Complete Backup of Infocom's Shared Network Drive Recovered - Playable Unreleased Sequel!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Thanks to Dan Chisarick on the SWcollect mailing list for the heads-up on the info for Waxy.org's posting, Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is truly an extraordinary discovery, as the post begins, "From an anonymous source close to the company, I've found myself in possession of the "Infocom Drive" — a complete backup of Infocom's shared network drive from 1989." There's even a playable version of "Milliways", the never completed sequel to one of the company's best-selling games, Hitchhiker's Guide. I'm flabbergasted and there's even a great story in the blog post!

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yakumo9275
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fake?

I'm kinda skeptical right now.

I've never seen a forum where three of the original infocom team Leibling, Meretzky and Blank all posted together. Certainly they never did in usenet which has been an IF love-in since inception, I doubt they would come out en-masse on some random blog.

Why has it taken near 20 years for this to come out? Any IF fan would have spilled the goods a LONG time ago.

examination of the data file should easily reveal if it was indeed created with infocoms Zilch or its a fake and made with inform (the two output quite different code).

Mmm looking over the comments there is even stuff by Bywater and more infocom imps.. I get more skeptical but maybe its all true..

-- Stu --

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Bill Loguidice
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Could be!

Tremendous point, Stu. Seems to be legit based on the info so far, particularly on the SWcollect list, but I give you major points for thinking of that first!



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Story file

If anyone wants to download the z-file directly:

waxy.org/random/software/milliways/milliways_release15.z4

You may need a download manager for this, though.

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
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Journalistic right and wrong

One of a few of my comments on there:

"Well, look, it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't proposition. There were illegal actions that led up to this, including the transfer of company property to a private individual. At the same time, perhaps this was released when it was (now) because of the statute of limitations running out (just speculation). It's compelling stuff and protected to a degree under the guise of "reporting". The gentleman who posted it though would have been better off leaving out the part about the pilfered data and just left the transfer of information to him at "anonymous sources" and not been quite so specific about the actual "from" part. In other words, he could have presented the whole thing quite differently then he did and still had the same end result while maintaining full journalistic value and related protections. As it stands, his perfect honesty may come back to bite him. With that said, speaking strictly as a reader and historian, I love it as-is in all its unfiltered glory.

By now all of this has already archived by others, so the cat is out of the bag forever regardless of how we feel about it at this point, so we just need to deal with that fact rather than the right or wrong aspects. That ship has sailed..."

It really is a tremendous exercise in the power of the Internet (as if we needed any more validation)...



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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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yakumo9275
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I saw your comment on there

I saw your comment on there Bill :) Its a shame a lot of commenters were trying to eviscerate Bywater when its all one sided emails. Ohwell. I'm just surprised by the sheer number of ex-infocom poeple and IF royality on there in general...

-- Stu --

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Bill Loguidice
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The Commments
yakumo9275 wrote:

I saw your comment on there Bill :) Its a shame a lot of commenters were trying to eviscerate Bywater when its all one sided emails. Ohwell. I'm just surprised by the sheer number of ex-infocom poeple and IF royality on there in general...

-- Stu --

Love or hate what the guy did, the historical value of getting these ex-Infocom people together to comment is absolutely unprecedented!



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Seb
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Ethics

As much as i found the information facinating... at the very least the people involved should have been asked permission before posting this stuff. Liking someone's work doesn't give you the right to invade their privacy.

Bill Loguidice
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Right, Wrong and The Story
Seb wrote:

As much as i found the information facinating... at the very least the people involved should have been asked permission before posting this stuff. Liking someone's work doesn't give you the right to invade their privacy.

It's a very tough call. I imagine I would have done the same exact thing (though probably wrote and sold a full article on it because it is such important stuff), though I would have redacted the names and put in placeholders after contacting the participants if they so requested. I also would have avoided mentioning the pilfered hard drive data and just chalked it all up to "anonymous sources". Again, I don't like how the guy went about it, but at the same time, it's historical stuff, particularly with the long ago passing of Mr. Adams, so I'm glad it got out in some form, even if it was the wrong one. In many ways, there was really no precedent for this sort of thing, and I think it's good that we have an intelligent dialog about this in case it happens again.



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adamantyr
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Cool

Interesting stuff... it confirms pretty much what we thought, the real reason a sequel was never made was, surprise surprise, Douglas Adams lost interest. It wasn't the first or last project he did that to. I noticed an edge of bitterness in Bywater's comment on the fact that he was frequently cleaning up after projects that Adams had initiated and left fallow afterwards.

And as some of the Infocom designers said, it would have been better if they'd just gotten Adam's permission to go ahead and make something he could offer suggestions for and just sign off on, rather than expect him to be directly involved. I think Adams would have been very content with that, even thrilled; he always preferred a more collaborative writing environment. (He HATED writing the novels, because he had to do it alone. The reason the last book ends so... finally is that they promised him he'd never have to write another one, and he made certain that would be the case.)

I think the blogger did step out of bounds by posting without making an effort to contact some of the mentioned people. Although as one poster observed, a good journalist doesn't ask for permission, he confirms facts. But had he contacted some of the people first so he could throw in a "reaction" comment immediately after some of the e-mails, he could have mitigated some of the flames.

As is, it seems he managed to reach some kind of peace with Mr. Bywater, judging by his last few comments, and that Bywater intends to offer a more thorough write-up of the "Hitchhiker Sequel" fiasco from his own viewpoint, probably on his blog. All good stuff.

Matt Barton
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Did we ever figure out of

Did we ever figure out of this was legit or not?

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