Z-Machine Wednesday: The Lurking Horror (1987)

Released into the wilds of various retail outlets in 1987, the Lurking Horror was Infocom’s first and only foray into the world of horror for interactive fiction. Programmed by Dave Lebling, who also had a hand in crafting Zork I, II, III, Starcross, Spellbreaker (Third in the Enchanter series), Suspect, and James Clavell’s Shogun. Obviously influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft it was originally released for DOS, the Apple II, Atari ST, Atari 8-bit family and Commodore 64. An Amiga version was later made available and it had the added feature of sound effects to heighten the tension in key moments of the game. They didn’t really need that I reckon because I can remember how I felt while playing this title for myself on my C-64! If you’ve had the pleasure of playing this game yourself you might remember the nightmarish situation that occurs with the janitor…that still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.

A big thanks to the Infocom Gallery for the awesome front and back box art as well as the scans of the “Feelies” that were included in the package.

How about this impressive Student I.D. card…that you can now print out and carry with you at all times?

Let’s not forget the very important G.U.E. at a Glance booklet to help new students get use to the new surroundings! I like the slight wink to the Zork series Great Underground Empire.

The major lifesaver of all interactive fiction adventurers…the map!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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8 thoughts on “Z-Machine Wednesday: The Lurking Horror (1987)

  1. vinvectrex says:

    Looks to be up to Infocom’s usual high standards. Would love to play this – with just the right amount of hints. I consider myself a competent adventure player but the Infocom ones were always the toughest.

  2. du8 says:


    I played this game last weekend and I won’t lie…I had to use quite a few hints…

    I think the challenge with infocom games is that there are always parts where the “right” thing to do is always something wildly counterintuitive…that is of course what makes them so charming and fun…

    I had to do quite a bit of inventory juggling with this too..

    a hint: don’t EVER turn off your flashlight!

  3. vinvectrex says:

    @du8 – thanks for the tip! I saw that there was a place to play this online, but not sure if the site was still operational. I hope to check it out soon.

  4. @Retro Justin I believe it was merely text, though the Amiga addition of sound effects would be interesting to hear.

    @vinvectrex Let me know if you find that site, friend.

    @du8 Sir, did you finish the game then? That is something I was never to do. :)

  5. du8 says:

    you can download it for free here..


    abandonia is a GREAT site!…somehow they get away with allowing people to download “abandonware” games legally…you will probably have to download a program to let you run the games, but it’s explained pretty well on the site…

    @Vic…yep, I finished the game..but towards the end I had a LOT of “help”…:)

  6. @du8 Thank ye, sir. I’ll try to find some time to play it this weekend! Congrats of course on the besting of the game…I’ll probably need some help as well…I remember it being kind of tough. :)

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