Friday, January 09, 2009

Mike Goetz called

The erstwhile Mike Goetz, of B03 Adventure fame, dropped me a line the other day. He's always been a mysterious character because that game included his phone number from 1983 — in case you found a glitch in the game, you could call him and report it. The problem was, like all students, he graduated and moved on from R.I.T. (Rochester Institute of Technology, I think), leaving that phone number fossilized like a bug in amber inside a game people play to this very day.

It's been like watching the inexorable winds of entropy at work. For awhile, even after Goetz headed toward the twinkly Christmas tree of computer lights in Wall Street, that phone would still ring in the dark. No one ever found a bug in the B03 version. But they'd call with Questions. "How do I get the last point?" "I pushed the red button and my computer crashed." "I can't get out of the catacombs!" Etc.

Detritis, decades-old newspaper rolling in the gutters of the mind. The old lady who answered the phone was not amused. She tracked down Goetz' new number and used to pass it out like Halloween candy. On April Fool's Day. Goetz moved again. She got a new number. When you call that number these days, it's been disconnected for dusty centuries.

Goetz' contribution to the game, aside from porting it, was the Computer Room he added on north of Witt's End. Classic. I enjoyed the posters. I enjoyed the klaxons when the alarm went off. I laughed when Rover showed up, AWOL from The Prisoner.

Mike Goetz. Not just a number anymore.



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