Z-Machine Wednesday: Deadline (1982)

This is the first Infocom title posting that I’ve never had the pleasure of playing myself, though I remember a teacher back in Junior-High that told our class about how me he enjoyed playing it every evening. Marc Blank (Co-programmer on Zork, Zork II, and Zork III among others) programmed Deadline and Infocom published this murder mystery title in 1982, the first Infocom title that wasn’t Zork related, which resulted in the New York Times declaring it an “amazing feat of programming”, and Electronic Games heralded it as “Best Adventure of 1983”.

Deadline was also the first Infocom title to include feelies in its packaging, one of the reasons being that Blank couldn’t include all the text within the 80KB of disc space, so they included the supplement material to give more information to the player.

Thanks to the Wikipedia entry for the below information:

Critics and fans hailed Infocom’s pioneering move and gushed over the feelies’ high quality and the immersiveness they added to the game. The feelies included:

* A police folder in a pouch containing an Inspector’s Casebook
* A plastic bag with 3 white pills found near Marshall Robner’s body (Vic:Which if I remember correctly from reading reviews of the game, they were sugar candy…just in case someone actually ate them.)
* Notes from police interviews with Leslie and George Robner, Mr. Baxter, Ms. Dunbar, and Mrs. Rourke
* Corpus Delicti (summary of findings from the coroner’s examination)
* A letter from Mr. Coates, Marshall Robner’s lawyer, to the Chief of Police
* An official memo from G.K. Anderson of the Lakeville, Connecticut police department
* A lab report on the teacup Robner drank from before his death
* A photo of the murder scene, complete with white chalk outline

And as always a huge thanks to The Infocom Gallery for the images below of the feelies that were included with the title.


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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