For many years, I was under the impression that the correct way of stylizing the name of the game Curses was Curses! (with an exclamation point). Others also seem to have this impression, given its frequent appearance in reviews.
However, this stylization never actually appears in the game, or (as far as I can tell) in anything Graham has ever written about the game. So where did it come from?
I know I got it from the IFDB page. It was created as Curses! in 2007 as part of the initial upload, which I think was automated from Baf’s guide. It was changed in 2021 by Autymn Castleton.
I just looked back through the rec.games.int-fiction archives, and the earliest posts don’t seem to mention it, although I some some exclamation marks along the way.
It’s written as “Curses!” in the 2002 timeline by Stephen Granade.
The mystery deepens…
Brian is correct that Curses! seems to have been the stylization on Baf’s Guide since at least 1999, the earliest archive I could find. That’s probably where I got it from (or else IFDB). But where did Carl Muckenhoupt get this from?
The first time the stylization Curses! definitively appears on r*if (barring a few posts where the exclamation seems grammatical) is in a post from May 1, 1994:
The stylization Curses! appears sporadically thereafter, but is significantly outweighed by Curses. The usage of Curses! picks up a bit after 1998ish into the 2000s, I’m guessing due to the influence of Baf’s Guide. But Preston’s post predates Baf’s Guide. Lest we think that he was getting this notion from the ifarchive listing itself (formerly ftp.gmd.de), the earliest copies of the ifarchive I can find (this long-defunct mirror from Dec 1996) do not use the Curses! stylization.
In Graham’s 1994 Acorn User magazine article (the game also appeared on the cover of that August issue) it is clearly consistently referred to as just Curses.
I misread it as Curses! for a long time before realising that it wasn’t actually spelled that way in the game or the IFDB page. I suppose I took the title to be an exclamation: “oh, curses!”