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Infocom, Inc.

Overview

Developer and publisher of interactive fiction ("text adventure") games in the early 1980s; purchased by Activision in 1987.

From the Interactive Fiction FAQ:

[Thanks to Dave Lebling (Infocom co-founder) for the definitive info on this]

Infocom never went out of business. It went deeply into debt to develop a database product (named Cornerstone) that was a commercial flop. It went shopping for a merger and found Activision, which later changed its name to Mediagenic. What did happen is that in May of 1989 Mediagenic closed down the "real" Infocom in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and laid (almost) everyone off. All the releases up through Zork Zero, Shogun, Journey, and Arthur were developed in Cambridge.

Mediagenic licensed the UK rights to the games to Virgin Mastertronic about two years ago.

Mediagenic went nearly bankrupt, was taken over by outside investors, and taken through a so-called "pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy" in January, 1992. As part of that process, they changed their name back to Activision, moved from Silicon Valley down to LA, and recently merged with a company owned by the investors (called The Disc Company). Activision continues to release new products under the Infocom label, including collections of Infocom's text adventures. Their graphical CDROM adventures have been greeted with dour grunts on rec.*.int-fiction, but the games seem to be improving in quality with every new release.

Trivia

Infocom was a runner-up in the "Best Programmer's 87" award category of German gaming magazine Power Play.

Related Web Sites

  • Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc. (The complete story of Infocom, from its beginnings to its demise. From MIT.)
  • Elsewhere.org (This site contains scans of boxes and manuals for Infocom games. It also mirrors or contains links to other Infocom sites. Finally it gives directions to the author's telnet site, where users may play the games online.)
  • Infocom Info Site (Everything you'd ever want to know about Infocom on one site. Historical timelines for company and games; information on all games with faqs, patch links, downloads; reprints of articles and so much more.)
  • Infocom on the Commodore 64 (The complete Infocom collection for the Commodore 64, each title listed with introduction, images, related links and comments area.)
  • Infocom - The Master Storytellers (Provides company history, game descriptions, downloads, buying guide, author biographies, and more.)
  • PRIZM (This page has Z-Machine versions of InvisiClues.)
  • The Encyclopedia Frobozzica (This online encyclopedia is a reference of the names and faces you'll find in the Zork series. You can also download it in Acrobat format.)
  • The Infocom Gallery (If you're looking for high-quality scans of Infocom covers and props, this is the place to go. You can also find scans for lesser known release versions, too. There is a mirror up at http://www.fortunecity.de/wolkenkratzer/mond/236/index.html.)
  • The Unofficial Infocom Page (This site is the starting point for just about all of your Infocom informational needs. They've got game information, articles, and links for just about everything that's Infocom.)
  • Wikipedia (The Infocom article on Wikipedia.)


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