Z-Machine Wednesday: Starcross (1982)

Programmed by Dave Lebling (Zork I, II, and III) and released by Infocom in 1982, Starcross, was the first science fiction title for the company. For its Challenge Level it was rated Expert, probably due to many of its puzzles dealing with scientific knowledge.

Taking place in the year 2186, taking on the role of an intergalactic miner aboard your space vessel, the M.C.S. Starcross, you search the galaxy for quantum black holes. Which are such powerful sources of energy that finding one would provide you riches beyond imagining. Luckily the Starcross is outfitted with a mass detector to make your job easier. Your detector finds something but it isn’t a black hole…it’s a massive craft of unknown origin and design.

You dock with the craft and upon gaining entry to the interior of the vessel you find strange species of animals and plant life as well as an array of alien technology. Your greatest task is now set before you, you will need to come to understand the technology before you and solve their puzzles so you can find your way home.

As always, a huge thanks to The Infocom Gallery for the wonderful scanned images below.


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.

Never Miss an Episode

Stay up-to-date on the latest from the Retroist Podcast. Sign up and receive email notifications when there's a new episode of the Retroist Podcast or when we launch new podcasts.
* indicates required

2 thoughts on “Z-Machine Wednesday: Starcross (1982)

  1. vinvectrex says:

    Thanks for profiling this great game. “Expert” level certainly seemed appropriate to me when I played it. I remember it being quite a challenge – but really enjoying the descriptive text that painted a vivid portrait of being aboard the spaceship. The game sort of reminded me of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rendezvous with Rama”

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Vinvectrex! I’m VERY glad that there are walkthroughs available for it online now…there were some puzzles that had me stumped for far too long. :)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.