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Author Topic: A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities  (Read 1708 times)

Deozaan

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A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities
« on: November 24, 2015, 03:58:32 PM »
If you’re coming into this relatively new, or even if you need a little brush-up, let me state: Steve Meretzky has earned the title of “Game God” several times over, having been at the center of the early zenith of computer games in the 1980s and persisting, even thriving, in the years since. He continues to work in the industry, still doing game design, 35 years since he started out as a tester at what would become Infocom.

But more than that – besides writing a large amount of game classics in the Interactive Fiction realm, he also was an incredibly good historian and archivist, saving everything.

EVERYTHING.

When we finally connected during production (as it turned out, we lived within 10 miles of each other), Steve showed me his collection of items he had from the days of Infocom (which spanned from roughly 1981 through to the company’s eventual closing and absorption by Activision in the early 1990s).


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40hz

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Re: A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2015, 09:49:47 AM »
That's a pretty impressive portfolio! How many other people can see their entire professional career laid out so neatly for all to see?

Infocom did some really great games. I had almost all of them (on 5-1/4" floppy no less) until the tank in our water heater unexpectedly dumped it's contents onto our basement floor a few years ago, and then continued to try to refill itself one quiet Saturday when we were out for the day. My Infocom collection was on the bottom shelf of the steel storage shelving I had installed down there. So it wound up under about a half foot of water. When things finally dried out, those boxes and folios were fused together or water damaged so badly that there was nothing left to do but toss them out. 

Another piece of history gone. I also lost my entire collection of old Borland, Lotus, Ashton-Tate, and Fox software that I had been keeping for sentimental reasons. (Remember when these things used to come with extensive printed documentation - sometimes in snazzy 3-ring binders - and in nice plastic boxes or sturdy slipcases?)

So it goes. I'll especially miss M.U.L.E. and Timothy Leary's Mind Mirror.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 09:59:33 AM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2015, 10:00:55 AM »
Remember when these things used to come with extensive printed documentation - sometimes in snazzy 3-ring binders - and in nice plastic boxes or sturdy slipcases?

yep, those were the days. Nothing comes with printed documentation now.

the infocom adventure games were a formative experience for me.  great stuff.

Renegade

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Re: A Cabinet of Infocom Curiosities
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2015, 01:05:43 PM »
That's a pretty impressive portfolio! How many other people can see their entire professional career laid out so neatly for all to see?

Infocom did some really great games. I had almost all of them (on 5-1/4" floppy no less) until the tank in our water heater unexpectedly dumped it's contents onto our basement floor a few years ago, and then continued to try to refill itself one quiet Saturday when we were out for the day. My Infocom collection was on the bottom shelf of the steel storage shelving I had installed down there. So it wound up under about a half foot of water. When things finally dried out, those boxes and folios were fused together or water damaged so badly that there was nothing left to do but toss them out. 

Another piece of history gone. I also lost my entire collection of old Borland, Lotus, Ashton-Tate, and Fox software that I had been keeping for sentimental reasons. (Remember when these things used to come with extensive printed documentation - sometimes in snazzy 3-ring binders - and in nice plastic boxes or sturdy slipcases?)

So it goes. I'll especially miss M.U.L.E. and Timothy Leary's Mind Mirror.

Oh god... You have my sympathy there... :(

My new office is the basement of our new place, so this time around I have my computer and all that kind of stuff elevated. My desk is large enough that I can put my computer on it, just in case. The flooding scenario is exactly why I did it. I can lose some things, but losing my main machine would be pretty close to devastating, even if I have backups.




Looking at the pictures, which I can only assume are a part of the collection, it seems like we're creating so much information that there's simply no humanly way for this amount of data to be processed without using massive, massive data processing and artificial intelligence infrastructure.

Like, how could you possibly build a museum big enough? The only way to do it is with silicon, copper, and electricity.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker