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IndustryVideo game industry
Founded1984 (1984)
FounderC. David Seuss
Defunct1987 (1987)
ProductsAdventure games
ParentSpinnaker Software

Telarium Corporation (formerly Trillium) was a brand owned by Spinnaker Software. The brand was launched in 1984 and Spinnaker was sold in 1994.[1] The headquarters were located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The President of Telarium was C. David Seuss,[2] the founder and CEO of Spinnaker Software.


C. David Seuss founded Trillium Corporation as a subsidiary of Spinnaker Software, which he had also founded and of which he was the CEO. Within the first year of its founding, Trillium's name was changed to Telarium due to legal issues presented by a book publisher. Telarium primarily released adventure games, with the exception of Shadowkeep, a role-playing game. The games were based on books, and the development of each game led to cooperation between the software developers and the authors. The first author who was consulted was the science fiction novelist Michael Crichton. Crichton collaborated on the development of Telarium's game Amazon, which was loosely based on his book Congo.[3][4]

Adventure games[edit]

Telarium published eight adventure games. The games belonged to the genre of interactive fiction with graphics. One game (Shadowkeep) was also a role-playing video game. They were based on works of literature in the literary genres of science fiction, fantasy, crime fiction and legal drama. Often they were developed in cooperation with established writers.[5] The game development was a part of Spinnakers marketing strategy in the adventure game market in the 1980s: Adventure games by Telarium were targeted at grown-up players, while those by Windham Classics–another Spinnaker subsidiary–were targeted at children.[6] The development was managed by Seth Godin.[7]

Two more adventure games were announced, but not published (Starman Jones, based on a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, and The Great Adventure, based on a science fiction novel by Philip Jose Farmer).[9]


The Telarium adventures received critical acclaim. They were praised for the prime quality text, the detailed graphics and the interactive opportunities.[10] The cooperation with famous writers like Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton was accentuated as a special feature of Telarium.[11]


  1. ^ "History for SoftKey International, Inc".
  2. ^ C. David Seuss: Welcome to Telarium, Fall 1984 (Telarium-Newsletter) at The Interactive Fiction Collector´s Guide – Telarium by Manuel Schulz.
  3. ^ Maher, Jimmy. "Michael Crichton". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  4. ^ "Telarium Corp". Moby Games. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Selby Bateman: Is A Picture Worth A Thousand Words?, Compute!, Issue 53, October 1984, p. 32.
  6. ^ Marguerite Zientara: Inside Spinnaker Software, InfoWorld volume 6, issue 33, August 1984, ISSN 0199-6649, p.43-48
  7. ^ Shay Addams: if yr cmptr cn rd ths..., Computer Entertainment, August 1985, p. 24-27, 76–77; Selby Bateman: Is a Picture worth a thousand words?, Compute!, Issue 53, October 1984, ISSN 0194-357X, p. 32
  8. ^ Telarium at Adventureland by Hans Persson and Stefan Meier
  9. ^ Telarium at Adventureland by Hans Persson and Stefan Meier
  10. ^ e.g. Gil Merciez: Fahrenheit 451, Antic Amiga Magazine, Vol. 5 Nr.1, 05/1985, p.81; David Cuciz: Gamespy Interviews – Alan Dean Foster. The Writing Game, August 2000 Archived January 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ William V. Costanzo: The electronic Text: Learning to write, read and reason with computers. Educational Technology Publications 1989, Chapter A brief History of Interactive Fiction, p.67f.

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