John Howard - Senior Program Manager in the Hyper-V team at Microsoft

Senior Program Manager, Hyper-V team, Windows Core Operating System Division.

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xyzzy

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It's a long bank holiday long weekend over in the UK, so a quick blog entry which has absolutely nothing to do with work. You need to be over a certain age to have a clue what "xyzzy" has to do with anything. I first came across the term probably in the very late 70's, maybe early 80's. A long time ago anyway. Here's a clue if you're still not with me - "you're in a maze of twisty passages, all alike", or should that be "you're in a twisty maze of passages, all alike" or "you are in a maze of twisty passages...."?  Still confused? Colossal Cave was a popular early computer game. As I recall, there were dwarves, lamps and dogs involved, and xyzzy did something, but I'm afraid I've long since forgotten. I guess I first saw the game on a glass teletype connected to one of the London university computers via something like a 75bps modem - one of those big wooden boxes you put the phone handset in and strapped it together to make sure the acoustic coupling was effective. Hence, I was chuffed to find that other people are just as nostalgic - there's a site I found over the weekend where you can play it online and even download a version to play on the PC. I've still got some original 5 1/4" Infocom disks lying around somewhere - no hardware to read them mind. Infocom did several PC games based on similar game play styles. Oh a mis-spent youth! Time to go searching for some more online nostalgia I think now :)

Comments
  • It was a teleport command, so that you did not have to retrace all your steps, as I recall.

  • "xyzzy" is also a cheat code for the Winmine game...

  • Just found it! New one to me. Shows what the minesweeper devs were playing in their youth :) Thanks.

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