Implementer (video games)

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Implementer was originally the self-given name of the creators of the Infocom text adventure series Zork. Implementor, often shortened to Imp, became the title given to game designers and programmers at Infocom. Implementers were inserted as minor characters in several Infocom games. The game Beyond Zork also includes a group of characters called Implementors, minor deities who are integral to the plot. The term carried over into MUDs, particularly DikuMUDs, where it usually refers to a game's owner or owners, similarly to the term "God".[1][2]

Implementers at Infocom[edit]

Jerry Pournelle mentioned in BYTE in June 1983 "Zork, the Super Adventure developed by the Gang of Four Implementers at MIT".[3] The original Zork Implementers who formed Infocom included Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, and Dave Lebling. As the company grew, the title Implementor became a badge of status. Infocom frequently promoted from within, and in particular a number of game testers, including Steve Meretzky, rose to the rank of Imp.[4] Meretzky was publicly referred to as an Implementor, both in the "About the Author" section of the Planetfall manual and in a few issues of Infocom's customer newsletter, The New Zork Times (later renamed The Status Line).

The "Implementors' Lunch" was said to be "a legendary weekly event garnering all the Infocom game writers."[5] Brian Moriarty has said his first Implementors' Lunch "was like being invited to tea at Abbey Road with the Beatles!"[6] The Imps used an old Cornerstone package, square and blue, as a picnic basket.[7]

List of Infocom Implementers[edit]


  1. ^ Shah, Rawn; Romine, James (1995). Playing MUDs on the Internet. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 114. ISBN 0-471-11633-5. Sometimes, these players ask the Implementers for immortality. Whether this is granted depends on the trust of the Implementers.
  2. ^ Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). p. 559. ISBN 0-07-882138-X. Common names for an admin are a GOD, an ARCH, a WIZARD or an IMP (short for implementer).
  3. ^ Pournelle, Jerry (June 1983). "Zenith Z-100, Epson QX-10, Software Licensing, and the Software Piracy Problem". BYTE. p. 411. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  4. ^ Briceno, Hector; Chao, Wesley; Glenn, Andrew; Hu, Stanley; Krishnamurthy, Ashwin; Tsuchida, Bruce (December 15, 2000). "Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc" (PDF). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. 16–19. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  5. ^ "They Said It..." The New Zork Times. 4 (4): 3. Fall 1985. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Mamen, Erik-André Vik; Jong, Philip (September 15, 2006). "Brian Moriarty—Interview". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
  7. ^ "Win the Imps' picnic basket". The Status Line. 6 (2): 4. Summer 1987. Retrieved November 26, 2007.

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