Moby ID: 1578
Commodore 64 Specs

Description official descriptions

Ballyhoo is a mystery text adventure in which you play a disillusioned circus goer who decides to help find the owner's kidnapped daughter.

Gameplay involves searching for clues in the circus arena, the tents and other back areas trying to locate the girl. The game features a "Standard" difficulty level.

The original Commodore 64 Grey Box Contents included:

  • The Traveling Circus That Time Forgot Inc. Official Souvenir Program
  • Circus Ticket (Sec.24 Row AA Seat 4)
  • Purple Circus Balloon
  • Advertising Card for Dr. Nostrum's Wondrous Curative

Groups +



Credits (DOS version)

7 People

Wrote the good questions
Wrote the great questions
Wrote the absolute best questions



Average score: 83% (based on 11 ratings)


Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 50 ratings with 1 reviews)

A disappointing entry in Infocom's lineup.

The Good
There were a few amusing moments in the game and interesting puzzles, like the lion training bit. It tried hard for an authentic circus atmosphere.

The Bad
In general, the game was a big mess. When playing the best IF, you're never at a point where you have no idea what in the world you're supposed to do next or how to do it -- there should always be clues, no matter how subtle, as to what's expected next. In several places in Ballyhoo, however, there is simply no indication of why you should explore an area, such as the hypnotist's area or the fat lady's tent. Once you do, it's quite obvious that there are puzzles to solve, but no hint of why you should bother.

Also, the storyline was mediocre -- the circus owner's daughter has been kidnapped, and the investigator he's hired is an incapable drunk. It's just used as an excuse to explore every possible aspect of a circus, from tightrope walking to dressing up as a clown.

The Bottom Line
You should play Ballyhoo if you're an absolute IF/Infocom junkie (like me), extremely interested in the detective genre, or a complete maniac about things related to the circus. Otherwise, it probably isn't really worth your time.

DOS · by Skeet (4) · 2001


Copy protection

Copy protection for this game takes two forms. First you need to follow the instructions on the ticket included with the game in order to get past the turnstile. Later in the game you have to tune the radio to a specific station in order to calm an angry gorilla: Don't have the flyer for the radio station? Good luck.


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  • MobyGames ID: 1578
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by andyhat.

Amiga added by EboMike. TRS-80 CoCo added by Slik. Apple II added by Droog. Atari 8-bit added by Kabushi. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. Macintosh added by Terok Nor. TRS-80 added by Servo. Amstrad PCW, TI-99/4A added by Игги Друге. Commodore 64, Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Chris Mikesell, mo , c64fan, Patrick Bregger, ZeTomes.

Game added June 10, 2000. Last modified January 19, 2024.