the combat replies, like 
"Clash! Clang! The mirror parries!" 
or something else like "The mirror 
dies in a cloud of sinister black fog." 

I am glad I shared this news with 

Peter Schweda 

Chicago Illinois 

To the Editor: 

I loved your newest issue, and es¬ 
pecially liked the part about the bugs 
in the games, but I was surprised to 
find that you missed the bug that is 
the most fun to play with. On the 
TRS-80 Model I version, if you type: 


it responds with something like: 

The troll accepts your gift, and 
not having the most discriminat¬ 
ing tastes, eats it. 

The troll, disarmed, is cowering 
and begging for forgiveness in 
the gutteral tongue of the trolls. 

If you give the troll to the troll, he 
similarly eats himself, and disap¬ 
pears; however, he still bars you 
from leaving the room. 

Another fun bug (if you can get it 
to happen) is if you give the troll to 

the thief. The thief takes the troll and 
puts him in his bag. When you kill 
the thief, the troll pops up and blocks 
off all the exits from the room. If you 
give the thief to the troll, he will just 
reappear later in the game. 

Adam Cliff Honig 

Huntington, NY 

Dear Enchanter programmer: 

I regret to inform you that you 
have not allowed for the capture and 
sacrifice of any creature besides the 
humble novice enchanter such as 
myself who inadvertently strays into 
the Temple during a ceremony. 
Having instructed the turtle to enter 
the temple, I was dismayed to 
discover that upon completion of the 
turtle's three or four move term in the 
Cell, it was I who was released from 
the cell (which I had never entered) 
only to be offered up as a sacrifice to 
some bloodthirsty god in a rather 
gruesome ritual. 

Similarly, when the loyal turtle or 
the shifty adventurer encounters the 
hideous shapes which seem to plague 
areas such as the Banquet Hall and 
the Library, it is once again the 
good-hearted enchanter who receives 
notice of their fate as if it were his 
own, although he thankfully is not 
obliged to share that fate. 

Christopher P. Thorman (MIT ’88) 

Great Falls, VA 

To Whoever (preferably the writer 
of "Call the Exterminator" for the 
Volume #3, Issue #1 of The New 
Zork Times): 

Talk about bugs. Poor Michael has 
one in Suspended. What happened 
was: I had Waldo get the four-inch 
cable which ended up in a "Sizzle...." 
Big Deal! I had Poet drag Waldo to 
Alpha Repair and pull him up on the 
glider so he could get fixed. After he 
got fixed, I had them go back to the 
Primary Channel where Waldo got 
zapped. But I noticed something 
when I asked Poet to look. He 
replied, " the room with me is a 
non-functional Waldo." I immedi¬ 
ately had Waldo look to make sure 
he was working. Waldo was working 
and replied, " the room with me 
is non-functional Poet"! 

John Eric Markey 

Houston, TX 

SUMMER 1984 



Dear Zorkers: 

I just read The New Zork Times and 
I loved it. When I first got Zork I, 
which was a long time ago, I found 
out that if you get in the raft and put 
the torch in the raft, the raft will burn 
to ashes and you won't be able to 
move. If you say WEST (or another 
direction), it says "You can't control 
the magic boat with words." But if 
it says "You can't see any boat here." 
Anyway, keep up the good work! 

P.S.- On all my games (and I have 
all to date), if I say AGAIN as the 
first move, they say "Brief Descrip¬ 

Kevin Clark 

Editor's Note: The boat is 

★ ★ Letter of the Month ★ ★ 
Dear Sirs: 

I am presently designing a game of 
my own, but I am basing it from 
games like Zork II, to do this I have 
to make the program like the follow¬ 
ing example LET C EQUAL 24, and 
that would take a considerable time 
to program. 

The main reason why I am writing, 
is that on the monitor screen Zork II 
aids or prompts you with an arrow 
for your answer to the question 
which is in words not numbers which 
I like. If possible, could you please 
explain in great detail how to pro¬ 
gram for prompt arrow. Thank you 
for your time and consideration. 

(name withheld) 


Here at Middlesex County offices 
of The New Zork Times, we take 
great pride in the quality of our 
work. Even after issues are "out the 
door," we're constantly improving, 
honing, and perfecting. If you find an 
error, feel that an article was boring 
or particularly good, a puzzle was 
too hard or too easy, or have sugges¬ 
tions for future articles or puzzles, 
drop us a note! We love every excuse 
to stop working, and a letter from 
you is just such an excuse! Write to: 

New Zork Times Editor 


55 Wheeler Street. 

Cambridge, MA 02138 


Dear Duffy: 

Some of my friends in the play¬ 
ground told me that opening a disk 
drive while it's running can cause 
warts. Is this true? 

-Worried About Warts 

Dear Wart: 

To answer your question, I went 
straight to an expert: Professor 
Humbick Q. Fiddleberry, Depart¬ 
ment Head of Harvard University's 
School of Dermatology and 
Computer Science. He claims there's 
absolutely no chance of getting warts 
from opening a disk drive - unless, 
of course, there's a frog inside it. 

Dear Duffy: 

There's a girl in my Science class 
who I really have a crush on. I in¬ 
vited her to my house to play Zork II 
on my TI-99. We had a really good 
time, but then her parents found out 
about it. They've seen "Wargames" 
and think that all computer hackers 
are dangerous criminals. What 
should we do? 

-Not A Dangerous Criminal 
Dear Not: 

This is a common syndrome 
among parents. Explain to them, in 
an intelligent and mature way, that 
you are not going to blow up the 
world, and that Zork II is a harmless 
and educational pastime. If this does¬ 
n't work, get a lucrative job in the 
computer industry, start your own 
high-tech company, attract millions 
in venture capital, buy a huge estate 
in California, take lots of world 
cruises, get elected to an important 
government post, discover a cure for 
cancer, and write several best-selling 
novels. After that, her parents proba¬ 
bly won't mind if she visits you to 
play Zork III. 

Dear Duffy: 

I recently discovered that my 
daughter has been visiting the home 
of a boy in her Science class to play 
computer games. My husband and I 
are terrified that they will acciden¬ 
tally break into some secret defense 
network and start World War III. We 
have told her to stop going there. Are 
we being overly protective? 

-Nervous Mom 

Dear Nerv: 

You're doing exactly the right 
thing. The kid is probably some kind 
of dangerous Commie prevert. You 
should give his name to the FBI so 
they can stop him before it's too late. 
Also, if your home is near any major 
strategic nuclear targets. I'd start 
thinking about moving. 

Dear Duffy: 

I'm very worried about my parents. 
Lately, they spend all their time 
playing those mindless arcade games 
on our home computer. I've tried 
turning them on to my favorite 
Infocom games, like Planetfall and 
Enchanter, but they say they find 
them too difficult, and just keep 
playing Eggplant Kong. My dad 
used to be a news hound, and my 
mother loved the Times' crossword 

puzzle, but neither of them has 
picked up a newspaper for months! 
I'm worried about their brains 
turning to mush. 

-Frantic Son 

Dear Fran: 

If your parents found other 
Infocom games too hard, maybe you 
should try giving them Seastalker. 
It's easier than the games you 
mentioned. Better hurry, though, 
before your parents start smoking, 
hanging around the local pool hall, 
and staying out late. 

Dear Duffy: 

Are you any relation to the Sgt. 
Duffy in Deadline and The Witness ? 

-Curious in Canada 

Dear Can: 

I'm not telling. 

Who said a career 
can’t be fun and games? 

Objective: To join Infocom's staff of creative profes¬ 

To Begin: Select a suitable player below. 

The Players: 

■ Game designers — Conceive, develop and implement fictional 
interactive stories for use on personal computers, alone and in 
collaboration with published authors. Write stories within 
existing genres and develop new genres suitable for the inter¬ 
active mode. 

■ Staff Writer — Create and compose fictional pieces (magazine 
articles, letters, etc.) and non-technical instructional materials 
to accompany interactive stories for use on personal 
computers. Versatility and writing samples required. 

■ Junior Product Tester — Test and debug new products on 
microcomputers. Help develop new product support materials. 

■ Software Engineer — Write virtual machine emulators for 
Macintosh. Assist in developing the virtual machine specifica¬ 
tion to provide Macintosh support in a LISP-like language. Write 
system utilities to communicate between a DEC 2060 and the 
Macintosh. Requires 68000 experience and Pascal or C/UNIX. 

■ Software Engineer — Write virtual machine emulators for 
MS/DOS and IBM compatible systems. 8086/88/87 experience a 

To Play: Stand at the threshold of Infocom, Inc., the creators 
of Zork, Deadline, Planetfall and many other exciting, innova¬ 
tive text adventures. 

To Win: The next move is yours... 

Hint: Call Judith Forsythe at (617) 492-1031 or send your 
resume to: Dept. 002, Infocom, Inc., 55 Wheeler St., Cam¬ 
bridge, MA 02138. 




SUMMER 1984 

THE INFOTEAM. First row (left to right)'. Richard Ilson, Dave Lebling, Betty Rock, Linda “Tex” Avery, Joanne Avtges, Harle “The Big H” Perkins, Paul DiLascia, 
Michael Berlyn, Muffy Berlyn; Second row: Barry Starr, Tom Smaldone, Barry Jacobson, Duncan Blanchard (in striped shirt), Richard Weissberg, Mike Dornbrook, 
Jeff O’Neill, Ernie Brogmus, Mark Sawtelle; Back row: Hollywood “Dave” Anderson, Mary Ellen O’Connor, Marc Blank, Jon Palace, Kristin Palace, Elizabeth Metz. 



You are standing at the entrance to a large field of wilted grass... 

Absent among the spectators of 
Infocom's softball games this year 
were pro scouts (though, it was said, 
the Red Sox' should have been the 
exception). So the careers of the 
likes of Dave Winfield, Steve 
Garvey, and Doug Gwodsz remain 

Then again, would these perform¬ 
ers in a different recreational indus¬ 
try negotiate the twists of the Zork I 
Maze as confidently as they round 
the bases of their familiar diamond? 
And would their slugging percentage 
suffer if they were to face the 
Hooded Figure or the Troll in the 
shadowy world of Zork rather than 
the sunny offerings of Fernando 
Valenzuela? Different strokes. 

When the dust settled in the second 
year of the Boston area's Software 
Softball league, Infocom had earned 
the rank of Good Team with a 5-2 
record, beating archrival Spinnaker 
in the playoffs, then dropping a 
heartbreaking best-of-three series to 
Softrend. Afterward, spirits had not 
been as low since Floyd died. 

The taste of defeat still fresh as 
waybread, the Infocom faithful 
gathered at a Polynesian restaurant in 
hometown Cambridge, to huddle for 
the last time over sweet-and-sour 

pork and a veritable Frigid River of 
Mai Tais to commiserate over an 
equally bittersweet season. 

Among the heroic on the team was 
"Hollywood" Dave Anderson, 
product testing supervisor, who 
found more holes in the opponents' 
defense than in the first version of 
Seastalker. HDA's dress code 
(Hawaiian shirts five days a week) 
determined the team uniform, but his 
reputation as a swinger also applied 
to his batting, as he again took the 
Babe Flathead Award for the second 
straight season, with five homeruns. 

Also performing at the Advanced 
level was Marc Blank, who, while 
leading the team with 22 RBI's, 
apparently had learned a lesson from 
his own Zork III , since he demurred 
from the ostentation of the exces¬ 
sively gaudy Triple Crown by finish¬ 
ing slightly behind in homers (3) and 
batting average (.680). 

A later season addition, relief 
pitcher Barry Star (his real name), 
captured three SAVEs coming off 
the bench. His downfall came when 
he was almost ejected from one los¬ 
ing effort: he insisted that the umpire 
allow him to RESTORE the game to 
an earlier position in which Infocom 
was then leading. The beleaguered 

reliever was quieted down as player- 
manager Richard Ilson rushed from 
the bench into the Oddly-Angled 
Room, and deftly explained the dif¬ 
ference between the game of softball 
and those of interactive fiction. 

It was a noisome task for Ilson, 
who had volunteered to skipper 
Team Infocom, to transform soft¬ 
ware players into softball players. 
But he seemed to be going overboard 
when he lectured that "mit" must be 
thought of, no longer as the acronym 
for many of the players' alma mater, 
but rather as "an input device worn 
on the hand to facilitate the reception 
of a thrower's or batter's output." 

And his assigning push-ups and 
demerits to his players who per¬ 
formed lackadaisically on the field 
garnered him the quality of respect 
and affection normally reserved for 
someone of Ensign First Class 
Blather's stature. Indefatigably, 
Playietfall author S. Eric Meretzky, 
his voice echoing out of the Great 
Underground Dugout, exorted the 
troopers on to victory, when he him¬ 
self was not coming off the bench to 
provide timely hits. 

Yet more controversy erupted in 
one game when catcher Joanne 
Avtges, in an effort to prevent the 

opposing team from stealing her 
signals, decided to flash signals in 
reverse hexadecimal notation. This 
plan was aborted, however, when 
pitcher Paul DiLascia summarily 
called time out to request that a PC 
be installed behind the pitching 
mound as an aid to deciphering his 
catcher's signs. 

As it turned out, the season saw 
Witness to Infocom's 23-to-7 trounc¬ 
ing of the eventual league champs, 
Miller Communications, as well as 
defeats over Acorn (25-4), Business 
& Professional Software (14-7), 
CSA (13-9), and Spinnaker (8-4 and 

Holding down the corners in the 
infield were Jerry Wolper at first and 
Michael Berlyn at third, co¬ 
conspirators of Infocom's latest 
release, whose no-nonsense efforts 
helped earn the team itself a reputa¬ 
tion as "Cutthroats." 

This steely image was softened, no 
doubt, not only by the players' 
flowery jerseys, but also by their 
enchantingly unique cheer which 
followed each game, win or lose: 
"Frobizz! Frobozz! Frobozzle!" The 
opposing team was generally, and 
appropriately, held spellbound by the 
display. g 

SUMMER 1984 




Solution to Puzzle Number One 

We goofed in section A of the 
puzzle. The total number of robotic 
extensions in Suspended is 35; 
however, we asked for "grasping 
extensions," and two of Sensa's are 
non-grasping. Therefore, we decided 
to accept both 33 and 35 for section 
A. Thanks to the many people who 
wrote to point out this error. 

Dunbar sat in seat number 7 when 
she went to the symphony on July 7, 
1982. (The first release of Deadline 
has a typo, and the ticket stub says 
"1981." Sorry for the confusion this 
may have caused anyone.) 

The stamp in Zork II was 3 zork- 

rnids; the Royal Museum in Zork III 
lay unguarded beginning in the year 
883 GUE; there are 5 matches in the 
matchbook in Zork I, Flood Control 
Dam Number Three cost 37 million 
zorkmids; there are 8 entries in the 
Starcross tape library. 

Using 35 for part A, the answer 
comes out to 128; using 33 for part 
A, the answer comes out to 107.77. 
There were 103 entries for NZT 
Puzzle #1, of which 48 had one of 
the two correct answers (47%). The 
most popular wrong answer was 30 
(with 13 entries, or 13%). This 
wrong answer seems to be produced 
by guessing 11 for the seat number 
in section B. 

The following ten lucky people 
were selected at random from the 48 
correct entries, and will receive a 
copy of Sorcerer. 

1. Steve Booth 
Ashland, Oregon 

2. Lawrence Rasbid 
Chicago, Illinois 

3. Andrew Sherman 
Concord, Massachusetts 

4. Dean Kimball 

Fall City, Washington 

5. Dan Gonzales 
Canfield, Ohio 

6. Michael Schirpke 
Bellerica, Massachusetts 

7. Brian Klein 

Valencia, California 

8. Edward Rose 
Wilmington, Ohio 

9. Linda Barrington 
Friendswood, Texas 

10. John Wolfenden 
Chapel Hill, N. Carolina 

Solution to Puzzle Number Two 

The Living Room description is 
from Deadline and The Witness. The 
knapsack is from Infidel , the fancy 
violin appears in Zork II. the disfig¬ 
ured device is from Suspended, the 
high-protein liquid is found in 

continued on page 8 

... Yet More InfoNews 

continued from page 1 

Difficulty Ratings 

Another improvement you will 
find on our new packages is the level 
of difficulty. We have established 
four difficulty levels: 

Junior: Best introduction to inter¬ 
active fiction. Written for everyone 
from age 9 up. ( Seas talker) 

Standard: Good introductory level 
for adults. This is Infocom's most 
popular level of interactive fiction. 
{Zork I. Enchanter, Planetfall, Wit¬ 
ness, Cutthroats, and Hitchhiker's) 

Advanced: A greater level of 
challenge. Recommended for those 
who've already experienced Info¬ 
com's interactive fiction. {Zork II. 
Zork III. Sorcerer, Infidel, and 

Expert: For real diehards seeking 
the ultimate challenge in interactive 
fiction. {Starcross, Suspended, and 

We expect the designation of diffi¬ 
culty level to make it much easier for 
purchasers to choose the appropriate 

New Pricing 

Effective September 1, Infocom's 
recommended retail prices have been 
changed. This is the first time we 
have adjusted our prices. The price is 
determined by level of difficulty and 
by computer system. On most 
systems. Junior and Standard level 

games are $39.95, Advanced $44.95, 
and Expert $49.95. Commodore 64 
and Atari prices are $5 less at all 

New Catalog 

Included with this issue of The 
New Zork Times is our new product 
catalog. In it you will notice a 
preview of our new products for the 
fall - more to come on Suspect and 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the 
Galaxy in our Fall issue. 

Infocom Sampler 

Do you know someone who would 
love interactive fiction if they would 
only try it? Infocom has the answer: 
The Four-in-One Sampler, including 
excerpts from four genres - The 
Witness (mystery), Infidel (Tales of 
Adventure), Planetfall (science 
fiction), and Zork I (fantasy). 

We have found that 9 out of 10 
people who try Infocom interactive 
fiction love it. Because of this, we 
are able to make an offer that no one 
can refuse. The sampler retails for 
$7.95 and comes with a money-back 
guarantee - if the buyer decides he is 
not interested, he can send it back to 
us for a full refund. If he wants more, 
there's a coupon enclosed that enti¬ 
tles him to an $8 rebate on purchase 
of any Infocom title. He can't lose! g 

Next time you walk into our store, you'll be in for a life-and-death struggle. 
Because the free demo for ZORK 1, Infocom's best-selling underground 
classic, awaits you. You'll get a taste of exploring the mysteries and dan¬ 
gers of an incredible subterranean world. You'll experience firsthand how 
Infocom's interactive fiction is revolutionizing computerized entertainment 
by actually putting you inside stories that grow out of your actions. And 
you'll live to tell the tale of the Great Underground Empire of ZORK. 

&uT only if you $urvjoe your wipi H&J 

Infocom now has a demo kit for Zork I for dealers. You can help us 
spread the word on interactive fiction. If your local dealer doesn't have 
a Zork demo for his or her store, tell your dealer to contact us. 



SUMMER 1984 


In the diagram below, each horizontal line represents the name of a character in an Info- 
com game (up to and including Seastalker). Each blank represents one letter. Fill in as many 
of these as you can. Several letters have already been filled in to get you started. 

When you have filled in enough names, the letters in the boxes (reading downwards) will 
form a question. Put the answer to this question in the answer box. Only the answer placed 
in this box will be used to judge your entry. 


1. All entries must be submitted on this form. No 
copies accepted. 

2. All entries must be received by December 1, 1984. 

3. Up to 25 prizes will be awarded for correct 
answers. If more than 25 correct answers are 
received, a drawing will be held to determine the 
winners. Void where prohibited by law. 


The all-new, prestigious New Zork Times Puzzle 

Winner T-Shirt. 



Phone Number:_ 

T-Shirt Size (S, M, L, XL): 

. . .Puzzle continued from page 7 
Planetfall, the hellhound is from 
Sorcerer , and the Forest description 
comes from Starcross. 

That covers ten of the first eleven 
Infocom games. The remaining 
game, the solution to Puzzle #2, is 
Zork III. (Several entrants guessed 
Seastalker, but that's not one of 
Infocom's first eleven games.) 

This puzzle must have been consid¬ 
erably easier than Puzzle #1, because 
the number of entries rose to 694, and 
the percentage of correct answers 
also rose slightly (396 correct entries, 
or 57%). The most popular wrong 
answer was Suspended (110 entries, 

The following 10 people, selected 
randomly from the correct entries, 
have won a copy of Seastalker : 

1. Marc Wontorek 
Northford, Connecticut 

2. Diann Harris 
Arlington, Texas 

3. Jeff Leonard 

Spring Valley, New York 

4. Peter De Gano 

Grand Terrace, California 

5. Tim Walters 
Marietta, Georgia 

6. Rushton Potts 
Summit, New Jersey 

7. Sean Blair 

San Ramon, California 

8. Fred Crandall 
Mukwonago, Wisconsin 

9. Craig Davis 

Sirni Valley, California 

10. Peter Merriken 
Elverson, Pennsylvania 

Other Puzzle News 

Due to a screw-up by the wonderful 
people who also fill hint booklet 
orders for us, 12,000 New Zork Times 
readers received their issues two 
months late. These people received a 
special puzzle memo with their 
issues, with a revised deadline. There 
will be a second drawing for ten addi¬ 
tional Seastalkers for these entrants. 

Many people have been complain¬ 
ing about our policy of awarding the 
latest Infocom game as the prize for 
the NZT Puzzle: they dislike having 
to wait for the puzzle results before 
knowing if they should buy the new 
game. Therefore, we are announcing 
a new prize for puzzle winners: New 
Zork Times Puzzle Winner T-shirts! 
These shirts are 100% cotton, and are 
certain to become a mark of distinc¬ 
tion among adventurers. In addition, 
we are increasing the maximum 
number of winners for each puzzle 
from 10 to 25.