Infocom

Jason Scott just posted all of the Infocom source, which is glorious!

<ROUTINE GLASS-CASE-F ()
        <COND (<VERB? EXAMINE>
               <TELL "The " D ,GLASS-CASE " is ">
               <COND (<FSET? ,GLASS-CASE ,OPENBIT>
                      <TELL "open">)
                     (T
                      <TELL "closed">)>
               <TELL
". Attached to it are a " D ,KEYBOARD " and a switch." CR>)
              (<AND <VERB? OPEN>
                    <NOT <FSET? ,GLASS-CASE ,OPENBIT>>>
               <TELL ,BUDGE CR>)
              (<VERB? MUNG>
               <TELL
"The hold of the Vogon ship is virtually undamaged by the explosion
of the " D ,GLASS-CASE>
               <JIGS-UP
". You, however, are blasted into tiny bits and smeared all over the room.
Several cleaning robots fly in and wipe you neatly off the walls.">
               <RTRUE>)>>

Zarf summarizes:

This material has been kicking around for a while now. If you search for articles about "the Infocom drive", you'll see some discussion from years past. Actually, don't do that, it's mostly old arguments that don't need to be rehashed.

The point is that a great deal of historical information about Infocom has been preserved -- but it's not publicly archived. You can't go research it anywhere. Nobody admits to having it, because it's "proprietary IP", and you're not supposed to trade in that stuff because companies like Activision make the rules.

So when Jason puts this information online, he's taking a stance. The stance is: history matters. Copyright is a balance between the rights of the owner to profit and the rights of the public to investigate, discuss, and increase the sphere of culture. Sometimes the balance needs a kick.

Quite possibly all these repositories will be served with takedown requests tomorrow. I'm downloading local copies for myself tonight, just in case.

If you're in a mirroring mood:

curl "https://api.github.com/users/historicalsource/repos?page=1&per_page=100" | grep git_url | cut -d \" -f 4 | xargs -L1 git clone

Fun fact:

Back in 2004, I got a very entertaining, hour-long phone call from Andrew Eldritch of The Sisters of Mercy. He wanted to talk, as he put it, "on a matter not related to the music industry or Mozilla". In fact, he was calling me because he wanted to buy Infocom, and then give away all the games.

This actually happened, I'm not making this up.

He called me because, not being in the US, he was having trouble finding a sufficiently-mad US-based IP lawyer, and he figured I might know someone. I did! But obviously his purchase attempt did not succeed.

I will never, ever forget that time Andrew Eldritch said to me, "I knew that someone who has a picture of a vomiting clown on their web site couldn't be all bad."

Previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Responses:

  1. Brian Landers says:

    Apparently some intrepid ZIL hackers have gotten at least some of the games to build with the ZILF compiler (http://zilf.io), even though the original Infocom compiler is lost to the ages.

  2. Amy says:

    There's more that that command mirrors than just Infocom source. Looks like some Atari 7800 code along with a bunch of other PC games. Even the original Softporn Adventure is in there...

  3. n says:

    This URL will grab just the 45 Infocom repos, and not any others, taking advantage of that the last repo before the Infocom dumps was last year.

    curl "https://api.github.com/search/repositories?q=created:%3E2019-04-01+sort:updated+user:historicalsource&per_page=100" | grep git_url | cut -d \" -f 4 | xargs -L1 git clone

    • n says:

      since there was a new leisuresuitelarry repo added, curl command tweaked to use hard date range on repo creation

      curl "https://api.github.com/search/repositories?q=created:2019-04-13..2019-04-17+sort:updated+user:historicalsource&per_page=50" | grep git_url | cut -d \" -f 4 | xargs -L1 git clone

  4. Waider says:

    That is just the best namedrop ever.

    (also, I recall long ago trying to make sense of the Hitchhikers game on an Atari ST. I'd read the third book - and only the third book - of the Hitchhikers series, so I was pretty confused)

  5. Mark Crane says:

    That Curl command is a thing of beauty, thank you.

  6. Some Guy says:

    I find this SOOOO much more plausible than heavy research into Wittgenstein as an excuse for the lack of a new TSOM album. Thanks for sharing.

  7. No Way, Jose says:

    Lisp, JWZ and Eldo... millenials never heard of them but we all know that these three form the very fabric of today's reality.

  8. Matthew says:

    There are 143 repositories in that github account so had I not been paying attention I'd only have saved the first 100.

    Not that I'm going to provide an alternative command because anyone who pastes random stuff into their shell without understanding it in full deserves what they get, just pointing it out for anyone else who didn't really think about the numbers.

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