In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Infocom, Inc.

Moby ID: 22

Overview edit · view history

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.

Credited on 67 Games from 1980 to 2012

Displaying most recent · View all

Lost Treasures of Infocom (2012 on iPhone, iPad)
Zork Classics: Interactive Fiction (2000 on Windows)
Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces (1996 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Adventure Collection (1995 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Comedy Collection (1995 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Fantasy Collection (1995 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Mystery Collection (1995 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Sci-Fi Collection (1995 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Zork Anthology (1994 on DOS, Windows, Macintosh)
Enchanter: Wakaki Madōshi no Shiren (1993 on PC-98)
Simon the Sorcerer (1993 on DOS, Windows, Amiga...)
Leather Goddesses of Phobos! 2: Gas Pump Girls Meet the Pulsating Inconvenience from Planet X (1992 on DOS)
The Lost Treasures of Infocom II (1992 on DOS, Macintosh)
The Lost Treasures of Infocom (1991 on DOS, Amiga, Apple IIgs...)
BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge (1990 on DOS)
Circuit's Edge (1990 on DOS)
Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur (1989 on DOS, Amiga, Apple II...)
James Clavell's Shōgun (1989 on DOS, Amiga, Apple II...)
Journey: The Quest Begins (1989 on DOS, Amiga, Apple II...)
Zork Zero: The Revenge of Megaboz (1989 on DOS, Amiga, Apple II...)

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History +

1989

Activision shuts down the division.

1987

Infocom was purchased by Activision.

June 22, 1979

Infocom officially founded by Tim Anderson, Joel Berez, Marc Blank, Mike Broos, Scott Cutler, Stu Galley, Dave Lebling, J. C. R. Licklider, Chris Reeve and Al Vezza.

Trivia +

The number 69,105 was often used as an in-joke in their games.

Interpreters for Z-code and its descendants have been developed for every conceivable platform, including mobile and web apps. Some of the most popular are Gargoyle, Spatterlight, and Frotz (named for a spell used in the Enchanter series).

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

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Related Web Sites +

  • 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.
  • 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 <moby game="Zork">Zork</moby> series. You can also download it in Acrobat format.
  • 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 - The Master Storytellers
    Provides company history, game descriptions, downloads, buying guide, author biographies, and more.
  • 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.
  • Wikipedia
    The Infocom article on Wikipedia.
  • 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.
  • 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 Project
    High quality scans of game boxes and contents.
  • The Master Storytellers did (Info-)Comics (and nobody took notice)
    article about the genesis and fate of the Infocomics project, including interviews with many of the people involved

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