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What one Twitter bot giveth, another taketh away

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Andrew Vestal, one half of the website Gaming Intelligence Agency, created the Twitter bot @YouAreCarrying last month to inject a dose of 1980s nostalgia into the Twitter feeds of gamers everywhere. Simply send the account the word "inventory" or the letter "i" and receive a list of the imaginary items in your imaginary inventory.

The bot boasts the entire list of objects available in every Infocom game, among others.

Shortly after that account went live, out of the shadows crept @_The_Thief.

"_The_Thief" follows users who have recently requested an inventory of their items and skulks out of the shadows to nab one. The account is the work of Mark Sample, a professor at Davidson College in North Carolina.

This nefarious character went unnoticed by Polygon staff until now, due in part to his masterful tradecraft. Additionally, they seem to only steal from a small subset of those who follow "YouAreCarrying," and has about one tenth the total tweets.

No word yet on when a "grue" bot will be created, nor whether it will have the ability to sense when you've entered a dark room and devour you.

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