Z-Machine Wednesday: Suspended (1983)

Suspended: A Cryogenic Nightmare was Infocom’s sixth interactive fiction release in 1983, and in my personal opinion they really knocked it out of the ballpark. The difficulty level was listed as Expert on this Michael Berlyn (Cutthroats, Infidel, and co-designer of Fooblitzky) programmed science-fiction title, where you as the player are awakened from your cryogenic stasis, normally you would be asleep for 500 years, your mind serving as the Central Mentality controlling everything from weather to public transportation for the planet of Contra. Things have gone awry thanks to a catastrophic earthquake and the citizens of the planet fear that you have gone mad and caused this destruction, so you must repair the damage to the now failing Filtering Computers, saving as many citizens as you can, all before a crew is sent into your chamber to ‘disconnect’ your mind, thereby killing you. Since you are plugged into the operating systems you cannot just go wandering about, but thankfully you have access to six very special robots:

* Iris – The only robot with visual sensors, Iris can provide visual descriptions of locations and objects. As the game begins, however, Iris has suffered a burnt-out microchip and cannot see. Iris is confined to the area surrounding the Central Chamber.
* Waldo – The most capable physical manipulator, with several limbs for grasping and holding objects. Waldo perceives the world using sonar. (The term “Waldo” was originally coined by Robert A. Heinlein to describe teleoperated robots.)
* Whiz – The most technical robot, Whiz is used mainly for interfacing with a central library computer for historical and technical information.
* Auda – Auda is equipped with sensitive audio receptors and can provide information on sounds and vibrations.
* Poet – A diagnostic robot, Poet can sense the flow of electricity; he tends to communicate in somewhat cryptic language.
* Sensa – Sensa is specialized for the detection of magnetic and photon emissions.

There is a seventh Robot you find called Fred…but he is non-functioning and cannot be brought back to ‘life’.
A big thanks to Squidly.com for the below box art.

Another big thanks to The Infocom Gallery for the awesome scanned variant box art as well as the “feelies”.

I was given a copy of this title for the C-64 back in my youth, if I remember the term was it had been ‘cracked’, and I played this game…a lot. Of course without all the great stuff like maps, etc. I was never able to complete it. If anyone knows of a spot in the web today where I can still play it, make sure to let us know in the comments section.


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.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. @StormBringer Thanks for the heads up, friend! Are you a Michael Moorcock fan by chance? Or possibly a Beta Ray Bill fan? :)

  2. Weird, I left a reply about an hour ago, and it didn’t show up.

    Anyway, I have the TPB of the Beta Ray Bill issues. It is a pretty good story, but I have never been into comics enough to find the individual issues or anything. All decent people are fans of Moorcock, though. :)

  3. It’s with a mixed degree of joy and frustration I remember Suspended.
    The lack of FAQs in the sparkly un-WWWebbed Infocom years meant lots and lots (and lots) of trial and error.

    But the very existence of such games meant a brave new world for computer gaming ahead, so it’s all good nostalgia for me.

    And it says something about our shiney new era that one can read this post, click a link and be playing that very game – and many others – second later (with all the FAQs you can eat).

    In fact, it might be the very therapy I need to get over my Infocomaniacal twitch in my face.
    (“Waddaya mean ‘I don’t know the word’??? It’s a perfectly good word!”)

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