Interview with Steve Meretzky (of Infocom fame)

bytex666's picture

Hey Matt, finally got my account here :)

I've been playing some of the old Infocom text adventure games lately, and one man seems to be involved in all of the best ones, Steve Meretzky.

It would be very satisfying to get an interview with such a legend of funny adventure games, before he disappears off the map for good.
I don't know how to contact him, but maybe you have your own ways?
Like sending ninjas or something..

Playing Planetfall at the moment, I'm amazed at how the developers seemed to think of anything a player might type at certain situations, and provide an actual response to it, rather than "I don't understand that".

Curse words are covered, so if you're as mature as I am and try the f*ck word in the beginning, the game tells you to Stop being dirty.

I've also tried silly things like picking up toilets ("You would like that, wouldn't you?"), "Go to hell" ("If you're going through hell, keep going").
It also seems you can use the parser in different ways to solve the puzzles, there isn't just one specific sentence that works in a certain situation. Like near the beginning your spaceship blows up and you're forced into an escape pod. As you try things out, it plummets towards the surface of a nearby planet. There is a safety webbing in the cabin. First time you will die from falling over when the pod crashes into the ocean. Second time you will try to use the webbing before it's too late. And several sentences work, you could type "Sit in webbing", or "Get into webbing" or "lie in webbing". All work.

I'd be intrigued to know how they made such games work. And I'm sure others are also interested in words from his own mouth.

Also would be fun to hear how they thought up all the crazy extras in the boxes. Granted, the games themselves were just white text on black background, but the boxes were really something. Full of spoof brochures and handwritten letters and maps.