Infocom Implementor, Co-creator of Zork, Deadline July 28, 2006
  Marc Blank
Interviewed in: Oregon

Marc Blank, born in 1954, was one of the authors of the original mainframe Zork in 1977, but before committing himself fully to the later founded Infocom, he followed his initial goal to become a doctor and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Even during that period his heart lay with programming and gaming. His spare time work with Joel Berez on the "Z-Machine" was fundamental for Infocom's success, and he eventually became one of the company's co-founders on June 22, 1979. Not much later in the same year he replaced the resigning Mark Broos on the board of directors.

His immediate task at Infocom had been to oversee the conversion of "Zork" to home computers, but when that was settled he became interested in doing something new and on his own. In 1982, now in the position of vice-president of product development, he was ready for it: his profound love for murder mysteries led him to write "Deadline," which, as a mere side effect, prompted a very favorable entry in the New York Times Book Review of May 8, 1983.

But his position kept him from authoring more titles, so 1983's co-authoring of "Enchanter" remains his only other title up to 1986, when, unhappy with the course the company was taking and due to personal commitments, he officially resigned and left.

Still, he was not lost to his fans, as his love for telling a great story and his ties to Infocom remained strong. He kept active at developing the Z-Machine further and made use of the advancements in "Border Zone" and "Journey."

When Infocom ended it became quiet around Marc on the commercial software market, until in 1993 he teamed up with Mike Berlyn to found Blank, Berlyn and Co, which was later renamed to Eidetic, their very own company. At first they published productivity software, crossword puzzles and other word games for the Apple Newton. Their "Notion: The Newton List Manager," was one of the most successful titles ever sold on the Newton, eventually becoming bundled in all Newtons.

Eventually they specialized on PC and Playstation titles, among them "Syphon Filter," which became one of the biggest hits for the console in 1999 and the latter series that emerged out of it, is one of Sony's most important title assets in console gaming.

Marc also returned once more to text adventures, when in 1997 Activision asked him and Mike to do the small "Zork: The Undiscovered Underground" as promotion for the release of Activision's graphical game "Zork: Grand Inquisitor."

In 2000 Eidetic became part of Sony, gaining the informal name "Sony Bend." Marc left in 2004, although he still consulted for them.

As a hobby he developed the ChatterEmail software that became vastly popular with users of handheld devices, but in 2007 ended further development of the program to join Palm, Inc.

1954 Marc Blank Born.
1977 Zork at MIT.
1979 Co-Founds Infocom.
1979 Writes article on Zork for IEEE Computer.
1980 Zork I.
1981 Zork II.
1982 Zork III.
1982 Deadline.
1983 Enchanter.
1987 Border Zone.
1988 Journey: The Quest Begins.
1997 Zork: The Undiscovered Underground.
2006 Interviewed.
Footage Screenshots
Files and Collections
tn-1984-03-eg-blank.jpg (7.2K) Thumbnail version of pic-1984-03-eg-blank.jpg
pic-1984-03-eg-blank.jpg (152K) Photo of Mark Blank from March 1983 Issue of Electronic Games Magazine