The FAQ implies that it's common/appropriate to post reports of Infocom
bugs to this group, but I haven't seen many such posts, at least not
recently. Are there still a lot of people interested in Infocom bugs,
or am I unique?
Over the last 6 months, I've compiled a list of some 300 bugs I've found
in Infocom games. Most of these bugs aren't in Graeme Cree's list at
all; a few are generalizations or clarifications of bugs he has listed.
For example, I've found new ways to crash or lock up Arthur, Ballyhoo,
Beyond Zork, Cutthroats, Deadline, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
Moonmist, Shogun, Spellbreaker, and Zork II. I've also found new "body
parts" bugs (whereby you can detach one or more of your body parts) in
Beyond Zork, Border Zone, Moonmist, Plundered Hearts, Shogun, Trinity,
Zork Zero, and Zork II. In a few cases, I discovered the bug by
accident, just playing through the game and trying things that made
sense. Most of the time, of course, I was deliberately trying to break
I have emailed Graeme Cree about the bugs I've found, but I haven't
received a reply. Maybe I got caught in his spam trap; maybe he's just
not interested. I notice he hasn't updated his list in 6 months. Does
anyone know if he's still maintaining it?
> The FAQ implies that it's common/appropriate to post reports of Infocom
> bugs to this group, but I haven't seen many such posts, at least not
> recently. Are there still a lot of people interested in Infocom bugs,
> or am I unique?
I would love to see new bug information about Infocom games.
> Over the last 6 months, I've compiled a list of some 300 bugs...
> Most of the time, of course, I was deliberately trying to break
> the game.
Are you interested in doing some beta testing? : )
Okay, then. Just one, until I see if there's more interest. This one's a little
silly, and I don't think you could do anything useful with it. In any version
of Deadline, you can raise the late Mr. Robner from the dead! Just say:
MR. ROBNER, GET UP
Now there's "a Mr. Robner" in the room, and you can order him to move around
and do things for you. It seems he can't do anything you can't, and anything
you have him pick up disappears. Also, EXAMINE MR. ROBNER gives a garbage response.
> Are you interested in doing some beta testing? : )
Maybe someday; not just now.
I wish to express more interest.
How many bugs do I get for that?
What if I said I was really really interested?
This is actually meant to be a serious post. It just got a little silly
along the way.
You are reading the newsgroup rec.games.int-fiction.
You see here:
Daphne (lame, but hopefully effective. I think Infocom bugs are
funny, and would gladly read more)
Uh, five, I guess. I don't think it makes sense to post my entire 100K
list at once. Perhaps I'll publish serially.
So here's a few:
1. In all versions of Arthur, in Cottage, if the peasant is awake,
then PUT anything ON PALLET is somehow interpreted as GIVE CRUTCH TO
PEASANT, giving it to him no matter where it is. This works even if
you have destroyed the crutch in the fire. It's fun to give the crutch
to the idiot, get it back with this bug (since you can always take it
from the peasant), then try to give it to the idiot again.
2. In Ballyhoo, if there's something other than water in the bucket,
then DRINK FROM BUCKET generates the response, "midget car backfires
loudly and comically.", in the Infocom interpreter. At first this
might seem like yet another of Ballyhoo's sarcastic error messages,
but it's really a severe bug. If you do this under Frotz, it exits
with the message, "Fatal error: Call to non-routine".
3. In Border Zone, in Chapter 1: The Train, in Your Compartment, you
can put parts of your body under the rear-facing bench. If you PUT
FOOT (or HEAD) UNDER REAR you get, "You slide the body part under the
rear-facing bench." Now the room description includes, "The space
under the rear bench contains a body part." You can also PUT HAND
UNDER REAR, but it doesn't show in the room.
4. In Hollywood Hijinx, the sofa in Living Room is takeable, but you
can always interact with it in Living Room, even if you've left it
elsewhere. It also fits in most containers. If you hang the bucket on
a peg with the sofa inside it, then go back to Living Room and GET
SOFA you're told, "You'd better take the bucket off the peg first."
5. In Infidel, when you're wearing the knapsack, you can PUT KNAPSACK
IN almost anything visible, including many closed containers and all
non-containers. You can use this to effectively expand your inventory
if you PUT KNAPSACK IN AIR. Now the knapsack and its contents are
permanently accessible to you, although it's not in your inventory.
LOOK IN AIR shows you the knapsack and its contents, and you can
certainly PUT things IN KNAPSACK, and GET or otherwise use its
I have bugs for all the Infocom Z-machine games except Journey, and
I'm willing to take requests. Which games' bugs would you most like to
>You are reading the newsgroup rec.games.int-fiction.
>You see here:
:) Yes, I suspect that a lot of people here would be interested in seeing
more bug reports. I would. Even if I'm never going to remember them to
try in the games (whenever I may get around to them), it's pretty amusing
to see what sort of mistakes can happen in the games. If it's unreasonable
to post them all here, could you post them on a web site somewhere?
Sorcerer! There must be some bug with that time travel puzzle. Also,
how did you come up with these? They make great reading.
Clearly there's a lot of interest -- I, for one, am fascinated.
Personally, I'd like to see bugs for Suspended, since it has so much
interesting-bug potential already.
> I have bugs for all the Infocom Z-machine games except Journey, and
> I'm willing to take requests. Which games' bugs would you most like to
Did you find this one in Spellbreaker: when you are falling in the air,
entering the zipper will prevent the roc from catching you, but you will
die when you hit the ground; when you are in air again (either falling,
held by roc or flying on carpet) the zipper floats in the air right next
student of mathematics at the University of Helsinki
I hope it's not bad form to post a followup to my original post. I've
been lurking on Usenet for several years, but I'm new to posting.
I want to respond to several of the posts in this thread, and this
seemed the simplest way.
It's good to see there is some interest, after all. I'm especially
gratified to read new bug reports from others. It's nice to know I'm
not the only one looking!
The 2 requests I've seen were for Sorcerer and Suspended bugs. Now it
should become clear that so far I've chosen only some of the most
entertaining bugs to post. I haven't gone very far in either of these
games, and I haven't found particularly interesting bugs in them,
especially Sorcerer. That said, here's what I have.
1. In versions 13 and 15, if you have no inventory and are in a
location with no takeable objects (or certain other interesting
objects such as doors), then a command using ALL such as DROP ALL,
PUT ALL somewhere, or GIVE ALL TO someone answers, "You're not
holdingall those things!".
2. In all versions, if you're holding an open potion vial, you can
THROW the potion AT something. The quantity of potion stays there
on the floor. You can DRINK it, but only if you're holding its vial.
3. In all versions, you can't GET anything while lying in bed, but if
you READ it you pick it up.
4. In all versions, if you try to do something impossible to the
doorway in Your Quarters, such as READ DOORWAY or TALK TO DOORWAY,
you get a failure message in which it is referred to as "an doorway".
1. In all versions, you can make a robot carry more objects than it
has extensions, by having another robot PUT things IN it. This works
on all the robots except Sensa.
2. In all versions, when Waldo is wearing the grasper he can PUT
GRASPER IN BASKET, and it will continue to show as "(being worn)".
He can use the grasper without it even being in the room!
3. In all versions, when you tell one robot to GIVE something TO
another, whether it's "too heavy" for the receiving robot to hold
depends on the giving robot. Waldo can give things much better than
Poet, for example.
4. In all versions, it's possible for Whiz to leave a room but stay
plugged in, if he's following another robot.
5. In all versions, when Iris is blind, she reports the color of
items in her inventory (given to her by another robot).
6. In all versions, when Iris can see, telling her to PUT ALL
somewhere or GIVE ALL TO someone produces, "I don't have the
Now to respond to a couple of bugs others have mentioned.
In the Solid Gold version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you
can't interact with the bulldozer driver everywhere, but only in
certain locations. These include Captain's Quarters, Bridge, and
I had not discovered the Spellbreaker bug leaving the zipper in
Midair when you die inside it there, because I always RESTORE or
RESTART when I die. I did find another way to leave things in
Midair: THROW them AT something. This works in both versions.
I'm not planning to put up a website with these bugs. I've never
set up my own web page, but that's not the main reason. I'm a big
fan of Graeme Cree's site, and I don't want to reinvent the wheel.
I'd rather simply have my discoveries added to his list, but as I
said before, I've had no response from him.
Now, one last bug to liven up this post! In all versions of
Enchanter, BREAK something WITH JUG says, "The jug shatters into
innumerable pieces.", but the jug is left intact. In fact, the first
object is the one that is removed. You can use this to destroy many
objects in the game.
> I hope it's not bad form to post a followup to my original post. I've
> been lurking on Usenet for several years, but I'm new to posting.
> I want to respond to several of the posts in this thread, and this
> seemed the simplest way.
If that's the only netiquette you breach, I wouldn't be too concerned
> 2. In all versions, if you're holding an open potion vial, you can
> THROW the potion AT something. The quantity of potion stays there
> on the floor. You can DRINK it, but only if you're holding its vial.
Isn't this just because "THROW" is going to end up acting like "DROP"?
> 2. In all versions, when Waldo is wearing the grasper he can PUT
> GRASPER IN BASKET, and it will continue to show as "(being worn)".
> He can use the grasper without it even being in the room!
Infocom games seem very susceptible to bugs where items end up being
visible in EVERY location in the game. I wonder if they had a less
robust way of handling scope than the Inform library.
What's particularly funny about some of these bugs is the thought of how
difficult it might be to recreate them if you were trying to create an
EXACT Inform recreation, bugs and all, of some of these games : )
> Now, one last bug to liven up this post! In all versions of
> Enchanter, BREAK something WITH JUG says, "The jug shatters into
> innumerable pieces.", but the jug is left intact. In fact, the first
> object is the one that is removed. You can use this to destroy many
> objects in the game.
Now that's pretty cool. Destruction of objects is always fun. What
happens if you break your older self with the jug? (makes mental note
to try at home).
> Nathan wrote:
>> 2. In all versions, if you're holding an open potion vial, you can
>> THROW the potion AT something. The quantity of potion stays there
>> on the floor. You can DRINK it, but only if you're holding its vial.
> Isn't this just because "THROW" is going to end up acting like "DROP"?
Never mind, just reread your post more closely. I understand now.
Yep. Because Inform uses a different model, it lends itself more
easily to a largely different set of bugs.
Matthew T. Russotto mrus...@speakeasy.net
"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in pursuit
of justice is no virtue." But extreme restriction of liberty in pursuit of
a modicum of security is a very expensive vice.
1. In all versions of Beyond Zork, when you PUT a worn or wielded
object UNDER or BEHIND something, such as BEHIND TREE or UNDER RUG,
its state doesn't change. You can GET it, and it will still be worn
or wielded. Since WIELD only sets aside an already-wielded object
if it's in your inventory, you can use this to WIELD multiple
objects. You could WIELD your entire inventory! You can't use this
to do extra damage by wielding two weapons, however. Apparently,
ATTACK MONSTER only attacks with the first wielded object. On the
other hand, you can WEAR multiple suits of armor and get the total
of their armor class bonuses. You don't even have to have the armor
in your inventory to benefit from it.
2. In version 47 of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you can get
the plotter out of the case using READ PLOTTER, LOCK something WITH
PLOTTER, or BREAK something WITH PLOTTER. Now it's in your
3. In versions 47 and 56 of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you
can get the plotter out of the case using HANG PLOTTER ON HOOK. You
get the response, "It slips off the hook." Now it's sitting on the
deck, where you can pick it up.
4. In all versions of Lurking Horror, you can take the keyring away
from the hacker, using WEAR KEYS, FILL KEYS, or BREAK something
WITH KEYS. Now all you have to do is ASK HACKER ABOUT KEYS to make
the master key appear, and the key problem is solved. If you ever
drop the keyring you can't simply GET it; the hacker stops you,
wherever you are. You have to use one of those other verbs.
5. In both versions of Moonmist, in the green variation, if you ASK
ABOUT INKWELL you get credit for finding the treasure, instead of
"(You haven't found it yet!)".
6. All versions of Witness have a serious bug in the use of IT. It
allows you to interact with objects you haven't even seen yet. For
example, you can EXAMINE LIQUOR CABINET THEN OPEN IT, or FIND
MYSTERY THEN READ IT from anywhere in the game. Another interesting
thing to do is EXAMINE WOODEN CHAIR THEN SIT IN IT on the first
turn. This doesn't get you inside the house, but Mr. Linder tells
you his story and hands you the threatening note.
7. In versions 7 through 19 of Zork II, when the wizard is in the
room, you can WAVE WAND AT something even though the wizard has it.
This makes it possible to move the menhir without solving most of
the puzzles or getting any of the treasures; just wait in Menhir
Room for the wizard.
I'm leaving out some bugs that are only slightly useful, such as
the various techniques for carrying around liquids without a
Here's one I'm not sure about. It may be a useful way to get
information, or maybe it's just weird.
In Suspect, the verb EXAMINE can get very confused if you're seated.
If you SIT on a sofa, toilet, or chair--except for the window seat
in the Morning Room or the armchair in the Library--then you can't
EXAMINE anything you're carrying; it says, "You can't see the
[object] here." Things get even stranger if you sit on the side
table in the Library or the end table in the Sitting Room (which for
some reason is the default, if you simply type SIT). Then anything
you EXAMINE produces two lines of output, and it claims everything
has a telephone sitting on it. Most of the time, the two lines are
the same. For example, EXAMINE ME gives, "On yourself sits a
telephone." twice, EXAMINE PEN says, "On the pen sits a telephone."
twice, EXAMINE TELEPHONE gives, "On the telephone sits a telephone."
twice, and EXAMINE LINDA gives, "On Linda sits a telephone,
accompanied by a Linda's hair and a ballerina costume." twice.
Sitting on one of these tables gives you limited clairvoyance; you
can EXAMINE most objects in the game, even if not present: EXAMINE
FIREPLACE says, "You can't see any fireplace here. On the such thing
sits a telephone.", but EXAMINE LARGE DESK gives, "On the large desk
sits a telephone, accompanied by a manila folder." twice. You can get
about things throughout the game, including rooms, by examining them
from there. EXAMINE TABLE gives, "On the end [or side] table sits a
telephone. On the telephone sits a telephone.", in the Infocom
interpreter (with two spaces after "telephone"). In Frotz, the second
line reads, "On the ck it's k feher x sits a telephone."
I'd like to hear about those.
Note that all of these do require you to get the liquid in some
container first, and then you can abandon the container after getting
the liquid into your main inventory. The main strategy is to use a
verb that automatically picks up the object before acting on it.
1. In versions 10 through 24 of Enchanter, if the jug is present with
water in it, then you can put the water in your inventory using
LOCK something WITH WATER, BREAK something WITH WATER, or UNLOCK
something WITH WATER.
2. In all versions of Planetfall, you can GIVE a liquid TO FLOYD then
ASK FLOYD FOR it.
3. In versions 2 through 30 of Zork I, if the bottle is present with
water in it, you can use EAT WATER, READ WATER, LIGHT WATER, RING
WATER, LOCK something WITH WATER, UNLOCK something WITH WATER, LIGHT
something WITH WATER, or BREAK something WITH WATER.
4. In all versions of Zork II, if a container is present with water in
it, you can use EAT WATER, READ WATER, LOCK something WITH WATER,
UNLOCK something WITH WATER, or BREAK something WITH WATER. In version
48, you can also FILL WATER. In version 48, EAT WATER says, "(Taken)
You have to be holding the cretin first."
There are also a couple of ways to carry water in an inappropriate
container. In versions 2 and 5 of Zork I, you can APPLY WATER TO SACK.
In all versions of Zork II, you can PUT WATER ON MAT.
Thanks for all those.
Any bugs in Nord and Bert?
Nothing spectacular. Here's what I have:
1. Several objects are surprisingly closable, and behave inconsistently.
In Shopping Bizarre, the flower is closable. When the flower is closed,
EXAMINE FLOWER tells you its contents, but you can't interact with them.
In Buy the Farm, the rusty tin trough is closable. When it's closed, you
can't interact with its contents, but EXAMINE TROUGH still tells you
whether or not it contains oats. In Shake a Tower, the rat and hat
(which are really the same object) are closable. If you CLOSE RAT then
you can't interact with the habit, but EXAMINE RAT still mentions it.
2. In Shopping Bizarre, if you're carrying the mussels you can DROP
MUSCLES or PUT MUSCLES IN or ON something. You still undergo the
"Hulkian physical transformation", but the muscles are on the floor or
wherever you PUT them. You can still pick them up. You could even PUT
MUSCLES ON SALE and BUY MUSCLES. If you change them back to mussels,
then they fall to the floor--even from inside the freezer.
3. In Buy the Farm, if you PUT HAMMER IN HAYSTACK you get, "No need to
worry about anybody running off with your the hammer.". You get the
same phrasing, with "your the", for any object you try to put in the
haystack, except the "one stone".
4. In Shake a Tower, if you are carrying the gritty pearl you can PUT
PRETTY GIRL IN HAT (or even RAT). You can go through the door carrying
the girl in the hat, but the text talks about the pearl.
I don't think anyone's asked for Planetfall and Stationfall yet have they?
Go into the basement carrying the sword and knife.
Enter the troll room and type "KILL TROLL".
When the game asks what you want to kill the troll with, type "KILL TROLL"
At that point, the trapdoor opens.
Can anybody try to reproduce this?
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
On revision 88 / serial number 840726:
What do you want to kill the troll with?
You don't have the troll.
I was carrying the knife, sword and lantern.
It`s possible that your friend was using an earlier release. I no
longer have my original Zork I disks... they`re gone along with my Apple
II, but I remember that my original Zork III had bugs that the free
Activision builds don`t have.
Check out the infocom/patches directory (or something like that) on the
if-archive if you want to try different versions of Zork.
I tried this in all versions (2 through 52). I couldn't make it work.
> I don't think anyone's asked for Planetfall and Stationfall yet have they?
How nice of you to ask! Planetfall's possibly my favorite game, but
its several versions contain a number of bugs.
1. In version 20, it doesn't matter whether Floyd is turned on or
off when he's with you at Bio Lock East. Even if you turn him off
right after you get there, he still peers through the window and
talks about the miniaturization access card. He will even go
through the whole process of retrieving the card and dying, after
you have turned him off!
2. In version 20, you can DRINK MEDICINE with the bottle closed.
3. In version 20, the laser won't go in any containers, although it
should. PUT LASER IN something says, "The laser doesn't fit the
depression.", which is the message intended for PUT something IN
4. In versions 20 and 26, you can ASK the microbe things, although
other attempts at communication fail. For example, ASK MICROBE
"WHERE IS CELERY" produces, "The microbe seems confused. "I don't
see any celery here!"".
5. In versions 20 through 29, you can CLOSE FLOYD when he's turned
off. When Floyd is closed, you can't GET anything from him, and if
he's turned off, you can't PUT anything IN him. OPEN FLOYD doesn't
open him, just searches his compartments. You can get him open again
by ordering him to GIVE you something or DROP something.
6. In versions 20 through 29, if the survival kit is open, then you
can DROP the goo. It stays in that room and can't be taken.
7. In versions 20 through 37, besides WEARing the towel or survival
kit to get them from inside the web, you could also DRINK, EAT, READ,
or UNLOCK ME WITH them. (except READ, which doesn't work in version 20)
8. In the Solid Gold version, if the diary is present, then you can't
operate the Upper or Lower Elevator. For example, PUSH DOWN BUTTON
says, "Pushing down the little button has no effect."
9. In all versions, you can disconnect the laser setting dial from
the laser. If you have the laser you can DROP DIAL, THROW DIAL, or
GIVE DIAL TO FLOYD. EMPTY LASER also drops the dial. You can't GET
DIAL, but after giving it to him, you can ASK FLOYD FOR DIAL, and he
gives it to you. The dial never shows in the room description or your
inventory. If the dial is the only thing you are carrying, then
INVENTORY gives no output. In the Solid Gold version, you can also
GIVE SMALL BUTTON TO FLOYD and ASK FLOYD FOR SMALL BUTTON, but if you
try to EMPTY DIARY or DROP or THROW BUTTON while it's still part of
the diary you get, "The small button is closed."
10. In all versions, if the survival kit is open, then you can THROW
the goo. You can EAT the goo when it's sitting on the floor, but in
versions above 20 you have to be holding the kit.
11. In all versions, if the canteen is open and full, then you can
DROP LIQUID or THROW LIQUID. The "quantity of protein-rich liquid"
stays in that room and can't be taken. You can DRINK it when you get
hungry or POUR it, but only if you're holding the canteen. If you
refill the canteen in the kitchen, then the liquid disappears from
where you left it. Similar things apply to chemical fluid in the flask,
except you can drink it without holding the flask. The medicine in the
bottle works the same way, except that its description is always, "At
the bottom of the bottle is a small quantity of medicine.", even if
it's not in the bottle. You can also SHAKE BOTTLE when it's open to get
the medicine onto the floor. In versions above 20, in order to DRINK
MEDICINE you must be holding the bottle, and it must be open.
12. In all versions, when the medicine bottle is closed, LOOK IN BOTTLE
is treated as OPEN BOTTLE. This, in spite of the fact that it is
described as "translucent", and its contents (if any) are always listed
in the room description or your inventory.
13. All versions have problems dealing with objects inside the closed
medicine bottle. If the red spool, for example, is inside the closed
bottle, then DROP SPOOL or THROW SPOOL produces, "The red spool is
closed.", but you can GIVE SPOOL TO FLOYD.
14. Here's an example of an odd bug that exists in all versions. Go to
Machine Shop with Floyd and the open kit with the red goo inside it.
Now try this:
>FLOYD, PUSH RED
"I don't understand! What are you referring to?"
>FLOYD, PUSH RED BUTTON
You can't see any Floyd here!
15. In all versions, you can CLOSE the kitchen door. If you're in
Kitchen, this seems to trap you. If you try to OPEN DOOR, the light
flashes that you should use the access card, but there isn't any slot
on that side of the door. However, you can still go NORTH with the
16. In all versions, you can dream of Floyd (whom you recognize, by name)
without having met him.
I've also found a couple of Stationfall bugs:
1. As in Planetfall, you can DROP SOUP or THROW SOUP when you're holding
the open thermos, or THROW GOO when you're holding the open survival kit,
and you have to be holding each container to eat its contents.
2. If you ENTER a takeable object that you're not carrying, there is no
John W. Kennedy
"But now is a new thing which is very old--
that the rich make themselves richer and not poorer,
which is the true Gospel, for the poor's sake."
-- Charles Williams. "Judgement at Chelmsford"
I haven't heard of that one. The trap door bug I know of is:
N (or some other direction to take you away from underneath the trap
G (the trap door opens)
You have to use the AGAIN command, if you repeat OPEN TRAP it won't
work. I found this by accident, trying to use AGAIN to repeat a
movement, but instead it opened the trap door. It's worked in every
version I've tried.
1. In version 77 of A Mind Forever Voyaging, you can CALL people who
aren't there. In particular, you can CALL RYDER at any time.
2. In version 86 of Bureaucracy, you can EXAMINE BUTTONS in Galley or
Rear of Aeroplane and get the same description of the buttons (which
aren't there!) as if you were in your seat.
3. In versions 18 and 19 of Deadline, there is a memory error that can
create lots of garbage output. Here's one way to produce the problem.
Get two bottles and go somewhere where you can't see a door. Then do
the following 6 times: THROW BOTTLE, answer DOOR, answer a valid
bottle name. Each time you get, "You can't see any here." After the
sixth time, everything in your inventory or the contents of a
container will be preceded by gibberish. If you repeat such actions
enough, the program eventually crashes. Frotz says, "Fatal error:
Store out of dynamic memory", after some 60 repetitions, but if you do
other things you can get a different fatal error sooner.
4. In versions 18 through 22 of Deadline, MOVE DOOR or GIVE DOOR TO
someone locks up the program.
5. In versions 10 and 15 of Enchanter, the adventurer will follow you
out the main castle gate. If you stay with him after that, then
within a few moves you get, "The adventurer peers through the gate,
but he decides against passing through. The adventurer leaves the
room, heading to the [string of garbage]."
6. In versions 10 through 24 of Enchanter, if you CAST a spell ON
something that isn't there, instead of just using the spell's name as
a verb, then the error message is wrong: "You can't see any
[spell name] here."
7. In versions 47 through 58 of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
while you are Zaphod, WHERE IS PHIL crashes the interpreter. The
Infocom interpreter exits with no error message, but Frotz says,
"Fatal error: Stack overflow".
8. In version 4 of Moonmist, talking to the late Lionel Tresyllian
crashes the program. If you TALK TO LIONEL, ASK or TELL LIONEL
something, or EXPLAIN or DESCRIBE something TO LIONEL, or if you give
him a direct command (e.g. LIONEL, DROP ALL), then the interpreter
exits with "Fatal error: No such property".
9. In version 21 of Sherlock, if the growler cab happens to take you
to Oxford Street, and you haven't been there before, then you see the
cab as if you weren't in it: "At a cabstand along the curb you see a
10. In Trinity, if you ASK BIRD WOMAN ABOUT TRINITY you get the game
credits. They really need a screen width of at least 77, but if your
screen width is 62 to 76, then version 11 shows the credits anyway,
writing off the edge of the screen with garbled results. If the width
is less than 79, then version 12 responds, "The bird woman just
11. In versions 13 and 18 of Witness, you can get the chunk of putty
or the piece of green wire before the window is broken, using EAT,
READ, or LIGHT.
12. In versions 7 through 19 of Zork II, you can PUT SERPENT IN BOX,
IN CHEST, or ON MAT and carry the baby sea serpent around with you.
When you break the aquarium, the live sea serpent disappears from
wherever it is, and the dead one appears by the aquarium.
13. In versions 7 through 23 of Zork II, if you give a command to the
robot while you're in the bucket, there is no output, the location on
the status line changes to "wooden bucket", and you can no longer see
or interact with anything that isn't in the bucket, including the
bucket itself. It seems the only way to leave this location is to take
14. In versions 7 through 23 of Zork II, you can "FILCH" the dead
dragon, which is too heavy to pick up normally.
Really, I urge you to put these on a web page. There's enough room in
the universe for both you and Graeme Cree to keep pages on this, and
Graeme's been letting it gather dust for a while. An organized list of
all these somewhere would be a nice resource.
PS: do you have the 'garbage strings from the stereo' bug in Deadline?
I poked Graeme 5 years ago about that one.
| D. Jacob Wildstrom -- Math monkey and freelance thinker |
| Graduate Student, University of California at San Diego |
| "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems." -Alfred Renyi |
The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily endorsed by the
University of California or math department thereof.
> Really, I urge you to put these on a web page. There's enough room in
> the universe for both you and Graeme Cree to keep pages on this, and
> Graeme's been letting it gather dust for a while. An organized list of
> all these somewhere would be a nice resource.
I second that.
I'm really enjoying these.
I was browsing the DM4 last night, and in it Graham Nelson says: (section
"The only known bug in any release of 'Wishbringer' (68/850501) allowed the
player to take back a spent gold coin and spend it again, gaining ever more
points ad infinitum."
Graeme Cree's list has another bug, if you type "FOLLOW CAT" in the Solid
Are there, by chance, any others you have found in Wishbringer?
> Are there, by chance, any others you have found in Wishbringer?
Yes, as a matter of fact. These are variations on the same theme:
1. In version 68, anywhere you can see, FIND BAY produces, "The water is too
deep to see much of anything." LAKE, RIVER, and SEA all work as well.
2. In all versions, there are other problems with FIND. You get mildly to very
strange messages from FIND MILK, FOG, COAT, INSTRUMENT, EXHIBIT, LOBBY, or
RADIO. For example, FIND FOG responds, "You'd probably drown in the river if
you went that way.", and FIND COAT says, "You can't do that while Mr. Crisp is
wearing the coat!". Following some FIND commands with a reference to IT has
buggy results. Here's an example:
You'd have to go into the lobby to do that.
But you're already in the lobby!
But you're not in the lobby!
You get similar results using THEATER. Perhaps the buggiest of these involves
the stump. FIND STUMP answers, "How do you intend to do that?", but then
references to IT treat the stump as if present. For example, FIND STUMP THEN
SIT ON IT puts you on the stump, although you stay at the same location. After
you've delivered the envelope, FIND STUMP THEN OPEN IT works. With the stump
open, you can FIND STUMP THEN PUT things IN IT, or even FIND STUMP THEN SIT ON
IT. This last gives the message about falling in, scrolls it up to the top,
and then acts as if you had said IN. You can similarly open and close the
hatch, at any time and place.
3. In all versions, BUY ME says, "You can't see yourself here!".
In Deadline, or at least R27, you can get the game to print gibberish
when the stereo turns off. At 11:07, George walks into his room. If
you're there, you can get the following message:
George steps into the room.
George walks over to his stereo and puts on a record. He turns to
you. "I naturally assume that you would like to hear a cacophonous
electronic jumble." he says, barely concealing his clear distaste for
you and your profession.
If, immediately, you TURN OFF THE STEREO, giving the message
George turns towards you in disgust as you turn off the cacophonous
and then TURN IT ON, the room description will indicate that no music
is playing, and even if you LISTEN TO STEREO, nothing seems to be
happening. However, the game obviously has a timer set, because at
11:32, you get the garbled message:
The tRobner vnggnt6wp qdoesn't vsomething vv iare gdkgThere kseems yn
has ended (and not soon enough).
George walks over to his stereo and returns the music to its proper
place. He then chooses a record from his large collection and starts
it up. Dear Lord! It's a bluegrass tune.
A lot of people seem to be interested in seeing the whole list on the
web. I know I am. I'd be happy to host it for you. If you send me the
bug list in whatever format you have it in, I'll convert it to a web
page and publish it. Mail: fredrikBoBramsberg.net (replace BoB with @).
If Graeme Cree gets back to his list, there's nothing stopping you from
sending him your bugs and getting your list off the net if you like.
I've checked, and this works in all versions.
I liked the fact that the gibberish comes after the "random electronic
After you destroy the painting, it has no more points for putting it
in the trophy case, but you still get 4 points for taking it. If you
haven't taken the painting yet, it still displays the message about
'On the far wall is a painting of unparalleled beauty' Also, it can be
destroyed multiple times.
Jumping in the reservoir kills you, saying it was an unsafe place to
jump. This is because the death-after-jumping is based on the hacky
fact of whether the room's down property has a length of 2 or 4 bytes.
The reservoir is the only room that doesn't have a dangerous place to
fall that has such a down property.
In the grating room, if you 'put object in grating', it prints, for instance:
The skeleton key goes through the grating into the darkness below.
And of course just moves it into the room you're in. The slide in the
cellar behaves the same way.
Opening the grating from the clearing side, it says:
You are in a clearing, with a forest surrounding you on all sides. A path leads
There is a grating securely fastened into the ground.
The grating opens to reveal trees above you.
If you put things in the compressing machine besides the coal, and turn it
on, then a diamond will be formed, and everything else undamaged:
>PUT COAL, GARLIC IN MACHINE
small pile of coal: Done.
clove of garlic: Done.
The lid closes.
>TURN ON MACHINE WITH SCREWDRIVER
The machine comes to life (figuratively) with a dazzling display of colored
lights and bizarre noises. After a few moments, the excitement abates.
The lid opens, revealing a huge diamond, and a clove of garlic.
There's a special object named 'overboard', that exists solely for the
action 'throw [object] overboard'. There is no checking at all in the
action routine to see if the player has the item in checking. Thus anything
in scope is fair game:
>THROW GRUE OVERBOARD
Ahoy -- lurking grue overboard!
>THROW ME OVERBOARD
Ahoy -- you overboard!
Dam Base, in the magic boat
You are at the base of Flood Control Dam #3, which looms above you and
to the north. The river Frigid is flowing by here. Along the river are
the White Cliffs which seem to form giant walls stretching from north to
south along the shores of the river as it winds its way downstream.
There is a you here. (outside the magic boat)
There is a lurking grue here. (outside the magic boat)
The magic boat contains:
A tan label
You can overcome the maximum limit on items held by using a verb other than
You're holding too many things already!
How does one read a hand-held air pump?
The code that tests the 'holding too many things' depends on the verb
If you leave stuff in the reservoir while the lake is down, then turn
the bolt to close the damn, only the trunk of jewels will disappear.
Launching the boat onto the lake will show everything you left in the
Reservoir, in the magic boat
You are on the lake. Beaches can be seen north and south. Upstream a small
stream enters the lake through a narrow cleft in the rocks. The dam can be seen
There is a sword here. (outside the magic boat)
There is an object which looks like a tube of toothpaste here. (outside the
There is a screwdriver here. (outside the magic boat)
If you extinguish the candles by pouring water on them, and then relight
them with a match, they'll no longer have a flame:
>POUR WATER ON CANDLE
The pair of candles is extinguished.
One of the matches starts to burn.
(with the match)
The candles are lit.
The match has gone out.
>BURN SACK WITH CANDLE
With a pair of candles??!?
or, if you try to pour water on it in the future:
>POUR WATER ON CANDLE
The water spills over the pair of candles, to the floor, and evaporates.
The candles are burning.
(the normal response is:
>BURN SACK WITH CANDLE
The brown sack catches fire and is consumed.
(Trying to burn something with the candles, or pouring water over them,
are the only inconsistancies. The gas room checks if the candles have
light, as does the exorcism in the land of dead. Normally, when you
extinguish the candles, it removes the light property, but not the flame
property. This itself presents no bugs because everything else seems
to check for both the light and flame property before doing anything.)
This bug works because there is an attribute for flaming objects, and
an attribute for lighted objects. Different parts of Zork use them
releases 2, 5, and 15:
Shaking an open container with contents will lock up the game.
The relevant code is, in the action routine for the verb 'shake'
if( ~~(itm = child(noun)) ) ?label4;
move itm to noun;
print_ret "All of the objects spill onto the floor.";
Obviously, they meant to do 'move itm to location' instead of back
into the object itself. As it is, it gets stuck in an infinite
Also in early versions:
You can take the axe away from the troll by using an indirect
means of Take, like 'Read', which forces a Take first:
The Troll Room
This is a small room with passages to the east and south and a forbidding
hole leading west. Bloodstains and deep scratches (perhaps made by an axe)
mar the walls.
A nasty-looking troll, brandishing a bloody axe, blocks all passages
out of the room.
Your sword has begun to glow very brightly.
How can I read a bloody axe?
The troll, disarmed, cowers in terror, pleading for his life in the
tongue of the trolls.
In later versions, this was fixed by giving the axe the TRYTAKEBIT, and
later, by removing the TAKEBIT when the troll has the axe, and adding
it when it's dropped.
In Zork 1, release 2 only, when you throw the sword or nasty knife at the
troll, it says he catches it and being momentarily sated, drops it to the
ground. However, the sword or knife is not actually moved. You still have
it in your possession after the throw:
(at the troll)
The troll, who is remarkably coordinated, catches the sword
and, being for the moment sated, throws it back. Fortunately, the troll
control, and the sword falls to the floor. He does not look pleased.
The troll's axe barely misses your ear.
You are carrying:
Until version 23, when banishing the spirits from the Entrance to Hades,
you can repeatedly read the prayer and the message:
Each word of the prayer reverberates through the hall in a
deafening confusion. As the last word fades, a voice, loud and
commanding, speaks: 'Begone, fiends!'. A heart-stopping scream
fills the cavern, and the spirits, sensing a greater power,
flee through the walls.
will be printed over and over.
In all versions of Zork 1, if you wait 32768 turns, the thief will
quit moving, and neither the thief nor the troll will fight any more.
You can walk around and attack them repeatedly and they won't fight back.
Furthermore, the sword uses the trophy value property to keep track
of whether its glowing lightly (a value of 1) or glowing brightly
(a value of 2). If you go near the troll or thief after holding the
sword 32767 turns, and wait one turn, the sword will glow permanently,
and will have the trophy value of either 1 or 2. This means you can
deposit it in the trophy case and win the game with 351 or 352 points.
The reason this works is because of the way Infocom implemented daemons.
Daemons were queued for an integer length of time. If the integer was
positive, it would act as a count down, calling the named routine when the
count reached zero. If negative, then the routine was called every turn.
However, the count was still decremented, so that by waiting 32768 turns,
the number overflowed to positive and the daemon became a timer.
Every infocom game seemed to use the same bit of code, so similar bugs
probably exist in other Infocom games (though note with games with hunger
daemons or similar mechanisms, it's impossible to wait that many turns).
Go to the room with the lizard on the door, and try to unlock it with
anything (for instance 'unlock door with lamp'). There is a 1 in 5
chance that the game will print "But you drop the key" (when the lizard
snaps at you). At this point, the game will move the delicate gold key
to the room, regardless of what you tried to lock it with. If the
princess hasn't taken the key from the unicorn, you won't be able to
use it however, because it still has the SCENERY bit set. But you
can examine it.
>THROW GUARDIANS AT GUARDIANS
The Guardians of Zork falls in front of the guardians, who destroy it
in perfect unison. Satisfied, they resume their posts.
Anything in scope can be thrown at them for the same effect.
>THROW BOAT AT OCEAN
The Viking Ship falls into the ocean and is lost forever.
The game uses an array to store objects that you drop in a particular
'room' in the maze. The entire maze is actually represented by just
one object, and anything you drop is removed from the game when you
"move" in the maze. Then when you go back to that part of the maze,
it moves the objects stored in that part of the array back to the maze.
The problem is, the double-dimensional array only has 8 slots for each
maze room. If you drop more than 8 objects, it messes up the array.
You can go east and find some of the objects. If you drop them and
there's a wall to the east, you can lose the items forever.
So does that mean if you wait another 32768 turns, all the daemons will
run one last time and then stop for good?
>Jumping in the reservoir kills you, saying it was an unsafe place to
>jump. This is because the death-after-jumping is based on the hacky
>fact of whether the room's down property has a length of 2 or 4 bytes.
>The reservoir is the only room that doesn't have a dangerous place to
>fall that has such a down property.
You also die when you jump in the kitchen, and I never quite got why
on earth the kitchen would be a dangerous place to jump around in. :)
"El arte no viste pantalones."
-- Rubén Darío