A hollow voice says, "Fool!"

Are you ready for this? This is a collection of responses to XYZZY in a multitude of IF games. Although XYZZY is usually just an optional magic word with a silly quip behind it, sometimes it does do something useful... which means there are some spoilers, but for the most part they're fairly minor. Especially since I'm not giving any context, apart from the games' names.

If the spoiler isn't minor, I've put the quote in white-on-white in a box, and the game's name in black-on-black. To reveal one area or both, select the area(s) with your mouse.

See also my PLUGH responses page, and Rick Adams's Everything you ever wanted to know about the magic word XYZZY page.

August 2009: I'm reworking this page in the hopes that I might be able to structure the list well enough that I might be able to port the list into a database for cute ordering tricks. The first step in this plan is to enclose every entry in its own box, moving the game title to the box's 'status line'. This might improve readability as well. I also want to start sorting the responses into categories, and moving the responses where XYZZY just isn't understood to its own NOTUNDERSTOOD page.

Assorted responses   Spoilery responses   Default responses   Additional Notes

Assorted responses to XYZZY

The PK Girl

^ . ^

Best of Three

– obligatory easter egg –

The Hose

* * * WARNING: * * *

Don't mess with the author of this game! Cf. http://www.acweb.com/ben/hungga/schools/brooklyn.html

Zero Sum Game

*** You have died ***

The Moonlit Tower

Silence of the Lambs 2

(It's said the 'x' is really a 'chi', so tt's pronounced 'cheesy'.)

[Insert humorous comment here]

Poor Zefron's Almanac


You are inside a building, a well house for a large spring.

There are some keys on the ground here.

There is a shiny brass lamp nearby.

There is food here.

There is a bottle of water here.

You are able to take in your surroundings for a few seconds before a second >>Foof!<< deposits you back in Zefron's workshop. Apparently your feeble wizardly powers won't enable you to stay in that distant land for long.

Fallacy of Dawn

[A hollow voice says, 'K3WL!]


[dootsrednu ton saw "yzzyx" drow eht]

[A hollow voice doesn't say: "Make my nipples hard, let's go." Nothing at all happens that could possibly break the fourth wall. What wall? I see no wall. I refuse to pander to this rampant injokery.]

Being Andrew Plotkin

[Hit any key.]

As in the water face answers to face,
So the mind of a man
Reflects the man.

-- Pr. 27:19

For old times sake.

[Hit any key.]

Inform School

[Just keep hitting Enter to go through this demonstration.]

A hollow voice booms, "The demonstration is given in the laboratory. You will be taken there if necessary. Anything you are carrying that gives off light will be covered during this session."

[Several screens of demonstration omitted]


[Note to self: insert witty answer here.]

The Mage Wars: Statue

[Oh yeah? Well, plugh on you then!]

Bureaucracy; Trinity


Bad Machine

The Five Tutors

A cardboard cut-out of Graham Nelson appears and waves a cardboard arm. The cardboard cut-out then vanishes in a puff of Inform.


A cloud of orange smoke engulfs the pillow and it disappears!

Nothing happens. Maybe another magic word...

An orange cloud suddenly appears in the room! It then dissipates, leaving the pillow behind on the pedestal.

>sit on pillow
You fidget with the pillow and move it onto a good spot on the floor. Then you squat on it, cross-legged.

A cloud of orange smoke suddenly appears, blocking your vision! Then something gives way and you land with a BUMP.


A deep voice booms out "Cretino."

Pollo Y Camino (a.k.a. Chicken and Road)

A disembodied voice informs you, "The solution isn't magic, but it's not rocket science, either."

The voice pauses, as if in thought, and queries, "S'matter? Are you chicken?"

Tookie's Song

A disembodied voice speaks. "This magic word is down for repairs, necessitated by its overuse. Please try another."

Death Waif

A finely-dressed man appears in a flash of blinding pink light. "You know, with an important Presidential election coming up in the United States very soon, I think it's time to talk to you about a very important subject: Spork safety.

The man vanishes.

Bears, Bears, Bears

A foolish voice says, "Hallo."

ASCII and the Argonauts



A hollow cow says, "Moo."


A hollow voice announces that the XYZZY Forum on the Virtua WorldNet is closed right now. How typical.

The Man From DEFRA

A hollow voice bleats.


A hollow voice booms, “Do you see your shadow?”

GATOR-ON, Friend to Wetlands; Undo

A hollow voice ignores you.

Coffee Quest II (post-comp version)

A hollow voice inside your head mocks your social skills.

The Legend Lives!

A hollow voice inside your head says, "Wrong genre."

Stiffy Makane: The Undiscovered Country

Spodgeville Murphy and The Jewelled Eye of Wossname

A hollow voice refuses to say "Fool".


A hollow voice rings out - no wait, that's my stomach.

Guess The Verb!

Moments Out Of Time

A hollow voice says, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And vice-versa."

The Lesson of the Chicken

A hollow voice says, "Ba-cock!"


The Sea of Night

A hollow voice says, "Beam me up, Scotty."

Sins Against Mimesis

A hollow voice says, "Bite me."


A hollow voice says, "Cool!"

Zork: The Undiscovered Underground

A hollow voice says, "Cretin."

Perilous Magic

A hollow voice says 'Cretin'.
(Probably your boss)


A hollow voice says, "Did you really think I'd take the time to implement that?"

A Freak Accident Leaves Seattle Pantsless III: Endgame

A hollow voice says, "Do you try that in every game?"


A hollow voice says, 'Don't take me there.'


A hollow voice says, "Eeaagghh!" (or was that, "Eegggggg!?")

Ophelia of Denmark

A hollow voice says 'Fool'!

Detective (MST3K1)

A hollow voice says "Fool"

Enchanter; Infidel; Zork I: The Great Underground Empire; Zork II: The Wizard of Frobozz; Zork III: The Dungeon Master

A hollow voice says "Fool."

Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor; Wishbringer

A hollow voice says, "Fool!"


A hollow voice says "Fool. But you're cute, so that makes up for it."


A hollow voice says "Fool."

I look around to see where the voice came from, but I can see nothing. I look at the other people, but they do not seem to have heard anything unusual. I look at the floor, the ceiling; there is no sign of a source for this mysterious voice.

The hollow voice says "Look over here."

I look around again, but still see nothing.

The hollow voice says "On your nose."

I focus closer and see a tiny little humanoid figure perched on my nose. I'm surprised that such a big voice could from such a creature. As I think this, it looks annoyed at me, and from its pocket it pulls an impossibly large icepick-- proportional to my size, not its size--and jabs it into my eeeeeaarghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

*** I have lost ***


A hollow voice says, "Fool"
(See, if you were dreaming, nothing would have happened.)

Mother Loose

A hollow voice says, "Fooled you!"

Foggywood Hijinx

A hollow voice says, "Hey, didn't I see you on the MUD last night?"


A hollow voice says, "How unseemly!"

Very Old Dog

A hollow voice says "I've spent two days coding that flocking stereo system, and I'm not really too keen on coming up with a witty way to indulge in nostalgia."


A hollow voice says, "Infidel."

Chicks Dig Jerks

A hollow voice says, "Myst drools, CHICKS DIG JERKS rules!"


A hollow voice says, "Nice try, but no cigar!"

If dirt were dollars,
we'd all be in the black.....

         -- Don Henley.

A Bear's Night Out

A hollow voice says `Obviously, you are in the wrong game.'

Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

That trick never works.
               -- Bullwinkle J. Moose
                   and Rocky Squirrel

[German] Ein Bär Geht Aus

Eine hohle Stimme sagt: 'Du bist offenbar im falschen Spiel.'

Dutch Dapper IV: The Final Voyage

A hollow voice says: 'Oh please... this is getting SOOOOO old...'


A hollow voice says "Oh, shut up."

Pass the Banana

A hollow voice says, "Plugh."

A hollow voice says, "Plover."

A hollow voice hands you a banana.

The one about the chicken, the lion and the monkey?

A hollow voice says:

"Q: Why did the mouse cross the road?

 A: Because it was nailed to the chicken's foot!"

Hell: A Comedy of Errors

A hollow voice says "Seek not to rise above your station, little demon."

A Crimson Spring

A hollow voice says, 'So get out there, Robb, and win this comp. Win it for the children. Win it for Red Cloud. And win it ... for Demetrius DuBose.'

A Party To Murder

A hollow voice says, "Sorry, there aren't any magic words in this game."

Learning to Cross

A hollow voice says, "SQUAWK!"

There Is No Bread

A hollow voice says, "There is no bread."

Once and Future

A hollow voice says, "These are the times that try men's souls."

The Underoos that ate New York!

A hollow voice says, "This is a short sample 'game' designed to test out some programming ideas I had. It pays homage to the bad old sci-fi B movies. The material here is, I suppose, vaguely mystifying to small children, so parents be warned, play it through first yourself, and make your own decision about it."

Zork: A Troll's Eye View

A hollow voice says "Troll".

The Mind Electric

A hollow voice says, "Trying to get a cute response, are we?"

A Stegosaur's Night Out

A hollow voice says, "Very well. You don't know what you're asking for, but here you go....."

And, in fact, within minutes the whole Palace is abuzz, with the sounds of helicopters and tanks drawing nearer. Within half an hour, half the Viennese army is on the front lawn. Within an hour, every inhabitant of the palace - including Charles and yourself - is dead meat.

*** In your death you were not divided ***

The play is played out.

The Light: Shelby's Addendum

A hollow voice says, "Wow! You must be, like, really old."

Aunt Nancy's House

A hollow voice says "Wrong game, pal."


A hollow voice says "Xyzzy? Tinny, tinny sort of word."

Then a sixteen-ton weight drops on your head.

*** You have died ***

Ouch. How depressing.

Casino Viridoso V

A hollow voice says, "Zwanzig."

A Good Breakfast

A hollow voice sighs, exasperated.


69,105 Keys

A hollow voice sings:
"I xyz zy spiders on the wall... I xyz zy cobwebs in the hall...
 I xyz zy candles on the shelf... When I'm alone, I xyz myself!"

The Epitome of Toastlessness

A hollow voice utterly fails to provide you with TOAST. What a rip-off.

The Cruise

A hollow voice whispers, "I saw a 't' on top of a castle!"

A goat runs through the lounge. A llama chases after it. The glue is dripping down the side of the bottle.

I doubt that made any sense to you, since it's an inside joke. Well, when you type something out-of-context like xyzzy you should expect an out-of-context response. If you expected to be teleported, too bad for you. This isn't Zork.

Rippled Flesh

A hollow, yet nasal, voice booms out "Please Deposit 42 cents!"


A horse walks into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Hey. Why the long face?"

Six Stories

Episode 2: Revenge of the Mutant Spiders

A huge horde of mutant spiders appears out of nowhere and devours you alive!

*** You have died ***

Pick Up The Phone Booth and Aisle

A husky voice intones, "I knew you'd try typing this, and I must say I'm getting mighty tired of being summoned up willy nilly to fulfill some sort of neurotic desire to fill a game with as many lame injokes as possible. So begone. (By the way, please try the following verbs on subsequent playings: waylay, cook, xyzzy, attack)

*** You have pissed off the voice (that's a first) ***

The Devil Made Me Do It

A man runs passed you being chased by lions and a blonde-haired man. You think to yourself, "Isn't that my little protege Karl? How wonderful!!!"

The Lost Spellmaker

A mystical hand, seemingly made of thousands of tiny sparkling stars, sweeps down from above. Before you can do anything, it prods you in the ribs, and a hollow voice echoes "It's not you!" The hand flies off again, quickly disappearing from sight.

Underground Compound

a random number is [number].

Cattus Atrox

A small black cat struts by, rubs up against your legs, meows, then scampers off.

Krakatoa Tuna Melt

A squeaky voice says, "Why say xyzzy here, when you can visit http://webhome.idirect.com/~dswxyz/sol/xyzzy.html instead?"
[Of course, that page has moved to THIS page at http://www.plover.net/~davidw/sol/xyzzy.html.]


A stern, hollow voice booms: "The use of magic is strictly reserved for the implementors."

A hollow, but slightly exasperated voice says: "Look, I warned you. This is not a stable place. The likes of you should not meddle with things beyond their mortal understanding."

A hollow voice (with - or is it your imagination? - overtones of Schadenfreude) intones: "Well, if you really won't listen to good advice... have it your way!" As this announcement dies down, mingling with the wyrd echos of your own magical incantations, you sense a disturbance in the very structure of time.

Suddenly, the entire island explodes! The volcano erupts in a spectacular show of fire, tumbling rocks, sprays of steam and boiling stone, and thundering sound effects to go with them. It really is a fantastic sight, a true natural wonder, enough to impress even the most jaded vulcanologist.

The good news about all this is that you are in the perfect position to witness all this - slap-bang in the middle of the action. The bad news is, of course, that being in that perfect position, you are no longer able to enjoy it all, since you've been blown to bits along with the rest of the Island.

    *** You have been blown sky-high ***


A stubble-chinned street dealer drops by and shakes his head at your patheticness. "How do you sleep at night?" he asks before leaving.


A tap dancing velociraptor wearing a shiny green jacket appears before you, performs a short routine then vanishes. Or else nothing happens, if you prefer.

Tinseltown Blues

A wave of warm and fuzzy nostalgia washes over you as the word escapes your lips, but nothing much else occurs.


A woman in a smoky orange gown glides close by and whispers, "That sort of thing doesn't work here."

The Awakening

A word comes to you, and you shout it out... "XYXXY!". The storm responds with a roar and a crash of thunder. It is a word of power. Once, you feel, you knew many such words. Now, only this one remains.


Actually having you magically teleport upon the utterance of that word would violate what little continuity exists in this game.

Critical Breach

Punkirita Quest One: Liquid

"Ah! My only child, trying to use black magic against the one who brought life!"


All 69,105 leaves have said "yoho" and disappeared down a 2-inch slit -- along with some cheese, a bowl of sodden Cheerios, losers named Mercury and BVE sniveling under a bridge, and a bunch of other lame rec.arts.int-fiction in-jokes. [Let's stick to one adventure at a time, okay?] ;-)

A Night Guest


All the other deities have USEFUL magic words, but you're stuck with this stupid one that DOESN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING!


Almost magically, you digest the ASCII characters XYZZY, break them into their binary counterparts, run them through several algorithms, and find that the only fruits of your analysis is the phrase: "Nothing Happens."

Revenge of the Killer Surf Nazi Robot Babes from Hell (Demo Version)

An awesome response to XYZZY is available with the full registered version of Revenge of the Killer Surf Nazi Robot Babes from Hell. Type REGISTER for additional information.


An editorial in the newspaper quoted a government official asserting that "Our unspeakably beautiful and cruel world is going to end." That's the line that got you so exercised before you found the book.

Shadowgate (Inform adaptation)

An Implementor suddenly materializes and speaks to you with a tone of boredom and annoyance.


The Implementor vanishes.

Masters of Toasting

Ancient words of power may cut it in some other profession, but not in the exciting world of toaster repair!

Winchester's Nightmare

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Ralph (from IF Comp 1996)

Are you Eileen Mullin or anybody else connected to XYZZYnews magazine?

The President, the Democrats, and Smelly Pete

As George W. Bush's life fades his soul rises for a moment and then suddenly hovers. Above the mantel is an old sword rewarded to GW from the Great Persian Gulf War II and it begins to eminate a powerful light. George's soul strives to escape all earthly boundaries, but the sword is too strong. His soul drifts to the sword and is absorbed, becoming a part of its very nature. A flash of blue trickles down the blade in harsh laughter before the image fades...

Ralph (from SpeedIF 15)

As the magic words leave your lips, everything becomes clear. You are just a pawn in an interactive fiction game. There is no way out except to find the answer to the problem placed before you. Good luck.

Why does my New Year's Eve always crash and burn?

As you say the magic word, a shimmering steel pole appears in front of you out of nowhere. At its top is the head of Dick Clark. Revelers kneel in praise, then start counting down from ten as the head descends down the pole. When the count gets to three, the pole and head vanish in a puff of smoke.

Escape from a Planet Filled with Monkeys!

As you say “xyzzy”, you feel warm and fuzzy, almost as if your cosmic score has increased by several karma points. But nothing else happens.
[Note: this was in response to choosing a menu option called 'Say “xyzzy”', not actually typing "xyzzy".]

A Fable (MST3K2)

As you speak the magic word "xyzzy", there is a blinding flash, and the Satellite of Love's theater disappears around you. You notice that you are now carrying a multi-purpose Scrub Brush.

Deck Nine
This is a featureless corridor similar to every other corridor on the ship. It curves away to starboard, and a gangway leads up. To port is the entrance to one of the ship's primary escape pods. The pod bulkhead is closed.

You have beamed yourself into Planetfall, and escaped from the Satellite of Love. Unfortunately, you did so before Mike Nelson arrived to take your place. With no man in space to experiment on, Dr. Forrester ekes out the rest of his career playing B-movie heavies, TV's Frank returns to his job at Arby's, and Mystery Science Theater is cancelled.

TOM:  Good one, Joel!

CROW: Hey Joel, wanna play Hucka-Bucka Beanstalk?

*** [Roll credits] ***

Lighan ses Lion

Askiosy rau loovao LIGHAN SES LION!
[Dress sle nire ve-station]

Down and Out at the Big Creepy House on the Poison Lake

At End of Road
I am standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

...Snap out of it, self! This is no time to be daydreaming!

Banana Apocalypse and the Rocket Pants of Destiny

BEARS BEARS BEARS. [Your easter egg could go here! Call now at 555-1212 to order...]

Unnkulia One Half: The Salesman Triumphant

Being a feet-on-the-ground salesman, you don't believe in silly magical words.

Kiss Chase


Desert Heat

BLEEP! (ping) zZaP *glorgle*

The spell you have selected is out of service. Please try another game.

The Hippo and the Flute

Brank. Bronk. Blurk.
-- Gorpy Bizzerton

Sam Fortune - Private Investigator

The Coast House

Can you say that here? I thought that was copyrighted or something...?


Chaos snores.

The Cross of Fire

Cheesy? Not at all. More like "archetypal".

Begegnung am Fluss

Das funktioniert nicht, wahrscheinlich, weil du alles andere als ein namenloser Abenteurer bist.

Stick it to the man

Do what?

The Bryant Collection

[Answering YES to the question will teleport the PC to the Living Room location.]

The House

Does the circle...twinkle a little?...No.

Ramón and Jonathan

East of House
You are in an open field east of a big yellow house with a boarded front door.

There is a small mailbox here.

...Well, not really. This was a crime-against-mimesis moment in an otherwise serious and well-thought piece of Interactive Fiction.

And you were the one who began, with that 'xyzzy' thing.

Castle Amnos

Eerie silence greets your words.


Even that magic cannot help you here.

Byzantine Perspective

Everything dissolves into static...

[You now appear to be in The Chalice Room.]


Everything spins around and suddenly you find yourself...

You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

The only maze of this game.

Everything spins around and suddenly you find yourself...

[back in your original location]

Escape From the SS Borgarís

Far in the distance, a hollow foghorn sounds.



Health Inspector


Curses; Deja Vu

For a moment you can almost hear a hoarse voice say something to you. But it passes.

Escape from Crulistan

For a moment you thought you heard a hollow voice after speaking the word, but it was probably just your inner voice asking why a grown-up man in the year 2000 still believes in magic.

The Thorn

For some reason you remember the computer games you played as a kid. What if that's all this is? A game? What if that's all anything is?

Not Just A Game

From The New Hacker's Dictionary:

xyzzy /X-Y-Z-Z-Y/, /X-Y-ziz'ee/, /ziz'ee/, or /ik-ziz'ee/ adj.

[from the ADVENT game] The canonical 'magic word'. This comes from ADVENT, in which the idea is to explore an underground cave with many rooms and to collect the treasures you find there. If you type 'xyzzy' at the appropriate time, you can move instantly between two otherwise distant points.

Xyzzy has actually been implemented as an undocumented no-op command on several OSes; in Data General's AOS/VS, for example, it would typically respond "Nothing happens," just as ADVENT did if the magic was invoked at the wrong spot or before a player had performed the action that enabled the word. In more recent 32-bit versions, by the way, AOS/VS responds "Twice as much happens."

Film At Eleven

From out of nowhere, your boss, Harry Jenkins runs up to you. He grabs you by the upper arms and shakes you roughly, shouting, "Do your own damn work!" He runs off again.

Apartment F209

Gee, grandpa. What was it like back then?

Tanker and Webb


Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur


A Flustered Duck


Earth and Sky; Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina


Zumpf and Fumping

"Give a man a turkey sandwich, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to turkey sandwich, and he will eat for a lifetime." -- Art Bell


Goddess bless you.

Maiden of the Moonlight

"Good 'zine, isn't it?" comments a hollow voice that seems to come from out of nowhere.

(Actually, it comes from http://www.interport.net/~eileen...)

Glacial Rift of the Dick Cavett

Graham Nelson surfs in on a miniature surfboard, then surfs back out.


Helen once ran into real trouble for publishing an article with that word in it. The letters pages were swamped with complaints.

Blue Lacuna

Here are some of the albums that were on constant play during my writing of Blue Lacuna, along with, in some cases, which sequence they helped shape. These albums can perhaps be thought of as the unofficial soundtrack:

Gyorgi Ligeti, Requiem
 Lisa Gerrard, The Silver Tree -- the Windsigh
 Ryan Miller, Tim Larkin and Jack Wall, soundtracks to the Myst games -- exploring
 Michael Stearns, The Lost World -- the eastern forest
 Colleen, The Golden Morning Breaks -- Phoebe and Lethe
 amiina, Animamina and Kurr -- Phoebe and Lethe
 Kenji Kawai, Ghost In The Shell Soundtrack -- The Great Philosopher
Robert Rich, Gaudi / Below Zero -- The Heart of the Forest
 Jakob Draminsky Hjmark, En Landsoldats Dagbog -- Progue's Despair
 Jocelyn Pook, various -- painting
 Jeremy Soule, Game Soundtracks
 Michael Andrews, Donnie Darko Original Score -- Progue's Playfulness
 Aphex Twin, Melodies From Mars -- Progue
 Eluvium, various albums -- the dreams

And other albums which are not tied to particular moments but which nevertheless received heavy play during the writing:

Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Akira Soundtrack / Ecophony Gaia
 Brian Tyler, Children of Dune
 Matt Uelmen, Diablo II Soundtrack
 Leon Willet, Dreamfall Soundtrack
 Philip Glass, Koyaanisquatsi
 Paul Ruskay, Homeworld Soundtrack
 Juno Reactor, Labyrinth
 Sigur Rós, various albums
 Lemon Demon
 Vangelis, various albums
 Clint Mansell, The Fountain
 and the entire Jonathan Coulton catalog.

Snowman Sextet Part II

Here's a tidbit for you: Fido is actually what some call an Old English Mastiff, or just English Mastiff. The AKC calls the breed Mastiff, even though that is also the name of a family of breeds.

At Wit's End; At Wit's End Again

Hold on while your PC sends you a Gamma burst of mind altering energy...

(I hope you closed your eyes.)

As soon as the ringing in your ear stops, press ENTER.

OK, thank you in advance for giving this game a 10.



Adventures of Helpfulman


Attack of the Terror Tabby!!!


The U.S. Men's Hockey Team Olympic Challenge!

I don't know the word "xyzzy". Now get back to trashing this dump!

Stiffy Makane: Mystery Science Theatre 3000

I don't understand 'xyzzy' as a verb.

The Beetmonger's Journal

I had never been one to believe in magic.

Above and Beyond!

I know... I know... You had to try it. Personally, I don't blame ya!


.i noda fasnu


I'm afraid that magic word hasn't got enough power to work in this universe.

Prodly the Puffin

I'm not familiar with that particular cliche.

"It's not much fun wandering through somebody's
 ill-conceived, cobbled together, inside-joke
                         -Paul O'Brian

Heroine's Mantle

If Charlotte Anne can't use real magic, what chance have you got?

Friendly Foe

If it were only that easy.

The Homework of Little Carl Gauss

If you wanted a Scott Adams adventure, you could choose some other game...

Tryst of Fate

Images of knife-throwing dwarves come to mind.

An Act of Murder


In a hollow voice, you mispronounce the only word in Czech you can remember.

The X Chicken

In the distance you see a car approaching. The car slows down as it passes. It's a black Lincoln Towne car with darkly tinted windows. As it passes nearby, you could swear you see through the glass a small chimp wearing a tuxedo and laughing at all of your hysterically. The license plate reads, "MNKYBTLR".


The Water Bird

In the time of the First People, even that ancient magic did not exist yet.

The Last Sonnet of Marie Antoinette

Inside Joke Mode is Now On.

You instantly forget you ever knew anything about inside jokes.

Aunts and Butlers

Is that some sort of telegraphic cypher?


It has been said that anything can happen in VR, but in this case "anything" turns out to be nothing at all.

Ghost Ship

Pytho's Mask

It will take more than petty incantations to save the day.

Coming Out of the Closet

It's not that easy to get out.

"Hey! Where did you learn that?"

Star Rider

Ja, ja, das stand alles in "Das Denken in der fünften Dimension". Konzentriere dich jetzt auf das Spiel!


Jarb shrieks, apparently to himself, "Fool!"

Jarod's Journey

Jarod stutters out something indiscernible.

In The End


Every year, hundreds if not thousands of good ideas are brought to an early
death by overuse and overexposure. You can help to stop the senseless waste of
space, simply by avoiding the use of clichés. Join the campaign now, and help
these decent and formerly original ideas to live out their last years with

For more information about the S.P.C.C., write to:

    RR #29
    Eastlands, Zork 4127
or e-mail:


Constraints (from IF Comp 2002)

In The End II

Life doesn't work that way. Nyah, nyah, nyah.


Magic doesn't work in the real world.


Magic won't help here – only a very big ink eraser.

Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus

Max Blaster's voice booms out of nowhere. “Hey, Doris, it's time for the special secret message for the Max-and-Doris Patrol Club Members! What's the secret letter for today?”

Doris de Lightning's voice responds, “Ready, Junior Cadets? The secret letter for today is X, as in Xavian — so line up your secret decoder rings with A on the outside and X on the inside, and get ready for the message!”

Ihuulrtik Fxlhbd Zdmy Eueyuh! Qu obfu vbm utcbv lork obdb-kremdxlrbt bn lou nrhkl Exs Ydxkluh xtj Jbhrk ju Drioltrti xjputlmhu. Lou kfuzrxd ybtmk nbh lork puhkrbt bn lou kre rk xpxrdxydu prx “YBTMKREXIU”; rt lou usfxtjuj puhkrbt lb yu huduxkuj dxluh, “YBTMKKZUTU” qrdd xdkb yu xpxrdxydu. Rn, nbh kbeu huxkbt, vbm xhu erkkrti vbmh Fxlhbd Zdmy Eueyuh arl, julxrdk nbh fmhzoxkrti xtblouh zbfv qrdd yu xpxrdxydu kbbt xl ollf://qqq.nuudruk.bhi/ Loxta vbm nbh fdxvrti!

translation below:

Greetings Patrol Club Member! We hope you enjoy this holo-simulation of the first Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning adventure. The special bonus for this version of the sim is available via “BONUSIMAGE”; in the expanded version to be released later, “BONUSSCENE” will also be available. If, for some reason, you are missing your Patrol Club Member kit, details for purchasing another copy will be available soon at http://www.feelies.org/ Thank you for playing!


Maybe years ago when things were more about fun and were less real. You've come too far to go back.


Michael: NYAH NYAH! :-)
Thanks to Iain, inky and tufty.

Research Dig

Mists pour from the ground below you. They begin to spiral around your legs. In the distance you can make out shadowy figures coming towards you through the mist. You then hear a deep, booming voice say "Oh sorry, wrong game." The mists vanish, and everything is back to normal.

The Duel that Spanned the Ages

More like IDKFA.


    *** You have died ***


My prime goal in writing Calliope was to get comfortable with the Inform programming language, and I believe I succeeded that much. Originally, I meant to accomplish this merely by painting a (somewhat self-deprecatory) autobiographical portrait of myself hacking confusedly away at a going-nowhere Inform program, making a silly little diorama which, once complete, I might have shown a couple of friends before setting it aside and probably forgetting about it, but enough ideas for expanding this into a dippy little quote-unquote 'interactive' tribute to text adventure programming in general fell into my head to move me to expand this bloated exercise from pastiche to short story. I then submitted the whole mess to the 1999 IF Comp, partly to make good on my never- canceled entrance request from the beginning of this year (When I had a vague idea about a game I wanted to make, which I then let lie fallow for some months, poked at a little, and then abandoned), but mostly for the same reason most people probably have when they enter the Boston Marathon. It's a fun lark!

While I can't expect this little trifle to score very well in the competition, I hope that you get a smile or two from it anyway. I had enough fun writing it, learning as I went, to want to dig immediately into making a 'real' text adventure game, so, as far as I'm concerned, it's a smashing success.

Special thanks to betatesters Leah Bonistalli, Jordan 'Greywolf' Peacock, Jeff Pitrman, and Andy Turner.

You may send comments and criticism to me at [eaddress omitted].

--Jason McIntosh

A Paper Moon

Nice try. If you type that 9999 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

Nice try. If you type that 9998 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

Nice try. If you type that 9997 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

[...Quite a few xyzzyies later...]

Nice try. If you type that 2 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

Nice try. If you type that 1 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

Nice try. If you type that 0 more times, I *might* put you in god mode.

Nope... apparently I was just kidding.

The HeBGB Horror!

No human hand can play the chord progression for CTHULLU ROCKS!

The Suffering Supplicant

-- Danny "Dman" Hale

The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Too!

No magic can help you now.

Skipping Breakfast

Nope. Doesn't help.

First Wave, Then Jump Up and Down Screaming

Nostradamus appears in a puff of rules. "Yeah. I'm in the game. So there."

Of Forms Unknown

Not here.


Not surprisingly, nothing happens. You mustn't have visited the right place.

Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort

Nothing happeneth.

A Boy and his Goat; Accuse; Agency; Artifiction; Centipede; Christminster; Colours; First Things First; Journey from an Islet; Shangri La; SpeedIF 11, part six; The Tale of the Kissing Bandit; The Travels of Fitzwilliam Pound; Wormwood Days II: The Aftermath

Nothing happens.

Grayscale; The Erudition Chamber

Nothing Happens.


Nothing happens at all; perhaps you've lost your magic touch.

Nothing happens again; you evidently haven't regained your magic touch.

Nothing happens yet again; I'd guess you never had a magic touch.

The Family Legacy

Nothing happens. But you do feel like you have satisfied an irresistible urge.


Nothing happens, but you probably knew that already.

The Chasing

Nothing happens here.

Vacation Gone Awry

Nothing happens. Maybe in another time, another game...

Reality Show

Nothing happens. Must've used the wrong magic word -- although you get a vaguely uncomfortable feeling at having tried to use magic words at all.

Nothing happens. Must've used the wrong magic word.

You get a bad, bad feeling about using magic words in this world -- as if they are leading you toward thoughts almost too difficult to complate.

Your surroundings vanish for a moment. Have the shackles of a constricting consciousness fallen away?

If so, then they have been replaced by a different sort of shackles. You are tied up to a bed, wearing only a leather corset. Standing above you, a similarly-dressed octogenarian woman gazes down upon you with a beatific yet disturbing smile. "Now, my pupil, it's time for us to study the intricacies of the Rudolphus Technique." You struggle to break free ... to break free ... to break free ...

Moments later, you are back in the Gateway. You are left to wonder: Was that real?

At The Bottom Of The Garden

Nothing happens. No witty responses, nothing.

Spy in the Show

Nothing happens. (Stupid enemy parser.)

Shadows On The Mirror

Nothing happens.


Yes, there it is.

“Great, Enra. It took you this long to figure out how to hook us in? Come on, let's get out of this game.” Galen disappears with a faint crackle of static.

You look around. “Yeah.”

    ***Here we come***


Nothing happens. You could always try >PLUGH.

Nothing happens. You could always try >ABRACADABRA.

Nothing happens. You could always try >ZOT.

Nothing happens. You could always try >WAZZUM.

Nothing happens. You could always try >XYZZY.


Nothing happens. You hear the hollow voice of Baluthar laughing in your head.


Nothing happens.

You weren't really expecting anything, were you? It just doesn't fit in with the genre.

Oh come on, don't tell me you're disappointed. I know, I know, you were expecting some hilarious little blip, or the Spanish Inquisition, or something. Well, no, not the Spanish Inquisition, because no one ever expects them. But I'm sitting here as I write this, watching television and stuffing barbeque potato chips into my mouth, and absolutely nothing humorous is coming to mind. So... hey, maybe next time. Okay?

Nothing happens... again.

Again... nothing happens.

Still nothing happens.

Stop doing that.

Please stop doing that.

Okay, fine. I'm disabling the command now.

I don't know the word "xyzzy".

I really don't know the word "xyzzy".

Well, that didn't work. Look, here's 5 dollars. Just... take it and promise to stop typing that. Nothing is going to happen!
[The game isn't lying about the 5 dollars; check your inventory.]

Oh, I see. Okay, fine. If that's the way you want to be.... In a total of 10 turns, you have achieved a score of 0 points out of a possible 70, giving you a rank of Hobo.

You may restore a saved game, start over, quit, itemize your points, or undo the current command. Please enter RESTORE, RESTART, QUIT, FULL, or UNDO: >

Private Cyborg

Nothing like knowing how to curse in Bug-speak!

Amusement Park

Nothing obvious happens.

Four In One

Nothing seems to happen.

A Simple Theft

Oh, stop that.

No, really, stop it.

That sort of magic hasn't been figured out yet.

Don't get me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry.

OK, perhaps you WILL like me when I'm angry.

Oh, bother. I haven't been programmed to get angry.

You're just going to keep trying until I run out of responses, aren't you?

OK, this is my last response. Ta-ta.

Really, that was. Honest. No more interesting responses here. Move along, move along.

Whenever you're ready to get on with the game...


Four Mile Island

Okay, you asked for it...
You are in a 3D maze of twisty little passageways, all alike.
Exits lead in all directions.
Just kidding...


Okay, you asked for it...
You are in a maze of twisty little passageways, all alike.
Exits lead in all directions.
Just kidding...

Chico and I Ran

Once in your life this verb helps
Some word that turns your game around and
Next thing you know you've obtained the egg mcguffin
Wake up and it's still with you
Even though you left it 'way cross town
Wondering to yourself, "Hey, what've I done"

When you get caught between a quit and a verb called xyzzy
I know it's crazy, but it's true
If you get caught between a quit and a verb called xyzzy
Best that you can do, best that you can do--invisiclues

Arthur he does as he pleases
All of his life he plays text adventures
Deep in his heart, he's just, he's just a boy
Living his life through many undo's
Fooling himself that he didn't just lose
Laughing about the way they want him to play

When you get caught between a quit and a verb called xyzzy
I know it's crazy, but it's true
If you get caught between a quit and a verb called xyzzy
Best that you can do, best that you can do--invisiclues

-- Christopher "Star" Cross

Jeenin Tonn-nx

Oolon Colluphid appears from behind a pillar, waves at you, and vanishes again.

Downtown Tokyo Present Day

Our hero's grasp of the Japanese language is obviously poor!


Out of nowhere, a huge cloud of orange smoke fills the car. When it clears, you suddenly realize that you're in the shack!

Betcha didn't think i'd have time to implement xyzzy, did you?

You suddenly feel very disoriented, and the room seems to be spinning all around you. As you gradually regain your balance, you realize that you're now in the car!

Twilight in the Garden of Exile


A Bet's a Bet


An authentic copy of Zork I for the PC magically appears.

>x zork
A classic.

Nothing else happens.

The Plant

Poof! In a cloud of orange smoke, you're magically transported to...

[your current room description]

(Okay, it wasn't that magical.)

Beta Tester

*POOF* Someone who looks a LOT like Lord Dimwit Flathead, ruler of Quendor, The Great Underground Empire, appears in the room with a silly grin on his face.

He extends his arm towards you, taps you on your nose and says "Old School!"

*POOF* He's gone.

The folks in Legal would again like to re-iterate that the person that appeared and touched you on the nose was NOT Lord Dimwit Flathead, ruler of Quendor.

So know now, for a fact, that Lord Dimwit Flathead, ruler of Quendor, has NOT made an appearance in this game.


Real adventurers do not use such language.


Real magic requires sacrifice and study.

Risorgimento Represso

Remembering your old days of playing Adventure in the computer lab, you cry out "Xyzzy!" in a loud voice but nothing happens.

* Translation of Ned's Yorkshire, courtesy of the game's author, Michael Coyne: "Good for nothing, that is," says Ned. "If that worked, I'd have been and gone a long while since."

Lost New York

Sadly, recent city budget cuts have led to the elimination of the Department of Magic.

No Room

See, technically you're in a location (Darkness), but your real_location isn't a room. Instead, it's the Inform Library itself, which is the most sense Inform could make of my game. In fact, I didn't create any rooms when I was programming this. (Granted, with Inform it's a bit tricky to say what is a room and what isn't.) It would probably have been simpler to just make a fake room to put the player in, and achieve the same effect, but that's not perverse enough. I felt I had to try to go beyond the familiar one room games, and this is as close to zero rooms as I was able to get.


Sigh... I know it's convention to have some inane cute response to magic words from classic adventure games, but ya know what? Screw it. It's been done.

Coke Is It!

Six Million a Day.


.sneppah gnihtoNNothing happens.

Human Resources Stories

So, tell us, how do you work? No, really. If your manager gives you an assignment, how would you do it?

Hmmm... I can see why you are interested in the answer to that question. First of all, this is all conjecture. I mean, I don't know how your managers would behave, so I can only tell you about my experience, not what will happen with this company. Is that alright?

Sure. Do tell us your experience.

Okay, Well, my manager would give me an assignment and ask how long it will take for me to finish the assignment. I'd say that it's impossible to know before hand how long it will take. It'll be finished when it's finished. I mean, unless the work has been done before, it's impossible to predict with any reasonable accuracy when it would be done.

Of course, that kind of answer is unacceptable. My manager would insist that a deadline be given. No problem, I estimate three days for programming, three days for debugging, and three days for testing/optimization. I double the number for incidentals, such as meetings, unforeseen difficulties, and other emergency projects. The number of days is 9*2=18 days. With 5 days a week work schedule, I estimate 3-4 weeks Estimated Time of Completion (ETC). My manager says: Three weeks.

That'll be end of August. Sure. I'll mark my calendar on August the 31st. Three days into the project, my manager comes by and asks me how the project is going. Of course, this is the same question that has been asked and answered at the daily meeting, but since my manager's manager just called personally to check on it, he figures HE would come and personally check the progress. I show him the code and the schedule of things to do. It would be half done. Of course, it is all very rough, complicated, and buggy code, but half the functionalities would be there. At this, he'd walk away.

Later that night, as he drifted to sleep, he'd wonder why I would ask for three weeks (I ESTIMATED 3-4 weeks) for a project when I'm half done in three days time. The next day, he comes in and tells me that the date has been moved forward one week. Don't worry, though. He's sure I'll manage. At this moment, alarm bells start ringing. Not loud enough, though, to make me stand my ground. 2 weeks ETC? Sure.

Before I start debugging the code, I like to clean up the code. You know, simplify it. Make it idiot proof, so maintenance programmers will have an easier time doing their work. Making the code clean and simple has an added benefit of making it easy to debug and expand when necessary. Late Friday afternoon, just before my manager goes on a weekend getaway in Hawaii, he stops by. I show him the cleaned-up code. Big mistake! As he looks over the code, he has no trouble reading it. Well, if he, a manager, can understand the code easily, he's sure that as a programmer, I'll be able to do it in my sleep. Never mind that big pile of messy code sitting in the cubicle's corner. He wants the project to be completed by Monday! Or else.

But, boss, it's Friday! These things take time! My attempts to explain the complexities of the project are futile. It'll be Monday MORNING and that's that. Then he goes off to his vacation in Hawaii. At this moment, the alarm bells are ringing left and right. I'd need at least two days to debug, and two more days for testing. What should I do? What can I do? I decide to just skip the testing, since if the debugging process is successful, there would be no need for testing, right?

Working madly over the weekend hasn't been good. I keep making stupid errors that I wouldn't make had I had a more leisurely schedule to work with. I guess I need more than a couple of hours of sleep at the terminal. Monday morning, I drop off the finished project on the manager's desk. He's late. Doubtless still suffering from brain melt on his vacation. I stagger home to catch up three days worth of sleep, hoping that it'll be alright.

Tuesday, my manager chews me out because I didn't report on Monday, That's AWOL and I'll get a pay cut for it. But!? Boss, I worked the whole weekend. Just ask the janitors! Well, the manager didn't authorize it, so there's no pay, overtime or otherwise. He'll try to get me credited for Monday, but since the paperwork has already been turned in, there's little chance of success (unless he wants to look like a fool, which, of course, he doesn't).

Wednesday, my manager brags to his boss about how clever a manager he is for being able to make an absentee programmer like me to be extremely productive. Specifically, he's able to push me do a three week project in just a little over a week. Think of the money the company is saving! His boss agrees and gives him a bonus. That, and a little mention in the company newsletter about how great a manager my manager is. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to be credited for my overtime pay.

Of course, the untested program is full of bugs. As more and more people use it, the subtle (but nasty) bugs are showing. Segmentation faults and core dumps do not make the users happy, and complain they do! Rude, nasty letters start filling up the Inbox. My manager's manager calls in to ask about the problem. My manager adroits says: "Me? But I'm just a manager. What do _I_ know about programming? It's not _my_ fault that the program is buggy. It's _my programmer's_ fault!"

Of course, I get all the flak. I end up working nights and weekends patching the code for free. I'll be lucky to save my skin after all the troubles _I_ have caused. As I wearily deliver the cleaned, debugged, tested, and optimized code to his desk, my manager tells me that as a leading hi-tech company that we are, we should create this and that program. There's no budget for it, of course, and no overtime pay, either. But there'll be opportunity for recognition if I can pull it off. He then outlines the most ambitious, complicated, and incredibly large system, that, for all practical purposes, is useless AND will annoy anybody who is foolish enough to use it. My manager smiles, "I want you to do this for me. So, how long will it take you to finish this project?"


The Land of the Cyclops

"Socrates" - Great philosopher who didn't write a line, but allowed hemlock to win fame.

(Angelo Frattini)

Catch That Haggis

Something appears in your inventory in a puff of orange smoke.

>x t-shirt
It's a cheap cotton t-shirt. The slogan reads, "I used the magic word XYZZY and all I got was this stupid t-shirt."

The t-shirt shimmers in a magical kind of way.

>wear t-shirt
It looks like it was designed for someone with less tentacles. What kind of idiot implemented this easter egg anyway?

>drop t-shirt
The t-shirt bursts into flames and is destroyed.

Blue Head Yurt

Something is happening here ... whoa.

time room
Time! Time! I need more time .... we all need more time .... to quote the band Ivy: 'To know we die / makes love a lie' .... here's hoping the time isn't wasted ....

Something is happening again ... whoa!

Dinosaur Love

Something is happening here ... whoa. You're in the nullroom, where all the topics hide! Better do xyzzy again soon.

It looks like an ordinary Nullroom to me.

Something is happening again ... whoa!

The End Means Escape

Somewhere else, "xyzzy" might make sense, but not here, not now.

4 Seconds

Somewhere nearby you hear a metallic scrape accompanied by a faint ringing in your ears.

No Time To Squeal

Sorcery in that manner seems to fail you.


Stealing from other games is so gauche.

A New Day

Stop living in the past, man!


Such an action would undoubtedly compromise your hunting position.

Reality's End

Suddenly, a bright light appears in front of you. It is like space itself is cut open. The light forms a door-shaped rectangle, like a portal into nothingness. Then a silhouette appears. A man steps out of the light.
He says: "Sorry kid, the Hollow Voice is out at the moment. So no funny or insulting remarks this time. Here. Take a flyer."
He hands you a small leaflet.

From within the light, a female voice says:
"Come on, Dutch, we've got more things to do..."

The man briefly looks over his shoulder. Then he turns to you and says:
"Keep up the good work, kid. I'm sure you'll do just fine..."

He steps back into the light, which disappears behind him, closing like a zipper.

>x leaflet

From the same author:


Available in an IF archive near you.

The bright light appears again, but no-one steps out. You just hear a not so hollow voice say:
"Come on, kid, stop bothering me. I've got more important things to do then play with you."

The bright light disappears, closing like a zipper.

The Curse of Eldor; The Unholy Grail

Suddenly a magical white glove appears floating in the air before you, slaps you several times across the face, then disappears.

The Tarot Reading

Suddenly a man falls from the air. As he picks himself up you see he is in his early thirties, covered in cat hair and looks as if he works out a fair bit.

"Ah yes," he says, "I remember this. Ahem..." and he begins what seems to be a prepared spiel:

The Tarot Reading - A piece of IF art by Michael Penman, written for the 2003 IF Art Show (http://members.aol.com/iffyart/)

Copyright (c) 2003 by Michael AM Penman. All rights reserved.
Developed with TADS: The Text Adventure Development System

Of course there's a view that good art shouldn't require explanation. Unfortunately, I doubt this is 'good' art; it's just the best that I can achieve at the moment. That's why I've decided to offer this word of explanation.

In the IF art show the stress is placed on exploring interactivity rather than fiction; the I rather than the F of IF. This got me thinking: where does that interactivity take place, really? Certainly not in the IF environment, which is after all no more than a static construct. So why did I feel so thoroughly transported after playing _All Roads_ for the first time? So moved after completing _LASH_?

My answer is that the IF construct plays us. It alters our mind for a time, sometimes permanently. For me this is true of all fiction. I couldn't think of a better metaphor for this than the use of the tarot archetypes to allow the player to explore their mind.

Some words of thanks, then I'll go. I'm not very good at spelling and even worse at coding. The following beta testers from LiveJournal and code gurus from rec.arts.int-fiction helped me lots, as did my wonderful wife Helen:
Michael J. Roberts, Jay T, Dan Shiovitz, adjectivemarcus

For the character's knowledge of the cards I relied extensively on the _TarotL Tarot History Information Sheet_ by members of the TarotL discussion group (http://www.yahoogroups.com/group/TarotL)
Authors: Mary K. Greer, Tom Tadfor Little, Nina Lee Braden, Linda Dunn, Mark Filipas, Robert V. O'Neill, Christine Payne-Towler, Robert Place, James Revak, and others.
Compiled and edited by Tom Tadfor Little.

For my own knowledge of the cards I like to turn to _The Celtic Tarot_ by Helena Paterson.

All that said, it's been a fun project and I hope you like it.


The man then gives a cheery wave and vanishes as mysteriously as he appeared.

Do you think the author wants to be summoned here every five minutes? Don't over use magical verbs, they wear out.

Adventurer's Consumer Guide

Suddenly everything looks as if it is made of butter. Just as suddenly all is back to normal. But you get a strange feeling that somehow, somewhere, something has changed.


Suddenly you are transported out of your house and never have to eat toast again! Yay! Well... not really. Nothing happens. Nice try, though.

Unnkulia X: Escape of the Sacrificed

Suddenly, you find yourself enclosed in a huge cloud of orange smoke. When it clears, you suddenly realize that you're in...

Got ID?

Suddenly you vanish from your current surroundings...

Swirly mist blows round you...

Your feet tingle...

And then...

You reappear in an alternative universe which is, for the purposes of this game, exactly identical to the one you originated in.

Broken Legs

Sure, you might as well do some vocal exercises.

"Xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy zoo!" Your tongue feels really limber, but you still suck. Why?

OK, fine, second time's a charm.

"Xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy zoo!" It sounds even worse than the first time. Why?

Come on, Lottie, it's not like you're going to magically improve.

"Xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy xyzzy zoo!" See? Just as bad as ever. Why?

Note: You can also do vocal exercises via "plugh". Doing either xyzzy or plugh increases a shared internal counter to determine which first paragraph to respond with.

The Waterhouse Women

That doesn't seem to have any effect here, unfortunately.

The Tempest

That instruction, that verb, doth elude me.

Flotsam; Kingdom Without End

That is not a command you can use. (Type "HELP" for a list of valid comands.)

Winter Wonderland

That is not a recognizable verb.

Slouching Towards Bedlam

That is not a recognized verb.

Escape from a Planet Filled with Monkeys!

That is not a valid command. (You can type “HELP” for a list of valid comands.)

Werner's Quest Part 2

That is not possible.


That magic word has no power in this place and time.

The Last Just Cause

That might be foolish, try something else...

The City

That phrase means something to you, though you cannot remember what. Memories may not be opaque, but the density of layers that cover your remembrances obscure any recollection of what this word might mean.

The Queen of Swords

That really has no place here, does it?

Wait until you get home and fire up the computer, THEN you can use magic words.


[The latter response is probably only in older versions of the games.]

Fort Aegea

That spell doesn't work here.

Muse: An Autumn Romance

That was not a verb I recognised.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

               - Exodus 22:18


[That won't work here: this is a modern work of IF.]

The Chicken Under the Window

That word is not near the narrative.

A Stop For the Night

That Word has no power here.

Ad Verbum

That word has worked its magic.

Choose Your Own Romance

That's not a command you can use.

Intro to Jabberwocky

That's not a verb I recognise.

And don't bother trying "plugh".

       "It seems very pretty,"
   she said when she had finished it,
  "but it's RATHER hard to understand!"  
  (You see, she didn't like to confess,
   even to herself, that she couldn't
         make it out at all.)

  -- Alice


That's not a verb you need to use.

Yay Games

That's what we're here for, yes.

The Atomic Heart

The customer isn't always right; everyone is always wrong.

Fido and The Dead Body

The dead body whispers, "Plugh."

This Is The Toaster

The detective stepped cautiously north into the small closet. Well lit from an unseen source, the closet revealed a few rumply clothes on hangers and a knick-knack or two but nothing remotely relevant to the case. Ed left the way he came, walking north back into the hallway.

He emerged in a dimly lit drawing room that smelled of zinnias and old dust. Bending down, Ed examined a piece of wooden wood. "This could come in handy," the detective mused as he picked it up.

Just then, a celebrity walked into the room from the east! Ed screamed and pulled the trigger on his pistol. Too late ...


The framastructure buzzes and lights up briefly.

The framastructure emits a high-pitched squeal and glows purple-and-yellow. You smell coal burning.

You feel an uniMAGINABLE burst of guilty pleasure. This belongs to the Snugleys! Ooh, ahh ... There's that -- eow! Did it really do THAT, down THERE? Don't let the cat see! URRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

You feel an uniMAGINABLE burst of guilty pleasure. This belongs to the Snugleys! Ooh, ahh ... There's that -- eow! Did it really do THAT, down THERE? Don't let the cat see! URRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

[and the game ends]

Time Place People Water Way

The ghost of Gordon Way appears and mutters something about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


The good citizens of Fair City don't appreciate that kind of language.

Dino Hunt

The ground shakes violently, making you drop everything you're carrying. Color, shapes, movement -- before you can figure out what's happening, three full-sized brightly colored dinosaurs surround you. The brontosaurus steps on you, the pterodacyl scratches you, and then the tyrannosaurus rex eats you alive.

Who says magic is dead?

*** You have died ***

Harlequin Girl


The name of old, lost magic briefly echoes, then is gone.


The rings silently spin, and finally come to rest reading:
"The voice speaks hollowly."


The room spins wildly, and suddenly you have pinched a loaf in your trousers!


The shadows shift subtly. Perhaps it would not be wise to draw attention to yourself by uttering those words.

City of Secrets

The strange word, though meaningless, endows you with a brief flush of confidence and self-assurance.

The Djinni Chronicles

The timeless word temporarily integrated me.

The Fat Lardo And The Rubber Ducky

The wierd word (how, on Earth, could someone come up with something like that? - it's so strange! "XYZZY"... Damn!) transports you to a better place - reality! Lucky you thought of that...
[then the game quits]

Sunset Over Savannah

The Newcomer

The word of power resonates strangely, and all color is momentarily bled from your view. The air seems too tangible.


There have been other worlds in your experience that a few well-placed words could bend or change. But this place seems not responsive to such control.

Losing Your Grip

There is a puff of smoke. Something lands in your hands.

You have a fool.

>x fool
A tiny doll tricked out in a harlequin's outfit. When you turn it over in your hands, you see that its back is missing, leaving the fool hollow. There is a matching hole where its larynx should be.

Alcohol solves everything; Harrington House

There's a listening sort of silence.

Chickens of Distinction

They don't pay you enough for that.

Jack's Adventures

This being Fairyland, every word is a magic word.

The Duel in the Snow

This game doesn't use the Cyrillic alphabet.

A Monkey Stole Your Toast!

This game was written for speedIF ToasterComp II:

You must write a *very* short game -- as short and tiny and meaningless as you want -- involving any, all, or none of the following: toast, toasters, bagels, scones, English muffins, jam, High Tea, or magical glvoes grabbing chocolate candies out of the television set. You have two hours -- bonus points if you get done in one hour.

Reality Railroad

This game was written for speedIF U:

Write a game set (at least in part) in either Asgard, a TV studio, or on or near a railroad. The game should feature Death (the anthropomorphic representation), Radical Al, and/or any member of the Little Rascals. Said person should either have or need socks, a feather boa, a robot, a rutabaga, or an aeroplane. Bonus points for including a rodeo, a Vault, anything ruffled, or any the word "riccochet". You have two hours to finish (for full credit -- up to three hours for partial). Go!


This game was written for "SpeedIF Xyzzy". The parameters were as follow:

This year, a very special XYZZY awards ceremony will coincide with the anniversary of the invention of cheese. One of the presenters is scheduled to be either Stephen Bishop or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But alas, tragedy has struck! This tragedy will somehow involve, or possibly be solved by, a fruit basket filled with mangoes and/or Psmith.

Bonus points will be awarded for mention of the numbers 21351 or 4+3i, giant squids, ramen, cork nuts, or yesterday. Feel free to take liberties, but not without my baby. Ready? Go!

Bad Guys

Though you do command much magical talent, this isn't the way to use it.

Happy Ever After

Though you're not entirely sure why, merely saying that brings a smile to your face.


Try typing it again.

[Note: Custard plays havok with player input if it detects that the user is trying to enter "xyzzy".]

Tube Trouble

TUBE TROUBLE is a mini-adventure by Richard Tucker, based on a 1988 BBC Micro game by Richard Tucker and Damian Gamble. Gareth Rees made many helpful suggestions. It was created with Inform, Graham Nelson's infocom-format adventure game compiler, and may be copied freely.

As this is a short, silly, unreasonable game, you may be killed without warning.

Please email bugs and comments to [eaddress omitted].

Dead Like Ants

Unbidden, some ancient instinctual meme crawls up from your subconscious. Your lips dance of their own accord. Xyzzy, you say.

You begin to twitch and shudder, your tiny brain cartwheeling into an ouroboros of self-referential insanity. Xyzzy, you repeat. Xyzzy.

You don't even notice as your legs give way and you collapse to the ground. Your senses have closed in, your mind shut down. And all that is left... is xyzzy.

(Your score has just decreased by twenty points.)
(If youd prefer not to be notified about score changes in the future, type NOTIFY OFF.)

*** GAME OVER ***

In 1 move, you have scored -20 of a possible 6 points. This makes you a xyzzy.

Would you like to RESTORE a saved position, RESTART the story, UNDO the last move, see your FULL SCORE, or QUIT?

>full score
In 1 move, you have scored -20 of a possible 6 points. This makes you a xyzzy. Your score consists of:
    -1 points for xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy
    -1 points for xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy, xyzzy

Would you like to RESTORE a saved position, RESTART the story, UNDO the last move, see your FULL SCORE, or QUIT?

Guard Duty

** Library error 11 (72,0) **

Apparently Ornomir has special magic-word-proof enchantments installed in his lair.

Frobozz Magic Support

Unfortunately, you never quite finished Elementary Enchanting 101, so you have no idea how to cast, or even learn, that spell. If indeed it is a spell.

Insider Information

Unrecognised verb

Inside Woman

Utopia Technologies have crafted a world of science, not magic.

Jewel of Knowledge

Watch your language!

It Could Only Happen To You

Watching it on TV wasn't enough?

On The Farm

Welcome to the xyzzy transport service!

There are no locked door/time sensitive puzzles in this game. So, by using the xyzzy command, you are allowed to jump to any room in the game that you have previously visited. Simply enter the number appearing next to the room you want to travel to at the "XYZZY>" prompt.

[1] Porch


A Stroll on the Roof

Well, having missed countless speedifs, this is my first entry. Very late. Enjoy...IF YOU DARE.

The parameters? "Your game will be set on one or several floor(s) of a thirty- story building in Manhattan. At the beginning of the game, it's ten in the evening on December 31, 2002. On every floor, the New Year's bash is going on -- the people in their high-rise apartments, the rented out function halls, even the office workers stuck here late. Fireworks are scheduled to begin over the water promptly at midnight. Unfortunately, the building will be taken over by terrorists at eleven-thirty -- they've infiltrated the maintenance staff and have been surreptitiously placing bombs in various locations throughout the building during the past few months, all set to go off at different times later that evening if their demands aren't met."

Why not...visit my website! http://www.track0.f2s.com. No, wait, don't visit it. It sucks.

Chateu Le Mont


Not Much Time



What do you want to xyzzy?

Werner's Quest Part 3

What kind of talk is that? I'm not Encyclopedia Britannia y'know.


What in the world did you expect that to do here? I have to give you credit for trying, and consider yourself one of the l33t for trying it out, even though I don't know enough to actually implement a scoring system.

Werner's Quest Part 4

What on earth do you mean by that?

Constraints (from WalkthruComp)


When you speak the magic word, you find yourself unexpectedly provided with a new cylinder of shining metal!!

Letters From Home


Wizards are tolerated in Dwenodon, even revered by some. but here in the Western Lands, and at Stonebrook in particular, they are feared and hated. People who are heard to mutter magic words can often find themselves in serious trouble with the locals.


Would an Australian art thief make his escape postheist?

Cough Cough

Wrong game.

Crystal Ball; Even Bantams Get The Blues; Unity

'xyzzy'? I don't know that word.

Hercules First Labor

"xyzzy" is a word I don't know...sorry!

The Beetmonger's Journal

xyzzy muttered an ancient curse under his breath to no avail.

Out of the Study; Puddles on the Path

'xyzzy'? [That word is not recognised.]


'xyzzy'? [That word isn't recognised.]


'xyzzy'? That word is not understood.

The Isolato Incident

'xyzzy'? We're not aware of that word.

Sparrow's Song

Xyzzy. Xyzzy... That seems familiar to you for a moment, but then your mind travels elsewhere.

Thorfinn's Realm

"xyzzy... xyzzy... XYZZY!!", you shout, the power of the word echoing around you. And yet, nothing happens.

On a Horse With No Name

'xyzzy'? You can't remember that word.


"Xyzzy!" you cry, calling on the gods of old... but nothing changes.

Evil Brain Five

“Xyzzy!” you say. A hollow voice says, “Yeah, like that ever works.”

On closer inspection, the voice stems from the fishbowl.

“Xyzzy!” you say. “Is this normal police procedure?” asks the evil brain.

“Xyzzy!” you say. “I'm sure you've solved a lot of cases this way,” blubs the evil brain.

“Xyzzy!” you say. Nothing obvious happens.

Temple of Kaos

“XYZZY” you say to yourself.

The Frenetic Five vs. Mr. Redundancy Man

"Xyzzy!" you shout, but there's no one around to hear.

The Validator says, "I think it's an excellent idea to xyzzy right now!"

The Frenetic Five vs. Sturm und Drang; The Frenetic Five vs. The Seven Deadly Dwarves

"Xyzzy!" you shout, rallying your troops to battle. They look at you like you're nuts.

Return to Zork: Another Story

Yeah, I can read it.
Nothing, obviously, happens.

A scurvy gift for Bosn Chuck

Yo ho ho!

Are You A Chef?

You apply a great deal of concentration, and find yourself walking into another place.

Long Hall
This room is brilliantly lit from all directions. In fact, it is unclear where the walls and ceiling end. A doorway leads to the west, and tunnels lead in most other directions, although all but one are boarded up. An archway stands at the south end of the hall.

Visible exits: south (to Dorm A), west (to the Adventurer's Lounge), southwest (to the Big Dig)

You can see a pile of ashes, a note and the Official ifMUD Bulletin Board here.

Death To My Enemies

English Suburban Garden

You are instantly and seamlessly transported to an alternative universe where all the familiar objects around you have been replaced by sinister copies that look and act exactly like the originals. On the other hand, perhaps nothing happened at all.

The Story of Morris the Chicken Being Helped by a Squirrel

You are instantly transported to your present location.


You are magically transported to an astounding cave containing many wonderful treasures. Unfortunately it is very dark there. You eventually fall into a pit.

*** You have died ***

Competition '98

You are magically transported to the only room in this game!

Competition Aught-Two; Competition Aught-Three

You are magically transported to the only room in this game!
(Results from past years are available in the instructions--type 'info')


You are suddenly overcome with nostalgia for the good old days, when adventurers who spoke in two-word sentences and slew dragons with their bare hands...

Return to Silli Productions

You are teleported to the realm of the Dragon Snarclackle.

what do you mean my disterbing my sleep? yells Dragon Snarclackel. I spent I lifetime getting into that sleep, and now it's *gone*. I tell you what. If you can find me 3 Red snakes and the famous stick with the crooked end, and a ball of string, I'll let you go! Nobody escapes the Dragon Snarclackle! You have, er, uh 23, um, hours or else, I'll.......SNOOOOOOOOOOOOORE.....SOUND_OF_SNOOOOOOZING. The Dragon Snarclakel suddenly falls off the cliff and lands on you, and you wake up and you are back at the Building of Silli Productions.

The Carthage Corn Maze

You are transported elsewhere, then back here. Along the way, a TV set breaks, and you munch on tasty celery.

Stargazer: Prologue

You attempt to speak the sacred Word of Power, but find your throat stuck all of a sudden. You cannot say anything!

"Many fools have made the same mistake. Once such fool set off the Exodus which trapped Thran...," booms an unseen voice.


Your power of speech returns, and you make a quick vow never to speak that terrible word again.

The Adventures of the President of the United States

You can almost hear the former presidents laughing at you.

Basket of Destiny

You can chant all the magic words you want, but it won't clean your home.

To Otherwhere And Back

You can't do that.

And the Waves Choke the Wind

The Grand Quest

You don't have a licence for that.

The House of the Stalker

You don't have an issue of the magazine handy. Oh, that WAS what you meant, wasn't it?

Invasion of the Angora Fetish Transvestites from the Graveyards of Jupiter

You don't need to use 'xyyzy' as a verb to complete the game.

little girl in the big world

You feel a little dizzy. Suddenly green characters start falling from the ceiling and walls. More and more green rain appears, except for Alice who glows in gold. Maybe you should not have eaten those yellow pills. You blink with your eyes and the green rain is gone. Everything looks like it should. You now know it is only a computer simulation, but somehow it feels strangely reassuring.

Hey, Jingo!

You feel a momentary thrill of excitement, but then it passes.

Augmented Fourth

You feel a tugging sensation at the tips of your toes. Without warning, you suddenly wink out of existence...

Control Room
[1st time]
Red and blue lights flash from long metal panels of all shapes and sizes. As your eyes become accustomed to this distraction, you see hundreds of little gnomelike men rushing in every direction, carrying all manner of objects. One particular gnome
[2nd to 10th]
A gnome

brushes by carrying a package labeled "Papoosen Props: [one of]blue cottage[or]receptacle[or]debris[or]court[or]endtable[or]courtyard wall[or]pillars[or]path[or]rooms[or]brambles[at random]". Next to you, a tall gnome, who looks to be in charge, shouts orders into the organized chaos, occasionally [one of]stopping to make notes in his black binder[or]berating lazy gnomes[or]approving NPCs which are brought before him[or]inspecting packages[or]making sure the props are lifelike[at random].

  1. The head gnome turns impatiently. "D'you put that music in the volcano yet, Larry?" He blinks. "Yer not Larry...Hey! How'd you get here?" Obviously displeased, the head gnome sets his black binder down and frowns. "This here's a restricted area, pal! I don't know how you figgered out the magic word, but you'll hafta get gone!"
  2. "You again??" The head gnome frowns. "Listen here, wise acre, if you don't stop sayin' the magic word I'll get ole' Larry to wrap some o' that prop tape around yer stinkin' mouth! Now get outta here!"
  3. The head gnome looks up at the ceiling and waves his hands futilely before giving you the evil eye. "Look here, buster, you should consider it a privilege to play this game! I got a hundred wanna be 'adventurers' on the waitin' list to get into a game like this, and I can just as easily give you the *** You have died *** banner and pick the next entrant, you hear me? Now stop pokin' yer nose where it don't belong!"
  4. Cued by a slight breeze at your entry, the head gnome looks up from the granite chunk he was inspecting. He sighs and looks up at the ceiling again. "That's right, give poor Lenny the Head Gnome an adventurer with a cantaloupe for a brain. Why couldn't I have gotten a good game like that one at the church where Malcolm's missin'? 'Least that main character behaves herself..." He glares at you. "Scram."
  5. Lenny the Head Gnome speaks over his shoulder as he helps a gnome courier seal up a drum of pit mud. "That better not be who I think it is..." He turns and pokes you in the stomach. "Beat it, buster. You bother me..."
  6. "Lemme guess...it's you again." Lenny spins around to confront you and groans when he sees you for the sixth time. "Look, pal, I got a job to do here. Why do ya keep interfering? What, do ya just like to see me get angry in a new way on each visit? Beat it!" His last words are almost a growl.
  7. "That you, Lionel? Listen, I told you we shoulda made the pit a few screens shorter. No one's gonna believe that someone could survive being dropped down a sixty foot pit, even with mud at the bottom. Now in the waterfall puzzle I think we should..." He trails off as he turns around to see you. "Grrr...get out of here buster! Go home and tell yer mother she wants ye..."
  8. Lenny sighs. "If you keep on sayin' the magic word, I'll make your parser interpret everything as RESTART. You want that to happen? Then GET LOST!!"
  9. Lenny doesn't even bother to turn around anymore. "Stop breaking the mimesis."
  10. Grumbling something about getting 'xyzzy' banned from the parser, Lenny shakes his head in disgust.

He snaps his fingers briskly. A moment of disorientation finds you back where you were before[ and, unfortunately, still falling]. You can't help but wonder if it was all just a dream, brought on by the stress of the week's events...

[11th time]
Nothing happens. But a hollow voice in the back of your mind, which sounds suspiciously like Lenny the Head Gnome mutters, "Heh...fool."

[12th time, etc.]
A hollow voice in the back of your mind mutters, "Heh...fool."

She's Got A Thing For A Spring

You feel an indescribable sense of deja vu, and the world seems to turn inside out.

It is pitch dark, and you can't see a thing.

Nothing happens.

Fortunately, you studied well in the old days. Once again, you find yourself in the...

Lurk. Unite. Die. Invent. Think. Expire.

You feel like your elsewhere. Looking around you remember that you are.


You game will be set on one or several floor(s) of a thirty-story building in Manhattan. At the beginning of the game, it's ten in the evening on December 31, 2002. On every floor, the New Year's bash is going on -- the people in their high-rise apartments, the rented out function halls, even the office workers stuck here late. Fireworks are scheduled to begin over the water promptly at midnight. Unfortunately, the building will be taken over by terrorists at eleven-thirty -- they've infiltrated the maintenance staff and have been surreptitiously placing bombs in various locations throughout the building during the past few months, all set to go off at different times later that evening if their demands aren't met.
Each author will get one floor in the building as their own. You're free to use unused floors to a degree, but try not to do too much that'd interfere with other people's games.


You have a vague feeling of unease after pronouncing that word.

Help! My Vacuum Cleaner Is Broken!

You have decided to take a mail-order course (in vacuum repair, basketweaving, chicken plucking, or monkey butlering) to improve your lot in life. But can you get your homework done and still attend a shooting of the Antiques Roadshow and/or When Bankers Attack, in which you are to be a featured player? Bonus points for including the colors scarlet, rose, paisley, or pastrami. Extra double bonus points for including a cardboard cut-out of Graham Nelson. You have two hours, starting at 9:30 MUDtime. Go!

When Help Collides

You haven't given out that hint in ages.

Beat the Devil

You hear a deep voice out of the air next to your right ear. It says 'Crowther and Woods, please report to the mall office.' You jump.

The Landing

You hear a hollow voice coughing in embarrassment as though it were caught off-guard without a witty response on hand.

A Gummi Bear's Night Out

You hear a hollow voice proclaim “Gummi Bears -- they hibernate in your colon!”


You hear a hollow voice say 'I Like a Cow.'


You hear a hollow voice say 'Mmmm... beer.'

The Weird Sister

You hear a hollow voice say 'SpeedIF doth murder sleep.'

The Tenyaka Memorial of Vegreville

You hear a hollow voice say "That's got to be a Ukrainian word."

Pick Up the Ice Cream Truck and Die

You hear a hollow voice saying “I’ll have a cornetto, please.”

Small World

You hear a small voice say, "Hollow, indeed."

The Last Laugh

You here a loud cry, "Dragons, Eeagh!!!"


You hold your tongue. Such utterances are still punishable by death. And you don't wish to start hearing voices again.

Unnkulian Unventure II: The Secret of Acme

You invoke an ancient word of power. So ancient, in fact, that it no longer works. Nothing happens.

Pop Music and Chocolate

You lose yourself in a distant fantasy.

You say the keyword. The man jerks like a lightning-struck tree at the sound of your voice, but it is too late.

You snap out of your fantasy and look around, a little twitchier and sweatier.

The Trip

You mumble some random syllables for no apparent reason, and, surprisingly, nothing happens.

Business As Usual

You mumble something that has nothing to do with what you're currently dealing with.

Masquerade; The Cove

You murmer "Xyzzy," but nothing happens.

Prized Possession; Redemption

You murmur "Xyzzy," but nothing happens.

The Edifice

1893: A World's Fair Mystery

You practice your alphabet again, but stumble at the point where you reach the end and try going backwards.

One Foot Down

You raise your hands upwards, calling on the strength and spirits of your ancestors proclaiming, "XYZZY!"

Of course, nothing happens, but no one noticed you making a fool of yourself.

The Temple

You regret dropping out of Magic 101 at college.


You remember hearing that word from some little grom on the beach last year. You have no idea what it means, but it sounds way cool.

Spelunker's Quest


You say "xyzzy" aloud. The word has some meaning but you cannot remember why.

The Recruit

You shout 'XYZZY'.

A moment later you hear Sharon respond. “Hahah, Louie, that only works in text adventures, not in real life!”

Unnkulia Zero

You speak an ancient word of power. A hollow voice says, "No chance, chucko. This is a serious adventure. Shape up and fly right!"

Kissing the Buddha's Feet

You speak the ancient word of power. Then you realize you look absolutely silly doing so.

The One That Got Away

You speak the ancient word of power. When you realize that it does jack diddly, you slap your hand to your forehead and exclaim, "D'OH!"

Escape In The Dark

You speak the word, but nothing happens. How did that adventurer do it? Perhaps you should have talked to him instead of repeatedly stealing his treasure.

The Invisible Argonaut

You stand defiantly, look the king straight in the eye and say, "XYZZY!"

There is a brief pause. Then he punches you in the stomach.

A Moment of Hope

You sure could use some magic right about now.

King Arthur's Night Out; Lost in New York

You think you can hear Merlin laughing at you somewhere.

Across the Stars

You think you hear a fizzle and a pop, but ever since coming back from zero gravity training you've been hearing strange sounds every now and then.


You try, but you don't know how to pronounce it, so it doesn't work.

Fit For A Queen

You type in a magic word and get a snarky response.

Competition '99

You utter a word of Power, and the room trembles in response! One by one, the games in the room begin to tremble and vibrate, phasing in and out with the room until they disappear completely. Then the 'unsorted' bin begins to rattle, and, as you watch, it fills up with a new batch of games.

Competition Aught-One; Competition Aught-Zero

You utter a word of Power, and the room trembles in response! One by one, the games in the room begin to tremble and vibrate, phasing in and out with the room until they disappear completely. Then the 'unsorted' bin begins to rattle, and, as you watch, it fills up with a new batch of games.


You utter an ancient word of power, but all that happens is that your wife appears, shakes her head at you in disbelief and mutters something about "Dreaming again were we dear?"

Concrete Paradise

You utter the ancient Zulu curse under your breath...

...but nothing happens.


You utter the epic battle cry of the Space Force and you can almost hear a responding YO SPACE FORCE! being shouted from the thousands of pairs of lungs of troopers who have gone before you.

Dr. Dumont's Wild P.A.R.T.I.

You utter the magic words but nothing happens. Yet.

Adoo's Stinky Story

You wait a minute and nothing happens. Guess you'll have to figure this out the old-fashioned way.

The Gostak

You xyzzy deave, unheamily.

Arrival, or Attack of the B-Movie Clichés

You’d think a fancy graphic game like this would show you a pretty picture of some room from Adventure, or at least something flashy for your trouble.

Yeah, well.

Till Death Makes A Monk-Fish Out Of Me

You're a scientist, not an idiot.

Another Earth, Another Sky

You're a superhero, not a magician.


You're excused.

Lunatix: The Insanity Circle

You're only half right.

You're only half right.

>xyzzy plugh
About The Author: Mike Synder is (as of September 1999) a 27-year-old technology coordinator for Accu-Scan (www.accu-scan.com) and the co-owner of Prowler Productions (www.prowler-pro.com). For more information about me, visit my personal page on the web at www.prowler-pro.com/mike.

The House

You're really at your wits' ends' aren't you?


Your grade school teacher appears and waves an unnaturally long index finger at you. "Now, WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT REMEMBERING TO PUT YOUR NAME IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER OF EVERY PAGE .... " Drops of sweat appear on the teacher's bald domed head.

Rough stone steps lead up the dome.

>[any player input]
The teacher disappears!

Vicious Cycles

Your heart stops. You keel over and pass into darkness.

Chicken and Egg

Your interrogator, in a tired--yet hollow--voice, mumbles "Fool."

A Rock and a Hard Place; Your Choice

Your sense of balance seems to shift, but you realize that it is just wishful thinking. Nothing happens. No magic works here.


Your senses are assaulted by a vision...

You are in a misty little haze of massages, all alike.

The vision passes.

Wearing the Claw

Your surroundings have changed! Oh, wait. Scratch that. I must have experienced a momentary hallucination. I guess you'll just have to walk wherever you want to go.

The Canapes of Death

Zeese are ze parameteurs of ze Speed-If Trop Tarde number vingt-et-quelque chose. You will note zey are veary veary zilly.

The player, a telepathic fish in disguise (or possibly a costume), must infiltrate the Franco-Texan Embassy and quash their diabolical plan, involving some of the following:
  broken clocks
  castor-oil filled pinatas
  Kangaroo Sushi Chefs
  the recently-back-from-Hell Dr Faustus
  hot-air balloons
Extra points for mentioning:
  pop-up books
  Caribbean-island-shaped hors d'oeuvres
  the 51st State
  too many words beginning with Z
Disco or break dancing is *strictly* required.

Zis was begun at 11.44am BST on 19/3/3 & finished 17:06.

Spoilery responses to XYZZY

A Walk Through Forever

Return to Zork: Another Story


In Debris Room
You are in a debris room filled with stuff washed in from the surface. A low wide passage with cobbles becomes plugged with mud and debris here, but an awkward canyon leads upward and west.

A note on the wall says, "Magic word XYZZY."

* You found one of the three hidden bonus points (the hidden location)*

You can see a small black candle (providing light) here.

A bit of dust falls from the cave ceiling.

[Good, your score has just gone up by one point.]

Ad Verbum

A distracted figure with a huge bushy beard blunders in just as you speak the word of ancient magic. The man wears loose clothing, and an expression of intense concentration. He is clutching his frizzy hair with one hand; his other hand grips an intricate grid - the object of his attention.

His eyes brighten the word you've spoken reaches his ears. "Yes! Yes! That's it!" he exclaims as he draws out a pen and fills in a row of squares. "Now my hyperconstrained, double-acrostic, cryptic crossword is complete, and ready to puzzle others. That was all I needed - just a simple five-letter word, composed only of the letters 'X' 'Y' and 'Z,' that would fit here!"

He grips your hand and shakes it fervently. "Thank you! Now that I've finished with that, I can get on to those other things I've been meaning to do, such as monkey-wrenching the demolition and saving recreational linguistics for future generations." He turns away and mutters, just before he departs, "I hope none of that will involve lying in front of a bulldozer..."


The Damp Camp

The Theta Point

A hollow voice says "Yay, points!"
[For finding the obvious easter egg, your score has just gone up by one point.]



The Planet of the Infinite Minds

In a sudden moment of inspiration, an unusual word reveals itself to your mind. At first you imagine it to be unpronounceable, but you are in fact wrong. Phonetically, 'zizzie' would do the job fine. Your concentration is diverted for only a few seconds, but when you return to your senses you find that you are somewhere other than where you were...

Adventure a.k.a. Advent a.k.a. Colossal Cave

[French] Aventure

[German] Abenteuer


Suddenly, you are transported to the Dining Room! (Old magic never fails).

Dreams Run Solid

Jobs for Antioch!


You a hear voice from across a vast distance of time and space, "That's Magic! Not a lot."

[Your score has just gone up by three points.]


You feel your mouth form the beginning of the word...

...and there's that funny feeling of disconnect as you break the fourth wall, force information into your avatar that isn't part of the program, that comes from outside. For just a moment the avatar circuits register doubt, confusion, a hint of self-awareness...

And then you're sitting back in the control room, scrubbing at your eyes with the palm of your hand. Someone holds a cup of water under your nose.

"You didn't finish the scenario," says a voice, up and to the left.

A cool reassuring hand on the back of your neck, another voice answering: "Leave her alone for a minute! God!"

You don't answer either of them. Your gaze is fixed on the monitors: in the test room your avatar has fallen slack, no longer receiving your commands. You sip at the water, trying to feel like yourself again.

"I don't know," you say finally. "I don't think it's going to sell. Too cerebral."

*** The End ***

Another Goddamn Escape the Locked Room Game

Unnkulian Underworld: The Unknown Unventure

You invoke an ancient word of power. A wrenching sensation wracks your body, and you find yourself...

All Quiet on the Library Front

You invoke an ancient word of power, and a hollow voice whispers in your ear, "Quiet, please. No talking in the library."

[Your score has just gone up by one point.]

AFGNCAAP - IF Agent! Todays Adventure: Holy Goat!

You muble the magic word, but the spell doesn't work! The goat is still there. Hmm, you always worked that spell on yourself. Maybe you have to change it...

You mumble the magic word backward and the goat is warped away, leaving the distinct smell of defeat. You hope she has fun in ADVENT.

Dragon Resources Stories

You vanish in a puff of smoke. When the smoke clears, your surroundings have changed.

You are in a vast underground chamber. Rivulets of ochre ichor line the walls, reflecting light from an unseen source. From afar you can hear a cheerful little bird singing.

Some graffiti scrawled on the wall says: MAGIC WORD XYZZY. But you already knew that.

The Land Beyond the Picket Fence

Your senses reel, you feel a bit dizzy and you are...

You are standing in a small cavern. The sunlight pours in from the clearing to the west. The second exit is a narrow crawl to the northeast.

A barely readable inscription on the southern wall reads 'Magic Word:'. The magic word itself, however, has been washed out by the ravages of time.

The nasty gnome is here. He is obviously bored.

The gnome looks startled. With a stupid expression on his face, he exclaims: "Now what was that?!", obviously astonished.

Default responses to XYZZY

Of the standard IF authoring systems, only ADRIFT has a default response for XYZZY.


I'm sorry, but XYZZY doesn't do anything special in this game!

1st Time; 3 Minutes to Live; The ADRIFT Maze; The ADRIFT Project - Classified; ADRIFT-O-RAMA; ADRIFTmas Party; Adventure Strikes When You Least Expect It; Agent 4-F From Mars; The Amazing Uncle Griswold; The Amulet; Amy And The Raging Hormones; The Angel, the Devil and the Human; ARGH's Great Escape; Asteroid Aftermath; Back To Life... Unfortunately; The Hangover; Sophie's Adventure; Unraveling God

Unrecognized responses to XYZZY

The following games don't recognize the verb "XYZZY" at all and give whatever default response is appropriate for a command where the verb is not understood. See the NOTUNDERSTOOD page for the actual responses.

1981; +=3; 30 Minutes; 9:05; 98769765;

A AAAAA AAAAAAAAA; The Abbey; An Abbreviated Night Before Christmas; Acid Whiplash; The Acorn Court; The Act of Misdirection; Adventureland; Aesthetic Deletions; Aftermath; Aggravatron; The Airport; Alien Abduction?; All Roads; All Things Devours; Alma Mater; The Amazing Interactive Turing Machine; Amissville (amiss.z5); Amnesia; Anchorhead; And So It Goes; And Then is Heard no More; Andreas Thorwald Cross; The Angel Curse; Annoyed Undead; Another Day, Another Sea Monster; Another Lifeless Planet and Me With No Beer; The Apocalypse Clock; Apocolyptica; Apollo 11; an apple from nowhere; Are you Too Chicken to Make a Deal?; Arid and Pale; Armario de Auga; The Art of Deception; Arthur Yahtzee: The Curse of Hell's Cheesecake; ASCII and the Argonauts: Astral Plane; The Ascot; Asylum (by cpuguy); Attack of the Yeti Robot Zombies; Auden's Eden; Augustine; Authority;

Babel; Back to WakeUp; Balances; Bane of the Builders; Bank of Zork; Barton; Basic Train-ing; Battle of the Planets; A Beginning; Behavior; Being the Little Guy; The Believable Adventures of an Invisible Man; The Best Man; Beyond the Blue Event Wall; The Big Mama; Bio; The Blade Sentinel; The Blair Bee Project; Bliss; The Bloody Mess; Blow Job Drifter; The Blueprint; Bmissfille; The Body; Border Zone; A Brain in the Rain; Break-In; BSE; Bunt; Burnt Toast;

CaffeiNation; Captain Speedo The New Generation Series Premiere: Missed by a hair - but not forgotten!; Carnival; The Case of Samuel Gregor; Cask; Cerulean Stowaway; A Change In The Weather; Cheating Death; Cheer Up; Chicken!; The Chicken's Dilemma; The Circus of Sadness; The Clock; Coffee Quest II; Coffins; Color and Number; Coming Home; Common Ground; The Commute; Congratulations!; Containment; Couch of Doom; The Count of Monte Cristo; Countdown to Doom; The Courier Who Missed Me; Cranial Pounding; The Crescent City at the Edge of Disaster; The Crouton Caper; Curse of Manorland; Cutthroats;

The Damsel and the Dragon; Danger School; A Dark and Stormy Entry; A Day for Fresh Sushi; A Day for Soft Food; Dead Of Winter; Deadline; Death Death Death Death; The Death of Two Great Minds; Death's Scavenger Hunt; December 31, 2002; Deep Brow Lifter; Degeneracy; Descent of Man; Destiny of the Chihuahua; Dig Dug; Digging For Onions; Dinner With Andre; A Dino's Night Out; Dinosaur Dinnertime!; Discord; Dithyrambic Bastards; Donkey Kong; Don't Fire Until You See The Yellows Of Their Niblets; Doom, Death, Destruction and All That; Down; Dragon George and The Man; Drama Queen 7 - Mother knows best; Dual Transform;

Earl Grey; Elephants and the Afterlife;Enter The Ninja; Episode in the Life of an Artist; Eric the Unready; Eric's Gift; Escape From the Arboretum; Escape from the Starship Zenon; Eschew as if you were She; Eterna Corp; Evacuate; The Evil Sorcerer; An Exploration of Colour;

Falling Angel; Fear; Fifteen; Final Assault of the Big Green Cliches; Fine-Tuned; Finding Henry; Fish and Spaceships; Flat; Flexible Pants; Flowers for Algernon; Floyd; For A Change; The Four Symbols; A Freak Accident Leaves Seattle Pantless; Frederik Pohl's Gateway; Fred's Backyard; Friar Bacon's Secret; Friday Afternoon; Frozen; Frustration; Fun and Games; Fusillade; Futz Mutz;

The Game Formerly Known as Hidden Nazi Mode; Garden of the Dragon; Generic Title; Genie; George; Getting to know the General; Gleaming the Verb; Glowgrass; The Golden Fleece; Goofy; Got Toast?; Gourmet; The Grade 3 Parallax; The Granite Book; The Great Ritual; Grounded in Space; Guitar of the Immortal Bard;

Hallowe'en; Hallway; The Hand That Rocks The Pumpkin; Hank Buzzcrack Has A Job To Do, God Damn It; Heist; Here Be Dragons!!!; Heroes; Hey, I'm Supposed to Be Free Range; The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; Hollywood Hijinx; The Holy Grail; House on Haunted Hill; How Many Roads Must A Man Walk Down?; Hunter, in Darkness;

I Didn't Know You Could Yodel; I don't remember why this game is called "Onion"; I Never Promised You a Nose Guard; I Went to the WTO Ministerial Conference...; Identity Thief; An Important Appointment; In the Spotlight; The Inanimator; Infiltration on Io; Inheritance; Insomnia; Inspiration; Internal Documents; Into That Good Night;

Jacks or better to murder, Aces to win; Jane; Jigsaw; Jigsaw2; John's Fire Witch; Jump;

Kaged; Kids, don't eat your Halloween candy...; Kids Shouldn't Have to Save The World; The Knapsack Problem; Koan;

La Lagune de Montaigne; The Lake; Large Machine; LASH: Local Asynchronous Satellite Hookup; Last Days of Doom; Lazy Gods; Leather; Leather Goddesses of Phobos; LegBreaker 3k!; The Legend of Lady Magaidh; The Lesson of the Tortoise; Lethe Flow Phoenix; Life on Beal Street; Lightiania; The Lion in Winter; Lists And Lists; Literacy; Little Blue Men; Living Room; The Lobster; Lomalow; The loneliness of the long distance runner; Losing Your Step; Lost [the TADS one]; Love Song; The Lurking Horror;

Madame L'Estrange and the Troubled Spirit; Madrigals of War and Love; The Magic Toyshop; Manna; Marble Madness; The Masque of the Last Faeries; Masta'mind; The Maintenance Man; The Meteor, the Stone and a Long Glass of Sherbet; 'Mid the Sagebrush and the Cactus; A Mind Forever Voyaging; The Mission; Moon Over Jupiter; Moonbase; Moonmist; Moral Me This; Mr. Remote Mom; The Mulldoon Legacy; The Mulldoon Murders; Music Education; My Angel; My First Stupid Game; Myth; MythTale;

Nalian; Need! More! Toast!; A Night at Milliways; A Night at the Museum Forever; A Night At The XYZZYies; The Nemean Lion; Nine Points; Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It; Nostradamus's Onion Sandwich; Not Made With Hands; Nothing More, Nothing Less; NPC Engine Demo Story;

The Obscene Quest of Dr. Aardvarkbarf; Offensive Probing; The Oily Deeps; The Old Sherwood Cemetary; On The Cross; Once; One Night In The North Atlantic; One Week; The Onion of Destiny; Only After Dark; OnNoEf; Operate!; The Oracle; Orpington; Oth.;

Pantheon, Party On; Pants On The Run; Pantsless in Seattle; A Parallax Dream; The Parallax Moon Bar Conspiracy; Passenger; Passing Familiarity; Perdition's Flames; A Perfect Day for Candiru; Persistence of Memory; Peter Theta Fixes The Holodeck; Photopia; Phred Phontius and the Quest for Pizza; Pick Up the IF-Archive and Pi; Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die; Pick Up the Phone Booth and Dye; The Pickpocket; Piece of Mind; Pintown; Pirate Adventure; Pirates and Ninjas and Aliens, Oh My!; Pirating; Planet Y; Planetfall; Plundered Hearts; The Possibility of Life's Destruction; Potsticker; Practical Astrology; The Profesee; Pryde And The Pink Flamingo; Pumping!; The Pumpkin; The Pumpkin Contest; Punk Points; Purple;

The Relentless Adventures of Captain Speedo, Episode 14: Victim of the Vaccum!; The Relentless Adventures of Captain Speedo, Episode 16: Let them "heat" cake!; The Relentless Adventures of Captain Speedo, Episode 42: So Long, and Thanks for All the Books; The Relentless Adventures of Captain Speedo, Episode 112: Alert on Alpha V!; Rent-A-Spy; Return to Doom; Revenge of the Chalupa; Revenger; The Ritual of Purification; Romeo, Juliet and the Dog; Rover's Day Out; Rowr!; Rox; Runes;

Samurai Tea Room; Scary House Amulet!; Scavenger Hunt; Schroedinger's Cat; Screw the Boston Tea Party; Sea Captains; Seastalker; Second Honeymoon; The Second Pit; Secret Agent; Service With a Smile; Shade; Shattered Memory; Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels; shrapnel; Silicon Castles; Sinking the Lily Jane; Skyranch; Slacker X; Sludge; Snosae; So Far; The Sofa at the End of the Universe; Sorcerer; Soul-Searching; The Sound of One Hand Clapping; South Beach Rum Runner; The Space Under the Window; Sparky and Boots; Speed IF #2; Speed5; SpeedIF 19; A speedIF O entry; Spellbreaker; Spitting Crumbs; A Spliff In Time; The Spot; The Spy Who Always Wears Gloves Now; Spyder and Jeb; Squeaky On The Moon; Stairs; Star Hunter; Starcross; Stationfall; Statue; The Statuette; Stone Cell; Stranded; Strangers in the Night; Stupid Kittens; stupidgame; Surreal; Suspect; Suspended; Sylenius Mysterium; Symetry;

Tales From The College Presents A Breath Of Fresh Blair; Talisman, Challenging the Sands of Time; Tall Tales in the Big Easy; Tapestry; Taxes; Tears Keep Getting In My Dr. Pepper; Tears May Fall; Terrible Lizards; Temple of the Orc Mage; A Tenuous Hold; TG-TADS: Prototype I; Things; Threading the Labyrinth; Three Steps to the Left; Tightest; Time: All things come to an end; Timeout; Timequest; Titanic: Leo's Revenge; Tommy the Toaster; Tooth Ow Zunden Too; Tooth Ow Zunden Won!; A Top Hat For Eddie; Total Paddling Mania; The Tower of Beef; The Town Dragon; Toxic Sewage (A (Love) Story); Tragedy strikes at the XYZZY awards!; Transfer; Trapped in a One-Room Dilly; Travels in the Land of Erden; Triple Bear Beer; Triumphant Return of the Evil Sea Grape; Trudge; Twilight of the Dogs; Tyler's Great Cube Game;

Ugly Chapter; Uncle Zebulon's Will; Under Cover Of Darkness; Undertow; The Unfortunate Training of Frank Lee, Monkey Butler To Be; Upwards and Onwards;

Vacationing in Scotland; Verb!; Vindaloo; Visitor; Visualizing; Voices; Volcano Isle;

The Weapon; Weaving a Basket (or Something); The Wedding; Werner's Quest Part 1; What Dreams May Come; When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Firetruck; Where Evil Dwells; Will The Real Marjorie Hopkirk Please Stand Up? Why did the Dino cross the Road?; William Tell: The Game!!!!!!!!!!!; Withdraval Symptoms; Witness; Worlds Apart; Wooden Cat vs. Robot Monkey; worm;

Yellow Dog Running; The Yellow Stone; You are a Chef!; You Are Here; You Were Doomed From The Start!; Your mind is gone, it must be brought, you have some rock candy; (You're) Toast!;

Zig-zy; zork, buried chaos; Zork Zero: The Revenge of Megaboz; Zugzwang

Additional Notes

There is no single applicable message for FailSafe. That game returns one of a large variety of 'I don't understand you' type messages, instead. To say more than that is a spoiler.

It's a similar story with Forbidden Castle; its generic responses include:

Rape, Pillage, Galore! almost ignores what the user types and comes up with a randomized message in response to it.

A Man Named Bill won't let you type in "xyzzy" or anything else. Well, you can type stuff, but anything you type is replaced with pre-determined input.

The Esperanto game, La Insulo Texel, tries to be helpful by replacing 'x' with 'sh' and 'y' with 'jh' in the player's input, resulting in this bizarre exchange:
> shjhzzjh

And some games like Little Billy or Sweet Dreams don't let you type anything at all. Just point 'n' click. Promoted uses menus for input.

Do you want to see the PLUGH or SING responses pages now? Or Rick Adams's Everything you ever wanted to know about the magic word XYZZY page?

Home / IF / davidwelbourn(a)hotmail*com / Last Updated: Nov 24, 2009.

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