|The Status Line|
|Vol. V/No. 3||--Summer 1986--||Lawsuit Edition|
You've spent the day driving southwest from London, from the small brick houses of the suburbs and the treeless plains of the South Downs to the Avon River and the picturesque villages of the Devon. Now, as evening draws near, you reach the storied land of Cornwall.
On either side, the moors stretch out, filled with heather and bogs. The fading light silhouettes craggy rocks on the horizon. At last you arrive at your destination: an ancient castle perched on the granite cliffs by the sea.
A full moon is rising above the castle turrets as you pull up to the gate. Fog shrouds the old stone walls. Is that a ghostly figure in the tower window, or merely the mist playing tricks on your weary eyes?
It's your job to find out. In Moonmist, the new interactive gothic mystery from Infocom, you're a famous young sleuth, called to Tresyllian Castle by your friend Tamara. A series of terrifying events have led her to believe that someone's trying to kill her. Worse yet, the culprit seems to be the spectral "White Lady" that haunts the medieval tower.
Inside the castle, you meet a cast of eccentric characters ranging from a blue-blood debutante to an overly helpful butler. Most of them have seen the ghost, and some say it looks like Deirdre, the former lover of Tamara's fiance, Lord Jack Tresyllian. Deirdre purportedly drowned shortly after Jack ended their romance. Could it be that she is still alive, jealously taking revenge on Tamara?
To add to the suspense, you learn that a valuable object is hidden somewhere in the castle. This treasure rightfully belongs to Lord Jack, but apparently he is not the only one searching for it. If it's not found, family heirlooms will have to be sold to pay off debts. You'll find yourself involved in a treasure hunt as well as a mystery, as you search the lavish rooms and secret passageways of the castle for the hiding place. Clues are given in the form of riddles, which hold the answers to the puzzles in the game.
Moonmist has four different variations, each with its own puzzles, treasure, hiding place, and solution to the mystery. This gives Moonmist more replay value than any other Infocom story to date, providing you with plenty of time to savor the gothic atmosphere of the castle.
Moonmist also responds differently to male and female players. (See the Leather Goddesses of Phobos article for another example of this fine feature.) When you arrive at the castle gate at the start of the game, you're asked for your title and full name. You can take advantage of your elegant surroundings by calling yourself "Baron Wilhelm" rather than plain old "Mr. Bill."
>From your title, the program may deduce your gender and respond accordingly throughout the story. If you're a woman, you have a gown to put on for dinner. A man's suitcase will contain a dinner jacket. Lord Jack will kiss a woman's hand. If you're a man, he'll shake yours. And there's another guest who may flirt with you.
Since the puzzles are relatively easy, we recommend Moonmist as an excellent introduction to interactive fiction for players of all ages. It will fascinate every young girl who loves reading mystery books about that famous female sleuth whose last name rhymes with "grue." It will intrigue every man who wants to be the Lord of a castle and the consort of a seductive Lady. It will captivate every woman who imagines herself as the heroine of a Daphne du Maurier novel. And it will delight anyone who enjoys riddles, puzzles, and the detailed characters, plots, and atmosphere that distinguish each Infocom game.
To introduce you to mysterious Cornwall, the package contains an illustrated copy of "Legendary Ghosts of Cornwall." Also included are a Moonmist iron-on logo for your T-shirt; a visitors' guide to Tresyllian Castle; and two confidential letters from your friend Tamara.
Moonmist was written by Stu Galley, author of The Witness® and Seastalker®, and Jim Lawrence, co-author of Seastalker and author of dozens of books for children and adults, including numerous Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories. Moonmist will be available in October for a wide variety of personal computers, at a suggested retail price og $34.95 for Atari XL/XE and Commodore 64/128 and $39.95 for all other systems.
Jim's relationship with Infocom began in the spring of 1983, when he saw a column in the "New York Times* Book Review" concerning Deadline® and this new medium of computer-aided interactive fiction. He realized at once that he had the proper sort of both experience and daring to bring professional writing skills into this medium. So he hopped a plane from the Garden State to the Bay State, and almost immediately reached agreement with Infocom to begin a series of projects, beginning with Seastalker and now continuing with Moonmist.
In his long career, Jim has scripted technical training films, free-lanced magazine articles, turned out weekly dramatic radio scripts, written "continuity" for newspaper comic strips, and authored some 60 books of fiction. Many of his books were ghosted for juvenile series like Nancy Drew and Tom Swift, Jr., but he has also written juvenile and adult paperbacks under his own name.
As a successful storyteller in many media, Jim learned the art of interactive storytelling with impressive ease. Equally important, he's been willing and able to devote considerable effort to a creative project for a year or more, knowing that the end product would not make him rich or famous. He writes interactive fiction for the best of reasons: for him, it's challenging, creative, and fun to give players a thrill.
Jim is the sort of person who remembers anecdotes, unusual events in the news, and interesting names. He keeps files of short news clippings. He may take years developing a character in his mind before he'll use the character in a story.
And he's a calming influence. As Jim and Stu worked on a story, Jim would make the plot thicker...and thicker and thicker and thicker. Stu fretted. "Don't worry, Stu," said Jim. "I've gotten heroes out of much tougher situations than this."
* Not the New Zork Times.
>From the "Heat 'n' Eat" cookbook of Steve Meretzky, we bring you the following recipe:
Take a clean floppy disk. Fill it nearly to the brim with loving satire of pulp science fiction. Stir in a generous helping of zany humor and a healthy dash of clever puzzles. Add ribald sex scenes to taste. Toss in just a hint of hints to bring concoction to standard level. Mix well and bake for nine months. Surround by an intriguing package and serve immediately.
That's the recipe for Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Infocom's new interactive fiction comedy. Author Meretzky calls Leather Goddesses of Phobos "an unbeatable combination of space opera, bawdiness, and humor, plus lots of good old-fashioned Infocom puzzles." Infocom Marketing Director Mike Dornbrook, being a scheming marketeer, simply describes Leather Goddesses of Phobos as a "Hitchhiker's Guide with sex."
Leather Goddesses of Phobos is set in the 1930's, the Golden Age of pulpy space opera. You begin the story in a sleazy bar in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, unaware that on a tiny moon of Mars, the evil Leather Goddesses are plotting an invasion of the Earth to turn it into their private pleasure world.
You are subsequently kidnapped by minions of the Leather Goddesses. If you escape from their dungeon on Phobos, you'll be plunged into a bawdy romp through the solar system's most exotic (and erotic) locales. You'll find yourself battling giant carnivorous plants in the jungles of Venus, sword fighting by the light of Saturn's rings, exploring the pleasures of the harem near the Grand Canal on Mars, and avoiding the unspeakable horrors of Cleveland, Ohio.
Leather Goddesses of Phobos gives you the option of playing as either a man or a woman -- no minor point, since your choice will affect many of your encounters in the story. And in order to make Leather Goddesses of Phobos suitable for everyone from the prude to the lewd, you can play it in any one of three "naughtiness levels."
What possessed Meretzky, whose last work was A Mind Forever Voyaging, a sober work of speculative fiction, to write a giddy story like Leather Goddesses of Phobos? We sent a reporter to find out:
Reporter: MERETZKY, HELLO.
SM: Howdy! Always happy to chat with representatives of the media.
Reporter: MERETZKY, TELL ME ABOUT LEATHER GODDESSES OF PHOBOS.
SM: Well, I thought of the title more than four years ago, before I was even writing interactive fiction. Everyone loved the title; it appears in the diary in the new Starcross® package, and it's the name of the machine in the Festeron arcade in Wishbringer®. I finally decided that it was about time we had a game to match the name. But there were other reasons as well....
Reporter: STEVE, WHAT ARE THE OTHER REASONS?
SM: I was weaned on pulpy space opera, and I've always had a deep desire to write something in that genre. Another reason: A Mind Forever Voyaging dealt with some politically sensitive topics, and I was hoping that it would stir up a lot of controversy. It didn't. Not a single flaming froth-at-the-mouth letter. So I decided to write something with a little bit of sex in it, because nothing generates controversy like sex. I'm hoping to get the game banned from Seven-Eleven stores. Finally, I get asked all the time, "When are you guys gonna do a graphic adventure?" Well, we won't add pictures to our stories, so this was the only way to create a graphic adventure.
Reporter: ASK MERETZKY ABOUT THE NAUGHTINESS LEVELS.
SM: I tried to make them roughly equal to the G, PG, and R ratings used for movies. I doubt that even the "naughtiest" mode will offend anyone, but why not ask some of the folks who've played Leather Goddesses of Phobos?
Greg K. from Rancho Palos Verdes agreed. "I showed it to my mom, and she decided it was 'harmless.'"
"None of the sexual content bothered me...I was hoping for more," said Steve K. from Tulsa. "I wouldn't have much trouble showing the game to my eight-year-old son."
Judith C. from Huntsville, a self-described conservative Bible Belt southerner, said, "The sexual content is dependent upon the player's input...Leather Goddesses of Phobos is only as lewd as the player wants it to be."
However, M'gump-kin X. from the lesser moon of Falwell VII told us, "My shrooks and I were greatly offended. The description of g'wik-acts were unsuitable for thwai'ves or ik-ti'ups to read. By Hoov, if Infocom ever wis's!ms this b'h:o'vich, I'll th-t!'rop my ig'l%ig!-o'o?ls."
"Enough about the story already!" the marketeers bellow from down the hall. "Talk about the awesome packaging!"
The package features some unusual elements which are, as usual, deeply intertwined with the story itself. Upon spreading the covers of the package, you'll be greeted by a '30s-style 3-D comic book entitled "The Adventures of Lane Mastodon (#91)" which displays a typically myopic 1936 vision of 1986, when the Leather Goddesses are once again scheming to conquer humanity. To properly view your 3-D comic, each package comes well-equipped with a huge pair of red-blue 3-D glasses. Sliding deeper into the package, you'll come across a handsome parchment map of the Catacombs, to help you grope your way through the ancient burial chambers that lie under the palace of the Sultan (or Sultaness, if you're playing as a woman).
The packaging climaxes with a new dimension in interactive fiction: a scratch 'n' sniff card. At various points in the story, you'll be ordered to scratch one of the spots on the card and sniff the heady odor that results.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention one additional feature of Leather Goddesses of Phobos, which is available only in the IBM version: a "boss key." This feature makes it "safe" to play Leather Goddesses of Phobos at work -- if your boss should walk in on you, just press CONTROL-B and hit RETURN. Your screen will clear and be replaced by a sample screen from Infocom's database, Cornerstone! Naturally, we're not encouraging anyone to play Leather Goddesses of Phobos at work -- but then again, we do it all the time, so why shouldn't you?
Leather Goddesses of Phobos is the fifth work of interactive fiction by Steve Meretzky, who has also authored Planetfall® and Sorcerer, and co-wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in collaboration with Douglas Adams. Leather Goddesses of Phobos has been given a difficulty rating of Standard Level. Available September 10, Leather Goddesses of Phobos will run on most personal computers and sells for a suggested retail price of $34.95 on the Atari XL/XE series, the Commodore 64, and the Commodore 128; $39.95 on all other computer systems. So you don't forget, order before midnight tonight.
PANCREAS (May 15 to June...oh, let's say 22)
* This is a good week to bake muffins at altitudes higher than 14,000 feet. Consider making a new friend, preferably one who won't embarrass you in restaurants by making loud snorts and clucks.
CRANBERRY (June 23 to July 3)
* That great-looking power broker you've had your eye on just started dating a squash pro. Oh well, it looks like you got shot down again. You're really a loser at love.
MANGE (July 4)
* Avoid violent anti-capitalist insurrection this week. This is a good time to put down those readings of Marx and Trotsky, and to really feel good about the ol' red white and blue.
FATTY ACID (July 5 to August 17)
* Due to planetary conflicts, your sign has been accidentally deleted. Until this situation is remedied by the proper celestial entities, why not forge a new birth certificate under a different sign? (Don't pick PANCREAS though -- you should see what's in store for them next week!)
PROTOZOA (August 18 to September 12)
* Be wary of any clones that you have made of yourself in the last twenty-four hours. Avoid dishpan hands, especially if you live alone, or with a mollusk.
FLAMINGO (September 12 to mid-December)
* It's time to confront that crisis that's been threatening your life for the last month or so. Try a new breath mint. At all costs, avoid the Greek alphabet.
CADAVER (The rest of December to February 3)
* If you're planning a holiday, don't leave out Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, as a possible stop-over or final destination. Exclude curry dishes and fine Italian chianti from your diet this week.
RAWHIDE (February 4 to April 2)
* It's a good week to break promises, commit lude [sic] acts, and in any way harm your fellow creatures. Then make it up to them by reupholstering their cars and living rooms with shocking-pink nylon.
DIRIGIBLE (Those born against their will)
* Sell your stamp collection. Bring the world to its knees. Slurp loudly tonight at dinner. Convert yourself to the metric system. Wear a hotdog as a tie. Divest.
LIMPKIN (Those born by contractual obligation)
* A supernova in a distant galaxy has opened new career paths for you. Take advantage of this once-in-a-half-life opportunity, and seek employment in organized crime or at an artificial turf dealership.
MAN-HOUR (Those not yet born, or born in a funny position)
* Don't trust anyone, not even yourself. Stay inside and keep your doors and windows locked. Carry a loaded shotgun on your person. Begin to hoard canned food and medical supplies. Don't pick up the phone. Don't respond to any chain letters or enter in any sweepstakes, even if you may have already won a fabulous prize.
Once before we have written to ask you to cease and desist your mimicry of the logotype and front-page style of The New York Times.
It is clear that that you are conscious of copyrights and registered trademarks -- you take steps to protect your own in your masthead notice and in your text.
Yet you continue to violate our copyright and our registered trademark. By so doing, you are endangering vital Times Company assets.
I am asking our attorney to take the necessary steps.
Leonard R. Harris
Director, Corporate Relations and Public Affairs
The New York Times Company
The Gnu Yak Times ("All the gnus' wee feet leave prints")Our thanks to everyone who sent in a suggestion. Cliff Tuel of San Jose, CA, was the first person to recommend The Status Line, so Cliff wins our prize: a subscription to The New York Times.
The Old Zork Times
Ye Olde Zork Times
The New York Times ("Really give them something to complain about")
Bud Aku's Review
The Four Asterisks
Ctrl Alt Del
Fresh Frazzled Frobozz Facts, Fallacies, Faces and Farces
The New Grue Review
The Grue Review
The Gnu Grue Review
The Gnu Review
The Gnus' Paper
The Grues' Paper
The 6:00 Grues
The Daily Planetfall
The Festeron Gazette
No Gnus Today
The Daily Catch ("Stick this in your ear")
The Daily Babel Fish ("All the news fit to stick in your ear")
The Zorkian Review
Infocom, Infogo ("What took place, I do not know")
Sargent Blather's Lonely Lifeform Club
The Infocom Inquirer
Grues Say Hey Today
The Brass Lantern
The Brash Lantern
The Shining Sword
The Rusty Lantern
Grues 'R' Us
The Richard M. Nixon Report on Ethical Actions in Politics
Great Underground Examiner (G.U.E.)
The Great Underground Enquirer (G.U.E.)
The Copyright Infringement Times
The Infocom Insider
The Infocom Grues
Almost The New Zork Times
Unicator (referred to as "the Infocom Unicator")
Frobozz Free Press
The Underground Press
The Underground Grues
The Tunnel Times
The Tunnel Tattler
The Basement Bugler
The Zork Report
The Rootinest, Tootinest, Best Darn Newsletter in the Known Universe
The Multi-Paged Guide for Adventures in the Underground Empire and Other Similar Locations
The Daily Hacker Distributed a Couple of Times a Year
U.S. News (or Gnus) and Dungeon Report
G.U.E. News (or Gnus) and Dungeon Report
Gnu Zork Nose
All This and Zork II
The Yak-tual Truth
This Space Intentionally Left Blank
The Gnu Republic
Frob Hall Forum
As publisher of Bat Facts, I was upset to learn that your newsletter has been carrying "Yak Facts" for several months without my permission. I am incensed that many people in the bat industry, who would normally pay good money for top-notch bat news, have opted instead to receive your free newsletter, not realizing the essential difference between my legitimate Bat News and your rip-off Yak Facts. My lawyers will call your lawyers.
[Notice to our readers: Those wishing to threaten us with a lawsuit over this issue are encouraged to take a number and wait in line. Only one lawsuit per person, please; we want everyone to have a chance. Sorry for the inconvenience. Have a nice day.]
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ | | | | | | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | |_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _| | | | | | | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | |_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _|_ _ _ _|
Zork II by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank (Advanced, 1981). Outwit dragons, demons, and the Wizard of Frobozz.
Zork III by Marc Blank and Dave Lebling (Advanced, 1982). Conclusion of the Zork Trilogy. An unusual goal and scoring system highlighted by encounters with Dimwit Flathead and the Dungeon Master.
Enchanter® by Dave Lebling and Marc Blank (Standard, 1983). A novice Enchanter must save the world from the nefarious Krill. First of a trilogy where magic outweighs fighting ability.
Sorcerer by Steve Meretzky (Advanced, 1984). In the midst of Hellhounds, amusement parks, mazes, and flumes, rescue Belboz and defeat the evil demon Jeearr.
Spellbreaker by Dave Lebling (Expert, 1985). Conclusion of the Enchanter Trilogy. Magic fails, and you must make your way through some of the hardest puzzles in interactive fiction to find out why.
Wishbringer by Brian Moriarty (Introductory, 1985). A simple job of letter-carrying turns sinister, as the town of Festeron becomes twisted and dangerous.
Trinity by Brian Moriarty (Standard, 1986). Travelling through time and space, you must escape from several atomic explosions, to eventually land at the New Mexico desert moments before the A-bomb explodes. Can you change the course of history?
Starcross by Dave Lebling (Expert, 1982). A strange alien artifact enters the solar system, and a down-at-the-heels asteroid miner is drawn into a puzzle that could give mankind the stars.
Suspended® by Michael Berlyn (Expert, 1983). The controlling brain of a totally automated planet must repair the system before the planet's inhabitants "replace" him.
Planetfall by Steve Meretzky (Standard, 1983). When you joined the Space Patrol, they didn't say you'd end up swabbing the decks. When the ship is destroyed, you and your faithful robot sidekick Floyd must survive on an apparently deserted planet.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky (Standard, 1984). Based on the best-selling book. Arthur Dent doesn't realize his troubles are only beginning when the bulldozer arrives to demolish his house.
A Mind Forever Voyaging by Steve Meretzky (Advanced, 1985). Explore a frighteningly possible future as PRISM, the first true artificial intelligence. Senator Ryder's Plan looks pretty good -- or does it?
Leather Goddesses of Phobos by Steve Meretzky (Standard, 1986). (See the article in this issue.)
Deadline by Marc Blank (Expert, 1982). Industrialist Marshall Robner is found dead in his Library. An obvious suicide. Then why is everyone so defensive? A classic locked-room mystery.
The Witness by Stuart Galley (Standard, 1983). Freeman Linder wants your help on a little blackmail case, but before your eyes it becomes a murder -- his! Set in the 1930s and in the hard-boiled Raymond Chandler style.
Suspect® by Dave Lebling (Advanced, 1984). Your editor sends you to cover a society Halloween Party. Then the hostess is murdered, and guess who's the prime suspect? Can you clear yourself before the police arrive?
Ballyhoo by Jeff O'Neill (Standard, 1986). Winding up a day at the circus, you become enmeshed in a plot that takes you behind the scenes of The Travelling Circus That Time Forgot.
Moonmist by Stu Galley and Jim Lawrence (Introductory, 1986). (See the article in this issue.)
Infidel® by Michael Berlyn (Advanced, 1983). Deserted by the crew, an intrepid archaeologist probes the mysteries of an untouched Egyptian pyramid.
Seastalker by Stuart Galley and Jim Lawrence (Introductory, 1984). Inventions to hand and faithful helpers at your side, you rush to rescue the Aquadome from the monstrous Snark.
Cutthroats® by Michael Berlyn and Jerry Wolper (Standard, 1984). Who needs enemies with friends like Pete the Rat and Johnny Red? You may be in with them in a hunt for sunken treasure, but you can't trust them, and with McGinty on your tail, you might end up in over your head.
Fooblitzky. A unique board game played on the computer. A multi-player game with dozens of variations and hours of fun.
Finally, connect the dots in the order of these numbers. (Note that, since there are 45 quotes but only 40 names, five of the quotes will be unused -- and five of the dots will be unused as well.) You will produce a graphic that is somehow associated with one of Infocom's twenty-two works of interactive fiction. To answer the puzzle correctly, simply give the title of this work.
The answer and winners for Puzzle Number Ten will appear in the next issue.
ANSWER: _________________________________________________ Name: ___________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ T-Shirt Size (S, M, L, XL): _____________________________CONTEST RULES:
The Status Line Puzzle
125 CambridgePark Drive
Cambridge, MA 02140
.A .G .W .CC .II .F .NN .C .E .OO .K .BB .JJ .PP .X .DD .B .I .KK .QQ .L .M .GG .RR .D .J .Y .EE .HH .LL .MM .H .Z .N .Q.R .AA .SS .T .FF .S.U .O.P .V
|A.||"This has been my desire e'er since this charlatan bent me to his service. I perform this deed with pleasure!"|
|B.||"One more step and the President of the Galaxy is fried meat!"|
|C.||"You reporters have all the sensitivity of buffalo. Can't you leave me alone?"|
|D.||"Uh, no thanks. I prefer to stay near my beach. I don't see much yummy seaweed out that way."|
|E.||"We have a position for an Ensign Ninth Class in the toilet-scrubbibg division, you know."|
|F.||"I dinna give a hoot about you or your questions! Now, begone!"|
|G.||"She spake against the Church; she tried to poison the mind of a child too young to know the Truth."|
|I.||"My, I wonder what this fine rope is doing here."|
|J.||"That's strange! Maybe you should use the Computestor."|
|K.||"I've heard talk of a merger between Dad's company and another one, but I don't think it's happened yet."|
|L.||"When we began to approach your system, I got excited! A whole new culture to learn!"|
|M.||"My court thanks you most humbly for rescuing the life of my daughter."|
|N.||"Aha! A thief! Didn't I tell you that we needed more security!"|
|O.||"You may not be aware of this, but I'm not working. I need to get repaired."|
|P.||"I thought I should come here on the streetcar, in case you needed help."|
|Q.||"Frobizz! Frobozzle! Frobnoid!"|
|R.||"If anyone tries anything stupid, you won't live to regret it."|
|S.||"Squawk! This tea is cold! Get me another cup. Squawk!"|
|T.||"I'm gonna use it to find the legendary lost planet of Magrathea. Let's go sit in the sauna while I explain."|
|U.||"I have a busy appointment schedule and little time to waste on trespassers, but for a small fee I'll show you the way out."|
|V.||"Is this...is this a squash court?"|
|W.||"Detested words! Even now it sticks my soul to hear them uttered."|
|X.||"We could be in danger! The Snark may attack again any time!"|
|Y.||"He always promised me wealth here in America, but I've never seen it."|
|Z.||"Guards! Throw this trespasser into the glass maze!"|
|AA.||"This is surely a terrible waste of time, not to mention upsetting, having all these police marching around the house."|
|BB.||"You should not even be here. You will disturb our rest."|
|CC.||"My sister was a fool to send the likes of you on such a quest!"|
|DD.||"Here come da clone, here come da clone."|
|EE.||"A courtly gentleman, isn't he? That black cape makes him look almost cuddly."|
|FF.||"If he's going to read us his poetry, just pray he softens us up with some cudgels first...."|
|GG.||"Mmm. Just like Mom used to make 'em."|
|HH.||"If you won't turn it off, I will. I can't take the noise any more."|
|II.||"The last vat, I swear it, tasted as if grues had been bathing in it."|
|JJ.||"You're going to be a hero, you know. You'd probably get a call from the President congratulating you...."|
|KK.||"Take the victim to the tower. I shall prepare for the sacrifice!"|
|LL.||"We will need that boat after all."|
|MM.||"Do this. Pick up that. Unjam the opening mechanism of the other."|
|NN.||"Can't you talk this copper into letting me loose?"|
|OO.||"I am not permitted to enter the prison cell."|
|PP.||"Daydreaming again, eh? I've been looking everywhere for you!"|
|QQ.||"Bleem miserable venchit! Bleem forever mestinglish asunder frapt."|
|RR.||"Just because he's a boor doesn't make him guilty."|
|SS.||"I have waited three ages for someone to say those words...."|
|2.||The Evil One (Wishbringer)|
|3.||Abraham Perelman (A Mind Forever Voyaging)|
|4.||Monica Linder (The Witness)|
|5.||The Dungeon Master (Zork III)|
|6.||Corky Crisp (Wishbringer)|
|7.||The Vogon Captain (Hitchhiker's Guide)|
|8.||The Detective (Suspect)|
|12.||Zoe Bly (Seastalker)|
|13.||Phong (The Witness)|
|14.||Alicia Barron (Suspect)|
|15.||The Cyclops (Zork I)|
|17.||Marvin (Hitchhiker's Guide)|
|18.||The Navigational Computer (Starcross)|
|19.||Leslie Robner (Deadline)|
|23.||The Wizard of Frobozz (Zork II)|
|24.||Johnny Red (Cutthroats)|
|25.||Zaphod Beeblebrox (Hitchhiker's Guide)|
|27.||The Volcano Gnome (Zork II)|
|29.||Sergeant Duffy (The Witness)|
|31.||Dimwit Flathead (Zork III)|
|32.||Tip Randall (Seastalker)|
|33.||The Thief (Zork I)|
|34.||The Turtle (Enchanter)|
|35.||Trillian (Hitchhiker's Guide)|
|36.||Michael Wellman (Suspect)|
|38.||Angus McNabb (Deadline)|
|39.||Mitchell Simm (A Mind Forever Voyaging)|
|40.||The Demon (Zork II)|
You guys must be a hoot to work around. Do you have an opening for an environmental engineer/classical tenor/professional wrestler? I'm your man.
Seriously, though, I had to write concerning one of your answers to Puzzle #9. There is a scene in Casablanca in which Ilse (that's right, Ilse, not Ilsa as you spelled it -- it's my mother's name) Lund clearly calls Rick Blain "Eric." Do you have any direct evidence that the character's first name was in fact Richard, or are you merely assuming that "Rick" is always short for "Richard"? If you aren't sure, I invite you to rent the VCR and check. I believe the scene in question is the first between Rick and Ilse, and it occurs about 20 minutes into the film. You can also check the credits for all this Ilse/Ilsa and Renaud/Renaut/Renault spelling business (damn furriners, why couldn't she be Jane and he be Ford -- think about it). They could even set it in Whitehouse, Texas (it's ten miles south of Tyler).
I look forward to trying Trinity and A Mind Forever Voyaging. The concept of both is intriguing. And hurry up with the sequel to Hitchhiker's!
Dear Sirs (sic): -- (or is it "Dear Sick Sirs"?)
Dan Donahuen of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, wrote to the puzzle mail bag to challenge Infocom's spelling of the name Louis Renaut (in Puzzle #9). Actually, both Infocom and Donahuen are wrong. Enclosed is a copy of a page from the printed script of Casablanca, from Casablanca, Script and Legend by Howard Koch (a treasure of a book!).
As you see, the Prefect of Police is clearly "Renault," just like the auto: not "Renaud" (Donahuen) or "Renaut" (Infocom).
[Puzzle Editor's Reply: Okay, let's get this silly spelling business straight once and for all. In Puzzle #9, in the Winter 1986 issue, we correctly spelled the Prefect's name as "Renault." When we printed reader Donahuen's letter, in the Spring 1986 issue, it was misspelled due to a typo. The sentence in his letter that reads "...you had the name Louis Renaut" should have read "...you had the name Louis Renault."
As for our "Ilsa" vs. reader Donehoo's "Ilse," we stand by our spelling. Our source, by the way, is The Film Classics Library Casablanca, edited by Richard J. Anobile (also a treasure of a book).
According to our source, Ilsa never calls Bogey "Eric." In fact, she calls him Richard on a number of occasions. During the flashback in Paris, she says, "Richard, they'll find out your record. It won't be safe for you here." The note that Sam hands him on the train platform is addressed to "Richard." Later, when she goes to his room during the night to ask him for the letters of transit, she says, "Richard, I had to see you" (to which Rick replies, "So, it's Richard again! We're back in Paris."). Major Strasser also refers to him as "Richard" when reading his dossier, and Sam calls him "Mister Richard" when he isn't calling him "Boss." Anyway, the point is made, the evidence is overwhelming, but I'll rent the videotape anyway, since I haven't watched it in over a month.]
I am disturbed by your comments on the puzzle entries. Perhaps you feel that only one person in each family plays an Infocom game. As an Infocom player, the wife of an Infocom player, and the mother of seven (five of whom are avid Infocom players and the remaining two are learning to read JUST so they can play Infocom games), I feel maligned. I buy Infocom games for our family. While one person is playing the game, many members of the family are involved in the game. (What is so funny, how did you get the babel fish, etc.)
Because I feel that Infocom games are assets to our family life, I will continue to buy each game as it is introduced. That means at least seven people in our family will play the game. Now, I am not a selfish mother, but I want to be able to enter the contests also. Would you discriminate against me just because I'm the wife and mother of all these "Infocommies" and I've only had time on the computers to finish one game myself? After all, I'm supporting you by purchasing your products for birthdays, Christmas, and just because there is a new game available. Some of my children greet me each afternoon by asking me if [the Infocom newsletter] came today. Even if it comes in my name, they feel a proprietary right.
Do you know how many games I have had to buy to feed the family's habits? Also, we have addicted other families to this wicked pastime. We get calls at all hours from some soul asking Aunt Judie how you get the key from the Unicorn or asking Uncle Delbert how you get the grue's milk.
So -- how about one envelope per household? Allowing photocopies is nice. When we had to send you the original, we kept a photocopy; and I had to be a Solomon to decide who got to enter the contest that time.
[Puzzle Editor's Reply: Don't grumble, because the one-entry-per-envelope rule really doesn't discriminate against you. Actually, it merely prevents you from having an additional advantage over entrants who ARE the only player at their address. You already enjoy an advantage in puzzles that such solo Infocommies don't have: the seven-heads-are-better-than-one advantage. (It would, of course, be just plain silly to have a rule that said "You must do the puzzle on your own without any help from anyone else.")
Don't grumble, because the goal of our puzzle rules is to maximize the number of people who can enter, while attempting to eliminate cheating or ploys to gain unfair advantages. Unfortunately, when an envelope arrives filled with photocopied entries from John Smith, Tabby Smith, Rex Smith, and Daisy Smith, we have no way of knowing whether they are all legitimate, or whether John is merely entering his cat, dog, and sheep in the contest in order to multiply his chances. It would be nice if nobody cheated, but experience shows that this simply isn't the case. For example, we limit entries to one per person, but nevertheless we still find people who enter multiple times. (By the way, when this occurs we simply ignore all the entries from that person.)
Don't grumble, because we feel that the one-entry-per-envelope rule is the fairest method, even though some members of the vast honest majority have to be inconvenienced a little.
Don't grumble, just think of how much better things have been for you since we began allowing photocopies! Would you rather go back to the system where multiple entries could be put in one envelope, but you had to cut up your issue?
And finally, don't grumble! It's only a silly little puzzle! It's supposed to be fun! Diverting! Entertaining! Grumble about taxes or toxic waste dumps, not the puzzle!]
|NORTH (vulnerable)||UP (dealing 1st, 3rd*)|
|-4, -2||6, 8, 84|
|Water Molecule, Bromide||(none)|
|multiples of 11||even, except multiples of 11|
|4, 8, K||J, 9, Rook|
|Red, Red, GunMetal-Gray||3, 11, Off-White, Beet-Red|
|Bocce, K, Teapot||3, Law School|
|3, 3, 3, 3, 2||77, 3, 3, 3, 10|
|EAST (dealing 2nd, 3rd*)|
|1097, 2||2, A, K, Alan|
|opposite||points within the shaded area|
|2, 4, Bishop, K||3, K, H, N|
|Blue-Gray||Tangerine-Orange, Black, Q|
|Melon, 5, Granola||Cottage, 9, Chaise|
|3, 3, 3, 3, Q||2, 3, 3|
This set-up occured in 904, at the annual Championships at Borphee. Veldran of Aragain and BoBo the Somewhat Misguided played (respectively) North and Up, challenging Hobart the Unmerciful and Snuffie (playing Southwest and East). Since the SW-E team controlled "Alan," they were able to make a decision. Southwest arcwelded his Q and K to his partner's Q and K for a Simpleton. Jazzing, East formed the word "ANKH" from various letters in his possession, to gain control of the gauntlet for three turns. North, hoping for Manhattan, signalled for a switch, and exchanged his -2 for his partner's 84, a difference of 86. BoBo factored an 11 out of his 77 of , and formed a straight, which he traded in for an option on the movie rights. North, monopolizing on a distraction in the bleachers, seized his misplaced cards and incorporated them into his hand -- the Hydronium Ion of and the 4 of . As North restored himself to his seat, East dealt a round of cards (out of turn).
Turn two began, and the players revolved. Snuffie, drawing a Red of , mixed it with the Tangerine-Orange and Black of , as well as his partner's Blue-Gray, in order to produce a ghastly shade of brown. After a brief pause, the judges raised their placards -- a 9.8, a 9.77 and a "nice job." A new championship record! Southwest drew another trebled fromp, therefore controlling more 3's than any other player, and thus was allowed to roll again. Rolling a four, Hobart declared "Argyle!" for which he received ten points and a chance at the trip for two to Arulis Maptar. Poker-faced, Veldran bluffed, claiming that he had, in fact, won the game several turns ago. Unconvinced, team SW-E challenged, winning the judges' favor. To conserve pride, Veldran ionized his Hydronium Ion and his Water Molecule of , to form a strong acid. Some cards were accidentally dissolved in the resulting confusion. Up passed, to cuddle his s.
Things looked grim for N-U, their combined score so tiny that it was immeasurable since the microscope hadn't yet been invented. But, as is customary in tournament play, luck saw to it that the underdog wasn't trampled. As Southwest dealt across the table, Snuffie fell over backwards clutching his hamstring. The medical crew, rushing onto the field, confirmed that he was suffering from a broken wrist, and dragged him to the sidelines. Southwest tossed his cards into the air and unleashed a long string of expletives about elks. After much consultation, both teams agreed to end the game in a draw and order out for pizza, making this the 72nd year in a row that the tournament closed without a confirmed winner. Nevertheless, the fans swept onto the field and ate the goalposts -- a true Double Fanucci tradition.
[Reprinted with permission from the Borphee Digest, vol. MMCXXI, p. 879]
All cartoons must be in black on white, unlined paper. Please don't fold your cartoon! All submissions become property of Infocom. If we print your cartoon, we'll send you a free game of your choice. Don't forget to include your name, address, phone number, the title of the game you'd like to win, and the computer system you'd like the game to run on.
Recently I read the trademark information on the back of one of your pamphlets and became terribly interested in interactive fiction. So, one fine afternoon, I marched down to the computer store and purchased your famous Zork I. When I got home, I ripped off all the plastic and sat down to read the manual.
After about an hour or so, I began to realize that this game required the use of a computer! I'm outraged!!! It's discrimination of the worst kind!!!
Immediately I dashed off to my lawyer's office and had a chat with him. He assured me that Infocom was far above the law and there was nothing I could do. So, I resorted to purchasing an IBM-PC.
I immediately put the disk in the drive and booted the computer. Superb! The best game I've ever had! I was fascinated by all those sophisticated electric sounds of the disk spinning inside the computer! So, generous and sharing person that I'd like to think I am, I invited a friend over to play with me.
When my friend got there I eagerly started up the game. But then my friend asked, "Hey, don't you need a monitor to play this?" I'm outraged!!! It's discrimination of the second to the worst kind!!!
My lawyer again reminded me that Infocom is far above the law and I should keep quiet, lest I be visited by a slue of grues. So I resorted to buying a monitor.
When I got home, I connected the monitor and invited my friend over to play again. When he arrived, I booted the computer and we listened to the incredibly fascinating noises the disk drive made. But then, to our utter disappointment, words began to appear on the screen. Such horrible description! Such grotesque exaggeration! I had always believed the White House was much bigger than that! And where was the President and all his Secret Service men? It wasn't totally void of life though: I did find a maid in the basement with an axe. Anyhow, I soon lost interest in the game altogether.
To anyone who reads this, I suggest playing Zork without a monitor. It's much more challenging.
P.S. I have an excellent monitor for sale. It has only been used once, but I recommend disconnecting it when playing Infocom games.
[Editor's Reply: We find it hard to believe that your lawyer said Infocom is far above the law.]
The new games were introduced at a BYOB ("Bring Your Own Brain") Party held at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. Guests relaxed in the spacious and elegant museum, then were entertained (and presumably edified) by Infocom's John O'Leary (VP of Marketing), Brian Moriarty (author of Trinity), Steve Meretzky (author of Leather Goddesses of Phobos), and Stu Galley (author of Moonmist).
Then we made the guests work. Each, on registering, had been assigned to one of six teams. Each team ended up with about fifty people on it. The teams were sent out into the museum in search of the answers to eighteen sneaky questions. For example, "The Oldest Canadian in the main hall of the museum" turned out to be a 65-million-year-old dinosaur. The answer to these teasers were used to fill in the blanks in the instructions for an on-foot "Road Rally." The Road Rally sent the teams all over the museum, following cryptic directions. For example:
Head towards the only fountain you can see. When you reach it, climb _________ the _________ _________ stairs.At three places along the path were exhibits reminiscent of the three games being introduced. Information from those three exhibits was manipulated to produce the ultimate answer (and no, it wasn't 42).
At the first landing, continue _________ in the same direction the lobby _________ is facing. Stop when you are surrounded by the columns and the aboriginal guards.
The more sedentary team members could eat, drink, and socialize while watching their teammates' progress on a huge scoreboard, and the less sedentary had the pleasure of exploring the nooks and crannies of the Field Museum. It was a close contest, with five of the six teams in a dead heat going into the Road Rally. The Orange team was victorious, and each member of the winning team won a lovely "Bring Your Own Brain" sweatshirt personally distributed by contest authors Steve Meretzky and Dave Lebling.
Lebling: There must be hyraxes around here somewhere. They're cute and cuddly and the closest living relatives of the elephant. It would make a great question.
Meretzky (on being shown hyraxes): I don't believe it, and besides, no one else has ever heard of them.
Slow dissolve to Cambridge: the contest materials are written, then printed and collated onto carefully chosen, color-coded Day-Glow papers. Matching color-coded name tags, tablecloths (for the tables that would serve as the teams' home base), etc., are assembled. The materials are carefully packed and sent to Chicago.
Cut to Chicago, the morning of the event:
Meretzky: The boxes haven't arrived! No one answers the phone!
Lebling: Put down that knife!
Much searching, confusion, near-panic (peril-sensitive sunglasses turning dark all around). Fortunately, Steve brought the originals, so InfoPRperson Spencer Steere and her associates could, at the last minute and at great expense, produce a new set of materials. So what if there was no red paper and the purple was actually more or less gray? Many would imbibe too much to notice.
Cut to the Field Museum, one hour before the event: "What do you mean, you've thrown away all the maps of the Museum?"
The contest officially started at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 30th, but beforehand the students were able to look at the game materials. Many of the people constructed paper cranes from the instructions included with the game. At 5:00 they all started the game by exploring Kensington Gardens (the first setting). At about 5:45 the first groups started to leave the Gardens, and others followed over the next hour. After that, they were able to explore the large geography of the central portion of the game.
Throughout the night they struggled to finish the game. The first team to finish, from Acton/Boxboro Regional High School, finally solved the game almost 17 hours later, at 9:45 Saturday morning. One other team solved the game about 45 minutes later; by that time, all other teams had given up to get some much needed sleep. Congratulations to Bill Shubert, Adam Crossland and Mark Hald for winning the Marathon.
Congratulations also go to Infocom's Spencer Steere for setting up this event. Those in the Boston area were able to see the start of the Marathon on the 11 o'clock nightly news on channel 7 (WNEV).
This fall, Infocom is planning Marathons across the country, to be held in major museums for area high school students. The tentatively scheduled cities are: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Our newest releases will be featured: Moonmist and...well, we're not going to tell you yet. So keep an eye open for the Marathon coming to YOUR area.
PROFESSION: President, Activision, Inc.
HOBBY: Collecting software development companies.
LATEST BOOK READ: The Ballyhoo hint booklet.
LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Finding foster homes for all the little computer people.
FAVORITE INFOCOM GAME: Cornerstone.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO: Alimony.
QUOTE: "People often mistake me for Bruce Willis."
PROFILE: Charismatic. A real motivator. Looks great in a limousine.
HIS DRINK: "Gruer's Dark," right out of a canteen. "Its taste blends perfectly with the sense of satisfaction I feel in knowing that I am now the kingpin of interactive fiction."
Enter the InfoDream Date Contest and win a date with Infocom's Director of Marketing, Mike Dornbrook. Just tell us in 50 words or less why you would want to go on a date with Mikey. Entries will be judged by a committee of married Infoemployees, and the winning entry, along with a few runners-up, will be published in a future issue of this newsletter. Runners-up will receive an Infocom poster. All contestants will have the satisfaction of knowing they have flattered Mikey and helped put a dent in this year's Postal Service deficit.
Unfortunately, most of this year's enormous contest budget is gone, so the winner will have to get to Boston on his or her own. Jim, tell our eager contestants what awaits them on their InfoDream date, should they win:
Your InfoDream date begins with a tour of the Infocom facilities. You'll meet the game writers and have your picture taken on the computer they work on. You'll see Marc Blank's desk and his Halloween costume from last year. You'll see Infocom's trophy case. If there are any meetings, you can take the minutes, unless you don't want to. Then you'll be whisked a block away to Aku-Aku (Polynesian dishes a specialty) for dinner with Mikey. All this can be yours if your entry is selected by our distinguished committee of judges.Send your entry, and a photo (optional, but you don't think we're going to send Mikey out with just anybody, do you?) to InfoDream Date, 125 CambridgePark Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140, Attention Jim Lange. Employees of Infocom and their families are not eligible since they see Mikey all the time.
I'm madly attracted to the boy next door. I think we would make a great couple because we have so much in common -- namely, we're both Infocom fanatics. We're so crazy about Infocom that if we were Infocom employees, we would work all night, all weekend, and never take a vacation!
The problem is that one time I told "Jim" (not his real name) that when I grow up I want to go into marketing. Well, Jim, who wants to be a game designer, said that we'd never see eye to eye because game designers and marketeers never do. Now he won't have anything to do with me. Every time he sees me he just sneers and mutters something about stupid marketing people.
I know we could be happy if he would just give it a chance. Gabby, please tell me what to do!
Miserable in Marketing
Dear M 'n M,
Bag the close-minded jerk and win a date with Mike Dornbrook! He loves both Infocom AND marketing. He even loves to work all night and all weekend without taking a vacation. So he's sure to love you too.
I am a home-owner who takes a great deal of pride in my yard as well as my house. I have worked very hard to make my backyard a place that is not only pleasing to the eye but also pleasing to the soul. Now, after several months of hard work, the only thing I need to attain this goal is a fence. A fence would block from view a rather unsightly woodpile on my neighbor's property, and it would give me the peace and solitude that I'd like.
When I asked my neighbors if they would mind a fence along the property line, they were perfectly agreeable. But when I started to put the fence up, they became irate. They claimed I was putting the fence in their yard, a foot in from the property line. I showed them the deed to my house which confirmed that I was correct in my assumption of the property line, but it didn't dull their hostility.
What should I do? I absolutely don't want to make enemies of my neighbors. But shouldn't I stand up for what's rightfully mine?
Straddling the Fence
Boy, that's a toughy! In fact, I don't think I can help you out on this one, but I know who can ... Mike Dornbrook! Wouldn't ya know it, Mike had the exact same problem with his fence-building. Win a date with him and he can tell you all about how he solved this dilemma.
I don't own a refrigerator. As a result, people think I'm really weird. It's not fair, though. I eat out a lot, so I don't need a refrigerator! I don't call that weird. I call that pratical. How can I make people understand that and accept me as I am?
No Iced Tea
Dear No Tea,
You can't change the way people think. So what you have to do is find people who think the way you do. And, as unbelievable as it may seem, there is someone that thinks like you. You guessed it -- Mike Dornbrook! Mike likes to eat out a lot, and he too is refrigeratorless. So get together with him. Win a date with Mike!
Now, on the other hand, if your design is one of the hundreds that apparently was drowned in this so-called "ocean of artistic talent," you're probably pretty ticked off right now. And your reaction is also very understandable. Day after day you agonized over the perfect concept, your creative juices churning until they oozed from your every pore in beads of perspiration. Then you spent hour upon hour transferring your creation to paper, your heart and soul pouring from you like the ink flowing from the pen. Finally, you spent minute upon painstaking minute assembling your precious artwork into an envelope, carefully addressing, sealing, stamping and sending it off to Infocom along with your youthful hopes and starry-eyed dreams. And now, after having spent month upon month anxiously awaiting the arrival of this newsletter, your dreams are shattered and all creative energy drains from your body when you see the unfamiliar design gracing the coveted position on the envelope.
We sincerely sympathize. In fact, the judges of the contest, while highly discriminating, are also terribly soft-hearted. With hearts the consistency of oatmeal, they couldn't bear to limit the contest to just one winner. They instead wanted to declare everybody a winner, but we had to hold them to six. So, the SIX first place winners are: Chris Douglas of Austin, TX; Jeff Nelsen of Torrance, CA; Kevin Savetz of Agoura Hills, CA; Samuel Shepard of Youngstown, OH; Marc Sylvester of Spring Valley, CA; and Brian White of Houston, TX. All six winners will be receiving their prizes within the next few weeks. The five remaining designs will appear on our future envelopes. Many thanks to all the great artists who participated, and congratulations to the winners.
|The Status Line|
Writers: Dave Anderson, Tom Bok, Gary Brennan, Victoria Cyr, Mike Dornbrook, Stu Galley, Elizabeth Langosy, Dave Lebling, Steve Meretzky, Curtis Montague, Jonathan Palace, Gayle Syska, Tom Veldran
Production: Cynthia Curtis, Susan Goldman, Jonathan Palace
Boss: Susan Goldman
Thanks to André St-Aubin for transcribing and HTML-izing this issue.