Infocom; Nnansi?


I just downloaded Ballyhoo. When I unzipped it, there was an file called Nnansi in there. It says it’s a DOS-executable but I can’t get it to run on DOSBox. Out of curiosity I checked some other Infocom zipped files and they all contain this Nnansi file.

Anyone have any idea what it is?

(I was secretly hoping for a bonus game about Anansi the Spider.)

I’ve not actually checked to be sure, but this is almost certainly an updated version of the ansi.sys MS-DOS device driver, which provides a way for programs to perform various console operations via special character sequences, see

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From what the wikipedia page says, your idea seems very likely. Thanks.

This page gives a bit more info, for those curiuos:

Way to dash my hopes that there was a secret Infocom Anansi game (of course a stealth game about a trickster god wouldn’t be so straightforward as to spell the name right).


Do you (or anyone else here) know of a game about a trickster god or demi-god or folk-hero? Loki comes to mind, Oddyseus, The Raven from native american mythology, Hanuman,Reynaert the Fox,…

Any of those or the many other tricksters?

Among parser games, the closest I can recall are mischievous fairy games:

Molly and the Butter Thieves
(short but high-quality parser)

The Warbler’s Nest
(same but much darker and more realistic)

And in twine:

Beware The Faerie Food You Eat
(short twine)

Eidolon (long and epic dark fairy twine)

Get Lost! (medium twine)

Also, I’ve played quite a few of those recently from Choice of games. One things I’ve noticed is that there are tons of titles from them about being a hero for gods where you have to decide whether to serve them, destroy them, or take over, and a lot of them have trickster gods:

Good chance you might like:

Fox Spirit: A Two-Tailed Adventure (you’re a fox spirit that can take human shape, and trickery is one path)

An Odyssey: Echoes of War (has Odysseus, like you mentioned, but focuses more on being charismatic or strong than tricking)

Champion of the Gods (I believe your main enemy is a trickster God, and you can choose deception as one of your own main traits)

Saga of the North Wind (ditto, but more Russian and less greek than last one)

A Midsummer Night’s Choice (dealing with elves like Titania can be troublesome)

Avatar Of The Wolf You’re the avatar of a recently dead God and get to choose what you’d like to be in the future. One path is Eel, a trickster deity.

Less likely but possible matches

Chronicon Apocalyptica (A hard game, kind of like medieval monks vs evil trickster elves)

Weyrwood (most of the game is about making deals with the devil(s), or with tree spirits)

In the Service of Mrs. Claus (this is my game and honestly I think it needs a lot of work, and outside of Christmas you probably won’t enjoy this, and I’m working on a major update, but you can marry and/or kill Loki, or a shapechanging elf version of Loki, in this)

Demon Mark: A Russian Saga Not my favorite game, and first part is geared towards kids, but you basically rescue your sibling from Baba Yaga.


Wow. You really have encyclopedic knowledge of the IF database. Thanks for sharing. Molly and the Butter Thieves is great, I enjoyed that one very much, so I’ll certainly give Warbler’s Nest a try.

It’s a bit strange that trickster gods/heroes are not a big subgenre of IF. It seems they would fit the puzzle-nature of the medium perfectly.


Come to think of it, J.J. Guest’s (and your) The Magpie is quite the good-humoured and deceiving trickster anti-hero, isn’t he?

I find it exceedingly interesting that so many of the original heroes were cunning and deceptive thieves. The art of misdirection must have been held in high esteem. Still now it is admired as much as it is frowned upon (see every heist movie or game ever made.)

Thé first hero and champion of humanity, Prometheus, brought fire, and with it reason, creativity and insight to the humans through theft. He defied the gods and broke the universe’s laws for it.
In Norse tradition, it was the trickster Loki who breathed ingenuity and humour into the zombie-like humans Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve, had made.