Starcross (video game)

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Starcross box art.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Infocom
Publisher(s) Infocom
Designer(s) Dave Lebling
Engine ZIL
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Commodore Plus/4, MS-DOS, TRS-80, TI-99/4A

Release 15: September 1, 1982

Release 17: October 21, 1982
Genre(s) Interactive fiction
Mode(s) Single player

Starcross is a 1982 interactive fiction game designed and implemented by Dave Lebling and published by Infocom. Like most Infocom titles, it was developed for many systems. It was released for DOS, as a PC Booter, Apple II, Atari ST and Atari 8-bit. It is Infocom's fifth game. It sold 90,315 copies.[1]

The game was Infocom's first in the science fiction genre. It takes place in the year 2186, when the player's character is a lone black hole miner exploring an asteroid belt. The player's ship, the Starcross, is fitted with a mass detector to look for "quantum black holes", which are such powerful sources of energy that one could provide a wealth of riches. When the mass detector finally discovers an anomaly, however, it is not a black hole but something else entirely: a massive craft of unknown origin and composition.

The player must dock with the mysterious ship and gain entry to its interior. Once inside, the player discovers a wide variety of alien plant and animal species and an array of unfamiliar technology. Starcross has an appearance in Zork: The underground empire.


Starcross has 39 ways to die.[2]


Before Infocom released Starcross, it released Zork III, and Deadline before that. Deadline included several physical items related to the game's theme, which Infocom referred to as feelies, and they continued the technique by providing feelies with Zork III and Starcross.

The Starcross feelies consisted of the following items:

  • Log of the M.C.S. Starcross, a whimsical journal of the player's character's experiences on the ship
  • A letter from the "Bureau of Extra-Solar Intelligence" providing advice for any encounters with alien lifeforms
  • A partial space map of charted masses, including instructions on how to use the navigation computer


Jerry Pournelle wrote in BYTE in 1983 of Starcross, "I am not fond of it as I am of Zork, but a number of science-fiction fans like it very much".[3]


  1. ^ "Great Scott: Infocom's All-Time Sales Numbers Revealed". GameSetWatch. Think Services. September 20, 2008. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Infocom Scoreboard" (PDF). The New Zork Times. 3 (2): 3. Spring 1984. 
  3. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (June 1983). "Zenith Z-100, Epson QX-10, Software Licensing, and the Software Piracy Problem". BYTE. p. 411. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 

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