Company Culture

In 1982, Infocom moved to an office on 55 Wheeler Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and soon a jocular, freewheeling company culture emerged. Most of Infocom's twenty-one employees were in their mid-20's, and they came from diverse backgrounds. The youthful energy of Infocom created a general feeling of excitement within the company. The employees loved applying their creative skills to make computer games and they came into work with a sense of humor and a laid-back attitude. With sales exceeding $160,000 in 1981, they had every reason to feel good. "They were very free-spirited," Dave Lebling said. "More importantly, they were doing something well and having fun doing it."

Company activities reflected the humor and playfulness of the culture. For instance, one November day, Dave Anderson decided to clean the goldfish pond located outside of the office. He moved the fish to another location, scrubbed the pond clean, and then returned the fish. The fish died the next day. For that, the company decided to put Anderson on "trial" for murder. Blank acted as the prosecuting attorney and Meretzky served on the defense. After the trial, the in-house newsletter, InfoDope, ran its first issue with the headline, "Trial Reveals Hollywood Framed in Fish Killings."

Infocom grew steadily to 32 employees by the end of 1983, but the employees remained close. "It was family," Dornbrook said. "Everyone felt that way." The humorous and fun-loving nature of the Infocom family came through in the work produced by the Infocom employees. They enjoyed their work, and their excitement was reflected in the level of quality and intelligence devoted to each new game.

Find out more about the lure of Infocom's interactive fiction games