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Company Infocom, Inc
Distributor Infocom, Inc
Production team Design: Jeff O'Neill
Year 1985
Packaging Cardboard box with folding lid 19.00 × 22.80 × 2.50
Compatibility PCW 8256 - PCW 8512 - PCW 9512
Peripherals Keyboard
Loading CP/M+
Gender Conversational
Language English
Price England: £24,95
State preserved



From Infocom comes this conversational adventure game, an authentic interactive fiction in which we must help a circus employee to recover the owner's daughter who has been kidnapped.

The whole adventure happens around the circus when our character decides to attend a show by Tomas Munrab (owner of the circus, whose name backwards is “Barnum”) in which our character, after reaching the back of the tent in one of the dingy Corners stimulated by natural curiosity, he discovers after listening to a strange conversation that the daughter of the circus owner has been kidnapped, and this too naive or stupid decides to hire a drunk and inept detective to find his daughter Chelsea, surely thinking that his employees they were loyal and would never betray him as he was blindly loyal to his artists. Our character, eager for a bit of glory, decides to investigate himself and has to rescue the damsel in distress, proving that dreams can turn into nightmares and that life in the circus is not so glamorous. The odds of finding her are not in our favor since as a bystander or outsider we find ourselves in a very tight-knit community on the defensive and trying to find a girl we have never seen, and in a place where nothing is known among strangers. They don't want to have a deal with us, where some would call us brave and others would treat us as fools.

This adventure turns out to be fortunate since the search takes us on a journey through the life of the circus, although it is very dangerous. On this trip we will meet trapeze artists, clowns, wild animals, magicians and other circus elements.

As we begin to investigate the kidnapping, it soon becomes apparent that the circus workers do not appreciate the intrusion and their reactions range from indifference to attempted murder hostility. The daughter could be hiding somewhere on the circus grounds and one of the performers could be her abductor. In order to unravel the mystery, we will participate in a series of actions that seem taken from a dream, such as dressing up as a clown, walking a tightrope, tame lions, etc. Beyond the sequins lies a sordid world of deception and crime. As the night progresses, we realize that we are in continuous danger as the kidnapped daughter, the kidnapper stalks us in the same lot.

The game takes place entirely in a circus, the plot of which is very confusing and quite difficult to follow, ending with a rather silly and unnecessary plot twist, the ending of which we think is exciting and a real disappointment. A true game with a mysterious and interesting story but it is certainly not the best of Infocom.

Most of the Infocom games contained “feelies”, additional articles related to the game. Ballyhoo contains the following: a time-forgotten traveling circus official program, which describes each of the featured events, a circus ticket, a printed balloon with the circus name and logo, and a business card from the “Doctor Nostrum” concoction, a fictional proprietary medicine hailed as a miracle cure containing 19% alcohol.

Ballyhoo was labeled as a game with standard difficulty. Infocom reported that the game package came without adequate information to complete it, the last page of the program was omitted. This page was an advertisement for a classical music radio station that at one point in the game, the player had to tune in to the radio frequency that appeared in the advertisement (AM 1170) in order to proceed. This information is vital on two occasions; once in the middle of the game, and again at the end of the game. But if you are able to get past these technical problems, you will find a small but quite nice game. There are several characters in it and well developed and it is worth spending time with.


In the following images you can check the original packaging.


  • Original cover

Here you have the front of the original cover.

  • Retouched cover

Its measurements are: Height 22.80 x Length 19.00 cm.


Below is the English manual. Its measurements are: Height 22.60 cm x length 18.30 cm.


Original disc supplied with Ballyhoo.


Custom labels to print them. Over the years due to their use, the labels are spoiled and lose their color and quality. Now we try to adapt the closest thing to the best of our abilities, the labels so that they can be printed and replaced or for those who work with a copy of the program and preserve the original disk. Measure in 3 “high: 7.00 cm - width: 7.10 cm. The first image corresponds to the original label of the game, the second is the same label modified to be able to replace the broken one and the third and fourth image is for the 3.5 “discs.




Game map to make the movement of troops easier and know where we are at all times.


Below you can find the solution to the game.


Here you will be able to see and download in the “manual download” area, the extras that come with the Ballyhoo game.

ballyhoo_extra_1.jpg ballyhoo_extra_2.jpg ballyhoo_extra_3.jpg ballyhoo_extra_4.jpg ballyhoo_extra_5.jpg ballyhoo_extra_6.jpg
ballyhoo_extra_7.jpg ballyhoo_extra_8.jpg ballyhoo_extra_9.jpg ballyhoo_extra_10.jpg ballyhoo_extra_11.jpg ballyhoo_extra_12.jpg



The disk images, obtained from the original version of Ballyhoo, have been recorded and verified.

  • Ballyhoo (Compressed .DSK file in ZIP format)


Below you can download the manual and extras for the Ballyhoo game or view it online.



en/juegos/ballyhoo.txt · Last modified: 2021/02/24 15:37 by jevicac