Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It

aka: Eight Tales of Cliches, Spoonerisms, and Other Verbal Trickery, Wordplay
Moby ID: 472
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It is a text adventure game revolving around puns and wordplays. Idioms and clichés have become real-world objects in the town of Punster, and the player has to sort them out in order to win. There are seven separate scenarios that can be played in any order, as well as the final one that can be accessed only after having completed all seven. These scenarios are:

  • The Shopping Bizarre: Products in a grocery store have been replaced by nonsensical homonyms (such as "chocolate moose"), and the player has to revert them to their normal form.
  • Playing Jacks: Equipped with an item called "Jack of All Traits", the player has to construct words beginning with "Jack" to solve puzzles.
  • Buy the Farm: Clichéd expressions must be used in their literal meaning while exploring a farm.
  • Eat Your Words: More literal idioms used in a diner.
  • Act the Part: The protagonist is teleported into a 1950's-style sitcom, where he must perform visual gags.
  • Manor of Speaking: The protagonist explores a strange house in a more traditional humorous Infocom-style manner.
  • Shake a Tower: Letters in expressions have to be re-arranged to create humorous new meanings.
  • Meet the Mayor: The final chapter of the game, mixing elements of the others as the protagonist faces the mayor of Punster.



Credits (DOS version)

Cover Design
Manual Illustrations



Average score: 66% (based on 10 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 38 ratings with 2 reviews)

Mega fun wordplay

The Good
Again, another text game that cannot be done as a graphic adventure. This one relied on text input about some kind of wordplay based on the scene (i.e. in the spoonerisms game area, take a shower is listed in the description, so you have to type "shake a tower" to progress.) This became quickly more difficult then I expected, but that "ah-ha!" feeling was never too far away.

The Bad
I'm not sure the game could be completed. I became stuck in the Cliches area and could never progress, even when I read the Invisiclues. Perhaps I will revisit the game again to see if I am mistaken. Either way, that specific part of the game was quite frustrating, as it assumed you knew "classic" cliches (2 of them I had never heard, however, thus stumping me).

The Bottom Line
An oddity, but a classic. Highly recommended for anyone who loves wordplay.

DOS · by Tony Van (2804) · 1999

Funny, punny text adventure

The Good
This funny and mind boggling text adventure combines several types of word play into an exciting game. In this game you will have to make mountains out of mole hills, shake a tower (or is that take a shower), and act in a 50's sitcom.

This is truly a remarkable game. Not as well known as other Infocom games, it is still one of the best written ones.

The Bad
Either you get into the groove of the game or you don't. The final stage is disappointing and some of the earlier puzzles are stumpers.

The Bottom Line
Hilarious , tongue in cheek word play game. A fine example of a type of game they don't make anymore.

DOS · by Terrence Bosky (5375) · 2001



By Infocom standards, Nord and Bert was woefully short on feelies. It contained only a booklet of nine comic strips drawn by Kevin Pope.


  • ACE
    • 1989/1 (issue #16): ACE Adventure Awards 1988: "Weirdest game of the year" (editorial choice)

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Related Sites +

  • The Commodore Zone
    All about the game, with introduction, images, related links and comments area.
  • The Infocom Gallery
    High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of Nord and Bert.

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. Apple II added by ClydeFrog. Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Amiga, Macintosh added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: ClydeFrog, Martin Smith, mo , formercontrib, c64fan, Jo ST.

Game added November 26th, 1999. Last modified August 14th, 2023.