Comes from the Old English verb for "shudder" (presumably the origin
of the modern word
"gruesome" as well; literally "shudder-some"). Grues are creepy, sinister
creatures from the Zork
series, the oldest and most influential
of the old text-based
adventure games. They're hardly ever seen
because they despise
light and only emerge
of complete darkness, where they prey upon adventurers
and enchanters. Easily pissed
off and vicious, they're repelled by even the faintest glow of light; meaning that
a simple torch can be enough to keep the grues at bay. They're mysterious; short of their
glaring eyes and sharp
fangs-and-teeth, nobody knows what grues look like, exactly. They're known for their
constant slaving and gurgling, and especially their
In the game's feedback display itself, the grues were often a warning that
a user should start looking for a light source... badly. "You have entered a dark area. You will likely
by a grue" was a common description in the Zork adventure games; adventurers
going underground would be wise to bring a good supply of oil for a lantern. Once the lights go out, the grues swarm all over you (ripping you apart before the game gives you a death message, like "Grues eat well tonight"). Infocom
description of the "grue" (notice the lack of plural; it was unclear in the earlier Zork instalments whether there was only
*one* grue, lurking as a sinister
presence in the underground's darkness... or more
then one) is:
"The grue, according to scholars of the Great Underground Empire, is a sinister
, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favourite diet is either adventurers or enchanters, but its insatiable
appetite is tempered by its extreme fear of light. No grues have
ever been seen by the light of day, and only
a few have
in their underground lairs. Of those who have
, few have
survived their fearsome jaws to tell the tale. Grues have sharp
claws and fangs, and an uncontrollable tendency to slaver and gurgle. They
are certainly the most evil-tempered of all creatures; to say they
are touchy is a dangerous understatement. "Sour as a grue" is a common expression, even among themselves."
Text-screen: "You have entered the crypt. A hallway slopes downwards before you, leading into
#1 (types in): "head downwards"
Screen: "You walk into
the darkness. You will likely surely be eaten by a grue if you don't find a light source."
#2 (talking to first user
): "Dude, you're gonna get eaten by grues..."
#1: "Don't worry, I brought a lantern." *types in* "take out lantern*
Screen: "You left the crypt door open. A draft blows through, putting
out your lantern."
#1: "Oh shits, I knew I should've brought a hooded lantern."
#2: "Quick, light it again!"
#1: "Can't, man. No oil or matches
Screen: "Another wind picks up and closes the crypt's door, blocking out the moonlight."
#1: "Oh man, no matches
or anything...? We are *so* fucked..."
Screen: "It's nice
and dark in here. Just the way the grues like it..." *screen goes black, followed
by nasty growling sounds*
#1: "Son-of-a-bitch... remind me to stick a rock in the door to keep it from blowing shut next time."