The Lurking Horror GamesK

The Lurking Horror

Released May 6, 1987 · consists of 7 releases.

A student at G.U.E. Tech, you have braved a snowstorm to make it to the Computer Center. Trapped late at night you become aware that you are not alone.

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The Lurking Horror

First release date May 6, 1987
Platform Amiga , Amstrad CPC , Apple II , Atari ST , Commodore 64 , Mac , Atari 8-bit , Apple IIgs , PC , iPhone , iPad
Developer Infocom
Publisher Infocom
Genre Adventure , Text Adventure
Theme Horror
Franchises
Aliases

Overview

The Lurking Horror was the 26th game released by interactive fiction pioneers Infocom. It was Infocom's only foray into the "horror" genre.

Development

The game designer/programmer (or as Infocom called it, "implementor", or "imp") responsible for The Lurking Horror was Dave Lebling, one of Infocom's founders. Lebling had collaborated on Zork and written several other games.

The Lurking Horror is heavily influenced by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.

The game's setting of "G.U.E. Tech" is a very thinly veiled stand-in for Lebling's alma mater, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). (The name "G.U.E. Tech" is a reference to Zork's "Great Underground Empire").

Story/Gameplay

The user plays as a G.U.E. Tech student whom, when the game begins, is in the university's computer center attempting to finish a term paper. The paper is then overwritten with a string of vaguely discomforting gibberish. A nearby hacker informs the player that the file must have gotten mixed up with information from the Department of Alchemy. Visiting this department draws the player and his new hacker friend down into the creepy series of tunnels that run below the school. As the weather outside turns from a snowstorm into a rampaging blizzard, it slowly becomes apparent that the campus conceals a conspiracy to summon and unleash primal, evil forces.

Sound

The Commodore Amiga version of The Lurking Horror added, for the first time, sound to an Infocom game.

Real-Life Analogues

Many of the locations and references in The Lurking Horror are direct allusions to MIT geography and lore.

  • The freshman guide that comes with the game (see "Feelies" below) is analogous to a real one that was called How to Get Around MIT.
  • The freshman guide mentions "The House of Roy", which was a real Chinese restaurant near MIT.
  • Although naturally MIT doesn't actually have a Department of Alchemy, such a door engraving was put up as a prank. As in the game, it was found within the Department of Chemistry.
  • Both G.U.E. Tech and MIT are bordered by a "Massachusetts Avenue". While MIT is bordered by "Vassar Street", G.U.E. Tech is bordered by "Smith Street". (Vassar and Smith are both among the "Seven Sisters" group of prestigious, formerly all-female colleges in the Northeast.)
  • The "Temporary Lab" and "Temporary Basement" correspond to MIT's Building 20. Building 20 was the home of the Tech Model Railroad Club that spawned the word "hacker", and also housed an incredible amount of significant research, ranging from physics (the first atomic clock) to linguistics (the work of Noam Chomsky).
  • The "Tomb of the Unknown Tool" is a real place known by that name within MIT's tunnel system, found in about the same location as G.U.E. Tech's geography places it.
  • The "Infinite Corridor" is also a real place known by that name -- in fact, the longest university corridor in the world.
  • G.U.E. Tech's "Great Court" corresponds to the MIT area formerly of that same name, now called "Killian Court."
  • The "Great Dome" corresponds to MIT's famous building of the same name.
  • G.U.E. Tech's "Brown Building" corresponds to MIT's "Green Building".
  • G.U.E. Tech's class ring "depicting a hyrax eating a twig" is analogous to MIT's, except MIT's has a beaver rather than a hyrax.

"Feelies"

As had become traditional for Infocom, The Lurking Horror's packaging contained collectibles (or, as they were referred to, "feelies") to help set the mood of the game. The Lurking Horror's "feelies" were:

  • A G.U.E. Tech student ID card.
  • "G.U.E. At a Glance: A Guide for Freshmen". This six-page-long pamphlet humorously describes student life at G.U.E. Tech. It also includes a campus map, as well as a user ID and password that is needed at the beginning of the game.
  • A rubber centipede. (Not mentioned in any of the advertising or packaging, this was designed to give the purchaser an unexpected scare.)

The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

The Lurking Horror

Gallery

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Specific release details

Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces
Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces
Platform PC
Region United States
Developer
Publisher
Release date January 1996
Product code 0 47875 33640 7
Company code None
Rating
Minimum Players 1
Maximum Players N/A
Resolutions N/A
Sound Systems N/A
Single player Features N/A
Multi player Features N/A
Widescreen Support No
Notes N/A

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