During the 1980s no company dominated the computer entertainment field so completely as Infocom. Before its demise and eventual absorption by Activision, Infocom produced thirty five "text adventures" (or what Infocom called works of "interactive fiction"), games that still today remain highly sought after collectors' items.
Infotator. Scratch-n-Sniff. Microscopic space fleets. The Zorkmid coin. While Infocom was racking up award after kudos after accolade for the quality of its software, it was becoming almost as famous for the charm and appeal of its packaging. While most tech firms were content with tossing dry and humourless manuals into dull and lifeless boxes, every Infocom package was stuffed with a story book (called by Infocom "browsies") and sundry items ("feelies") designed to enhance the immersive experience of its games. No other software producer in history gave so much care and attention to the packaging of its products as Infocom.
The goal of The Gallery of Zork (formerly the all-new Infocom Gallery) is to be a visual repository of all things Infocom, with an immediate focus on the preservation of Infocom's packaging, before the last remaining copies are swallowed by the vicissitudes of time. While our collection is already quite large, our goal is to one day provide a visual record of everything Infocom produced -- from the early folios to the greyboxes to the Mastertronics re-releases, and beyond. (If you wish to lend us a scan, we'd love to hear from you).
So feel free to browse, download and share the images you find here. Bookmark them, e-mail them, or print them out for off-line reference. Tell all your friends about the Gallery -- and keep the memory of Infocom alive!
A couple of years ago, two little collections known as The Lost Treasures of Infocom, parts 1 and 2 were published. Everything Infocom released in just two collections -- seemed too good to be true. And it was, in a number of ways. First, the collection was incomplete -- Leather Goddesses was not included. Second, no feelies -- no plastic palm, no AMFV pen, no Wishbringer stone, no microscopic space fleet...
Then there were the manuals. Instead of reproducing the original documentation in all its full-color glory, Activision opted for what looks like cheap Xerox copies, thrown together in reduced size as little paperback books... duh. That's why we're making this page. Infocom deserves better.
This used to be the paragraph where we asked people to not promote our site, for fear of being shut down by Activision. However, we have come to believe that Activision at least tolerates our work here [or see here -- CNJEC], so we no longer feel a need for too much caution. So go ahead. Post it in newsgroups. Link to it.
Just to clarify: It is not the purpose of this project to damage Activision's Infocom franchise (there doesn't seem to be much left of it lately). We are only trying to do justice to the works of Infocom. The authors of this site have been consistently disappointed by the low-quality, black & white reproductions of the original Infocom documentation in collections such as the Lost Treasures or Masterpieces and have therefore decided it is time for a webpage with high-quality scans of those materials. This site does not carry anything that can be bought from Activision. All it contains is material that, in all likelihood, will never, ever be commercially available again.
Once a work of art has been abandoned, and is in danger of vanishing into oblivion, salvage rights apply. This site is a digital museum. Its exhibits are electronic replicas of some very specific and unique works of art that have touched many people's lifes in the 1980s. In digital years, that was centuries ago, much more than the 75 years it takes for copyrights to expire legally. That is why we feel that our site, while technically in violation, does not violate the spirit of copyright law. Copyright laws were never intended to be destructive, only protective. That is what this site is doing: protecting the works of Infocom, both from the ravages of time and from corporate indifference.
David and Julian