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Guide to the Steven Meretzky papers relating to computer game design and interactive fiction history, 1978-2009 M1730
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The papers include design and game development documents, correspondence, paper files, electronic games, magazines, data disks, original game package artwork, PR and marketing materials, and miscellaneous electronic game industry memorabilia.
Steven Meretzky was born on May 1, 1957 in Yonkers, NY. He attended MIT in 1975 in pursuit of an architecture career, and was majoring in construction management when he changed his career goals to focus on computer game development. His roommate at the time, Mike Dornbrook, was working as the first and only game tester for Infocom, a computer game publisher specializing in text adventures (aka “interactive fiction”) titles. Interactive fiction games are controlled by the player through a text-based parser, which interprets simple instructions that the player types into the computer, such as “get lamp.” Dornbrook was play testing the title Zork I in their living room on an Apple II computer, recording any programming bugs, and Meretzky assisted (unpaid) because of his interest in the game. Dornbrook eventually left to attend business school, leaving Infocom in need of a new game tester. In 1981, Marc Blank, Infocom’s VP of Development, hired Meretzky to fill the vacated position. Meretzky worked as a game tester for one year and then was offered the opportunity to develop his first game, Planetfall, which was released in 1983.
43.5 Linear feet (54 boxes, 1 flat box, 6 map folders, 1 map tube)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94304-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
Open for research, except that born-digital materials in Series 9. are CLOSED UNTIL PROCESSED. Physical boxes can be paged for use through Searchworks. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy. Scans of selected documents from Series 9 are available through the media cart (dedicated offline computers) inside the Green Library reading room.