The New Zork Times/The Status Line

Infocom's Quarterly Newsletter

In 1982, the Zork User's Group began irregularly publishing a newsletter featuring Infocom news and product announcements, together with puzzles, contests, cartoons, and a healthy dose of patented Implementor humor. ZUG published four issues before Infocom took over, turning it into a regular quarterly publication sent free to all registered users of Infocom products. Publication ceased in 1989.

In 1986, following a threatening (there's another kind?) legal letter from a similarly-named east coast newspaper, the New Zork Times was forced to change its name. Thus was born The Status Line, which continued for another three years. In 1989 it was announced that The Status Line would be retired in favor of a new publication, called either Escape or ZQ (Zork Quarterly?). But, though TSL publication ceased, no new publication was forthcoming.

In all, twenty four issues of NZT/TSL were published, four by ZUG, and twenty by Infocom. At its height, it had a circulation of over 200,000. Today, it is nearly as sought-after a collector's item as are the games themselves.


1982


The New Zork Times, first issue (no volume number).
   Announces Deadline, support for Atari, NEC, IBM, PDP-11, CP/M. InvisiClues for Zork I.

The New Zork Times, Vol. II No. 1 - Fall.
   Announces Zork III, Starcross, support for the NEC APC.


1983


The New Zork Times, Vol. III No. 1 - Spring.
   Announces Suspended, support for Commodore 64. Pre-announcing Witness.

The New Zork Times, Vol. II No. Infinity - Summer
   Final ZUG issue -- ZUG shuts down. Announcing Witness, support for TI Professional. InvisiClues for Deadline.

The New Zork Times, Vol. II No. Infinity - Bonus Material
   Not from the issue. Scans of items mentioned in the final ZUG issue, including Zork II poster, Zork I & II maps, ZUG buttons.


1984


The New Zork Times, Vol. 3 No. 1 - Winter - "International Edition"
   Announces Sorcerer, maps and InvisiClues for "all ten of Infocom's products", support for Kaypro II (CP/M), MS-DOS 2.0, TI 99/4A. Article: "A Zork by Any Other Name".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 3 No. 2 - Spring - "International Edition"
   Announces Seastalker, support for Macintosh, HP 150, CoCo. Article: "Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 3 No. 3 - Summer - "Intergallactic[sic] Edition"
   Announces Cutthroats, greyboxes, first Zork sampler. Article: "How the Witness Came to Be".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 3 No. 4 - Fall - "Intercosmic Edition"
   Announces Suspect, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Dave Lebling article: "They're Never Satisfied".


1985


The New Zork Times, Vol. 4 No. 1 - Winter - "Inter-Atomic Edition"
   Announces Cornerstone. Articles: "The Shrinkwrapped Falcon", "The History of Zork".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 4 No. 2 - Spring - "Intermolecular Edition"
   Announces Wishbringer. Articles: "The History of Zork (Part 2)", "Music from the Great Underground Empire". Interview: "Sasha Blunderbrass: Prima Virtuosa".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 4 No. 2[sic] - Summer - "Interferon Edition"
   Announces AMFV, Fooblitzky. Article: "The History of Zork (Final?)".

The New Zork Times, Vol. 4 No. 4 - Fall - "Interfluvial Edition"
   Announces Spellbreaker.


1986


The New Zork Times, Vol. V No. 1 - Winter - "Interzooecial Edition"
   Announces Ballyhoo! Article: "Humor Liberation Front Disrupts Meeting". User-contributed cartoons.

* * * *, Vol. V No. 2 - Spring - "Intervernal Edition"
   Nameless edition. Announces Trinity, Activision acquisition, Cornerstone price reduction. More user-contributed cartoons. Article: Brian Moriarty's "How I Spent My Summer Vacation".

The Status Line, Vol. V No. 3 - Summer - "Lawsuit Edition"
   Announces Moonmist, Leather Goddesses.

The Status Line, Vol. V No. 4 - Fall - "Glamor Edition"
   Announces Hollywood Hijinx, Enchanter Trilogy.


1987


The Status Line, Vol. VI No. 1 - Winter/Spring
   Announces Bureaucracy, Zork Trilogy with Zorkmid coin. Article: "Religious Fringe Has Own Ideas About Infocom".

The Status Line, Vol. VI No. 2 - Summer
   Announces The Lurking Horror and Stationfall.

The Status Line, Vol. VI No. 3 - Fall
   Announces Plundered Hearts, Nord and Bert, Four-in-One Sampler. Artcles: Steve Meretzky's "Upper Sandusky", "Hawaiian Shirts and Boys of Summer".

The Status Line, Vol. VI No. 4 - Winter
   Announces Beyond Zork, Border Zone.

The Status Line, Vol. VI No. 4 - Winter - Bonus VisiClues
   The decoded InvisiClues from page 11 of Vol. 5, No. 5.




1988


The Status Line, Vol. VII No. 1 - Winter/Spring
   Announces InfoComics.

The Status Line, Vol. VII No. 2 - Summer
   Announces ZorkQuest II. Article: "InfoComics: New approach to entertainment".

The Status Line, V ol. VII No. 3 - Fall
   Announces Battletech, Zork Zero, Quarterstaff. End-of-lifes The Status Line, announces Escape.

The Status Line, Vol. VII No. 3 - Bonus VisiClues
   Contains the decoded VisiClues from Vol. VII No. 3, page 6.



1989


The Status Line, Vol. VIII No. 1 - Spring
   Announces Shogun, Journey, Arthur. End-of-lifes TSL (again!), announces ZQ.


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