The Upgraded, Consolidated,
Infocom Bugs List


by Graeme Cree

"Last version was better," says Floyd. "More bugs. Bugs make game fun." --FLOYD's response to the VERSION command in all non-Solid Gold versions of Planetfall.

This is a re-working of C. E. Forman's Infocom bugs list [originally printed in XYZZYnews issues 2-5]. I have played through the Infocom line and tried to recreate all of the bugs mentioned in previous installments of this list, to check them out, and to discover exactly which versions the bugs appear in and which they do not.

Table of Contents

Each bug is given a number. At the beginning of each game's description is a chart, showing all known versions of the game, cross-referenced with a column for each bug. The column will show a "Y" if the bug appears in that version, a "N" if it doesn't appear. The versions are listed in the format [Release #/Serial #] (i.e. 10/880531; the serial number is actually the date that the datafile was compiled). Versions that appear in the IBM version of Lost Treasures of Infocom are preceded with an asterisk. This is usually the most recent version of the game, but not always.

In a few occasions, the chart may show that a bug does not appear in ANY versions of the game. There may be one of three explanations for this: 1) The bug was reported in error, and doesn't really exist; 2) The bug was a part not of the game, but of Infocom's interpreter. Since I used zip.exe to check out all of the bugs, I would not discover problems like this; 3) No one has ever published a complete list of all the different versions of all Infocom games ever published, and the bug may appear in a version that I don't know about. For example, the Enchanter "Jug bug" (#1 on the list) does not seem to appear in any versions, however I am reasonably sure that there was at least one version of the game published before version 10. However, since I don't know the version number or serial number for it, I was unable to put it in the chart.

In several cases I have rewritten the descriptions of bugs reported in previous editions of this list, to either clarify them, correct them, add new information, explain exactly how to produce the bug (when this was previously vague), or explain how the bug was fixed.

If anyone has any corrections, comments, or versions of Infocom games that do not appear in this list, I would appreciate them being sent to me and to Eileen. Thanks to LTOI, I have at least two (and sometimes as many as five) legal copies of all Infocom text games, thus there is no question of piracy.

This list contains all of the bugs that have been reported in XYZZYnews 2-5, as well as some extras I have discovered that may or may not have been published.

A Mind Forever Voyaging

[No Known Bugs]        
         VERSION
       *77/850814 
        79/851122

Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur

[No Known Bugs]
         VERSION
        54/890606
        63/890622
        74/890714

Ballyhoo

[No Known Bugs]
         VERSION
       *97/851218

Beyond Zork

                     BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5
        47/870915  Y Y Y Y N
        49/870917  Y Y Y Y N
        51/870923  Y Y Y Y N
       *57/871221  N N Y Y N
  1. In versions 47, 49, and 51, you can take the hurdy-gurdy away from the Monkey Grinder using the levitation wand. He'll still be able to use it against you though, even if you leave and return without it. If you get rid of him by giving him the chest, the hurdy-gurdy will appear in the area no matter where you left it. In version 57, he stops the hurdy-gurdy before it floats away and says "Cute."
  2. Versions 47, 49, and 51 have the infamous "Butterfly Bug". If you have the butterfly on the rim of your goblet you can sell it in any of the shops with the command GIVE BUTTERFLY TO WOMAN (SELL BUTTERFLY will not work). A few turns later the butterfly will fly out of the case and land on your goblet again, allowing you to sell it repeatedly. You get 5 zorkmids the first time you sell it, and the value doubles on each succeeding sale (10, 20, 40, 80, 160, et cetera). It is even possible to win the game without obtaining the Crocodile's Tear by doing this. Selling the butterfly when you have more than 20,000 zorkmids, will make your balance go crazy, giving you something like -30,000 zorkmids. In Version 57, it is impossible to sell the butterfly at all. If you try, you get the message "You'd have to take the butterfly out of the goblet first.", and if you do take it, you can't hold onto it.
  3. If you go to the Pool of Radiance, then type "DIP ME IN POOL" (as opposed to "GET IN THE POOL"), it will say that you see yourself in the pool, even though you really aren't. However, you will now be unable to interact with yourself ("EXAMINE ME," "POINT WAND AT ME," etc.) for the remainder of the game, unless you are at the pool. There is no way to get "yourself" back out of the pool once you "put" yourself in. This works in any version.
  4. If you read the scroll of recall while at the snowy clearing, you will be able to magically return to the lava and inscribe the glyph, even without the Ring of Shielding. This works in all versions.
  5. For some reason, the potion of forgetfulness doesn't seem to erase your map in the LTOI version, although it did in earlier releases. Not sure whether this is a bug or an act of kindness on the part of Infocom.
NOTE: I couldn't make this one work at all. In every version, including LTOI, my map was erased. -- GC

Border Zone

[No Known Bugs]
         VERSION
       *9/871008

Bureaucracy

                    BUG
          VERSION   1
         86/870212  N
       *116/870602  N
  1. If you type RING THE DOORBELL in front of the Mansion, it works fine. However, you can stand in front of your own house and type RING DOORBELL, and you get the same results as if you were in front of the Mansion. -- Doug Atkinson
NOTE: In both known versions RING THE DOORBELL in front of my house produced the response "You can't see any doorbell here." -- GC

Reader response

Dear Eileen,

I don't know if you're interested in more Infocom bugs, but I discovered one in the LTOI2 Bureaucracy. After you take the burger in the fast-food restaurant, you can leave (without paying) thru the back door, go around and come back, deal with the waitress, go out back again, go back around again, and order from the waiter. He will then bring you another burger, which you can take, but you will still only have one burger.

John David
tonyscam@email.msn.com

Cutthroats

[No Known Bugs]
         VERSION
       *23/840809

Deadline

                     BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4
        18/820311  Y N Y Y
        19/820427  ? Y Y Y
        21/820512  ? N Y Y
        26/821108  N N Y Y
       *27/831005  N N Y Y
  1. In Version 18, after the murder of Ms. Dunbar, two Dunbars would sometimes be present -- one living and the other dead! This was fixed by version 26/821108.

    NOTE: I don't know if this appears in version 19 or 21. I didn't see it, but that proves little, since I don't know under what conditions it occurs. I didn't see it in versions 26 or 27 either, but take Forman's word for it that it doesn't appear there.
  2. In version 19/820427 (only), the bathroom door on the first floor was impossible to open. "OPEN DOOR" would generate the response, "Which door do you mean, the door or the south closet door?" Answering "THE DOOR" would start the process all over again. In earlier versions, the south closet door was visible from the hallway, but could not be interacted with, unless you were inside the closet itself, and so the game regarded the bathroom door as the only one in the room. In later versions, it was called THE BATHROOM DOOR, rather than just THE DOOR, thus fixing the problem. However, not until Version 27/831005 was it possible to close the closet door from the hallway. Trying to CLOSE THE CLOSET DOOR would generate the same "Which door do you mean" loop as trying to open the bathroom door in Version 19. -- [NZT]
  3. No versions recognize the player as being in the room when he's sitting on a piece of furniture. For example, sitting on the couch and typing, "BAXTER, TELL ME ABOUT ROBNER" would respond with "You can't see any me here." [NZT]
  4. The six-letter recognition system used by Infocom's early parser often created problems. "LISTEN TO THE GARDENER" generates a reply of "The roses make no sound." in all versions. The game, looking at the first six letters, recognized "GARDEN" and "GARDENer" as the same word. [NZT]

Enchanter

                         BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
        10/830810  N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        15/831107  N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        16/831118  N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        24/851118  N N N N N N Y Y
       *29/860820  N N N N N N Y Y
  1. A well-documented bug allowed the player to fill the jug anywhere in the game simply by typing "FILL JUG" (provided that there was at least a small quantity of water already in it). This was corrected by version 10/830810.
  2. A similar error allowed the player to obtain any spell he wanted simply by typing "GNUSTO ." (Not sure if this worked with KULCAD, GUNCHO, or FILFRE.) This one was also corrected in the second release.
  3. In versions 10, 15, and 16, sending the turtle into the temple would be interpreted by the game as though you'd gone in instead, and you would end up dying. This is also true if the turtle encounters the hideous shapes that roam near the Banquet Hall and Library. In later versions, the turtle is unaffected. [NZT]
  4. In versions 10, 15, and 16, casting Guncho on the rope around the jewelled box would work, but the box would be empty, and typing "LOOK" would make the rope visible if the box is on the ground near you, even though it isn't really there. In later versions, casting Guncho on the rope made the box disappear as well.
  5. In versions 10, 15, and 16, the portrait in the gallery disappears if you move it and type "LOOK."
  6. In versions 10, 15, and 16, if the turtle dies from walking into a dark space, his death is reported as though it were yours, like so:
    >TURTLE, GO NORTH
    The rainbow turtle, ever the good friend, leaves you. 
    Oh, no! Something slithered alongside you and feasted on your person!
    *** The rainbow turtle has died *** 
    
    In later versions, the turtle could survive the darkness. -- Graeme Cree
  7. Normally, if the player continues to wander around without sleep for long enough, he'll drop from exhaustion. If you happen to be near the Engine Room when this occurs, however, you won't be able to sleep because of the noise. After you drop, try typing "DIAGNOSE," and you'll see garbage for the description of how rested you are. Repeat this several times, and eventually you'll start seeing the Rainbow Turtle's dialogue mixed in. This one works in all versions.
  8. Here's a bug that erases the entire contents of your spell book. At the Landing, enter the following sequence: "MEMORIZE BLORB. EAST. KULCAD THE STAIRS. CAST BLORB ON ME." When Belboz restores you to life, your spell book will be empty when you try to read it! You can do this in any version.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

         VERSION
        47/840914
        56/841221
        58/851002
        59/851108
  (SG) *31/871119

Reader response
Hi Eileen,

Thought I'd let you know about a bug in the Infocom Hitchhiker's game:

At the start of the game Ford offers Arthur a towel, so Arthur (in order to continue in the game from the vogon hold, traal etc.) takes the towel. When you come back as ford, all you have to do is offer arthur the towel. BUT (ha ha!) if you don't offer to give it to him again, he can't take it. ford still has it when the scene finishes, and arthur has it when he returns to the heart of gold. Yup, that's what made Infocom games so cool. The fact that neither Hitch-Hiker's Guide or the programming made any sense at all.

Happy camping,

Peter

Hollywood Hijinx

                  BUG
         VERSION   1
       *37/861215  Y
  1. You can empty the bucket while swimming underwater with it. -- Edharel

Infidel

                      BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6
       *22/830916  Y Y Y Y Y Y
  1. The wooden mast of the Royal Barge is responsible for several bugs in this game. According to the hint book, you're supposed to need both hands free to take the beam, which means you have to put the torch in the knothole. However, if you remove the shim, then go back up to the main deck of the barge, you'll be able to remove the beam no matter what you're holding. So you never have to put the torch in the knothole.
  2. Also, try dropping the beam aboard the barge or in the area immediately surrounding it. It will reappear on the central deck, no matter where you drop it. Sometimes it even drops there just by passing through the central deck!
  3. You can "LIGHT THE TORCH" anywhere in the game, regardless of whether or not the torch is present.
  4. After you put the beam in the niches, if you type "GET BEAM" from anywhere in the game, you fall into a pit of rats. [NZT]
  5. Filling the silver chalice when it's already full responds with "The silver chalice is filled with water. The silver chalice is now empty." [NZT]
  6. The container bug from Starcross and Zork I is also here, this time involving the knapsack and the silver chalice. Putting each inside the other simultaneously makes them both disappear. [NZT]
Journey

                      BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5
        22/890316  Y Y Y Y Y
        30/890322  N N N N N
        83/890706  N N N N N
  1. While looking for the white stone (after having found the dwarf-, nymph- and elf stones), I sent Hurth down a hole, where he found a key and a skull. Although Esher was at the top of the pit, the description when asking him to examine the key still starts with "Esher took the key and looked it over." This seems even more strange if you consider that the pit was too deep for the rope to reach all the way down. -- Torbj|rn Andersson
  2. Earlier in this search, Bergon is wounded. It is possible to heal him, but out of curiosity, I wanted to see what would happen if I left him to die. On getting out of the caves, the party is trapped by some half-sentinent trees. Although Bergon was no longer in the party, he remarked darkly that he had seen those trees before (when looking for westflake root, or whatever it was that could cure the bite of Nightfang). -- Torbj|rn Andersson
  3. To get to the Misty Isle, you have to use the 'wind' spell. If you haven't figured out the direction, the game will prompt you for if you really want to chance it. If you do, the party will perish. If you don't, you still use up one unit of air essence, even though the text says Praxix puts the essence back into his pouch. -- Torbj|rn Andersson
  4. On using the 'wind' spell to successfully get to the Misty Isle, Praxix is struck unconscious. Even though he is out cold, he still remarks that the spell used up the last of the air essence. -- Torbj|rn Andersson
  5. Dropping the rope while Praxix is unconscious still earns a reprimand from him. -- Torbj|rn Andersson

Reader response
Dear XYZZYnews:

Here's an interesting one from Infidel (off Masterpieces):

>put all in pack
knapsack: You take the knapsack off and place it in 
the cigarette pack. As
it settles in the cigarette pack, the cover flaps 
open. 
farewell note: There's no room.
cigarette pack: How can you do that?
>i
You are carrying:
  A farewell note
  A cigarette pack
  The cigarette pack contains:
    A knapsack
    The knapsack contains:
      A rope
      A canteen
>version
INFIDEL
Copyright 1983 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
INFIDEL is a trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 22 / Serial number 830916

The Infocom Bugs List mentions the "container bug' in Infidel -- putting the knapsack and the chalice in each other at the same time makes them disappear. It works with the knapsack and the cigarette pack too. You can trigger it with the amusing sequence:

>put sack in pack. put pack in sack.

Shades of Dr. Seuss!

Joe
jcmason@uwaterloo.ca
Leather Goddesses of Phobos

                   BUG
         VERSION   1 2
        50/860711  N Y
        59/860730  N Y
        59/861114  N Y
   (SG)  4/880405  Y Y
  1. At any point in the game, you can examine or push the purple and orange buttons on the barge, even when you're not in the same place as the barge. For example:
    >EXAMINE THE PURPLE BUTTON 
    You can't see any purple button.
    The huge purple button reads: Go With The Flow.
    This one is only present in the Solid Gold release (4/880405).
    
  2. This isn't exactly a bug, but sort of an excessively long way to go to avoid having to add another feature to the game: The software refuses to let you take the portable circle into the mad scientist's house on Venus. He will ask you to "leaf your tube outsite,", claiming that he's allergic, and will make you drop it before dragging you inside, even if it is hidden inside something else, like the basket. -- John Payson

Lurking Horror

                         BUG
          VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6 7
       *203/870506  Y Y Y Y Y N N
        219/870912  Y Y Y Y Y N N
        221/870918  Y Y Y Y Y N N
  1. When you encounter the rats in the steam tunnels, try escaping them by climbing on the coaxial cables above you. Eventually the rats will swarm up and start to bite you, making you fall. But if you try letting go of the cables before they do this, you'll get two descriptions of your death -- one saying that you let go of the cables, and the other saying that the rats bit you and made you fall.
  2. If you ask the hacker about the keyring or a single key, the response goes like this: "I've accumulated a few keys over the years. I'm a licensed locksmith, which helps. I can get into any room at Tech.' He pulls the keyring out on its chain, and *shows off a key you hadn't noticed before*." This happens every time you repeat the question, even if you already do know about the master key.
  3. You are able to go through the login procedure on the PC more than once. If you enter the wrong values while the PC is already up and running, the response goes as usual: "Invalid Login, Login Please". "x pc", on the other hand, shows that the computer still executes its current task.
  4. The behavior of the PC after your returning from the 'stone-scene' isn't consistent. The command "x screen" produces the reasonable reply "There's nothing recognizable on the screen", but "x pc" still answers "On the screen you see a menu box". In addition, the help key doesn't recognize that the pc has crashed and works as before.
  5. When let the hacker sits in the plastic chair during the debugging sequence, go south and return north to the terminal room. The room description says that the hacker is sitting in the plastic chair, while the output from EXAMINE HACKER claims that he is sitting in his own office chair. -- Martin Braun
  6. In version 203, after you obtain the master key from the hacker, try losing it in a way which prevents you from retrieving it. (Dropping it into the pit beside the altar works well.) Now if you go back to the Terminal Room and ask the hacker for it again, he'll give it back to you.

    NOTE: I couldn't get this one to work in any version, even 203. Each time I asked the hacker for the key a second time, I was told "You can't see any master key here." -- GC
  7. GIVE THE FUNNY BONES TO THE HACKER, and he will swallow them. However, the Bones remain in your inventory, closed and untouched.

    NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in any version. When I tried, they left my inventory, but they still existed in the room. They couldn't be spotted by examining the room or the hacker, but when I tried to take them again, the hacker responded "Hey, no snarfage, loser,", which the game tells you means "Stop". -- GC

Mini-Zork I

                   BUG
         VERSION   1
        34/871124  Y
  1. The lunch can be eaten an infinite number of times. If you eat it, you get a message saying that it was yummy, but it will still be in your inventory. This is likely a bug and not a "feature" because a) it doesn't work this way in the full-size version of Zork I, and b) the lunch is not necessary to win the game. -- Graeme Cree

Moonmist

                  BUG
         VERSION  1 2
        4/860918  N Y
       *9/861022  N Y
  1. If you give another character a sequence of commands, ending with a request that the character follow you, the character will instantly appear at your side, no matter where he or she is. For example, lead a character to the first-floor gallery. Now type: ", GO DOWN THEN GO WEST THEN GO NORTH THEN GO WEST THEN GO DOWN THEN GO WEST THEN FOLLOW ME." The character should now be somewhere in the basement, but if you go east, into your room, he or she will instantly reappear at your side. This works in both versions of the game.

    NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in either version. If I said something like ", go west", they would reply "I think you can do that better yourself. Also, everyone refused to follow me.
  2. On a certain turn, Bolitho will always ask if you are the famous young detective, even if he has already told you so on a previous turn, or the same turn! As a result, this odd exchange can be generated:
    >ASK BOLITHO ABOUT ME
    "You're [your name], the famous young detective.  Bolitho coughs
    diffidently,  and asks [your name]?  Am I right in assuming that you are
    the well-known  young American detective? -- Graeme Cree
    

Nord and Bert

                   BUG
         VERSION   1
       *19/870722  Y
  1. Although I can't recall details, I once got the game into an unsolvable state by performing several actions out of sequence, with the skeleton in the bathtub in the "Meet the Mayor" scene. I remember being unable to interact with the skeleton, despite the fact that the room description said it was still there. -- C. E. Forman

Planetfall

                     BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5
        20/830708  Y Y Y Y N
        29/840118  N N N Y N
       *37/851003  N N N N N
   (SG) 10/880531  N N N N N
  1. In version 20, pushing the elevator button more than once will make it restart its descent, with no ill effects. In later releases, pressing the button again has no effect.
  2. In Version 20, taking the fused bedistor, then dropping it, would make it impossible to pick up again without the pliers, since the game thought it was still fused to the socket. [NZT]
  3. In Version 20, the game does not know the word "microbe"! Thus, when the microbe drops in front of you on the relay strip, the command SHOOT MICROBE will not work. I managed to make do with SHOOT MONSTER. I'm not sure what other words will work. -- Graeme Cree
  4. In Versions 20 and 29, Floyd will bring you the shiny fromitz board over and over, unless you have already installed it in the socket. In later versions, he tells you that he already did that. [NZT]
  5. Ordering Floyd to take an item was interpreted by the game as if the player typed "TAKE FLOYD." [NZT] NOTE: In all four versions, asking Floyd to take something just made him say "Enough talking! Let's play Hider-and-Seeker!" -- GC
Reader response
I found some bugs in Planetfall, but most of them are a matter of opinion:

>look at benches
I see nothing special about the benche.

I can scrub the scrub brush!

>kick me
Kicking the you is as worthwhile as cleaning a Grotch 
cage.

>push/kick/turn/get on me
pushing the you...

Chad Schultz
chadschultz@yahoo.com

Plundered Hearts

[No Known Bugs]
         VERSION
       *26/870730

Reader response
Plundered Hearts: In the cargo hold with the burning fuse, if you throw your hand through the gap, you lose your hand.

Second, in the gallery, if you type BURN ROPE, it tells you:

You have no source of fire. The rope is consumed instantly in flames.

The version I found those bugs in is: Release 26, serial number 870730.
Mike
m_cuffa@alcor.concordia.ca

Quarterstaff

  1. Trying to burn anything with a sub-menu (such as any item acting as a container, or a creature holding an item) causes the game to crash. Several locations, such as the Charred Room, will eventually set your party on fire and also lead to the crash. This one caused so much trouble that Infocom even reported it in an issue of The Status Line.

Seastalker

                   BUG
         VERSION   1
        15/840501  Y
        15/840522  Y
        16/850515  Y
       *16/850603  Y
  1. If you try to use the words RESTART, RESTORE, VERSION, or $VERIFY as either your first or last name, the program will regard them as commands, not names, and react accordingly. This can be very interesting with VERSION, since the player's name is a part of the game's title. If you try to use VERSION as your last name (i.e. JOE VERSION), the output from the version command will list the games title as "SEASTALKER: JOE --- AND THE ULTRAMARINE BIOCEPTOR". If you try to use VERSION as your first name, the title is "SEASTALKER: --- --- AND THE ULTRAMARINE BIOCEPTOR." -- Graeme Cree

Sherlock

                  BUG
         VERSION   1
       *21/871214  Y
        26/880127  Y
  1. In all versions, it is possible to travel through the streets of London without the lamp if you know where you're going, and can arrange for a light to be there. On the first turn (for example), typing GO NORTH will generate the response:
         You start off into the fog, but think better of it 
         when you realize you have  no light to guide your way.
    


    However, try the following commands at the start of the game: BLOW WHISTLE. BLOW WHISTLE. DRIVER, GO TO YORK PLACE. NORTH.

    The driver will go to York Place without a passenger in the cab, and the game will let you walk there without the lamp on the next turn because there is a light at the destination (all cabs have lights, even though they aren't mentioned in the descriptions). As a result, you can go anywhere in town without the lamp simply by sending the cab on ahead.

    You must have an accurate map, however. In the preceding example, you must type DRIVER, GO TO YORK PLACE, because DRIVER, GO NORTH will not work. Incidentally, speaking of light sources, there is one exterior location where it is never dark: outside Holmes residence, where there is a gas light, the only one in the game. Apparently Holmes' importance to the nation was so great that he was the first person in London to get one installed. -- Graeme Cree

Shogun

[No Known Bugs]
          VERSION
        292/890314
        295/890321
        311/890510
        322/890706

Sorcerer

                      BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5
         4/840131  Y Y Y N N
         6/840508  N Y Y N N
        13/851021  N N N N N
       *15/851108  N N N N N
        18/860904  N N N N N
  1. In Version 4, you could TAKE any spell scroll except VARDIK and AIMFIZ at any point in the game, no matter where it was. If you try to take VARDIK, you are told that your twin refuses to part with the smelly scroll. AIMFIZ can only be taken after the chest is opened. If you try to TAKE SWANZO, the glass maze rearranges, whether you've been in it or not. You can get a second Aimfiz scroll this way. [NZT]
  2. In versions 4 and 6, Belboz's journal can be opened with the key, but cannot be closed. If you try, you get a message saying "It's already open." This was fixed in the LTOI1 version. -- Graeme Cree
  3. In versions 4 and 6, Spell Books were ruined by water, but scrolls were not. -- Graeme Cree
  4. In earlier versions, it is possible to GNUSTO the Golmac spell. Trying to leave with the Golmac scroll causes a paradox, and you lose your grip on the rope if you try to enter the room with the spell book. However, if you cast the GASPAR spell on yourself, and then leave the room without picking up the scroll, you'll reappear in the room after you're resurrected. When this happens, all your possessions will be intact, and you'll be able to take the scroll and GNUSTO GOLMAC. Unfortunately, the Infocom programmers never planned for this, so casting it elsewhere in the game doesn't accomplish anything. Interesting trick, though.

    NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in any version. In the early versions, you didn't reappear with all your possessions, and in the later versions, you didn't reappear with the golmac scroll. Either I did something wrong, or there is another version of Sorcerer not on the above list where this trick works.
  5. In an early version, you could open the chest with a Rezrov spell, although you would fail to gain points by doing so, and thus be unable to finish with a perfect score. I can't find a version that this works in, but it was reported in the New Zork Times. -- Graeme Cree

Spellbreaker

                    BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4
        63/850916  Y Y Y Y
       *87/860904  N N N N
  1. In the first release (63/850916), if you tried using the knife to cut up the magic carpet while you were sitting on it, the status line would say you were still sitting on the carpet, even though it was destroyed. If you then got off the carpet, the status line would show garbage, and you would find yourself in a location with no description and no exits. Attempting to use the Blorple spell to get out of this location would make the game hang.
  2. If you're playing the first release, it's impossible to offer the merchant an exact number of zorkmids in exchange for the magic carpet (for example, you can't "OFFER 250 ZORKMIDS"). All you can do is offer him the opal or the coin.
  3. Also in the first release, typing "THANKS" gives you the response, "How do you do that with a ?" Weird, considering Infocom usually handled Q&A and rhetorical replies pretty well.
  4. And then there's the famous Girgol/Blorple bug that caused quite a commotion in the rec.games.int-fiction newsgroup a couple months ago. Normally, if you try to get by the ogre by casting Girgol, the scroll and gold box will be frozen in time and you won't be able to take them until the spell wears off, at which point the ogre will come in and kill you. But casting the Blorple spell on a non-magical object, and then waiting in the Nondescript Room until Girgol wears off, would allow you to exit and take the Espnis spell and gold box without being killed by the ogre. There was considerable disagreement as to whether or not this was really a bug, until it was discovered that, in the second release (version 87/860909), included with LTOI, the Girgol/Blorple solution to the ogre's cave does not work. Apparently the folks at Infocom decided that it was in fact a bug and removed it from the game.

Starcross

                       BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6
        15/820901  Y Y Y Y Y N
       *17/821021  N N Y Y Y N
  1. In version 15, you were able to get the red rod from the rat's nest by typing "NEST, DROP RED ROD." [NZT]
  2. In version 15, you can turn off the beam of energy in the Laboratory by typing "BEAM, GO WEST", generating the reply "The beam leaves the room." -- Graeme Cree
  3. In versions 15 and 17, you can put the red disk on the blue disk, then put the blue disk on the red disk. This causes them both to disappear, along with anything else that was on either of them. Similar bugs appear in early versions of a few other games (such as Zork I and Infidel) that have items acting as containers.
  4. Climbing the tree and typing "THROW HANDS" results in, "The pair of hands sails away, drifting in a long arc towards the ground."
  5. The bunk on the Starcross is not openable, yet if you try to PUT THE TAPE LIBRARY IN THE BUNK, you will get the response "The bunk isn't open." -- Graeme Cree
  6. Trying to shake an object would put the game into an infinite loop.

Reader response:

Dear XYZZYnews:

I have found a bug in Spellbreaker which is not listed on the bugs list:

If you have water in the bottle then casting tinsot on any body of water except for the one in the Oubliette will give the message "The water and bottle freeze and shatter into a million pieces!" and destroy the bottle even if the bottle is not in the same room or if it is inside the closed zipper.

If that's not clear, here's a concrete example. At the Enchanters' Retreat I dropped the bottle which contained water. I then blorpled the earth cube and went west then south to get to the Ruins Room. I then cast tinsot on the water there and received the message about the bottle shattering. Going back to the Enchanters' Retreat I found that the bottle was gone. I found this in version 87/860904 of Spellbreaker.

Paul
rizzo@best.com

Stationfall

[No Known Bugs]
          VERSION
       *107/870430

Suspect

BUG VERSION 1 *14/841005 Y
  1. It is possible to get to Veronica's office before her murder occurs. At the beginning of the game, you have to get to the office by going west 3 times, south 6 times, west twice, and then north twice. This will get you to the office at 9:13 P.M., where you will see the fairy mask, but not the description of Veronica's body. Although Veronica actually reaches the office at 9:11, two minutes earlier (which can be confirmed by playing the game using ZIP for DOS with the -o switch active), her description doesn't turn up until 9:14. Typing "LOOK" the turn after you enter the office will cause time to pass, making it 9:14, and Veronica's body will suddenly appear out of nowhere. -- Paul David Doherty

Suspended

                     BUG
         VERSION  1 2 3 4 5
        5/830222  Y Y Y Y Y
        7/830419  N Y Y Y Y
        8/830521  N Y Y Y Y
       *8/840521  N Y Y Y Y
  1. In the earliest version (5/830222), there was no way to determine which of Iris' chips was shorted and needed to be repaired.
  2. You don't need to use two robots to move Fred from the cabinet. In all versions, you can cheat and use just one: "BOTH SENSA AND SENSA, MOVE FRED."
  3. In any release, you can configure the game on the second move, not just the first. This means you can make one move (most likely picking up an object) and then re-configure the game to put the robot with the object in a better position. This can be a great time-saver if used correctly.
  4. There's also an error with the map that was never fixed. Referring to the southeastern section:

                                              Alpha FC
                                             /    |
                                            /  Primary Channel
                                           /      |
            --- Cavernous Room --- East End --- Beta FC
                                           \      |
                                            \  Secondary Channel
                                             \    |
                                              Gamma FC
    


    While you can walk northeast from East End to the Alpha FC, there is no direct route back from Alpha FC to East End, and no indication that this is a one-way corridor. An attempt to backtrack results in the standard "You can't go that way" message, despite the fact that it directly contradicts the map. To get back to East End, you have to walk south through Primary Channel and Beta FC.
  5. Have Waldo get the four-inch cable and be incapacitated. Have Poet drag him to Alpha Repair to be fixed, and send them back to the Primary Channel, this time letting Waldo get zapped. If Poet LOOKs, he will see a non-functional Waldo in the room, while Waldo will see a non-functional Poet. -- Graeme Cree
Reader response

I have an addition to your complete Infocom Bug list:

In Suspended (early versions, anyway; I never tried it on LTOI), you could type HUMANS, KILL SELF, and the humans would obey the order and kill themselves. Although this kept the humans from turning you (the player) off, it had the side effect of making the game unsolvable, since the humans wouldn't be alive to perform their necessary plot functions. I don't think the humans obeyed any other orders.

Monty
monty@blarg.net
Reader response

I once reported this to you, only the humans don't actually obey the order per se -- they notice that someone receives an order to attack them, so they turn that someone off in self defence -- only it happens to be themselves that they turn off. Put Auda in the room with them, and you'll see.

Also, they will still carry out their tasks, but they will be described as "non-functional humans" or something similar by other robots, and they can't accept a cryolink again, since they have been turned off.

/Fredrik
f.r@mail.com

Reader response

Suspended bug: Iris (the one who can see) can be used to describe all rooms.

There was something that you plug in so that can see the room that you are in. Anyway, have one robot (e.g., Poet) plug in the device, then direct that robot to follow another robot (e.g., Sensa), then move Sensa. Poet will forget to unplug the device, and you can then view the descriptions of all rooms, including the ones that are in the section that requires the wedge for access.

Perhaps stranger that such descriptions exist... or have I missed something?

Peter Ferrie

Trinity

                      BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5
        11/860509  Y Y Y Y N
       *12/860926  Y Y Y Y N
  1. The Book of Hours is not reversed after passing through the Pergola in any version of the game. This could be considered more of a design flaw than an actual bug. (Or perhaps the book doesn't change because it represents time, which, unlike directions, cannot be reversed.)
  2. When you're on the paper bird above Nagasaki, and you hear the plane approaching, type "LISTEN." You'll die, but the message will be the same as if you'd still been on the ground rather than flying on the paper bird.
  3. Saying "ROADRUNNER, DROP ME" results in "The roadrunner drops yourself at your feet." The room description then says "There's yourself here." Leaving the location and coming back does not change the situation. And strangely, referring to the dropped "yourself" is interpreted by the game as an attempt to interact with the roadrunner. The roadrunner will only drop "you" once -- trying it again causes the game to say "The roadrunner doesn't have that."
  4. Carrying the splinter into the bottom of the reservoir also reveals a small blooper. The room description talks about the lantern's beam, even if you are carrying the splinter instead of the lantern. Evidently the author never considered the possibility of someone going to the Trinity site without solving all the other puzzles first.
  5. The "shining" bug, which involves getting a string of garbage from shining the splinter without specifying an object, is not present in the LTOI version. Earlier versions should have it, though. -- C.E. Forman NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in either version 11 or 12. -- GC

Wishbringer

                   BUG
         VERSION   1
        68/850501  Y
       *69/850920  N
   (SG) 23/880706  N
  1. 1. In Version 68, you can take the gold coin back from Miss Voss after buying a movie ticket, enabling you to repeat the action and earn an infinite number of points. This version was included in the Macintosh version of LTOI2.

The Witness

                    BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3
        13/830524  Y Y Y
        18/830910  N Y Y
        20/831119  N Y Y
        21/831208  N Y Y
       *22/840924  N Y Y
  1. In Version 13, if a player got into the shower or the broken window, he would become trapped. If you tried to leave, the game would think you needed to get up first, because it thought you were sitting in the chair. Getting up would not work. [NZT]
  2. You can "GET A DRINK" anywhere in the game. This is present in all versions. [NZT]

Zork I

                                BUG  1 1 1 1 1 1
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5
         5/------  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
        15/UG3AU5  N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        23/820428  N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y
        25/820515  N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y
        26/820803  N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y
        28/821013  N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y
        30/830330  N N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y
        75/830929  N N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y Y
        76/840509  N N N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y
       *88/840726  N N N N N N N N N N N N Y Y Y
   (SG) 52/871125  N N N N N N N N N N N N N N Y
  1. The earliest release of Zork I (release 5, no serial number) would become very confused if you nested objects too deeply in your inventory, such as putting the lunch in the sack, then the sack in the coffin. The output of the "INVENTORY" command would get spurious "Such language in a high-class establishment like this!" messages, with other random junk interspersed in it. This would also lead to the object hierarchy getting screwed up, in such a way that an "INVENTORY" would claim that you were carrying a bunch of rooms around.
  2. In version 5, commands such as GO DOOR or GO TREE can send players into random locations. [NZT]
  3. In version 5, the command "HIT MIRROR WITH SWORD" will generate combat responses, such as "The mirror parries", or "The mirror dies in a cloud of sinister black fog." -- Graeme Cree
  4. In version 5, the command "GIVE AXE TO TROLL" will generate a response like:

         "The troll accepts your gift, and not having the most
    discriminating  taste, eats it.
         The troll, dismarmed, is cowering and begging for forgiveness in
    the gutteral language of the trolls." 
         Though the troll can no longer attack you, he still blocks the
    exits  and parries, while continuing to beg for forgiveness. 
    
  5. In version 5, if you give the troll to himself, he eats himself and disappears (though he still bars you from leaving the room). -- Graeme Cree
  6. In version 5, if you give the troll to the thief, the thief puts the troll in his bag, but the troll still blocks the exits. If the thief is killed, the troll reappears. -- Graeme Cree
  7. In all versions after Version 5, if you try to use a compass direction while in the boat, the game will tell you that you can't go that way in a magic boat. In Version 5, it will tell you that you can't go that way in a tan label. -- Graeme Cree
  8. In all versions after Version 5, when you reach the portion of the river where the buoy is, the description will tell you that the buoy is "(outside the magic boat)". Version 5, tells you that the buoy is "(in the room)"! -- Graeme Cree
  9. If you try to GET OUT OF THE BOAT while floating down the river, all version of the game tell you that you realize "just in time" that such a course would be suicidal. In all versions after Version 5, the game prevents you from leaving the boat. In Version 5, it lets you leave and kills you, despite having told you that you had realized not to do it. -- Graeme Cree
  10. In versions 5 and 15, shaking an open container that isn't empty may crash the game. This works with the sack, but not the bottle. [NZT]
  11. In versions 5, 15, 23, 25, 26, and 28, you can bump your head on things such as the river by trying to enter them. [NZT]
  12. If you knock the thief unconscious and try to take his stiletto, the game says that it is "white hot", and that you drop it -- obviously some sort of protective magic. However, in versions 5, 15, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, and 75, if you try to "PUT STILETTO IN SACK" (for example) it will let you, but when the thief wakes up, he continues to attack you with the stiletto, even if you have moved it to a different room! In later versions, it refuses to let you put it in the sack at all, saying that you don't have the stiletto. -- B.J. Parker
  13. Here's a variation on the Starcross disk bug. If the sack and the bottle are both empty, it's possible to put the sack in the bottle, then put the bottle in the sack, causing both to vanish. This exists in all versions except the Solid Gold.
  14. Here's a minor glitch that appears in all versions except the Solid Gold. Go to the temple, and enter the following commands. SOUTH, BLOW OUT CANDLES, NORTH, SOUTH. The description will say "On the two ends of the altar are burning candles.", when in fact they are no longer burning. -- Graeme Cree
  15. Another container bug, but this one is in all versions, even the Solid Gold edition. If you put the (inflated) raft in the coffin, then the coffin in the raft, both will disappear. This does not work the other way around, however. If you put the coffin in the raft first, then the raft in the coffin, you get a message saying that there is no room.-- Graeme Cree

Zork II

                        BUG
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
         7/UG3AU5  Y Y Y Y Y N N N
        17/820427  N Y Y Y Y N N N
        18/820512  N Y Y Y Y N N N
        19/820721  N Y Y Y Y N N N
        22/830331  N Y Y Y Y N N N
        23/830411  N Y Y Y Y N N N
       *48/840904  N N N Y Y N N N
  1. In version 7, you were able to give commands to some inanimate objects. Contrary to the report in XYZZYnews #2, you cannot use the standard Infocom command syntax (such as AQUARIUM, GO EAST, which generates the reply "You must supply a verb"), but must use the same types of commands that you use to direct the robot. For example, you could say TELL AQUARIUM "GO EAST", and the game would say "The aquarium has left the room." TELL AQUARIUM "GO EAST THEN GO EAST" results in a message saying that you have been killed by a grue, but in reality it is the aquarium that has "died.", as the next line informs you.
  2. There is a parser bug in Versions 7, 17, 18, 19, 22, and 23 that stems from having two objects of the same color in the same room (such as the blue label and the blue sphere), and then referring to the object simply by its color when trying to take it. For example:

         >TAKE THE BLUE 
         Which  do you mean?
    


    In the LTOI version (48/840904) the parser bug has been fixed, and the reply "There seems to be a noun missing in that sentence" replaces the garbage. (Early parser versions of other Infocom games may have similar bugs.)
  3. In versions 7, 17, 18, 19, 22, and 23, you could take immovable objects by reading them. For instance, "READ UNICORN" will (provided the unicorn is actually present in the first place) reply:

    Taken. How can you read a unicorn?  
    


    Another example: Reading the stands on the Wizard's workbench will let you take them, even though the game claims they are firmly bolted to the table. However, since the text about the stands is a part of the room description, they remain attached to the table, even if you're carrying them, and even if you drop them elsewhere, even though the table itself doesn't move along with them.
  4. When the wizard appears before you, but doesn't cast any spell, you will see the following text:

    The Wizard seems about to say something, but thinks better of it, and
    peers at you from under his bushy eyebrows.
    


    If you type "KILL THE WIZARD," you will get the following reply:

    The Wizard retreats, waving his wand and chanting.  He says, "Fear!" 
    Nothing happens!  With a terrified glance at the demon, the Wizard runs
    past you and out of the room. 
    


    This text clearly belongs much later in the game, after you've freed the demon and ordered him to kill the wizard. This works in all versions.
  5. In all versions, if your sword is "filched" by the Wizard, filching it back with the Wizard's wand may be a little confusing, since there are nicked swords of other adventurers in the room also. If you try to "point wand at sword", you will be asked "Which sword do you mean, the sword, or the nicked swords?" Saying "the sword" will not work and starts the process over again. Fortunately, this can be gotten around if you have the sense to say "the Elvish sword". -- Graeme Cree
  6. Yet another early Zork II bug: If you looked into one of the three spheres when they were all in the same place, the game would recursively describe the room as seen through each sphere, which would overflow the interpreter stack.

    NOTE: I couldn't get this to work in either Version 7 or 17. If I looked into a sphere while holding all three, I saw only darkness. If I dropped them all and looked into one, the room was described normally, with no crash. However, one of the two spheres that I didn't look into was always missing from the room description. -- GC
  7. Another minor parser bug: Restart the game, and try using a pronoun in your first command, such as "EXAMINE IT." You should get the reply:

    There's nothing special about the . 
    


    This happens in other games running early versions of the Infocom parser, but I first noticed it with Zork II. In games where the problem has been corrected, it will say "There's nothing special about the ."

    NOTE: In all versions, I got "There's nothing special about the ." --GC
  8. If you time it right, you can blow up the base of the volcano while in the balloon. This requires dropping the bomb on the ground and lighting it, then crawling into the basket before it explodes. If you do it right, the computer should tell you that the balloon settles to the ground, followed by "You can't go that way." -- John Payson

Zork III

                        BUG          1
         VERSION   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
        10/820818  Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
        15/830331  N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        15/840518  N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
        16/823242  N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
       *17/840727  N N N N Y Y Y Y Y Y
  1. In version 10, the chest was too big and could thus contain items that normally weren't supposed to fit. The most notable was the wooden staff, which, if put safely inside, would not get broken when the player fought and killed the man at the cliff ledge. Thus a player could get the treasure and keep the staff intact as well. Another interesting use of this bug involved using the chest to transport the lamp or torch across the lake, thus eliminating the need for the grue repellent and viewing table. This allowed the player to win with only 6 of the 7 possible points. It's incredibly difficult to find a version with this bug still intact.

    SUBJECTIVE COMMENTARY: IMHO, the solution created a bug rather than fixed one. Since the old man took the staff out of the chest, what is the sense in saying that it doesn't fit if the player tries to put it back? And if the staff fits, the lamp should also. I would have fixed the bug in the following two ways: 1) Make the chest leak, thus preventing the lamp or torch from surviving the trip across the lake, and 2) Allow the player to get both the staff and the treasure in this way, but have the Dungeon Master reject him at the end of the game. Interestingly, the _broken_ staff fits in the chest in all versions. If you enter the Dark Room with the lamp, the grues won't attack or even be mentioned, but the room is still called the Dark Room, and there is no room description. Typing LOOK generates no response at all, and send you to the next turn. -- GC
  2. In Version 10, it's possible to get the Dungeon Master to follow you beyond the Dungeon area, if you get beyond the door, drop one of the items you need, then knock on the door again, from the INSIDE! It's even possible to get the DM stuck in the area from Zork I. [NZT]
  3. If you use the previous bug (in Version 10 only) to go to the Zork I area with the Dungeon Master, you may occasionally (but not always) be able to produce the following exchange:

    >dungeon master, go east
    "I prefer to stay where I am, thank you."
    You suddenly find yourself back in the viewing room!
    The dungeon master leaves the room.
    


    Very strange. The Dungeon Master leaves the room after refusing to do so. Also, not only are you not really back in the viewing room, you and the DM will be stuck in the Zork I area permanently. -- Graeme Cree
  4. At the very end of Version 10, the sword was often a source of trouble. If the player happened to be holding the sword when he/she was in cell #4, the game would crash when the player asked the Dungeon Master to push the button. This was because there were two different possible exits to the north, and the sword routine got confused when it checked the adjacent rooms to see whether or not the sword should glow. Infocom's testers didn't find this originally, because they'd been leaving the sword to block the beam of light. [NZT]
  5. After you've climbed down the rope to the cliff ledge, you can't climb back up again with the chest. However, typing "CLIMB THE ROPE" (as opposed to "CLIMB UP THE ROPE") will make you climb DOWN the rope again, putting you at the cliff base, even though the rope ends a few feet above the cliff ledge! This one's present in all versions.
  6. When you get to the Dungeon area, try this (in any version):

    DUNGEON MASTER, KILL ME WITH THE STAFF
    "If you wish," he replies.
    If you insist... Poof, you're dead!
    **** The dungeon master has died ****
    The dungeon master follows you.  
    Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.
    


  7. Or this:

    >DUNGEON MASTER, KILL DUNGEON MASTER WITH STAFF
    "If you wish," he replies.
    "If you wish," he replies.
    You aren't even holding the staff!
    


    The last message appears even though you ARE holding the staff! Very surreal. I'm still scratching my head over these.
  8. This bug is not only in all versions of Zork III, it also exists in most Dungeon/Zork ports. While you're shoving blocks around to solve the Royal Puzzle, drop the book in the slot to open the door, then move a block in front of the door and leave the usual way (via the ladder). Walk around to the side door and you'll find it's not blocked! If you re-enter the puzzle via the side door, the sandstone block will be gone. If you move away from the door (without exiting the puzzle) the sandstone block will reappear in the area as soon as you leave. I reported this bug to Infocom many years ago, but I doubt it was ever fixed. -- Dave Newkirk
  9. Interacting with the pedestal in the Jewel Room is always difficult. In all versions after Version 10, if you try to TAKE PEDESTAL, you get the response "YOU CAN'T REACH IT THROUGH THE CAGE", even if the cage is not present (i.e. you travelled back to a time before it was installed.) In Version 10, it says "YOU CAN'T SEE ANY PEDESTAL HERE.", even though it is mentioned in the room description. Thus, in all versions, if you take one of the crown jewels other than the ring, and realize your mistake, there is no way to put it back. -- Graeme Cree
  10. When you reach the Zork I area, go east and south. It will say:

         "You have come to a dead end in the mine.    
         There is a small pile of coal here."    
    


    However, the coal is not really there and cannot be interacted with. In fact the game doesn't even know the word "coal". This bug is present in all versions, but is very hard to find because of the difficulty in staying in the Zork I area long enough. -- Graeme Cree

Reader response
I may have a new bug for your Zork bug list. I call it The Boat Of Holding Bug.

I have recently started replaying Zork I (last time was ages ago, and I forgot almost everything since then). I therefore cannot be sure if this is a bug or a feature, but it has the earmarks of a bug. The bug is a artifact of there being two distinct objects for the boat: one inflated, one deflated.

It is possible to inflate the boat, take everything that is not sharp, pile it in the boat, and deflate the boat. You may now pick the boat up and carry it around (along with the pump and whatever sharp objects you want to carry). This was discovered in Zork I 88/840726. On a different note, I noticed on your bug list, you mention:

When you get to the Dungeon area, try this (in any version):

>DUNGEON MASTER, KILL ME WITH THE STAFF
"If you wish," he replies.
If you insist... Poof, you're dead!
**** The dungeon master has died ****
The dungeon master follows you.
Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.

Or this:

>DUNGEON MASTER, KILL DUNGEON MASTER WITH STAFF
"If you wish," he replies.
"If you wish," he replies.
You aren't even holding the staff!

The last message appears even though you are holding the staff! Very surreal. I'm still scratching my head over these.

It would appear to me that these messages are caused by the engine performing output while interpreting the orders with the dungeon master as the subject. Put differently, some of the messages are the game talking to the Dungeon Master.

For instance, in the last case:

YOU> DUNGEON MASTER, KILL DUNGEON MASTER WITH STAFF

invokes

DM> KILL DUNGEON MASTER WITH STAFF

Parser interprets:

Subject: DM
Verb: KILL
DO: DM
IO: Staff
Game engine checks for staff in inventory of DM (since 
he is the     subject).  Not there.  Engine dumps out 
with error:
You aren't even holding the staff!

which is displayed.

From the point of view of a Lisp hacker, this is a fairly straightforward bug. However, the dungeon master dying but not dying in the first message is what twigs me. Perhaps I will know more when I experiment with that bit of the game.

One final item. In Zork I, if you type DIVE while at Aragain Falls, you plummet to your death. This is accompanied by a couple of messages, such as:

  Aragain Falls
  >DIVE
  This was not a very safe place to try jumping.
  In the movies, your life would be passing before your 
eyes.
  ****  You have died ****

(You are then resurrected in whatever manner is appropriate for your situation.) The second line varies, although I have not yet figured out what it is based on. At one point, I elicited garbage. I will have to get back to you to tell you just how to do this. This is also in Zork I 88/840726.

Piquan
joelh@gnu.org

In issue #17, a reader named Piquan asked a few questions about the following Zork III bug:

> DUNGEON MASTER, KILL ME WITH THE STAFF
"If you wish," he replies.
If you insist...
Poof, you're dead!
**** The dungeon 
master has died ****
The dungeon master follows you.
Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.
The game sees that the command is directed at the DM, so it 
prints out 
"If you wish," he replies.

I think that at this point, in accordance with Piquan's theory, the game temporarily treats the DM as the player and acts as if he typed "KILL ME WITH THE STAFF". At this point, I can think of two possibilities: either the phrase "KILL ME" is reserved as a special case -- where the interpreter skips the standard battle rules (It would be silly to say, "The you parries") and just calls the subject's "suicide" routine -- or, alternatively, any "ME" in this context would be interpreted as referring to the DM.

I don't have any experimental evidence, but I'm leaning towards the first possibility; after all, if the second one were true, a command like DUNGEON MASTER, FOLLOW ME would cause the poor guy to start following himself around.

Anyway, assuming the interpreter has reduced the instruction to "MAKE THE DM COMMIT SUICIDE", it would rightfully print out "If you insist... Poof, you're dead!", which is the standard output when you commit suicide. Then a different level of the game code notices that the guy just died, and prints out that message.

Quick tangent: I bet that when the programmers were writing the make-the-DM-follow-the-player routine, they probably made it work something like this:

If the DM is in follow-the-player mode, and he's not in the room, then:

That way, whenever the player moves to a new room, the routine is called.

So anyway, now the DM is dead, which probably is internally accomplished by setting his location to some null room. He's still in follow-the-player mode. So the "if" statement is true. So the text is printed out, and the DM's location is set to the room the player is in, so suddenly he's alive again.

I have no idea, however, why the sword is glowing brightly. It's only supposed to do that if it's in the same room as an evil object.

Then again, maybe the game is smarter than we think -- I'd be pretty scared of an undead corpse, Dungeon Master or otherwise. :)

Mike Schiraldi
mgs21@columbia.edu

Zork Zero

                    BUG
          VERSION   1
        296/881019  Y
        366/890323  Y
        383/890602  Y
       *393/890714  Y
  1. After you put John Paul Flathead's spyglass in the cauldron of Megaboz, you can go back to the Frigid River Valley and ask Otto for it again, which allows you to get infinite points. When you use this technique to throw more than 24 Flathead items into the cauldron, you'll start getting garbage to describe what the cauldron is doing. Unfortunately, the spell of Megaboz, which breaks the Curse, won't work once you get more than 1000 points.


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