Implementer was originally the self-given name of the creators of the Infocom text adventure series Zork. Implementor, often shortened to Imp, became the title given to game designers and programmers at Infocom. Implementers were inserted as minor characters in several Infocom games. The game Beyond Zork also includes a group of characters called Implementors, minor deities who are integral to the plot. The term carried over into MUDs, particularly DikuMUDs, where it usually refers to a game's owner or owners, similarly to the term "God".
Implementers at Infocom[edit | edit source]
The original Zork Implementers who formed Infocom included Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, and Dave Lebling. As the company grew, the title Implementor became a badge of status. Infocom frequently promoted from within, and in particular a number of game testers, including Steve Meretzky, rose to the rank of Imp. Meretzky was publicly referred to as an Implementor, both in the "About the Author" section of the Planetfall manual and in a few issues of Infocom's customer newsletter, The New Zork Times (later renamed The Status Line).
Of special interest in the company culture was the "Implementors' Lunch", said to be "a legendary weekly event garnering all the Infocom game writers." Brian Moriarty has said his first Implementors' Lunch "was like being invited to tea at Abbey Road with the Beatles!" The Imps used an old Cornerstone package, square and blue, as a picnic basket.
List of Infocom Implementers[edit | edit source]
- "Hollywood" Dave Anderson
- Tim Anderson
- Bob Bates
- Michael Berlyn
- Marc Blank
- Amy Briggs
- Bruce Daniels
- Stu Galley
- Elizabeth Langosy
- Jim Lawrence
- Dave Lebling
- Steve Meretzky
- Brian Moriarty
- Jeff O'Neill
- Jerry Wolper
In Infocom games[edit | edit source]
Zork II[edit | edit source]
- This is the Tomb of the Unknown Implementer. A hollow voice says: "That's not a bug, it's a feature!" In the north wall of the room is the Crypt of the Implementers. It is made of the finest marble, and apparently large enough for four headless corpses. Above the entrance is the cryptic inscription: "Feel Free."
The Enchanter series[edit | edit source]
In Enchanter the player can find and read The Legend of the Great Implementers:
- This legend, written in an ancient tongue, speaks of the creation of the world. A more absurd account can hardly be imagined. The universe, it seems, was created by "Implementers" who directed the running of great engines. These engines produced this world and others, strange and wondrous, as a test or puzzle for others of their kind. It goes on to state that these beings stand ready to aid those entrapped within their creation. The great magician-philosopher Helfax notes that a creation of this kind is morally and logically indefensible and discards the theory as "colossal claptrap and kludgery."
It is possible to cast the ZIFMIA spell ("magically summon a being") on the Implementers, revealing an Easter egg:
- The implementers of the world, Marc Blank and Dave Lebling, appear before you, looking quite as confused as yourself. They speak:
- Dave: "What's happening here?"
- Marc: "Uh, I dunno. YOU wrote this code, not me."
- Dave: "Hmm. Another day, another bug. Let's see here..."
- They disappear a moment later.
- Dave's voice: "That should do it."
A related Easter egg is included in Sorcerer. It is possible to cast the AIMFIZ spell ("transport caster to someone else's location") on the Implementers:
- You appear on a road in a far-off province called Cambridge. As you begin choking on the polluted air, a mugger stabs you in the back with a knife. A moment later, a wild-eyed motorist plows over you.
Beyond Zork[edit | edit source]
In Beyond Zork, the Implementors inhabit the Ethereal Plane of Atrii, where they busy themselves with luncheons and foster speculation that they created the world. When an Ur-grue steals the Coconut of Quendor (after the adventurer fails to catch it), the Implementors charge the adventurer with recovering the Coconut before the Ur-grue undoes all of magic.
Return to Zork[edit | edit source]
In Return to Zork, asking the Shanbar Mayor about the joke book gets the response, "How many Implementors does it take to screw in a lightbulb? That's a hardware problem!"
References[edit | edit source]
- Shah, Rawn; Romine, James (1995). Link. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 114. ISBN 0-471-11633-5. "Sometimes, these players ask the Implementers for immortality. Whether this is granted depends on the trust of the Implementers."
- Hahn, Harley (1996). Link (2nd ed.). pp. 559. ISBN 0-07-882138-X. "Common names for an admin are a GOD, an ARCH, a WIZARD or an IMP (short for implementer)."
- Briceno, Hector; Chao, Wesley; Glenn, Andrew; Hu, Stanley; Krishnamurthy, Ashwin; Tsuchida, Bruce (December 15, 2000). "Down From the Top of Its Game: The Story of Infocom, Inc." (PDF) 16–19. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved on November 26, 2007.
- "Link". The New Zork Times 4 (4): p.3. Fall 1985. http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/Articles/NZT/Nztfal85.html#said. Retrieved on Template:Date.
- Mamen, Erik-André Vik; Jong, Philip (September 15, 2006). "Brian Moriarty—Interview". Adventure Classic Gaming. Retrieved on November 26, 2007.
- "Link". The Status Line 6 (2): p.4. Summer 1987. http://www.csd.uwo.ca/Infocom/Articles/NZT/Tslsum87.html#picnic. Retrieved on Template:Date.
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