Steve Meretzky

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Steve Meretzky
Steve Meretzky 2008.jpg
Steve Meretzky, 2008
Born (1957-05-01) May 1, 1957 (age 57)
Yonkers, New York
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SB)
Occupation Game designer

Steven Eric Meretzky (born May 1, 1957)[1] is an American computer game developer, with dozens of titles to his credit. He has been involved in almost every aspect of game development, from design to production to quality assurance and box design. He is best known for creating some of the famous Infocom games in the early 1980s, including collaborating with celebrated author Douglas Adams on the interactive fiction version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, one of the few games to be certified "platinum" by the Software Publishing Association. Later, he created the Spellcasting trilogy, the flagship adventure series of Legend Entertainment.

His keen wit, prose and coding skill made him one of only two interactive fiction writers (along with Dave Lebling) admitted to the Science Fiction Writers of America,[2] and in September 1999, PC Gamer magazine named Meretzky as one of their twenty-five "Game Gods"; those who have made an indelible mark on the history of computer gaming.

Biography[edit]

Meretzky was raised in Yonkers, New York. His father was trained as an accountant, but spent a career of 25 years selling automotive hardware. Meretzky's mother was a bookkeeper. He graduated from Yonkers High School in 1975. He went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in construction management in 1979.[1][3] After working in the construction industry for two years, in 1981 Meretzky decided to pursue a career as a game tester for Infocom.[1] In 1983, he became a full-time writer (an "Implementor"), scripting Planetfall and creating the famous cult figure robot sidekick "Floyd".[1]

In 1984, he had his most famous collaboration, with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which became one of the bestselling games of the era. Another popular game was Leather Goddesses of Phobos, whose risque writing pushed the boundaries of the art. In an interview, Meretzky said that he originally just wrote the name on a project board as a joke, but was later asked to actually develop a game to go along with the title.

In A Mind Forever Voyaging, Meretzky attempted to address social issues, but Infocom's success was declining, and the 1988 Zork Zero was one of his last titles there.

In 1994, Meretzky co-founded Boffo Games, where he was Vice President of Creation, and developed such titles as the story puzzle game Hodj 'n' Podj and the detective comedy The Space Bar until the company closed its doors in 1997.

Around the year 2000, Meretzky joined WorldWinner as a game advisor and Principal Game Designer. Meretzky is also a charter member of the Computer Game Developers Association, and a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as GDC.

Meretzky appears as himself antagonizing rapper MC Frontalot in the music video for "It Is Pitch Dark."[4] (released on Secrets from the Future). The song references several of Meretzky's text adventure games, and the video is directed by documentarian Jason Scott Sadofsky, whose film GET LAMP is about the genre.[5]

Several years later, Meretzky joined Blue Fang Games to work on the popular Zoo Tycoon franchise.

He was employed as a vice president at social media game developer Playdom[6] from 2008 to 2013, at which point he became vice president of creative at GSN Games.

Works[edit]

Meretzky has been credited on games developed by: Infocom, Legend Entertainment Company, Activision Inc., Boffo Games Inc., MicroProse, GameFX, Floodgate Entertainment, and Tom Snyder Productions.

Lead designer[edit]

In the following titles, Meretzky was sole or lead designer / creative director.

Infocom[edit]

Activision[edit]

Legend Entertainment[edit]

Boffo Games[edit]

WorldWinner[edit]

Other titles[edit]

For these titles, Meretzky had a lesser role, such as in an advisory capacity:

Books[edit]

  • Steve Meretzky's Spellcasting 301: Spring Break: The Official Hint Book from Legend Entertainment Company, 1993, Compute, ISBN 0-87455-286-9 (as S. Eric Meretzky)
  • Zork: The Forces of Krill (A What-Do-I-Do-Now Book, Zork #1), 1983, Tor Books, ISBN 0-8125-7975-5
  • Zork: The Malifestro Quest (A What-Do-I-Do-Now Book, Zork #2), 1983, Tor Books, ISBN 0-8125-7980-1
  • Zork: The Cavern of Doom (A What-Do-I-Do-Now Book, Zork #3), 1983, Tor Books, ISBN 0-8125-7985-2
  • Zork: Conquest at Quendor (A What-Do-I-Do-Now Book, Zork #4), 1984, Tor Books, ISBN 0-8125-5989-4

Articles[edit]

  • "Humor in Game Design", 1997, Proceedings of Computer Game Developers Conference
  • "Interview: Steve Meretzky", Richard Rouse III, "Game Design: Theory & Practice", 2000
  • "Building Character: An Analysis of Character Creation", 2001, Gamasutra
  • "Interactive Storytelling", Free Audio File, iTunes U, MIT, Comparative media Studies, Media Industries & Systems, Spring 2006, Week 6: Interactive Storytelling

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Infocom Authors - Steve Meretzky Infocom. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  2. ^ "Floyd Here Now!" A Study of Planetfall's Most Enduring Character Kirk Shimano, STS 145 Case History, March 16, 2004
  3. ^ Steve Meretzky: "Linearity is Fairly Overrated" Talking Writing. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  4. ^ YouTube - MC Frontalot - It Is Pitch Dark
  5. ^ GET LAMP accessed 2008-10-10
  6. ^ Inman, Thomas. "GDC Europe: Playdom's Meretzky On Making Social Games More Viral". Gamasutra. 

External links[edit]