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The source files and a precompiled ZMachine storyfile of this adventure were recovered from a salvaged "Infocom hard drive", and made publicly available on GitHub in an effort to preserve them.

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Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It

by Jeff O'Neill

Wordplay
1987

About the Story

You are standing at the edge of a barren field. A steady wind, having secreted away the topsoil, is now drifting sandy dirt across the plain. A scant sign of life here is a freshly-burrowed molehill on the ground.

> MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF THE MOLEHILL

There is a tremendous rumbling in the distance, getting louder and louder, until it is deafening. The dirt around the molehill crumbles away as mighty, jagged granite peaks emerge from deep underground. The surrounding landscape transforms into a fertile valley before your very eyes.

Infocom's first collection of short stories takes you to a place where nothing is quite as it seems. It's a place where you really can make a mountain out of a molehill, where "the fur is flying" is taken literally, and where a bow can be turned into a beau.

Each of the eight stories in Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It involves a different type of wordplay. You'll find yourself challenging your wits and your memory to come up with the clichés, spoonerisms, and other verbal trickeries needed to complete the puzzles. But don't view this as a hard row to hoe. Nord and Bert contains built-in hints, which you can call upon when the going gets rough.

All eight stories take place in the mixed-up town of Punster. However, no two contain the same people, locations, or objects. Each is played independently of the others, although you'll use passwords obtained in seven of the stories to get into the eighth. As for mapping, it's out of the window. You simply type where you want to go.

The tall tales in Nord and Bert are every bit as fun and clever as Infocom's other interactive fiction stories. They can each be completed in one sitting, making them a highly entertaining way to spend an evening, alone or with friends. Nord and Bert was authored by Jeff O'Neill, whose mind is constantly working on artful new turns of phrase.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ZIL
IFID: ZCODE-19-870722
TUID: zxb8pq3qrkvdob4i

Off-Site Reviews

SPAG
The nature of such a game means that many of the puzzles will be of the "guess what the author is thinking" type. Also, since the puzzles don't necessarily build on each other, but often stand separately, you may finish a story only to be told that there were more things you could have done, and be forced to return later. [...] The real strength of the game is in its Writing and Atmosphere. The mood created is delightfully surreal, and the constant clever descriptions and responses make this one of the best "reading" text games ever produced.
See the full review

SynTax
One section, "Shake A Tower" is based round spoonerisms. These verbal mistakes were named after the Reverend W A Spooner back at the turn of the century, who had the unfortunate habit of transposing the initial sounds of spoken words. Thus "Shake A Tower" would become "Take A Shower". Some of the examples in the game are as obvious but others are decidedly devious. Don't expect to just be able to swap two letters, you'll have to think quite deeply about some of them.
See the full review

Page Update History

  v.6: 21-Apr-2019 05:22 - Tristano (Current Version) - Edit Page - Normal View
Changed download links
v.5: 06-Mar-2013 04:28 - Edward Lacey
Changed external review links
v.4: 11-Dec-2010 15:37 - Michael Roberts
v.3: 20-Feb-2008 08:23 - Victor Gijsbers
Changed title
v.2: 19-Feb-2008 20:32 - Emily Short
Changed title
v.1: 19-Feb-2008 20:31 - Emily Short
Created page