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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lost Infocom games unearthed

Journalist and programmer Andy Baio's discovery of an old backup hard drive used by legendary computer game publisher Infocom has yielded, among other things, some games that were publicly announced but never saw the light of day. The most notable so far is Milliways, the sequel to the game based on The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

And if you go to the link you can even find playable games for download, too!

Baio writes that a lot of stuff is on that drive: from internal company memos to the source code and finished files for "every released and unreleased game Infocom made." So are there any hitherto-unknown Zork projects on that thing? And I've heard mention a few times over the years that Infocom had planned a third Battletech role-playing game (it's second, Battletech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge is arguably the first real-time strategy game ever created). Yeah I know that those Battletech games were developed by Westwood for publishing by Infocom but if there was ever a third one in the works then surely there must be mention of it somewhere in Infocom's archives.

That's why this kind of stuff fascinates me: it's like neo-archaeology. Who know what else is out there floating on long-forgotten hard drives or tape backups, waiting to be found.

So since this has to do with Infocom, and is a discovery of some import, I know of no better way to celebrate than with a hearty drink...

"Want some rye?

'Course ya do!"

(You've no idea how long I've been waiting to make a Return to Zork reference on this blog :-)


Anonymous said...

Here's to us!

Who's like us?

DAMN few!

And they're AAAWWLLL dead!

Chris Knight said...

Ahhh, someone ELSE who was fortunate(?) enough to have played that game :-P

The only reason I ever had Return To Zork was because it came free with my first CD-ROM drive, back in 1994 (along with a Sound Blaster 16 card and some good speakers).

I did wind up winning the game. It took me about four months though. And my brain has been scarred ever since...