|"All the Gnus
That Fit, We Print"
|The New Zork® Times||Weather: Seasonably
|VOL. V. . . . No. 1||-- WINTER 1986 --||INTERZOOECIAL EDITION|
Ballyhoo sets you down outside the big top at the end of the show. As the last circus-goers filter out the gate, you decide to stick around. Maybe you'll get to see an impromptu clown act, or watch the late-night feedings of the exotic animals, or peek at the gadgets and glitter inside the prop tent. Maybe you'll even get to meet that gorgeous trapese artist or those high-wire hunks!
But no such luck. Instead you're plunged into a mysterious underworld where everyone has a secret to keep -- and no one wants to clue you in. Exploring the seedy corners of the lot, you overhear a conversation about the owner's young daughter. She's been kidnapped, and the hired gumshoe finds his bottle more engaging than the case.
It looks like you've got two choices: forget about the tot, or set off on a search of your own. Naturally, you go for the role of hero.
As the night progresses, you realize that the life of a hero, like the back yard of the big top, is about as glamorous as a tarnished piece of costume jewelry. Rather than applauding your efforts to find the child, the circus folk see you as an outsider messing about in their very private business. You find yourself getting a quick lesson in the daring stunts you admired from afar, as you seek clues and dodge danger.
To get you ready for the big time, the Ballyhoo package includes a colorful circus program, a balloon, a trade card for Dr. Nostrum's Herbified Extract, and your ticket to Spangleland. The program introduces you to the unique characters you'll meet in the story and gives you a glimpse of life in the back lot.
In Ballyhoo, you'll need to solve puzzles in order to solve the crime. As a standard-level game, it's a great introduction to our mystery line. And when you leave the circus, keep honing your investigative skills with our other popular whodunits -- Deadline®, The Witness®, and Suspect.
Ballyhoo was written by Jeff O'Neill, who fulfilled the promise of the American dream by rising from game tester to game designer at Infocom. Ballyhoo joins a distinctive list of great "first works" of interactive fiction, including Zork® I (by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling), Suspended® (by Michael Berlyn), Planetfall® (by Steve Meretzky), The Witness (by Stu Galley), and Wishbringer (by Brian Moriarty).
Unbelievable as it seems, this wonderful opportunity can be yours! A limited edition of Ballyhoo signed and numbered by author Jeff O'Neill is now available exclusively through The New Zork Times. These are the very first copies to roll off the production lines! Only 150 per version are available for your IBM, Apple, or Commodore. And only 75 per version are available for your Atari, Atari ST, Amiga, or Macintosh.
We're sure you'd pay plenty for an heirloom item of this caliber. But even more unbelievably, this special edition is available at the regular price of only $39.95! To order, simply call our toll-free number (800-262-6868). But hurry! This is a first-come-first-served offer!
Don't miss the chance to own a copy of the very first Infocom limited edition! Amaze your friends! Satisfy your desire for the best! Order today!
Imagine a town where stores sell only 12 items, and where the currency is "foobles." Now suppose a contest is held in the town, and 4 of the items are secretly designated "right items." Your goal is to figure out what the 4 right items are.
To help you out, city officials tell you the cost (in foobles) of the 4 right items. And every time you bring items to City Hall, you'll be told how many of the items you have are right. However, you won't be told which items are right. Given the following information, can you tell which are the 4 right items?
Items costing 4 foobles: banana, fish, hair spray, and screwdriverSuppose you're told that one of the right items costs 4 foobles, one costs 8 foobles, and two cost 16 foobles. Assume that the two 16-fooble items are different.
Items costing 8 foobles: light bulb, sardines, snake, and toothpaste
Items costing 16 foobles: eyedropper, hot dog, pig, and saw
With this information, you should be able to deduce what the 4 right items are. (In a real game of Fooblitzky, you couldn't assume that the two 16-fooble items are different. Try deducing the 4 right items again, this time allowing the two 16-fooble items to be the same or different. Is there more than one possibility? Answers on page 6.)
Figuring out the right items is just part of the fun in Fooblitzky. You can bump into other players to steal their items; buy or sell items at the pawn shows at discount prices; ride the UGH (the underground gliding highway) to move around the city quickly; hide items from other players in lockers; and so on. And the Chance Man can show up any time, sometimes to help you, and sometimes to hinder you.
Fooblitzky is a lot like your favorite board game: you play against your friends or family rather than against the computer. As in interactive fiction, there are dozens or hundreds of alternatives at every turn. And there are so many possibilities in Fooblitzky, no two games are alike. We've even put several variations into the program, so you can make the game easier, harder, or stranger.
Fooblitzky is available only through The New Zork Times. Each package contains a game disk, short rules (to get you started), long rules (to answer any questions that might come up), 4 colorful wipe-clean worksheets, and marker pens. Included in the instructions are suggestions for game variations. Fooblitzky costs $39.95 and is available for the IBM PC with 128K and a graphics card (but not the PCjr), for the Atari XL and XE with 48K plus an 810 or 1050 disk drive, and for the Apple II series with 128K.
The operation is believed to have been masterminded and carried out by the radically twisted faction of the Humor Liberation Front known as the Dimwit Flathead Brigade. There is also evidence that suggests a shadowy group from the Genetics Institute, an Infocom neighbor and producer of genetically engineered facial cleaners, acted in a support role.
The disruption took place near the beginning of the meeting and involved the use of what Infocom security expert Mike Quinn has called Cloned Entry Operatives, or CEO's. Quinn explained that CEO's were an advanced type of identity transformation device.
In this latest act of mirth, the HLF infiltrated over five dozen of these CEO's into the meeting by disguising them as exact duplicates of Infocom Chief Executive Officer Al Vezza. Once inside the CEO, CEO's instigated an atmosphere of such intense hilarity that the meeting was quickly adjourned to the company punch bowl. The accompanying photograph was taken just as the real Mr. Vezza was asked to stand.
When questioned about security, an unnamed source said that the only two guards on duty at the time, Infocom General Manager John O'Leary and Product Manager Tom Smaldone, were distracted by a special in-house X-rated version of Fooblitzky that was handed to them just before the meeting. The only other person who might have been alerted to what was about to happen was Lorri Fischer, who was manning the reception desk during the meeting. When questioned, Ms. Fischer said, "I didn't really see anything strange but I did think it was odd when Al asked me 43 times if he could bring me a glass of punch."
The conclusion of experts who have studied this scintillatingly madcap escapade is that it is only the first round in a new offensive offensive. As they said, the inability of Infocom security forces to capture even one of the punsters was sure to inspire an increased bravado and willingness to commit further acts of chicanery.
The Humor Liberation Front was formed out of a ragtag bunch of disgruntled thrill seekers who were working for the playful yet rational software development company, Infocom. In their quest for "fun" was planted the seed of anarchy that has once again shown its ugly face in recent events. This latest attack is no isolated event. We have only to look back a short time to see the pattern:
Of the 31 games listed, 11 were "logic-and-fantasy," including Enchanter®, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zork I, Zork II, and Zork III. Enchanter and Hitchhiker's obtained particularly good ratings in all four categories. Consumer Reports noted that fantasy games in general were considered "far more satisfying" than action games.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy continues to provide satisfaction in lots of places. A recent review in Gentlemen's Quarterly called it a game "you read instead of bleep." Added GQ, "Unlike conventional novels, Infocom's variety lets the reader pave his own path through the prose, creating a unique tale every time."
Hitchhiker's was also featured in Home Computer Magazine, which "found it to be all the challenge a presumably sound-minded adult would desire. It is an articulate, detailed, and demanding game -- one in which nearly every conceivable avenue of action has been foreseen, and every consequence described in colorful, descriptive prose." And for all you Douglas Adams fans, Changing Times noted that "Adam's unique brand of hilarity is obvious in every response and every twist of the ever-twisting plot in this original adventure game."
We've been getting in a lot of good comments on A Mind Forever Voyaging from the members of our Infocom Elite Adventurers Society (in case you've forgotten, that's all of you). Reviewers like AMFV, too. Ms. Magazine called it "one of the season's most intriguing new games." And an editor at Billboard wrote to say, "A Mind Forever Voyaging is the best game Infocom has produced yet. All I know is that I started it when it was dark and broke off when I noticed it was daylight."
And to start the new year on the right foot (the one that wears the unutterably-schmaltzy-pride-in-our-product shoe), we offer the following quote from a Wishbringer review in A+ Magazine: "Have you figured out what you'd wish for if you had the chance? I don't even need a moment to consider. I want more Infocom games. When Infocom releases a new game, the question that goes through your minds should not be 'Should I get the game?' but, rather, 'When should I get the game?'. And the answer should always be 'Immediately.'"
The last plane leaves for the winter on February 10, and the next one will be November 1, after the Antarctic 9-month winter. Your game will help us through the long hours of darkness and cold (the sun will be gone for 6 months, and it will drop to -110 degrees F)! We as a group have nominated Zork I as the unofficial computer game of the South Pole, and we'd like to let you know we appreciate the quality and entertainment of this game!
Clifford C. Wilson
FPO San Francisco, CA
I hope you continue to keep your "Yak Facts" clean. The yearly yak issues of Sports Illustrated are disgraceful.
John S. Kalstram
As you clamber onto the precipice, you note a rather large yak regarding you with studied indifference.
Yaks can't talk, but this one acknowledges your presence with a sagacious nod.
>YAK, WHERE IS THE MONK?
The yak smiles enigmatically.
The yak stares back.
>GIVE GOAT CHEESE TO YAK
You can't be serious!
>KILL SELF WITH GOAT CHEESE
You can't go that way.
>JUMP OFF PRECIPICE
As you leave for your final reward, you feel the yak's teeth grab the seat of your pants. Back on solid ground, you watch as the yak's form shifts and blurs, to become -- the monk.
Monks don't talk, but this one acknowledges your presence with a sagacious nod...
Canal Point, Florida
Wilfurd the hard-shelled turtle (turtle)
Had a rainbow-colored shell (shell).
If you had ever EXEX-ed it (EXEX-ed it),
You would even say it shimmers (like Jello).
All of the other turtles (turtles)
Used to laugh and call him names (like Skittles).
Poor Wilfurd the hard-shelled turtle (turtle)
Couldn't join in any turtle games (like Zork).
Then one foggy enchanted eve,
Belboz came to say (NITFOL),
"Wilfurd with your shell so hard,
Won't you get that scroll for me?"
Then all the turtles loved him (loved him).
Then they shouted out with glee (I mean turtle wax),
"Wilfurd the hard-shelled turtle!
You'll go down in Sor-cer-y (like Enchanter)!"
Therefore, we've decided to print this huge spread of cartoons. We'll continue to print more than one per issue as long as we continue to receive such a high volume of good cartoons.
Every cartoonist whose work is printed in The New Zork Times receives a free Infocom game of his or her choice. If you'd like to try, send us your cartoon in black ink on white, unlined paper. No pencil or colors, and don't fold your cartoon! All submissions become property of Infocom, Inc. Send your entries to NZT Cartoons, Infocom, Inc., 125 CambridgePark Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140. Include a separate sheet of paper with your name and address, as well as the title of the game you'd like to win, and the computer system it should run on.
You may have fond memories of the company that used to print and mail The New Zork Times, as well as fill mail orders for games and InvisiClues. Fond memories like ordering a copy of Deadline for your Kaypro and receiving a copy of Infidel® for a TRS-80 Model I seven months later. We emphasize "used to," because last year we switched to a much more reliable company.
To keep a long story long, this original company was a bit peeved when we decided to take our business elsewhere; they proceeded to go down in a blaze of glory by refusing to turn over the computer tapes containing our New Zork Times mailing list, of which they had the only copies. Were it not for some high-powered maneuvering by our lawyers, the Summer '85 issue of The New Zork Times might have never come out; as it was, most people received their copies between late October and mid-November (depending on the vagaries of bulk rate mail).
Among the problems caused by this delay was that most people received their issue after the deadline for Puzzle Seven! Naturally, we decided to extend the deadline, to December 1. We like to think of it this way: realizing that you could still enter after November 1 was just the first obstacle of the puzzle!
Here are all of the correct answers:
The correct answer, the one out of numerical order, is II. We received a mere 48 entries, either because the puzzle was difficult, or because many people were discouraged by the "early" deadline. Of those, 26 were correct (54%).
The most common wrong answer was K. This seems to be due to people calculating the number of days it took your expedition to reach the campsite, not the number of days it took Ellingsworth's 1920 expedition to reach the campsite. (See the note on the parchment map.)
We also have a new statistic for Puzzle Seven: percentage of people complaining. Thirty-three percent of all entries contained notes or letters complaining about the deadline.
Since there were 26 correct answers, only one entrant got the correct answer but no T-shirt: Maggie Dupuis, who will probably spend weeks avoiding ladders, black cats, and broken (or breaking) mirrors. Here are the other twenty-five:
There are many ways to figure this out. For those of you who are completely stumped, look again at Player 2's visit to City Hall. He's carrying 3 items, and 2 of them are right. Since the light bulb and the snake can't both be right items (since they both cost 8 foobles), the banana must be a right item. And since the banana is a right item, no other 4-fooble item can be right. And because we know that either the light bulb or the snake is right, we know that the other 8-fooble items can't be right. Thus, from Player 4's visit to City Hall, we know that the saw must be a right item (since the 4-fooble hair spray and the 8-fooble toothpaste can't be right). Get the idea?
Don't worry if you didn't figure out this Fooblitzky puzzle. Players can visit City Hall as often as they want. In a real game, information usually comes in bits and pieces, rather than all at once, as in this example.
New Zork Times Puzzle
Archivists everywhere, rejoice! The New Zork Times Puzzle Rules Committee (NZTPRC), in session at their annual winter meeting, approved a significant change to the venerable puzzle rules: Entrants will no longer be required to cut up their copies of the NZT in order to enter the puzzle. A photocopy of the entry form will now be accepted! (Well, there really isn't a Rules Committee. Mike Dornbrook just decided that his reasons for not allowing photocopies were all silly.)
For a change of pace, here's a puzzle that requires no knowledge of specific works of Infocom's interactive fiction. The following seven excerpts are each from hypothetical works of interactive fiction, based on films and TV shows of various types. Your task is to determine the name of the character you play in each excerpt. Both first and last name are required in cases where they exist. The name of the actor who portrayed the character is not acceptable. To help you get started, we have filled in the first answer.
Bedroom, in the canopied bed You are in a vast bedroom, filled with antique statues, heated by an enormous fireplace. >LOOK AT THE TRINKET The trinket is a little glass ball, filled with water, depicting a winter scene. Some white particles are settled at the bottom of the ball. >SHAKE THE TRINKET (taking the trinket first) The little white flakes flurry around inside the ball, resembling a snowfall. >SAY "ROSEBUD" With the word still hanging on your lips, an enormous weariness overwhelms you. The ball drops from your hand and smashes on the ground. **** You have died. ****
Airport Dim halos of light barely pierce the fog that drifts across the airfield. A propellor revs to life nearby. Ilsa Lund is here, her eyes moist. Louis Renault, the Prefect of Police, stands nearby. >I You are carrying: a gun letters of transit >ILSA, GET ON THE PLANE "You'll have to do the thinking for both of us."
Canyon You are in a dry arroyo between towering, wind-carved cliffs of brown and yellow rocks. There is a shipping carton here. The shipping carton contains: a strange, belt-like machine >READ THE SHIPPING CARTON "Acme Rocket Belt" >PUT ON THE ROCKET BELT You are now wearing the rocket belt. >FIRE THE ROCKET BELT You shoot upwards and smash into an overhanging cliff. The impact sends you shooting downward, imbedding your body halfway into the ground. The overhand, which has broken loose, lands on top of you.
Living Area This is the central room of the house, filled with couches, exotic plants, and a table laden with fruit. Dr. Morbius and several crew members are here, engaged in conversation. Morbius hands you an object, which you immediately analyze to be a simple blaster. Morbius asks, "Have you analyzed it?" >MORBIUS, YES "What is it?" >REPLY "A SIMPLE BLASTER" Morbius nods. "Point the blaster at the Captain."
General's Office This is the office of General Jack D. Ripper. The General's desk sits in front of wide, venetian blind-covered windows. Doors lead south, to the hall, and west, to the General's private bathroom. >SOUTH "I'm afraid I can't allow you to leave until the bombers have finished their mission," says the General, chomping on his cigar stub. >GENERAL, TELL ME ABOUT THE MISSION "I can no longer sit idly by and allow the Communists to fluoridate our water and sap our precious bodily fluids."
Porch This is the weathered front porch of the house. A closed screen door leads westward into the house. You can leave the porch to the east. Mr. Martin is standing in the doorway. There is a particularly yummy bone here. >BARK "What! Timmy's fallen down and broken his leg! Where?" >BARK "In the old Johnson barn! Let's go!"
Near the El You are standing at a downtown intersection, next to the elevated subway. Streets lead off in all four directions. A subway car is passing by. >DESTROY THE SUBWAY CAR You push the car off the tracks. It crashes to the ground below, spilling screaming passengers out into the street, and crushing dozens of pedestrians. [Your score has just gone up by 10 points!] >INVENTORY You are carrying: Ann Darrow
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ | | | ANSWERS | | 1) Charles Foster Kane | | 2) ____________________________________________________________ | | 3) ____________________________________________________________ | | 4) ____________________________________________________________ | | 5) ____________________________________________________________ | | 6) ____________________________________________________________ | | 7) ____________________________________________________________ | | | | Name: _________________________________________________________ | | Address: ______________________________________________________ | | ______________________________________________________________ | | T-shirt size (S, M, L, XL): ___________________________________ | | | | RULES: | | 1. All entries must be submitted on this form OR A PHOTOCOPY OF | | THIS FORM. | | 2. All entries must be received by March 1, 1986. | | 3. Limit of one entry per person. | | 4. Up to 25 prizes will be awarded. If more than 25 correct | | answers are received, a drawing will be held to determine | | the winners. Void where prohibited by law, of course. | | | | PRIZE: A New Zork Times Puzzle Winner T-shirt | | | | SEND TO: Infocom, Inc. | | NZT Puzzle | | 125 CambridgePark Drive | | Cambridge, MA 02140 | |_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _|
|Writers||Gary Brennan, Paul Gross, Elizabeth
Langosy, Dave Lebling, Steve Meretzky,
Jeff O'Neill, Jonathan Palace, Betty
Rock, Tom Veldran
|Production||Cynthia Curtis, Jonathan Palace,
Betty Rock, Michelle Simpson, Gayle
© 1986 Infocom, Inc., 125 CambridgePark Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140
Zork, Enchanter, Deadline, The Witness, Starcross, Suspended, Planetfall, Infidel, and Seastalker are registered trademarks of Infocom, Inc. Ballyhoo, Wishbringer, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Suspect, A Mind Forever Voyaging, Cutthroats, Fooblitzky, Cornerstone, Tales of Adventure, Interactive Fiction Plus, and InvisiClues are trademarks of Infocom, Inc. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a trademark of Douglas Adams.
Thanks to André St-Aubin for transcribing and HTML-izing this issue.