The Short, Happy Life of Infocom
July 28, 2006 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Remember Infocom? What makes a small, beloved, and wildly successful developer of interactive fiction decide to sideline the games and venture into building database software instead? While the knowledge that they were bought out and shuttered is pretty common, it isn't until relatively recently that all the details have come to light.
posted by ewagoner (19 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
As someone who spent far too much time playing Infocom games back in the day, I found this post very interesting, and thus rescued it from deletion.
posted by ewagoner at 7:56 AM on July 28, 2006

Thanks, ewagoner.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:57 AM on July 28, 2006

Yeah, I'll resurrect my comment too: I love this kind of case study story. Thanks!
posted by GuyZero at 7:58 AM on July 28, 2006

yeah, it was a pretty awesome post, even if it was a (2d) example of blatant self-linking
posted by das_2099 at 7:59 AM on July 28, 2006

if you feel like you're missing some of your favorite games (nord and bert! bureaucracy!) not listed in that online archive, try going to home of the underdogs. they really have everything, even links to all of the manuals and package contents. plus, you know, free.
posted by timory at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2006 [2 favorites]

Thanks for that link, Timory. Brings back memories of struggling to get a babblefish or the surprise twist in A Mind Forever Voyaging on my old C64.
posted by crunchland at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2006

Good god the Escapist needs to redesign their articles. How is anybody supposed to read that? I can't even bump the font size up, because the navbar floats over the text. The only way I can read anything is by disabling CSS, which has the handy side-effect of making the article navigation (as everything is inexplicably split over several pages) practically invisible.

Sorry for the (minor?) derail, but their site irks me no end. The writing is really good, and I'd happily be a regular visitor - if I could read the sodding thing.
posted by influx at 10:59 AM on July 28, 2006

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by Metafilter.
posted by Pendragon at 11:31 AM on July 28, 2006

InfoCom databases: your data is likely to be eaten by a Grue.
posted by GreenTentacle at 11:49 AM on July 28, 2006

I'm sure I've mentioned this before in one of the other Infocom threads, but Underdogs has an old link to the package scans. The current (CoralCDN) location of the Infocom package gallery is here. (Self-links are ok in comments, right?)
posted by hades at 12:08 PM on July 28, 2006

The gamer in me wants to scoff at them for putting business ahead of games in their hearts. But I think they had the timing right to get out.

And yes the Escapist layout is fucking annoying.
posted by fleacircus at 12:44 PM on July 28, 2006

The story here
is readable without flipping thru countless webpages with 'helpful' graphics.
posted by Twang at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2006

They had to go and include the Floyd excerpt and start me blubbering...
posted by LeeJay at 2:46 PM on July 28, 2006

Interesting read. Is it just me, or did anyone else get an apple-ish feeling from their old ads?
posted by minimal at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2006

about a year ago, i got a treo 650, and i started looking for alternatives to versamail (the built-in email program.)

i was very surprised to find that marc blank is now self-employed and writing the email client called 'chatter' for the treo. of course being a zork fan from way back in the day i had to buy chatter.

hes a pretty nice guy and answers everyone's technical questions personally on his forum.
posted by joeblough at 4:18 PM on July 28, 2006

See that toolbar down near the bottom of The Escapist? See that magic word "text"? Click on that to get a much more readable version of the article.

Because yes, the Escapist's magazine style layout sucks, but they have provided an alternative.
posted by davros42 at 4:51 PM on July 28, 2006

I hated it when Infocom went dark.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 12:23 PM on July 29, 2006

The first game I ever bought was an Infocom text adventure game for the Osborne I (tan case). (I guess "Osborne I" and "text" are redundant, huh?)
posted by davcoo at 5:51 PM on July 29, 2006

See that toolbar down near the bottom of The Escapist? See that magic word "text"? Click on that to get a much more readable version of the article.

Oh, one of those greyed-out looking hard to read things off screen down and to the right? Yeah, except I want the art; I just don't want the layout.
posted by fleacircus at 2:19 AM on August 1, 2006

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