It’s not so much that they’re anal about things. Admittedly, I’m biased since Activision has given me permission to use Trinity and distribute it as part of my classes on textual IF. Consider this quote from the link:
“But apparently Activision, who owns the Infocom universe, has zero interest in adapting their products to film, which is bizarre when you think about all the money that could be made.”
There are assumptions there. First, we don’t know if Activision has “zero interest.” They certainly have very little, granted. Even more importantly, and the one that probably drives whatever Activision feels is that, the notion that there is so much money to be made. Movies made from games (whether franchises or not) have a very spotty history. Some do great; others do horrible. For every such film that does good, publishers are no doubt reminded of the films Alone in the Dark, Doom, Wing Commander, House of the Dead, BloodRayne, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Being at least somewhat Activision-related, read up on some of the problems that occurred with getting the World of Warcraft film (now in post-production) made. That game is from Blizzard, but is part of Activision Blizzard. If a game like that, which is actually quite popular now, can have a such a rocky ride from inception onwards, imagine how little someone might want to invest for a little-known (relatively speaking) text-based game.
Finally, Activision has never been much for movie tie-ins going the other way: i.e., movie to game. (See: Activision is begrudgingly developing movie tie in games.) It’s just not an area they like to explore that much from either direction. I’m not sure that makes them anal so much as it makes them realistically cautious. Granted, most times the caution from game studios is from fear of movies “degrading” the source material, thus making sales of the game hurt by association. Clearly not an issue with Infocom games. But, then again, the very fact that it’s not an issue at all suggests the level of interest to be expected from the movie-going audience.
This does bring up a good discussion point, though. Is there any text game (particularly from the Infocom era) that people would really like to see translated into film? A lot of people would likely say “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” but that’s already been done, and certainly counted on the popularity of the books rather than the game. Personally, and I say this as a long-time fan of Infocom games, I can’t think of one that would be compelling enough for me to go see, simply because it was based on an Infocom text-based game.