‘Zork’ Creators To Be Honored With DICE Pioneer Award

Zork co-creators Marc Blank and Dave Lebling are being honored with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Pioneer Award at the DICE Summit next year, according to Escapist Magazine.

For someone who spent quite a bit of time as a kid keeping grues at bay, Marc Blank and Dave Lebling are a big deal. Along with Tim Anderson and Bruce Daniels, the pair created a piece of software that continues to influence many of us who write and game today.

In addition to co-creating Zork, Blank and Lebling were co-founders of the influential interactive entertainment company Infocom. The group was responsible for crafting such notable IF titles as Starcross, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Planetfall, and numerous Zork sequels.

According to a recent press release, the 2013 Pioneer Award will be presented by Steve Meretzky, the man responsible for crafting Planetfall and The Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

“I wouldn’t be a game designer today if Marc hadn’t given me my first game job as a tester for Infocom back in 1981,” Meretzky said in a statement. “And I wouldn’t be as good a game designer as I am today, if it hadn’t been for Dave’s games at Infocom setting such a high bar for me to attempt to reach. It’s an honor to try to repay a little of that debt by presenting them with this well-deserved reward.”

Although Marc Blank left Infocom in 1982, Dave Lebling continued to write several adventures for the company. His credits include Spellbreaker, Starcross, Suspect, and my personal favorite The Lurking Horror.

Previous winners of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Pioneer Award include Pitfall! and A Boy and His Blob mastermind David Crane.

The folks at Wired put together a fantastic piece about Zork co-creators Marc Blank and Dave Lebling. Instead of a traditional interview, the writers designed the chat as interactive fiction.