Infocom Testers - Who's Who?

Can anyone help me compile a list of the Infocom Testers please? We know the Imps, but I don’t think there is a complete list of Testers (internal, external, alpha, beta etc).

So far we have…

Gary Brennan
Tomas Bok
Max Buxton
Tom Schafer
Suzanne Frank
Janice Eisen

Any more please?

Thanks :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

Adam

1 Like

The Fall 1984 issue of The New Zork Times mentions a tester, though only by first name:

I had my first encounter with a professional play-tester two yars ago, when I was writing Starcross. As I worked, every so often my concentration would be broken by a horrible cackling laugh from a few doors down the hall. Jerry had found another bug.

I don’t have the issue in front of me at the moment, but there was an interview with Dave Lebling in the May 1987 issue of Your Computer where Dave Lebling stated that

… and then about a month before the game’s ready to be finished someone, and it’s often John Palace who is the manager of the Interactive Fiction group and is an ex-editor, reads through the games and looks for spelling mistakes.

The Moonmist InvisiClues mentions some testers:

The authors thank the Moonmist testers at Infocom: Tomas Bok, Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Max Buxton, Liz Cyr-Jones, Suzanne Frank, and Matt Hillman. Numerous “outside” testers also gave us their valuable input.

As does the Leather Goddesses of Phobos InvisiClues:

Testing: The primary testers for Leather Goddesses of Phobos were Tom Bok, Gary Brennan, Amy Briggs, Max Buxton, Liz Cyr-Jones, Suzanne Frank, and Matt Hillman. In addition, dozens of “outside testers” deserve praise for their help.

Some of the games have more-or-less hidden in-game credits.

A Mind Forever Voyaging:

As a former playtester, I can say with authority that the testing of A Mind
Forever Voyaging was superb. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who tested,
especially Amy Briggs, Gary Brennan, Tomas Bok, Max Buxton, and Suzanne Frank.

Trinity:

                                    Testing
   Gary Brennan    Amy Briggs    Suzanne Frank    Max Buxton    Liz Cyr-Jones

Beyond Zork:

                                   Testing
            Gary Brennan   Max Buxton   Liz Cyr-Jones   Jacob Galley
    Tyler Gore   Matt Hillman   Katie Kendall   Martin Price   Joe Prosser
                 Steve Meretzky   Tom Veldran   Steve Watkins

Zork Zero:

                                   testing 
              Kurt Boutin        Gary Brennan         Amy Briggs
             Liz Cyr-Jones       Craig Fields        Jacob Galley
              Adam Glass          Tyler Gore         Matt Hillman
              Shaun Kelly        Adam Levesque        Patti Pizer
                    Joe Prosser              Steve Watkins

Shogun:

            Quality control by Patti Pizer, Shaun Kelly,
          Steve Watkins, Adam Levesque, Christian Anthony,
               Liz Jones, Adam Glass, and many others

Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur:

TESTERS (Alphabetically by first name)
Adam Levesque, Amy Briggs, Avril Korman, Byron Goulding, Duncan Blanchard,
Elizabeth Langosy, Jacob Galley, James Bates, Joe Prosser, Liz Cyr-Jones, Patti
Pizer, Peggy L. Bates, Richard Bates, Shaun Kelly, Steve Watkins, Stuart Kirsch

Arthur also has this adorable easter-egg in the “CYR” shape-shifting spell:

>CYR JONES
For a brief moment you assume the form of the lovely and talented former goddess
of testing, but then the magic fades and you return to your previous, less
exciting, existence.

An early version of the Journey source code has some in-game credits that read, in part:

Coordinating both the illustrations and the testing effort was Joe Prosser, who was ably assisted by Craig Fields, Patricia Pizer, Tyler Gore and Kurt Boutin, all from Infocom’s testing department.

I think the Infocom Cabinet contains some tester feedback, both internal and outside, but I haven’t checked if it mentions any names.

That’s all I can think of at the moment.

3 Likes

Found one more. The Sherlock source code has a commented-out list of gamma testers. Apparently each tester got his or her own slightly customized version?

;<REPLACE-DEFINITION TRADEMARK-MSG
 <CONSTANT GAMMA-TESTERS
           <PLTABLE "Steve Barone"
                    "Geoff Cohen"
                    "Robby Kumar"
                    "Joshua Mandel"
                    "Kelly Marold"
                    "Michael Milgram"
                    "Martin Rubenstein"
                    "John Schappert"
                    "Ron Tison"
                    "Steve Watkins"
                    "Jeff Bailey"
                    "Michael Stein">>
 <ROUTINE RT-TRADEMARK-MSG ()
   <COND (<AND <G? ,SERIAL 0>
               <L? ,SERIAL <ZGET ,GAMMA-TESTERS 0>>>
          <TELL "Gamma test copy for "
                <ZGET ,GAMMA-TESTERS ,SERIAL>
                CR>)>>>
2 Likes

Between this thread and Victor Gijsbers’ spelunking, I wonder if intfiction should merge with an archaeology-forum, or at least propose some sort of sister-forum connection.

I think both could learn a lot from the other’s digging methods.

Maybe we could exchange little spades or lamps as tokens of our shared excavating interest?

1 Like

That’s awesome! Thanks! Will add to my text file :slightly_smiling_face: Also I think Jerry will be Jerry Wolper.

Adam :+1:

Wow, that last one is a big one!! Thanks @eriktorbjorn :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

Adam

Can’t whack a good spelunk! :slightly_smiling_face::v:

Adam

1 Like

It’s also funny how many Infocom employees are hidden within the games and their packaging. Ballyhoo has the Amazing Genatossion Brothers, A Mind Forever Voyaging has the Veldran Hotel, etc. The Border Zone hints for chapter three even asked you if you had tried “figuring out how many Infocom people live in the Gribnitz apartments”.

1 Like

Mike Dornbrook

He also makes an appearance in Sorcerer as the unforgettable Dornbeast.

1 Like

Where did Tom Schafer and Janice Eisen come from? I can’t find those.

Also, Chip Hayes posted on RGIF back in 2001 that he had been one of the outside testers. He provided patch files for the Gamma versions of Trinity, LGOP, and Hollywood Hijinx, which are in the archive.

1 Like

I’ve been keeping a text file on my laptop of the names as I’ve been finding them. If I’m honest I can’t remember, which isn’t great! As I add names to the text file I also make a note of whether I’ve tried contacting them, by what means and whether they have responded or not. :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

Adam