Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Now this is the Internet

Recently a blogger got access to a backup drive of a shared network from Infocom, which published most of the great text adventure games of the '80s. He decided to post correspondence about a proposed
Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that was abandoned.

For fans of Infocom it's an interesting article, but the most interesting part is an almost endless comments section populated with posts from old Infocom employees. The comments make a lively discussion. Michael Bywater, who is the subject of some negative correspondence, expresses fury that the blogger didn't bother to contact anyone involved to get a fuller story, and there's a lively discussion about the responsibility of journalists and bloggers and the legality of releasing this information. There are also a lot of nasty shots at Bywater, whose fury does not sit well with the blogger's fans (the nastiest comments were apparently removed by the blogger). This is mixed in with comments from other Infocomers discussing and clarifying the game, most notably a long, detailed post by Steve Meretzky. The best post is from Bywater, who after a couple of days of furious emails calms down and posts a wildly funny mock up of a text adventure and announces that he has agreed to write about the abandoned game for Wired. There are also a lot of people writing in just to say they loved Infocom games, which is less interesting (Bywater, by the way, apparently was the main writer on my favorite Infocom game Beauracracy).

Before the Internet, where could you read a corporation's internal memos and then have a lively discussion with the people who wrote those memos? It's so cool.