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This article was posted to the Usenet group alt.hackers in 1995; any technical information is probably outdated.


Article: 7842 of alt.hackers
From: (Clinton Pierce (R))
Newsgroups: alt.hackers
Subject: Xyzzy
Date: 19 May 1995 19:01:37 GMT
Organization: Ford Motor Co., Powertrain Systems
Lines: 53
Approved: FuManchu
Distribution: world
Message-ID: 3pipuh$
Status: RO

I've been accused that a recent post regarding the "xyzzy"
magic sequence
in some games was a troll.  Not so, or at least my troll has backing.  The
original statement was:

>"xyzzy" was the "God Code" of the first real aventure
game "Advent".  It's
>use since then is kind of a tribute.

And the backing is from the Jargon File:

: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!"

   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

   The popular `minesweeper' game under Microsoft Windows has 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.

While working on a CADO-Systems Tiger-8 (80186 Multi-user/processing system)
tring to figure out how to read a tape using "BIOS" (?) calls
in machine
language, I ran across the sequence to make the speaker on the CPU unit
"beep". Pitch variations could be made with timing loops.
You loaded the
right thing in AH and called outp and the right things happened (SPKR out,
SPRK in).  (The only other time it EVER beeps is during the Tiger's boot
sequence.)  Since I was writing the Automatic Update System that was going
to be distributed everywhere in the know universe I left an Easter Egg.
If you load program 255 in the library /ATSUPLB you'll hear "shave-and-a-
haircut" on the speaker.  It's still there.

    Clinton A. Pierce       |    "If you rush a Miracle Man     |  \ / \ /|      you get rotten miracles."    |   \ G /
 DCI, Inc. on loan to Ford. | --Miracle Max, The Princess Bride |  / \ / \
(NOTE: New Address as of 5/8/95!)

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