Love for the Infocom Testers & Debuggers

The recent fun with Hypochondriac/ZOK and Tom Bok got me thinking. We probably don’t show a lot of love for the original Infocom Testers and Debuggers. Or do we? Are they listed somewhere? I may be missing it (likely)…

Maybe we should list them somewhere? (Assuming they want to be, I hasten to add)



Here’s everything I could find out about testers in stuff published by Infocom.

Game manuals refer to several Imps as former testers: Steve Meretzky, Jeff O’Neill, “Hollywood” Dave Anderson, and Amy Briggs.

The Wishbringer InvisiClues credit the following testers: “Hollywood” Dave Anderson, Joanne Avtges, Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Mark “Max” Buxton, Liz Cyr-Jones, Suzanne Frank, and Jeff O’Neill, “plus dozens of beta- and gamma-testers too numerous to list.”

If you pull up the credits in Trinity, using either of the commands ASK WOMAN ABOUT TRINITY or $CREDITS, the first line credits the following under “Testing”: Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Suzanne Frank, Max Buxton, and Liz Cyr-Jones.

The Leather Goddesses of Phobos InvisiClues says this under “Acknowledgements”: Testing: The primary testers for Leather Goddesses of Phobos were Tom Bok, Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Max Buxton, Liz Cyr-Jones, Suzanne Frank, and Matt Hillman. In addition, dozens of outside testers deserve praise for their help.

The New Zork Times/The Status Line includes quite a few mentions of these testers, including such facts as that Tom Bok was the son of the president of Harvard, and that Gary Brennan had formerly cared for sponges at MIT.

Also, Chip Hayes posted on RGIF back in 2001 that he had been one of the outside testers. He provided patch files for the Gamma versions of Trinity, LGOP, and Hollywood Hijinx, which are in the archive.

There were more than 50 other outside testers, but information on them has not been made public.


Mike Dornbrook, Meretzky’s roommate, was the first tester for infocom. He left to start his career and Meretzky took over on Deadline.(source: Steve Meretzky himself :wink: )

Dornbrook also ran the hints line, and later started a company producing the first professional hint books (the Zork Users Group)


I just found two more that I had missed:

The Moonmist InvisiClues includes the following: The authors thank the Moonmist testers at Infocom: Tomas Bok, Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Max Buxton, Liz Cyr-Jones, Suzanne Frank, and Matt Hillman. Numerous “outside” testers also gave us their valuable input.

In Arthur, if you issue the CREDITS command, you see the following under TESTERS: Adam Levesque, Amy Briggs, Avril Korman, Byron Goulding, Duncan Blanchard, Elizabeth Langosy, Jacob Galley, James Bates, Joe Prosser, Liz Cyr-Jones, Patti Pizer, Peggy L. Bates, Richard Bates, Shaun Kelly, Steve Watkins, Stuart Kirsch

I recall that Prosser and Watkin are two more of the randomly-assigned names/words in Beyond Zork (in addition to Bok, which I already pointed out), and of course CYR is the important magic word in Arthur. You get an Easter egg for the command CYR JONES.

1 Like

And three more:

The CREDITS command in Zork Zero gets you the following:

Kurt Boutin Gary Brennan Amy Briggs
Liz Cyr-Jones Craig Fields Jacob Galley
Adam Glass Tyler Gore Matt Hillman
Shaun Kelly Adam Levesque Patti Pizer
Joe Prosser Steve Watkins

CREDITS in Shogun says: Quality control by Patti Pizer, Shaun Kelly,
Steve Watkins, Adam Levesque, Christian Anthony,
Liz Jones, Adam Glass, and many others

And it was not published, but the source code for AMFV includes a commented-out credits message with the following: As a former playtester, I can say with authority that the testing of A Mind Forever Voyaging was superb. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who tested, especially Amy Briggs, Gary Brennan, Tomas Bok, Max Buxton, and Suzanne Frank.

1 Like