Talk:Infocom

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List of titles[edit]

I think a complete list of all of Infocom's title would be too long, but dates with the ones listed would be nice. -Frecklefoot

When did I say that? What was I thinking? A complete list is totally preferable. :-) Frecklefoot | Talk 14:55, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

Ballyhoo Date[edit]

On examining internet sources in general, some (e.g. Adventureland list Ballyhoo as being written in 1985, rather than 1986 as listed here. The majority of sources (that I found) DO say 1986, but can we verify that this information is correct somehow? --HappyDog 21:03, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

According to [1] there is only one version of Ballyhoo. The serial number is 851218 (probably meaning that the game "went gold" on 18th Dec 1985), but it also has a 1986 copyright date (I checked it). This probably means that the code was finished in 1985, but knowing that the game wouldn't be released until 1986 (with disk and box and goodies replication and all) they put the 86 date in the game already. Also, Ballyhoo is announced in the Winter 1986 edition of the Infocom newsletter, not earlier. 1986 seems to be correct. 22:37, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Gender in Infocom Games[edit]

Last I checked, this is an article about the history and impact of a computer software company specializing in games. As such, it relates the founding of the company, notable concepts and games introduced by the company, people who shaped the company, and the factors that led to its demise. Whether the protagonist of any given game or group of games was referred to as male or female does not in any way advance the "story" of Infocom that this article is relating to the reader. The information is irrelevant and does not belong. I challenge the anon who continues to add this to give a valid reason for including this information here or the continued adding of this section to the article must be considered vandalism. Indrian 13:25, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Please stop saying the "I" word! That thing is supposed to belong there, so that people can know what sex their character is! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 202.76.162.34 (talkcontribs) .

  • Which has absolutely nothing to do with the importance of Infocom as a company or its games individually or collectively. You claim it is relevant but do not give a reason. I see you have a history of vandalism and see this edit as being in the same vein. Indrian 03:23, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree that 202.76.162.34's claim of relevance fails, I believe a reasonable claim can be made. The information on how Infocom handled the question of PC sex is potentially interesting to researchers. Sex in video games is a constant topic. At least one serious article [2] has considered how the issue is addressed in interactive fiction. Someone doing research with the premise "the bias toward male players (as shown through male PCs) has been present in video games since their inception" would find such a list of value.
As for you 202.76.162.34, your edit history looks really bad, there is some clear vandalism there. Wikipedians are going to be rightfully skeptical of your claims with a history like that. You've re-added this content 4 times in the span of 26 hours bringing you perilously close to the Wikipedia:Three-revert rule. Indrian asked you to take it to talk, but you did two more reversions before you came here. Wikipedia works best when people communicate early and often; edit wars just frustrate everyone. Alan De Smet | Talk 23:35, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
    • I do not disagree with you that the issue of gender and video games has relevance, but I do think that giving the gender of the hero in every Infocom game is not useful to that topic. There is a quite simple reason why the bias in video games exist: historically both game designers and game players have been predominantly male resulting in a lack of serious effort by most companies to reach out to female gamers, particularly in the early years of the industry. I will say, however, that the articles on the games themselves can certainly give the gender of the hero, as this is relevant to describing the game. The information is not bad, it just lacks relevance to Infocom as a company. Indrian 03:28, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Maybe the article for each game in which the PC is female or selectable-gender should have a short note to that effect, if it doesn't already. But it doesn't make sense to place it in the company's main article. - DynSkeet * Talk 11:57, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, here's my real reason for adding that sex section. In [3], there are two false things. The first is that whoever wrote the page that this links to thinks that your character in the Enchanter trilogy and Zork Zero can be either sex, but in actuality, your character in those games is always male. To prove that your character in Zork Zero is always male, play Zork III (the Dungeon Master is the grown-up version of the character in Zork Zero). And to prove that your character in the Enchanter trilogy is always male, die in Enchanter (unless it's your fourth death), or go to the coal mine in Sorcerer (the old man there is your character's grown-up version). The second false thing is the way that guy spelt "Nord and Bert". It's "Nord and Bert", not "Nord and Burt". So to prove that guy wrong, I need that sex section! Well, actually, there are three reasons for adding the sex section. The third is that another title name is spelt wrong. "Hollywood Hijinx" is misspelled as "Hollywood Hijink"! And there's a possible fourth reason. That page says that Infocom made 33 games, when it actually made 35 (38 if you count Return to Zork, Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2 and Quarterstaff as Infocom games). Since there are two games which that guy probably doesn't know about, any two games out of the 10 or so not mentioned could be the missing ones! P. S. In Nord and Bert, do you actually play as Nord and/or Bert? (This paragraph added by 58.170.197.216 (talk) in several edits from 02:14-02:35, August 2, 2006 without attribution.)

Please don't put things in articles just to prove some site wrong. Given the fact that anyone can edit any article at any time, it's rather silly to think that your point is conclusive "just because Wikipedia says so." If you have issues with the xyzzynews article, why not write the editor or the author and clear things up directly? And no, there aren't even any characters named Nord or Bert in the game Nord and Bert. - DynSkeet * Talk 12:23, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
58.170.197.216, how do errors about the numbers and names of games have anything to do with the gender of characters in the game? That information is already quite appropriately present in Infocom's body. Alan De Smet | Talk 22:46, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, it doesn't end there. Could you tell me what you have to say about all those reasons? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 124.181.139.197 (talkcontribs) 17:37, January 25, 2007.

This is an almost six month old discussion. I believe most participants consider it closed. You're going to need to be more specific about what you'd like discussed, as "those reasons" above are largely addressed. A suggestion: if you're planning on continuing to join in these discussions, consider creating an account. It will make it easier to identify you. Also, even if you don't get an account, be sure to sign your posts with ~~~~; it helps people keep track of who is saying what. — Alan De Smet | Talk 02:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I'm going to sign now. Now please tell me, what do you have to say about my reasons for having the sex section? 124.181.200.175 04:59, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I (and I suspect the other editors involved) believe all of the reasons listed above have been addressed. Thus my suggestion above that "you're going to need to be more specific about what you'd like discussed." That another site may or may not have errors is completely irrelevant to the discussion. Wikipedia's job is not to fact check other sites. — Alan De Smet | Talk 02:33, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Even if that is the case, I still need to know what you have to say about my reasons for having the sex section! You can clearly see what I mean! So could you please tell me now? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 124.181.200.175 (talkcontribs) 21:47, January 29, 2007.

As far as I can tell, the "reasons" given amount to, "I need to prove that some other web site is wrong." That claim has been responded to repeatedly. "That another site may or may not have errors is completely irrelevant to the discussion. Wikipedia's job is not to fact check other sites." If that's not your reason, apparently I don't clearly see what you mean and you'll need to restate your reasoning, being more specific. — Alan De Smet | Talk 06:13, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I'll be more specific. I want to know what you have to say about those reasons. 124.181.200.175 00:11, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I'll be more specific now. I want to know what you have to say about those reasons. Please tell me. 124.176.135.5 08:24, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Hello! Can you please answer? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 124.180.242.85 (talkcontribs) 16:01, March 3, 2007.

Your questions have been answered repeatedly. You have not raised any new questions. — Alan De Smet | Talk 21:57, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

The reason sex is important in discussion of Infocom games is that, told from the second person, most of the games are gender-neutral, though some small clues may point to male in some. It is NOT true that the games were meant to be told from the male perspective, with some exceptions. It is also important to note that in "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" sex plays a vital role, so much so that you choose your sex when you begin playing, and situations differ for each sex. This would make one of the earliest games to give the player the choice to play male or female. This in itself is important enough to mention sexual roles in playing Infocom games. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 206.19.217.23 (talk) 20:05, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

yet another userbox[edit]

I hadn't seen anything of the like, so I created an Infocom userbox. It can be seen on my userpage. The code to include it on a userpage is:
{{User:DynSkeet/Userbox/Infocom}}
Feel free to use it. -DynSkeet (Talk) 19:58, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Playing[edit]

Apart from xs4all, where on the Internet can I play Infocom games? And where can I found out how many copies each Infocom game sold? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 124.180.242.85 (talkcontribs) 16:01, March 3, 2007.

Could you just give me an answer? 124.176.134.126 08:42, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The playing of Infocom games on the Internet is mostly illegal. You can play The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy legally on Douglas Adams' website. You can try buying Infocom games (bundles) from an Internet retailer like Amazon.com. Also, this is not a message board, so don't be upset if no one answers your questions. — Frecklefoot | Talk 14:07, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Activision CEO[edit]

Is the Bruce Davis linked in the article the same on who lead Activision shortly after the Infocom takeover? His article lists him as a 1979 NFL draft pick who had an 11 season career. While it's not impossible it seems unlikley that a pro athlete would be a corporate executive at the same time. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 204.97.253.244 (talkcontribs) 08:49, April 20, 2007.

Fixed. This Bruce Davis has no article... yet. — Frecklefoot | Talk 16:58, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
It's there now. Ntsimp 18:13, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Infocom logo.png[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Infocom logo.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.BetacommandBot 08:20, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

This has been promptly dealt with by User:Brian0918. — Alan De Smet | Talk 01:57, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Specific concerns about tone[edit]

The tone of this article needs fixing in places, including (but not limited to) the following examples:

  • Because of the clever use of hidden clues and Infocom's trademarked humor, the sale of InvisiClues proved incredibly lucrative - Unless this comment comes from a reviewer (it'll need a source), it should be rewritten as it's very business-like.
  • The heading Standing out from the competition. Possibly better as Reception.
  • The 2nd paragraph in Standing out from the competition describes how the player feels a lot, and says how the game's better than similar games.
  • users rarely felt like they were an intrusion or inconvenience. has no source and seems like more praise for Infocom.
  • ...and the Activision takeover should be renamed to Activision takeover.

These are a few of my concerns. The Standing out from the competition section needs to be rewritten almost completely in my opinion as that's where most of the tone and npov problems are. Also another hugely important thing is references and sources as this article is seriously lacking which makes it seem like the POV is coming from the editor rather than a reviewer or critic. Apologies for not leaving my concerns on this talk page sooner after I added the tag. ●BillPP (talk|contribs) 13:34, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

The tone of the article was largly cleaned up. As such, the tag was moved to one specific section that still has one of the complaints listed (and even then, it's probably redundant due to the {{fact}} tag.) --Sigma 7 (talk) 19:13, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Sources for citations[edit]

For anyone else looking for possible sources for citations "Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc." has three pages of references. — Alan De Smet | Talk 05:46, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

I asked one of the Implementors, Brian Moriarty, about this, especially the quote about the basement printing money. Here's what he said:

"What the article says is mostly true. For a few years, pretty much all of the titles generally made their money back the day they shipped. Everything after that was gravy. I don't know who, if anyone, said that quote, though."

Frotz 20:28, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Activision Takeover[edit]

In reference to following statement: "Davis pushed Infocom to release more graphical games, but the one they did release bombed. This was, in part, due to Infocom's long-standing rule of maximum portability; a game that could display graphics on a number of different systems couldn't take advantage of the strengths of any of them." - Rather than "the one they did release" could we have the actual title? Pieterkonink 11:14, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

It was Fooblitzky. I added the info to the article. — Frecklefσσt | Talk 12:58, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Legality of Infocom downloads[edit]

I have removed the second half of this sentence, from the article:

Many Infocom titles can be downloaded via the Internet, legally in the case of the Zork trilogy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I do not believe that any of the Zork games or The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy are legally available to download, currently.

The first three Zork games were made available, along with the specially made Zork: The Undiscovered Underground as part of promotions surrounding the release of Zork: Nemesis (1996) and Zork Grand Inquisitor (1997). However, those promotions are long since over and Activision no longer distribute any of the games - the Zork Wikipedia page specifically claims that Activision has stated that they must NOT be re-distributed or made available for download.

Similarly, the The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy has never been explicitly available as a free download from Activision, The Digital Village (Douglas Adams' company) or Adams himself. The Digital Village did produce a Java applet version which is now permanently resident on douglasadams.com and requires them to host the original Z-Machine story file - which can be accessed if you craft the appropriate URL. This can hardly be considered legal permission to distribute, however as the game is clearly intended to be played online.

To make amends for removing this line, I've added some information relating to Dungeon, which is the original mainframe version of Zork and generally considered to be in the public domain and not considered to be explicitly illegal to download, along with the four Infocom sampler & demos available from the IF archive.

Samwiseuk (talk) 18:16, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

origin of "smellies" from Leather Goddesses[edit]

I have had email communications with a few of the Implementors. If I were to ask them where they got the idea for the scratch and sniff card in Leather Goddesses, would that be considered Original Research? Frotz (talk) 19:17, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes. What we need is a verifiable reference. For example, if one of the implementors said in a published interview that he got the idea for the S&S card from so-and-so, that would be fine. Or if it were in a published book. But a personal email communication—even if from the implementor himself—is not verifiable and, therefore, not permissible. HTH — Frecklefσσt | Talk 20:08, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
It's not really that personal correspondence is not verifiable (how can it possibly be contested? If the subject of the article wrote something to you, it's incontestable that they made the statement). It's that Wikipedia's central philosophy is "no original research." This means that even if you got it directly from the mouth of the subject of the article (perfectly legitimate in the eyes of academia or any formal encyclopedia -- in fact, normally considered one of the very best sources in primary research), Wikipedia will not accept that as a legitimate source. But if you found some blurb in some minor online fan site, then you're gold. StrangeAttractor (talk) 00:30, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
How about doing an interview with an Implementor and publish it in a newsletter (like SPAG at http://www.sparkynet.com/spag/), or would someone else have to do it? Frotz (talk) 00:37, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, I think anything you do outside of Wikipedia is fine. If it gets published, fine. Then it can be used as a source. But I disagree with StrangeAttractor on some points. Minor online fan sites are not generally considered reliable sources of information. I also disagree with his statement about personal correspondence. Communicating directly with the subject of an article is original research and therefore prohibited, but it is also unverifiable, so it's not allowed on two counts. To sum up, if something is published in a reputable publication (I don't know how reputable SPAG is), it can be used as a source. HOWEVER, using your own article as a source for an article may cross into conflict of interest territory. The best place to get answers to your questions is probably Village Pump: Policies and Help:Contents/Policies and guidelines. HTH — Frecklefσσt | Talk 19:27, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Aside from the issue of original research, I honestly, sincerely, do not understand how direct communication with the subject of an article is "unverifiable". If you interview someone IRL, by email, or on video, surely that is completely verifiable. So it is NOT on "two counts" against Wikipedia policy, but only one (albeit a core one) -- original research. And I stand by my snarky observation that you're more likely to get it in the article without Wikipedia Party Line objection by getting it published online in some minor forum or blog, as Wikipedia is de facto prejudiced towards online references because they are the low hanging fruit that any lazy obese pedant can easily check out without having to actually get out of his computer chair to walk to the goddamn university library. Most of the time online sources of any caliber will past muster, unless the article is about some controversial subject like Palestine vs. Israel or PC vs Mac or circumcised vs uncut (OR if you have the accidental misfortune to get some Stalinist editor on a particular article who insists that the text must conform to every Wikipedia guideline, even though the article is about some entirely obscure subject that roughly 800 people worldwide would care about.)
PS Frotz, are you someone who used to work for Infocom? I did also, as an in-house tester in 1987-88. Would love to hear from you if so. StrangeAttractor (talk) 08:59, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
My username refers to the fact that I maintain the Unix version of Frotz, such as it is. I need to do some updates. I have no personal connection with Infocom other than some email communication with one of the Implementors. Incidentally, I did ask that person (Moriarty) about where smellies came from. He couldn't remember and so he asked Meretzky who also couldn't remember. Frotz (talk) 17:46, 12 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not here to justify Wikipedia standards, just uphold them. If you have a problem with them, you can work to change them. But this talk page isn't the place. Peace. — Frεcklεfσσt | Talk 14:30, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Someone trying to renew the Infocom trademark?[edit]

It seems the Infocom story might not yet be over. According to http://www.trademork.com/infocom/ someone is trying to renew the trademark (Activision cancelled it in 2002, I believe). http://www.infocom-fiction.com/ is their site (not much there yet). A metatag on the site reads "The official site of (the all new) Infocom". Could get interesting. Sslaxx (talk) 12:14, 19 February 2010 (UTC)


Grues[edit]

How do you get eaten by a Grue? Just curious. June 22, 1979 (talk) 22:08, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

If you spend too much time in the dark, you'll be eaten. Frotz (talk) 23:55, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Infocom website[edit]

Is this the official Infocom website? http://www.infocom-if.org/ --190.221.111.247 (talk) 01:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

No; try clicking on the disclaimer. It's just a fan site. Ntsimp (talk) 02:40, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

NPOV[edit]

The article seems biased, and the Activision takeover section seems especially biased; it sounds like someone who is just angry that Activision bought Infocom. As there are also no sources cited, it seems like that section should be re-written for a more neutral stance. 76.23.212.191 (talk) 09:59, 11 March 2013 (UTC)