Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Originally posted by ezekiel000
A few additional notes. While I don't know why, there was a book in the original Zork (and later Zork I) that read:
Oh ye who go about saying unto each: "Hello sailor":
Dost thou know the magnitude of thy sin before the gods?
Yea, verily, thou shalt be ground between two stones.
Shall the angry gods cast thy body into the whirlpool?
Surely, thy eye shall be put out with a sharp stick!
Even unto the ends of the earth shalt thou wander and
Unto the land of the dead shalt thou be sent at last.
Surely thou shalt repent of thy cunning."
Your guess is as good as mine as to what this is supposed to mean. It may just have been the most elaborate version of a running joke, because the phrase "Hello, <something>" did appear in other places ("Hello, Intruder!", "Hello, footpad!", "Hello, Aviator!", ...) It has also been pointed out that the first letter of each line form the word ODYSSEUS. Saying that name is one way of dealing with a cyclops you encounter in another part of the game. (In some sense it's the best solution, because the cyclops will flee straight through a rock wall, providing you with an alternative exit from the maze area of the game. But there is another, more logical, solution that just puts him to sleep.)
In the original Zork, you had to pass a short quiz to reach the endgame. One of the questions was "In which room is 'Hello, Sailor!' useful?" The correct answer was that it wasn't useful anywhere. Though later, they did add this to Zork III:
Passing alongside the shore now is an old boat, reminiscent of an ancient Viking ship. Standing on the prow of the ship is an old and crusty sailor, peering out over the misty ocean.
The seaman looks up and maneuvers the boat towards the shore. He cries out "I have waited three ages for someone to say those words and save me from sailing this endless ocean. Please accept my gift. You may find it useful!" He throws something which falls near you in the sand, then sails off toward the west, singing a lively, but somewhat uncouth, sailor song.
It was quite easy to miss this encounter, and as far as I remember there was no other mention of "hello sailor" within the game. Fortunately, all it did was to provide an alternative (and much easier) solution for a later puzzle.