Fooblitzky

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Fooblitzky
Developer(s) Infocom
Publisher(s) Infocom
Designer(s) Marc Blank, Michael Berlyn, Poh C. Lim, Paula Maxwell
Engine ZIL
Platform(s) Apple II, Atari XL/XE, DOS
Release date(s) 1985
Genre(s) Puzzle/Board game
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Distribution 3½" or 5¼" disk

Fooblitzky is a board game-style computer game published by Infocom in 1985 and designed by a team including interactive fiction authors Marc Blank and Michael Berlyn. It is unique among Infocom titles because (among other reasons) it was the first game Infocom released to incorporate graphics beyond ASCII characters. Like most Infocom titles, it was written in highly portable ZIL and made available for an array of popular computer platforms, including the Apple II, IBM PC, and the Atari XL and XE series.

Infocom marketed Fooblitzky as a "Graphic Strategy Game", and gameplay was compared to that of Clue and Mastermind. Two to four players travelled around the virtual city of Fooblitzky, spending "foobles" and attempting to deduce what four objects were needed to win the game (and then obtain them).

Players purchased objects in stores and could visit City Hall to have their possessions evaluated. Much in the same style as Mastermind, the player would be told how many of their objects were correct, but not which ones.

Feelies[edit]

Perhaps because Fooblitzky was not a conventional Infocom release, the package did not contain the conventional array of feelies. Instead, each box contained four sets of laminated game boards and erasable markers which could be used to track the progress of a game. Two sets of documentation were also included: a set of "quick-start" guidelines ("The Bare Essentials") and a more detailed set ("Official Ordinances").

Reception[edit]

Computer Gaming World called Fooblitzky "a fun way to spend time with a few friends", stating that the advertising comparing it to Mastermind and Clue was correct. It noted that the game began as an Infocom project to see if graphical games could be written for easy porting between computers like the company's text adventures, and criticized the Atari version's resulting graphics as "jerky and slow".[1] Compute! stated "probably no game on the computer software market today gives one the feel of playing a board game as much as does Fooblitzky", adding that the principles Fooblitzky used were the same ones that made Monopoly popular. Cautioning that because it was so different from other computer games that "it probably isn't for everyone's tastes", the magazine recommended Fooblitzky for those seeking a game for families to enjoy.[2]

Notes[edit]

As a test, for the first six months Fooblitzky was only advertised to those on Infocom's mailing list, although others could order it from the company.[3][1] It sold very poorly; Infocom sold only 8,225 copies through 1986, the fewest of the five titles introduced in 1985, and from 1987 to 1989 the number of copies returned exceeded those sold.[4]

In Zork Zero one of the possible magic words needed to win the game is fublitskee.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Williams, Gregg (April 1986). "Atari Playfield". Computer Gaming World. p. 36. 
  2. ^ Trunzo, James V. (October 1986). "Fooblitzky". Compute!. p. 68. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Williams, Gregg (Jan–Feb 1986). "Atari Playfield". Computer Gaming World. p. 32. 
  4. ^ Carless, Simon (2008-09-20). "Great Scott: Infocom's All-Time Sales Numbers Revealed". GameSetWatch. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 

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