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PC Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Lost Infocom Games Discovered 112

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the retro-hotness dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Archivists at have gotten a copy of the backup of Infocom's shared network drive from 1989 and are piecing together information about games that were never released. In particular, there is the sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy called Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and there are two playable prototypes of it. And yes, they have playable downloads available."
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Lost Infocom Games Discovered

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 19, 2008 @12:33AM (#23125572)
    after they published Leather Goddesses of Phobos. It is almost like they lost the will to make games.
  • by Lon (37445) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @12:38AM (#23125586)
    what I liked about reading this, was the "archeology" of piecing together the behind the scenes - and comments from some of the actual persons involved - reads like a USENET thread - be sure to put on your flame retardant eyewear ;)
  • Nostalgia! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Raineer (1002750) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @12:45AM (#23125616)
    I think this is pretty cool, whether the games are good or not it is always interesting to see the ones that didn't make it to market for one reason or another.
  • Re:Nostalgia! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @01:00AM (#23125646) Journal
    I'd certainly rather see a game that never made it to market, than buy one that shouldn't have. Not talking specifically about the Infocom ones, of course, just games in general.
  • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @02:27AM (#23125870)
    I miss the baggy with the microscopic star fleet in it as well as the extra fluff. Don't need the glasses however, kept bumping into things. Seemed I was constantly in danger.
  • Re:Just don't! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Scannerman (1136265) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @02:57AM (#23125982)
    If you have trouble getting onto the site, just take a break, and have a nice refreshing cup of Not Tea
  • by Huntr (951770) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:07AM (#23126374)
    IMO, he shouldn't have published the emails, particularly without attempting to contact the authors. That's rude and, as can be seen from the comments on his blog, dredges up hard feelings that would best remain private.

    In fact, he probably shouldn't have published the code and game files, either. Those data are not his. He has no right to do with it as he sees fit. Someone "gave" that drive to him, but that may not have been theirs to give. Truthfully, I have less of a problem with that, as no one likely really cares about the games themselves. But, its still an issue.

    At any rate, I think he's hiding behind "journalism" to simply publish some juicy talk associated with a formerly popular defunct games publisher.
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChameleonDave (1041178) * on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:44AM (#23126480) Homepage
    When I click to download the game, it asks me for money. I paid for it in the 1980s; I'm not going to pay again, especially since the money won't go to the creators!
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:06AM (#23126782) Journal
    I disagree. Security can always be broken. Good corporate security means keeping data safe until its release can no longer cause financial loss to the company. Since this data has remained private until two decades after the company died, I think it is a good example of adequate data security.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @07:33AM (#23126858) Journal
    With a lot of the principals more or less still around the BEST thing to do would be to have a REAL story asking about stuff on the hard drive.

    I mean, email is NOT that hard.
  • by pla (258480) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @08:33AM (#23127132) Journal
    I'll use this in class to point out the importance of good backup strategies. And security: this data should not have left the company.

    Riiiight... Because this doesn't make a perfect example of why such information can do the world good, long after a company has ceased to exist as a viable market presence.

    You might want to gloss that bit over in class. "Remember, protect everything, because your company will always sit at the top of the niche-X market, will never go bankrupt, and no one will ever care about your work long after the fact".

    Personally, I consider the rarity of amazing find like this, further proof of the absurdity of existing copyright law. Copyright exists to grant a limited monopoly on creative works, rather than making them vanish into obscurity (deliberately, as with the BBC's pre-1970 archive purge, or not, as with all nitrate and acetate film ever made).

    We need copyright to expire early enough that society can preseve both the released form and any historically-interesting raw materials (ie, source code). Not only that, I would go further, to say that we need to require the eventual release of such raw materials, for the grant of copyright in the first place.
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @08:48AM (#23127208) Homepage
    I agree; legally, uploading the unpublished games may be the worse of the two, but morally (even after twenty years), I'd say that publishing the emails was more questionable.

    You can argue legalities, and expectations of privacy *with the benefit of hindsight*, but at the time it probably would have been reasonable to assume that these emails would not have been published in public; for professional reasons if nothing else.
  • by Wordplay (54438) <> on Saturday April 19, 2008 @01:45PM (#23128848)
    OK, disclaimer, I'm not an implementor, and I haven't gotten deeply into Inform 6 or 7. I did go through the Inform 6 tutorials, and have read the Inform 7 docs.

    I think Inform 7 comes way too close to falling into an "uncanny valley" of natural language.

    Traditional structured computer languages have the advantage of being distinctly unlike other languages, so they're a separate learning path. This makes them easy to identify, and easy to 'switch gears' mentally into, with the downside that multiple languages mean more to learn.

    When you're this close to natural language, the distinctive and necessary bits are pretty subtle, and the chance for confusion is much higher, IMO. At this point, you're not learning a language so much as a new dialect.
  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Saturday April 19, 2008 @05:22PM (#23130374) Homepage Journal
    [submitted too soon...]

    When you're this close to natural language, the distinctive and necessary bits are pretty subtle, and the chance for confusion is much higher, IMO.
    On the other hand, you have to do the same thing when you play one of these games. The game's parser only understands a subset of English: "ROBOT, FETCH ME THE COG" is OK, but "ASK JIM IF HE WAS KIDDING ABOUT GRANDMA FALLING DOWN THE STAIRS" is not. That's what I was hinting at with the subject line: in I7, authors end up having to deal with the compiler in the same way that players eventually have to deal with the actual games.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming