Infocom, founded in 1979, is the shining light in the history of commercially-released Interactive Fiction
games. Beginning with Zork
in 1980, the company released over thirty games, many of which are still played.
The company's strengths included technical innovation (their Text Parser
was the best in the business, and the z-code data format Infocom created is a popular choice for distributing new IF games to this day), rich storytelling, and creative packaging (most Infocom games shipped with "feelies
", thematically-related props which might form part of the Copy Protection
system, constitute clues, give extra background information, or just be included for the lulz).
In 1986, struggling with competition from video games with fancy graphics and badly damaged by an ill-fated foray into the business software market, Infocom was bought by Activision. Shortly after the acquisition, Infocom's champion on the Activision board left the company, and his successor spent three years "improving" Infocom
before pulling the plug in 1989.
These days many of their games are available on Abandonware
sites - indeed the games (being entirely text) are incredibly
small files by today's standards. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, which was a very verbose game is only 128k - smaller than most modern digital pictures.
Recurring tropes in Infocom games:
Infocom games with their own trope pages include:
Tropes relating to individual games that don't have their own pages: