A Conversation for Infocom Text Adventures

Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 1


I enjoyed the article, but I thought "Adventure" was the original Infocom game!? As I understood it, the writers were initially just trying to develop a virtual computer model of a real cave system, so that explorers might get their bearings on the simulation before risking life and limb for real. One of the authors had the idea of populating the cave with magical stuff, and the rest is history. I used to play this in my lunch hour when I used to work in the computer industry (c1984). I would use this as an unoffical way of testing the computer I had just assembled fresh off the production line, often with the covers still off. The game file took around 300K, so was just able to fit on a 5 1/4 " floppy! The game was run direct from disk as the computer only had 64K RAM!

2 other things:- Any owners of Psion 3 or 3a computers may like to know that there is an interpreter for Infocom games for those machines. I've got it and it works fine.

Also, please will someone put me out of my mysery? Is there any logical reason for the "magic" word being xyzzy? Where did it come from? For years I forgot about it, and then it came back to me in a dream. I thought I alone must remember it, like some word from an ancient lost language. I even used it as an "unguessable" password on one occasion. Little did I know, xyzzy is known to many, many others!

Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 2


Xyzzy is a formula for solving a horrid maths problem. Advent was definately a mainframe program before infocom exsisted.

There is also a 'z machine' interpreter for palmpilots & handsprings. no, its not good to play text adventures without a keyboard!

there are also copies of the scott adams adventures available in z machine format.


Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 3

Lentilla (Keeper of Non-Sequiturs)

The sources that I used say that xyzzy was the original 'magic word' in the game Adventure, which they had used as the inspiration for Zork. Adventure had a two-word sentence parser, so you could say 'go north' or 'get sword' but you couldn't say 'kill troll with sword.'

I've never heard the story that Zork was originally for training spelunkers. Sounds interesting!

Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 4

Garius Lupus

I read an article somewhere that talked about the pronunciation of xyzzy. The wife of Corruthers (sp?) one of the guys that wrote the game was interviewed and related that her husband said that the initial x was pronounced as "ch", as in the Greek (?) alphabet. The y is pronounced as "ee" as a y is normally prounounced at the end of words. Thus xyzzy is prounounced "Cheezy". I suspect it was an inside joke.

Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 5


xyzzy is just a randomly generated word.

Adventure - oh, and 2 other things, Psion 3a and xyzzy

Post 6


Erm, I'm not up on the current rules & stuff, so I'll just post this link here & hope it's not deleted:


Xyzzy meant something before Crowther & Woods. I didn't know that I knew it, so a quick look on the google brought up that link.

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