ADVENT was the port. In shareware, you can find versions called "Colossal Cave".

XYZZY was the original name of the game, and by some accounts, the original computer game, even older than Wumpus or the ASCII versions of "Star Trek."

The name, as well as the magic word, is a common mnemonic device for remembering how to do cross products from matrix algebra.

XYZZY was originally programmed by a guy named Wille Crowther, and it found it's way to many different places, as people would get hold of it and install it on their main frames at work. There is a book "The Longest Cave" which details the history. Many of the places in the game, like "The Hall of the Mountain King" are named after actual caverns, since the original programmer was an avid spelunker.

A guy named Don Woods expanded on it quite a bit.

There are many versions of it available, even now, because once installed somewhere, people would continue to update it.

In 1978, at the tender age of 11, my mom used to take me to her office, where I got my first exposure to computers playing this game. The version I played had a wishing-well (which was also a secondary entrance to the cave), with a magic plate nearby, that would take you wherever you wanted. Whenever I tried to get to the 'city in the distance', I'd die. I never did figure out how to get to that city, and since the version I had been playing was 'customized,' I doubt I'll get another chance.

There was only one person who ever finished that particular version of the game.

The Data General MV series running AOS/VS II or newer versions of AOS/VS came with an "improved" shell, the CLI32. CLI32 was the shell that would respond with "Twice as much happens". (On the same machine, using a microcode version for the wrong CPU type would reward you with "Hey, what's the deal?")

ADVENT was the first program to be used to try out the new MV series 32bit architecture, code named Eagle. Of course, the little bird in the beginning of the game turned into an eagle.

XXX = X = YA-

xyzzy /X-Y-Z-Z-Y/, /X-Y-ziz'ee/, /ziz'ee/, or /ik-ziz'ee/ adj.

[from the ADVENT game] The canonical `magic word'. This comes from ADVENT, in which the idea is to explore an underground cave with many rooms and to collect the treasures you find there. If you type `xyzzy' at the appropriate time, you can move instantly between two otherwise distant points. If, therefore, you encounter some bit of magic, you might remark on this quite succinctly by saying simply "Xyzzy!" "Ordinarily you can't look at someone else's screen if he has protected it, but if you type quadruple-bucky-clear the system will let you do it anyway." "Xyzzy!" It's traditional for xyzzy to be an Easter egg in games with text interfaces.

Xyzzy has actually been implemented as an undocumented no-op command on several OSes; in Data General's AOS/VS, for example, it would typically respond "Nothing happens", just as ADVENT did if the magic was invoked at the wrong spot or before a player had performed the action that enabled the word. In more recent 32-bit versions, by the way, AOS/VS responds "Twice as much happens".

Early versions of the popular `minesweeper' game under Microsoft Windows had a cheat mode triggered by the command `xyzzy<enter><right-shift>' that turns the top-left pixel of the screen different colors depending on whether or not the cursor is over a bomb. This feature temporarily diasappeared in Windows 98, but reappeared in Windows 2000.

The following passage from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, suggesting a possible pre-ADVENT origin, has recently come to light:

"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!" said Dorothy, who was now standing on both feet. This ended the saying of the charm, and they heard a great chattering and flapping of wings, as the band of Winged Monkeys flew up to them.

The text can be viewed at Project Gutenberg.

Another possible pre-ADVENT origin is discussed at the XYZZY page.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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