Ballhoo Documentation by The Andrex
[First Class Presents]
- Ballyhoo Documentation -
- Written by: The Andrex -
Spurred by your natural curiosity,
you stick around after the show in the
big top, hoping to catch an after-hours
performance. Perhaps you'll get a peek
at an impromptu clown act, or watch the
late-night feedings of the exotic ani-
mals you goggled at earlier. But life
at the circus isn't glamorous after the
audience has gone home: instead of
flashy feats, you overhear a mysterious
conversation: a little girl--the circus
owners daughter--has been kidnapped!
Her father is too naive (or is he too
pompously stupid?) to do more than hire
an inept detective to find her. He Re-
mains blindly loyal to his overworked
performers, but...could it be an inside
job? The girl might be hidden some-
where on the circus grounds...and one
of the performers might be the ab-
So you do what anyone would do in
these circumstances: set out to rescue
the damsel in distress. The odds arent
in your favor: you--a spectator, a by-
stander, an outsider in a defensive
close-nit community--trying to find a
girl you've never met, in a place you
know nothing about, among bizarre
people who want nothing to do with you.
Some would call you brave. Some would
call you foolish.
Every circus has its seedy underside.
But few are as dangerous as this.
If you're familiar with Infocoms
interactive fiction, you may not feel
like reading this entire manual. How-
ever, you should at least look at the
appendix of recognized verbs; some of
the verbs listed are found in all Info-
com stories, while others are included
especially for Bollyhoo.
Table of Contents
o What is Interactive fiction?
o Moving around
o Turns and scoring
Tips for Novices
Nine useful pointers about interactive
Communicating with Ballyhoo
o Basic sentences
o Complex sentences
o Talking to characters in the story
o Vocabulary limitations
Starting and Stopping
o Starting Ballyhoo ("Booting up")
o Saving and restoring
o Quitting and restarting
Appendix A: Important Commands
Appendix B: Some Recognized Verbs
Appendix C: Ballyhoo Complaints
Appendix D: About the Author
--This ends Table of Contents.
Interactive fiction is a story in
which you are the main character. Your
own thinking and imagination determine
the actions of thaty character and
guide the story from start to finish.
Each work of interactive fiction,
such as Ballyhoo, presents you with a
series of locations, items, characters,
and events. You can interact with
these in a variety of ways.
To move from place to place, type the
direction you want to go. When you
find yourself in a new location, it's a
good idea to become familiar with your
surroundings by exploring the nearby
rooms and reading each description care
fully. (You may notice that Ballyhoo
occasionally refers to a location as a
"room", even if you are outdoors.) As
you explore, it is helpful to make a
map of the geography.
An important element of interactive
fiction is puzzle-solving. You should
think of a locked door or a ferocious
beast not as a permanent obstacle, but
merely as a puzzle to be tackled. Sol-
ving puzzles will frequently involve
bringing a certain item with you, and
then using it in the proper way.
In Ballyhoo, time passed only in res-
ponse to your input. You might imaging
a clock that ticks once for each sen-
tence you type, and the story progress-
es only at each tick. Nothing happens
until you type a sentence and press the
RETURN (or ENTER) key, so you can plan
your turns as slowly and carefully as
To measure your progress, Ballyhoo
keeps track of your score. You may get
points for solving puzzles, performing
certain actions, or visiting certain
locations. A perfect score is to be
strived for, but of course having fun
is much more important.
Tips for Novices
1) Draw a map. It should include each
location, the directions connecting
it to adjoining locations, and any
interesting objects there. Note
there are 10 possible directions,
plus IN and OUT.
2) Examine all objects you come across.
Most objects in the story that you
can pick up are important for solv-
ing one or more of the puzzles you
will run into.
3) Save your place often. That way, if
you mess up or get "killed", you
wont have to start over from the
4) Read the story carefully. There are
often clues in the descriptions of
locations and objects. Even strange
or dangerous actions may provide
clues, and might prove to be fun!
You can always save your position
first if you want. Here is a Silly
>PUT THE SADDLE ON THE PONY
As you drop the heavy saddle onto the
pony, the animal is crushed by the
weight, and it falls down, legs splay-
^there you have a clue that you should
find either a lighter saddle or a
5) Unlike other "adventure games" you
may have played, there are many pos-
sible routes the to end of Ballhoo.
Some puzzles have more than one sol-
ution; other puzzles don't nees to
be solved at all. Sometimes you
will have to solve one puzzle in
order to obtain the item(s) or info-
rmation you need to solve another
6) You may find it helpful to go thr-
ough Ballyhoo with another person.
Different people may find different
puzzles easy and can often comple-
ment each other.
7) If you really have difficulty, you
can order a hint booklet and a com-
plete map using the orfer form in
your package. You don't need this
booklet to enjoy the story, but it
will make solving the puzzles eas-
8) Read the sample transcript ahead in
the docs to get a feel for how Info-
com's interactive fiction works.
9) You can word a command in many dif-
ferent ways. For example, if you
wanted to pick up a yellow hoop, you
could type in any of the following:
>TAKE THE HOOP
>PICK UP THE YELLOW HOOP
In fact, if the hoop is the only
thing in sight that you can take,
just typing TAKE would havr been
good enough. But more about that
in the next section...
Communicating with Ballyhoo
In Ballyhoo, you type your sentence
in plain English each time you see the
prompt ">". Ballyhoo usually acts as
if your sentence begins "I want to...,"
although you should'nt actually type
those words. You can use words like
THE if you want, and you can use cap-
itol letters if you want; Ballyhoo
doesn't care either way.
When you have finished typing a sen-
tence, press the RETURN (or ENTER) key
and Ballyhoo will process you request.
Ballyhoo will then respond, telling you
whether you request is possible at this
point in the story, and what happened
as a result.
Ballyhoo recognizes your words by
their first six letters, and all sub-
sequent letters are ignored. Therefore
HYPNITist, HYPNOTize, and HYPNOTic
would all be treated as the same word
To move around, just type the desired
direction. You can use the eight com-
pass directions: NORTH, SOUTH, EAST,
WEST, NORTHEAST, NORTHWEST, SOUTHEAST,
and SOUTHWEST. You can abbreviate these
to N,S,E,W,NE,NW,SE, and SW, respect-
ively. You can use UP (or U) and DOWN
(or D). IN and OUT will also work in
Ballyhoo understands many different
kinds of sentences. Here are several
examples. (Note that some of these ob-
jects do not actually appear in Bally-
>GET THE LEDGER BOOK
>READ THE BANNER
>LOOK UNDER THE BED
>POUR THE WATER INTO THE POT
>EXAMINE THE LARGE RED BALLOON
>PUSH THE BLACK BUTTON
>GIVE $1.50 TO THE HAWKER
>SHOOT THE ELEPHANT WITH THE ELEPHANT
>GIVE THE FLY TO THE FROG
>LOOK INSIDE THE CAGE
>CLIMB THE FENCE
>BET 75 CENTS
>SET THE WATCH TO 8:30
>TAKE THE BURNING COAL WITH THE
You can use multiple objects with
certain verbs if you seperate them by
the word AND or by a comma.
>TAKE BOOK AND KNIFE
>DROP THE YELLOW BALL, THE SPOTTED FROG
, AND THE PEANUT
>PUT THE LADYBUG ABD THE SPIDER IN THE
You can include several sentences on
one input line if you seperate them by
the word THEN or by a period. (Note
that each sentence will still count as
a turn.) You don't need a period at
the end of the input line. For example
you can type all of the following at
once, before pressing the RETURN (or
>READ THE SIGN. GO NORTH THEN TAKE THE
CROWBAR AND MALLET
If Ballhoo doesn't understand one of
the sentences on your input line, or if
something unusual happens, it will ig-
nore the rest of your input line (see
"Ballhoo complaints" later in the Docs)
The words IT and ALL can be very use-
ful. For example:
>TAKE THE APPLE. POLISH IT. PUT IT IN
>CLOSE THE HEAVY METAL DOOR. LOCK IT
>TAKE THE SHOE. EMPTY IT. PUT IT ON
>TAKE ALL EXCEPT THE WET EGG AND THE
>TAKE ALL FROM CABINET
>DROP ALL BUT THE PENCIL
The word ALL refers to every visible
object except those inside something
else. If there were an apple on the
ground and an orange inside a cabinet,
TAKE ALL would take the apple but not
There are three kinds of questions
that Ballyhoo understands: WHO IS(some-
one), WHERE IS(something), and WHAT IS
(something). For example:
>WHO IS HARRY?
>WHERE IS THE TICKET?
>WHAT IS A PHRENOLOGIST?
You will meet other people and creat-
ures in Ballyhoo. You can "talk" to
some of these beings by typing their
name, then a comma, then whatever you
want to say to them. Here are some
>FRED, WHERE IS MY TICKET?
>JUGGLER, FOLLOW ME
>MIDGET, GET OFF THE PONY THEN GIVE ME
>HARRY, TAKE THE GUN. SHOOT THE PENGUIN
Notice thaty in the last two examples
, you are giving a person more than one
command on the same input line. But
remember: most people in the story do
not care for idle chatter. Your deeds
will speak louder than your words.
Ballyhoo tries to guess what you
really mean when you don't give enough
information. For example, if you real-
ly mean you want to do it to or with,
Ballyhoo will sometimes decide that
there is only one possible object you
could mean. When it does so, it will
tell you. For example:
>UNLOCK THE DOOR
(with the key)
The door is now unlocked.
If your command is ambiguous, Bally-
hoo will ask what you really mean. You
can answer most of these questions
briefly by supplying the missing infor-
mation, rather than typing the entire
input again. You can do this only at
the very next prompt. For example:
>CUT THE ROPE
What do you want to cut the rop with?
As you cut the rope, you hear a loud
crash in the tent.
>TAKE THE BUTTERFLY
Which butterfly do you mean, the deli-
cate magenta butterfly or the fat yel-
The delicate magenta butterfly flutters
away as you reach for it.
Ballyhoo uses many words in its de-
scriptions that it will not recognize
in your commands. For example, you
might read, "The full moon is bright
and clear, and the wagon casts eerie
shadows." However, if Ballyhoo does
not recognize the words MOON or SHADOWS
in your input, you can assume they are
not important to your completion of the
story, except to provide you with a
more vivid description of where you are
or what is going on. Ballyhoo recog-
nizes over 900 words, nearly all that
you are likely to use in your commands.
If Ballyhoo doesn't know a word you
used, or any of its common synonyms,
you are almost certainly trying some-
thing that is not important in cont-
inuing your adventure.
Starting and Stopping
Starting the story: Now that you know
what to expect in Ballhoo, it's time
for you to "boot" your disk. To load
Ballyhoo, follow the instructions on
the Reference Card in your package.
The story will begin with a descrip-
tion of In the Wings, the opening loc-
ation. Then the prompt ">" will appear
indicating that Ballyhoo is waiting for
your first command.
Here's a quick excercise to help you
get accustomed to interacting with
Ballyhoo. Try the following command
>LOOK AT THE BIG TOP
Then press the RETURN (or ENTER) key.
Ballyhoo will respond with:
Soiled by endless miles of travel and
heavily patched in places, the wide
blue-and-white stripes nevertheless
rise up to meet at the top of the tower
ing center pole.
After you press the RETURN (or ENTER)
key, Ballyhoo will respond:
Climbing up into the deserted and litt-
ered grandstands produces a disorient-
ing sense of deja vu. You make a head-
achy descent diwn the steps.
Saving and Restoring: It will probably
take you many days to complete Bally-
hoo. Using the SAVE feature, you can
continue at a later time without hav-
ing to start over from the beginning,
just as you can place a bookmark in a
book you are reading. SAVE puts a
"snapshot" of your plave in the story
onto another disk. If you are cautious
you may want to save your place before
(or after) trying something dangerous
or tricky. That way, you can go back
to that position later, even if you
have gotten lost or "killed" since
To save your place in the story, type
SAVE at the prompt ">", and then press
the RETURN (or ENTER) key. Then follow
the instructions for saving and restor-
ing on your reference card. Some com-
puters require a blank disk, initial-
ized and formatted, for saves. Using
a disk with data on it (not counting
other Ballyhoo saves) may result in the
loss of that data, depending on your
computer. You can save your position
a often a you like by using additional
You can restore a saved position any
time you want. To do so, type RESTORE
at the prompt ">", and then press the
RETURN (or ENTER) key. Then follow the
instructions on you Reference Card. You
can then continue the story from the
point where you used the SAVE command.
You can type LOOK for a description of
where you are.
Quitting and restarting: If you want to
start over from the beginning, simply
type RESTART and press the RETURN (or
ENTER) key. (This is usually faster
than rebooting.) Just to make sure,
Ballyhoo will ask if you really want to
start over. If you do, type Y or YES
and press the RETURN (or ENTER) key.
If you want to stop entirely, type
QUIT and press the RETURN (or ENTER)
key. Once again, Ballyhoo will ask if
this is really what you want to do.
Remember when you RESTART or QUIT: if
you want to be able to return to your
current position, you must first do a
Appendix A - Important Commands
There are a number of one-word com-
mands which you can type instead of a
sentence. You can use them over as
needed. Some count as a turn, others
do not. Type the command after the
prompt ">" and press the RETURN (or
AGAIN - Ballyhoo will usually respond
as if you had repeated your pre-
vious sentence. Among the cases
where AGAIN will not work is if
you were just talking to another
character. You can abbreviate
AGAIN to G.
BRIEF - This tells Ballyhoo to give you
the full description of a locat-
ion only the first time that you
enter it. On subsequesnt visits
Ballyhoo will tell you only the
name of the location and the ob-
jects present. This is how Bal-
lyhoo will normally act, unless
you tell it otherwise using the
VERBOSE or SUPERBRIEF commands.
DIAGNOSE - Ballyhoo will give you a
medical report of your phys-
INVENTORY - Ballyhoo will list what you
are carrying. You can abbr-
eviate INVENTORY to I.
LOOK - This tells Ballyhoo to describe
your location in full detail. You
cam abbreviate LOOK to L.
OOPS - If you accidentally mistype a
word, such that Ballyhoo doesn't
understand the word, you can cor-
rect yourself on the next line by
typing OOPS and the correct word.
Suppose, for example, you typed
GIVE THE YELLOW BALL TO THE KUGG-
LER and were told "I dont know
the word 'kuggler'." You could
type OOPS JUGGLER rather than
retyping the entire sentence.
QUIT - This lets you stop. If you want
to save you position before quit-
ting, follow the instructions in
the "Starting and Stopping" sect-
ion displayed earlier. You can
abbreviate QUIT to Q.
RESTART - This stops the story and
starts over from the begin-
RESTORE - This restores a position made
using the SAVE command. See
"Stopping and Starting" dis-
SCORE - Ballyhoo will show your current
SCRIPT - This command tells your print-
er to begin making a tran-
script of the story as you
venture onwards. A transcript
may aid your memory but is not
necessary. It will work only
on certain computers; read
your Reference Card for
SUPERBRIEF - This commands Ballyhoo to
display only the name of a
place you have entered,
even if you have never been
there before. In this mode
Ballyhoo will not even men-
tion which objects are pre-
sent. Of course, you can
always get a description of
your location, and the
items there, by typing LOOK
In SUPERBRIEF mode, the
blank line between turns
will be eliminated. This mode is meant for players
who are already familiar
with the geography. Also
see VERBOSE and BRIEF.
UNSCRIPT - This commands your printer
to stop making a transcript.
VERBOSE - This tells Ballyhoo that you
want a complete description of
each location, and the objects
in it, every time you enter a
location, even if you've been
there before. Also see BRIEF
VERSION - Ballyhoo responds by showing
you the release number and the
serial number of your copy of
the story. Please include
this information if you ever
report a "bug" in the story.
WAIT - This will cause time in the
story to pass. Normally, between
turns, nothing happens in the
story. You could leave your com-
puter, take a nap, and return to
the story to find that nothing
has changed. You can use WAIT to
make time pass in the story with-
out doing anything. For example,
you can wait for a specific time,
or wait for an event to happen,
etc. Youcan abbreviate WAIT to Z.
Appendix B - Some Recognized Verbs
This is a partial list of the verbs
that Ballhoo understands. There are
many more. Remember you can use a var-
iety of prepositions with them. For
example, LOOK can become LOOK INSIDE,
LOOK BEHIND, LOOK UNDER, LOOK THROUGH,
LOOK AT, and so on.
Appendix C - Ballyhoo Complaints
Ballyhoo will complain if you type a
sentence that confuses it completely.
Ballyhoo will then ignore the rest of
the input line. (Unusual events, such
as being attacked, may also cause Bally
hoo to ignore the rest of the sentences
you typed, since the event may have
changed your situation drastically.)
Some of Ballyhoo's complaints:
I DON'T KNOW THE WORD "------". The
Word you typed is not in the story's
vocabulary. Sometimes using a synonym
or rephrasing will help. If not, Bally
hoo probably doesn't know the idea you
were trying to get across.
YOU USED THE WORD "------" IN A WAY
THAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Ballyhoo
knows the word you typed, but couldn't
use it in that sense. Usually this is
because Ballyhoo knows the word as a
different part of speech. For example,
if you typed LOWER THE FLAG, you are
using LOWER as a verb, but Ballyhoo
might know LOWER only as an adjective,
as in PRESS THE LOWER BUTTON.
THERE WAS NO VERB IN THAT SENTENCE!
Unless you are answering a question,
each sentence must have a verb (or a
command) in it somewhere.
THERE SEEMS TO BE A NOUN MISSING IN
THAT SENTENCE. This usually means your
sentence was incomplete, such as EAT
THE BLUE or PUT THE BOOK IN THE.
THERE WERE TOO MANY NOUNS IN THAT SEN-
TENCE. An example is PUT THE SOUP IN
THE BOWL WITH THE LADLE, which has
three noun "phrases," one more than
Ballyhoo can digest in a single action.
I BEG YOUR PARDON? You pressed the
RETURN (or ENTER) key without typing
YOU CAN'T SEE ANY ------ HERE! The ob-
ject you reffered to was not accessible
to you. It may be somewhere else, in-
side a closed container, and so on.
THE OTHER OBJECT(S) THAT YOU MENTIONED
ISN'T (AREN'T) HERE. You reffered to
one or more objecbts at the same sen-
tence, some of which aren't present or
YOU CAN'T USE MULTIPLE (IN)DIRECT OB-
JECTS WITH "------". You can use mul-
tiple objects (that is, nouns of noun
phrases separated by AND or a comma) or
the word ALL only with certain verbs.
Among the moew useful of these verbs
are TAKE, DROP, and, PUT. An example
of a verb that will not work with mul-
tiple objects is EXAMINE; you couldn't
say EXAMINE ALL or EXAMINE THE BOWL AND
YOU CAN'T GO THAT WAY. There is no
passage or exit in the direction you
want to move.
THAT SENTENCE ISN'T ONE I RECOGNIZE.
The sentence you typed may have been
gibberish, such as TAKE ROPE WITH READ.
Or, you may have typed a reasonable
sentence but used a syntax that Bally-
hoo does not recognize, such as WAVE
OVER THE MOUNTAIN. Try rephrashing the
Appendix D - About the Author
Jeff O'Neill is a computer school
dropout from Whittier, California.
After graduating in 1982 from Calif-
ornia State University, Los Angeles, he
worked in journalism and for a while
dabbled in computer science at a local
community college. In the spring of
1984 he did the equivalent of running
away with the circus by moving to Mass-
achusetts to become a game tester for
Infocom. Through diligence and hard
work he finally came to fulfill the ty-
pical American boyhood dream--to get
paid for writing interactive fiction.
Ballyhoo is his first Infocom Story.
Thats it moes.. Call:
The Motherboard Elite - 516/333-7165