RELIGIOUS FRINGE HAS OWN IDEAS ABOUT INFOCOM By Steve Meretzky, in +quot;The Status Line,+

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RELIGIOUS FRINGE HAS OWN IDEAS ABOUT INFOCOM By Steve Meretzky, in "The Status Line," Winter/Spring 1987, p. 8. Pat Robertson isn't president yet, but that hasn't stopped a lot of religious fringe types from crawling out of the woodwork lately. At least Infocom's woodwork, lately. For years, we've been receiving occasional letters from ladies and gentlemen around the country who insist that our Zork and Enchanter games are evil because they deal with magic. The use of magic, even in fiction, apparently promotes all sorts of nasty things, such as devil worship or forgetting to send money to Jimmy Swaggart. The recent wave of activity began a bit more than a year ago, with a letter from a woman in California who wanted a full refund for Zork I. "I had no idea when I bought it that it was dealing with demonistic realms ... I was appalled that my ten year old son was being influenced in this way ... What kind of perversions are you trying to promote in youngsters?" Shortly after that, a Cape Cod woman, a self-described "kamikaze for Jesus," discovered the Zork decision novel that her son had purchased as a school book fair. She immediately recognized the book for what it was, a dangerous promoter of violence and demonic worship, and attempted to have it banned from the school library. You MUST have seen our advertisement for The Enchanter Trilogy (which depicts a wizard stirring a bubbling cauldron of purple smoke). Because it was so eye- catching that a whole slew of religious zealots discovered that Infocom was actually the Great Satan. For example, one letter carrier dropped us a note to say that he was refusing to deliver any copies of Boy's Life which ran this ad. Another person sent in a copy of the ad with all the offending phrases circled: "magic" and "spells" and "powers" and "sorceror" and "Circle of Enchanters"--not to mention "thrilling proportions," which must surely have spilled directly from the mouth of Lucifer himself. Written in the corner of the ad: "No thanks! The world has got enough evil in it! We don't need made up evil from FOOLS like you!" The person also wrote "Jesus (heart's) [sic] you!" across the Sorceror package, obviously mistaking it for a car bumper. Most recently comes this letter from Ocean Grove, New Jersey, hardly the heart of the Bible Belt: "I was looking through a mag. [sic] I saw your ad. I hope you are with plain tricks and not magic. Just what infocom [sic] means I dont [sic] know -- I hope the U.S. gets back to the faith of our Fathers. [sic] Amen." Enclosed with this note were several pamphlets and articles, most annotated with scribblings like "Never take no 666 it is the number of the antichrist -- it leads to everlasting fire." In a new twist, Infocom's godless magic was linked to godless Communism: "Deals with the Communist are woe woe woe woe" was scrawled on the pamphlet entitled "The Communist Plan for the Conquest of the U.S.A." That brings you completely up-to-date on our contacts with the hard-core religious right. But then again, can you trust any information coming from well-known Satanic cultists like us? Finally, if anyone who thinks the Wishbringer erodes the moral fabric of America is actually reading this, we have a message for you: Keep those letters coming! They're really entertaining! Write to: Infocom Inc. 125 CambridgePark Drive Cambridge, MA 02140 Attn: Frothing Nutcake Dept.


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