Generic bugs

Graeme Cree's Generic bugs page
  1. Some of the earliest Infocom games contain 2 bugs in the implementation of the verb SHAKE. The first bug causes the program to lock up if you SHAKE an open container with an object inside. This bug is found in Zork I versions 2 through 15 (but it doesn't affect the water in the bottle), Zork II versions 7 and 15 (where it even happens if you SHAKE UNICORN), Deadline versions 18 and 19, and both versions of Starcross (it doesn't affect the ray gun, but it does the basket and the disks). The second bug is that there is no output when you SHAKE an open, empty container or a non-container object. This bug is in Zork I versions 2-28, Zork II versions 7-23, Deadline versions 18 and 19, and both versions of Starcross.
  2. The earliest games also have a memory error that can create lots of garbage output. Here's one way to produce the problem in Deadline. Get two bottles and go somewhere where you can't see a door. Then do the following 6 times: THROW BOTTLE, answer DOOR, answer a valid bottle name. Each time you get, "You can't see any  here." After the sixth time, everything in your inventory or the contents of a container will be preceded by gibberish. If you repeat such actions enough, the program eventually crashes. Frotz says, "Fatal error: Store out of dynamic memory", after some 60 repetitions. This bug is found in versions 18-19 of Deadline, 2-23 of Zork I (using the two knives), and 7-17 of Zork II.
  3. In early versions of the Zork trilogy, opening or closing a container with the lit lamp inside doesn't affect the room's lighting. This bug is in versions 2-30 of Zork I, 7-23 of Zork II, and version 10 of Zork III (the only version in which the lamp fits in the chest).
  4. In a few early games, combining ALL and IT has unexpected effects. The antecedent of IT repeatedly changes during the loop through the possible values of ALL. To use an example from Planetfall, if your inventory consists of the open canteen and the key (in that order), and the cardboard box is in the room, then EXAMINE BOX THEN PUT ALL IN IT puts the canteen in the box, and the key in the canteen! This bug is present in Deadline (all versions), Enchanter (versions 10-24), Planetfall (versions 20-26), Starcross (both versions), Suspect, Zork I (versions 2-20), Zork II (versions 7-15), and Zork III (all versions).
  5. In a few games, if you have nothing, GIVE someone ALL produces a garbage response. This happens in Planetfall (all versions), Zork I (versions 2-88), and Zork II (version 48).
  6. Some games contain a weird fatal parser bug, triggered by using as objects of a command both an absent object and an ambiguous adjective. A simple example is GET BED AND MY in the first room of Seastalker. Infocom interpreters lock up, and Frotz exits with "Fatal error: Stack overflow". This bug is found in at least Enchanter (versions 10-24), Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (version 47), Planetfall (versions 20-29), Seastalker (all versions), Sorcerer (versions 4-15), and Zork II (version 48).
  7. Infidel isn't the only game in which putting an object in a container, closing and opening the container repeats the initial description of the object. This also happens in Deadline (all versions), Enchanter (all versions), Lurking Horror (all versions, at least with the knife), Planetfall (all versions), Zork I (versions 2-30), Zork II (versions 7-23), and Zork III (all versions). It's especially interesting in Planetfall with the key and the green spool, whose initial descriptions don't even say what they are.
  8. In a few games, RAISE ME or LOWER ME produces, "The you isn't here!". This happens in Enchanter (all versions), Infidel, Zork I (versions 75 and up), Zork II (versions 15 and up), and all versions of Zork III.
  9. In a number of games, the verb GO has an odd problem. It seems that if you GO a recognized noun that isn't a valid way to go, then it re-uses the last object you acted on. For example, in all versions of Sorcerer, if you EXAMINE BED then GO BELBOZ, it's treated as GO TO BED. Similar problems exist in Deadline (all versions), Enchanter (version 29), Infidel, Planetfall (all versions except Solid Gold), both versions of Starcross, Witness (all versions), Zork I (versions 75 to 88), Zork II (version 48), and all versions of Zork III.
  10. In every version of every game in the Enchanter trilogy, HIDE something FROM an inanimate object gives no output.
  11. Besides Stationfall, HAND HAND HAND also produces a garbage message in Border Zone, Leather Goddesses of Phobos (all versions), and Plundered Hearts.
  12. In some of the later games, POUR behaves oddly. You can only POUR an open, non-empty container. If you do, you get a list in which each object inside it is followed by, "It lands at your feet." But now the container is on the floor, with all its contents still in it, as if you had said DROP instead of POUR. This happens in Bureaucracy (both versions), Sherlock (both versions), and Trinity (both versions).
  13. In more than half of Infocom's text adventures, there is a useless word at the end of the dictionary--sort of a placeholder, I guess. You can use this word as a noun in commands, but in many cases they didn't include proper code to deal with it, and in the Infocom interpreters it produces a string of garbage in a "I don't see any..."-type message. In these cases, Frotz uses a string of the form "object#nnn", where nnn is a number. The word is ZZMGCK in: A Mind Forever Voyaging (both versions), Ballyhoo, Border Zone, Bureaucracy (both versions), Cutthroats, Enchanter (all versions), Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (all versions), Infidel, Leather Goddesses of Phobos (all versions), Lurking Horror (all versions), Nord and Bert, Planetfall (versions 26 and up), Plundered Hearts, Sorcerer (all versions), Spellbreaker (both versions), Stationfall, Zork I (versions 75 and up), and Zork II (version 48). The word is ZZZP in all versions of: Beyond Zork, Sherlock, Trinity, and Wishbringer. The word is ZZKJLK in: Deadline (version 27), Suspect, and Witness (versions 18 and up). Finally, Seastalker (all versions) has two such words: ZZZLG and ZZZZLG. Most of these produce the garbage output. A Mind Forever Voyaging refers to the nonsense object as the "F". Border Zone and Sherlock refer to it with the same word that is input. Leather Goddesses, Nord and Bert, Plundered Hearts, and Stationfall call it the "it". Finally, Beyond Zork responds in a very bizarre way. ZZZP can represent any of several objects, which can change throughout the game. Often it regards ZZZP as ambiguous, and asks a question such as, "[Which zzzp do you mean, the ground or your hand?]".

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Page last updated 30-Jul-2020. List maintainer: Nathan Simpson