From The Master Storytellers Infocom catalog, 1987:
If you're looking for a fun way to spend an evening, alone or with friends, NORD AND BERT COULDN'T MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT might be just the ticket! This light-hearted collection of short stories features clichés, spoonerisms, and other verbal witticisms.
From The Status Line, Vol.VI No.3 Fall 1987:
NORD AND BERT takes you to the mixed-up town of Punster, where nothing is quite as it seems. It's a place where you really can make a mountain out of a molehill, where 'the fur is flying' is taken literally, and where a happy Sam is transformed into a sappy ham.
Each of the short stories involves a different type of wordplay. You'll find yourself challenging your wits and your memory to come up with the idioms, homonyms, and other verbal trickeries needed to complete the puzzles. But don't view this as a hard row to hoe. There are built-in hints to help you out, and an easy method of moving from place to place.
NORD AND BERT COULDN'T MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT was authored by Jeff O'Neill, whose mind is constantly working on artful new turns of phrase.
Contributed by Belboz (6578) on Oct 13, 2001.
Back of box cover:
Nord and Bert: Pick a peck of pickled puzzles
There's panic in Punster and only you can stop it.
Punster, the strangely besieged town at the center of Infocom's witty new release, needs help and it needs it fast. Because, you see, Punster is infected by a strange malady that has affected language itself. Yes, language, the thing we all depend on to carry us through our daily routine, has virtually come alive in twisted verse and forced the good people of Punster into hilarious submission.
But don't go into Punster expecting to wield an elvish sword as you might in Zork, or even a palm tree swizzle stick as you do in Hollywood Hijinx. To cure all ills here, what you'll need is a rapier sharp wit, a velvet smooth tongue, and a mind like a steel trap, not to mention just a little time and maybe even a bunch of friends.
Not one but eight stories
When you venture into Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It, you'll find not one but eight (count 'em: eight!) stories to turn your attention to. Each of these vignettes takes you to one of Punster's most disastrously affected areas. To restore each area to relative sanity, you'll need to solve a peck of pickled puzzles. The puzzles in each story involve a different type of wordplay, including cliches, idioms, spoonerisms, homonym replacements, and other verbal witticisms. If you're familiar with Ballyhoo, Jeff O'Neil's first Infocom game, you know that his prose and puzzles can be both clever and surreal. This time around he's pulled out all the stops.
There's the mysterious forest region of "Shake A Tower," where your quest to rescue a lovely lass will lead you into a strange land in which only the twist of a phrase can solve the puzzles that will save both her and you. To survive you'll have to be rock steady, and perhaps have your stock ready.
Or how about a trip to the wacked-out Punster TV station where you'll have to "Play the Part" to escape the zany sit-com insanity of your brother-in-law Bob. Then there's the town eatery, The Teapot Cafe, where even the simplest actions, like trying to buy lunch, will bring you face to face with the ugly situation engulfing Punster. Waitresses no longer respond in the normal manner, even to your simplest requests. The only hope you have of getting servive is by using idioms like "give the waitress the evil eye." And when your food finally comes? Well, you'll have a hard time "eating a collection of lion's meat" until you can figure out just the right thing to say to turn it into something edible.
Eating a pair of pears
Figuring out just the "right" thing to say is one of the trickier parts of Nord and Bert. And even if you're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, or eating a pair of pears, you'll be rewarded for your effort. Because as you solve each one of the first seven stories, you will win the passwords that will eventually let you enter the eighth story - "Meet the Mayor." In that story you will have to bring all your wordplay expertise to bear in order to restore Punster to tranquility. And when you do, you'll sample the sweet taste of victory.
The short-story structure of Nord and Bert offers a unique new method of playing an Infocom game. Since the individual stories are in essence separate worlds - each with their own locations, characters, and objects - a story may be played and completed in one sitting, and the satisfaction level is equal to that attained from playing other Infocom games, which can take many days or weeks. Nord and Bert is the game for you if you're that busy tinker, tailor, soldier or spy who doesn't have tons of time to tend to our tantalizing textual titles. Or if you're the party animal, Nord and Bert is the perfect pastime to play with your pals, since some cliches are notoriously elusive when you're alone, and you can show off your worldly knowledge and marvel at your friends' command of the hackneyed phrase. No doubt everyone will want to take a stab at it and put in their two cents' worth.
Nord and Bert also introduces some other new features that are bound to be crowd pleasers. The short stories are as easy to play for the novice as the Infocom pro. Mapping is a thing of the past since all accessible locations are displayed at the top of the screen. Just type in the name of the location you want to go to and you're there.
When it comes to hints, Nord and Bert brings you some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that Infocom will never publish an InvisiClues hint booklet for Nord and Bert. The good news is that you'll never need one, because the hints are all on the disk! Just type HINT, and you'll be able to see hints for any puzzle that has you stumped. But the hints won't spoil anything for you, for you only see what you want to see when you want to see it. No fair peeking now!
As usual, we strive to go that extra mile for our customers by enhancing our software with unique and interesting packaging elements. This time around you will get a beautiful full-color booklet of original cartoons by Kevin Pope, author of The Day Gravity Was Turned Off in Topeka. So, get together with your friends, laugh over Kevin's cartoons and then try to save Punster. Language may be twisted in Punster, but words needn't fail you.
But don't think that the fun stops here. In every package of Nord and Bert, there's a special offer that lets you double your pleasure and double over in laughter. It's a coupon you can send in with $14.95 to receive Ballyhoo, Jeff O'Neill's first interactive mystery set under the circus bigtop. This is a savings of up to $25.
In Ballyhoo you'll be tempted by cotton candy and tattooed ladies, but you must find out who kidnapped the owner's daughter before someone makes a permanent space for you in the freak show.
Ready to bring you to your knees in early September, Nord and Bert will be available for a wide range of personal computers, including Apple II series, Macintosh (512K) and Atari ST series. Also Commodore 64 and 128 and Amiga, and IBM PC series and 100% compatibles. Suggested retail price is $34.95 for Commodore 64/128 and $39.95 for all other systems.
Contributed by Belboz (6578) on Aug 26, 2001.
You are standing at the edge of a barran field. A steady wind, having secreted away the topsoil, is now drifting sandy dirt across the plain. A scant sign of life here is a freshly-burrowed molehill on the ground.
>MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT OF THE MOLEHILL
There is a tremendous rumbling in the distance, getting louder and louder, until it is deafening. The dirt around the molehill crumbles away as mighty, jagged granite peaks emerge from deep underground. The surrounding landscape transforms into a fertile valley before your very eyes.
Infocom's first collection of short stories takes you to a place where nothing is quite as it seems. It's a place where you really can make a mountain out of a molehill, where 'the fur is flying' is taken literally, and where a bow can be turned into a beau.
Each of the eight stories in Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It involves a different type of wordplay. You'll find yourself challenging your wits and your memory to come up with the clichés, spoonerisms, and other verbal trickeries needed to complete the puzzles. But don't view this as a hard row to hoe. Nord and Bert contains built-in hints, which you can call upon when the going gets rough.
All eight stories take place in the mixed-up Town of Punster. However, no two contain the same people, locations, or objects. Each is played independently of the others, although you'll use passwords obtained in seven of the stories to get into the eighth. As for mapping, it's out the window. You simply type where you want to go.
The tall tales in Nord and Bert are every bit as fun and clever as Infocom's other interactive fiction stories. They can each be completed in one sitting, making them a highly entertaining way to spend an evening, alone or with friends. Nord and Bert was authored by Jeff O'Neill, whose mind is constantly working on artful new turns of phrase.
Contributed by Belboz (6578) on Mar 31, 2001.