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The complete DRED trilogy would not be available if not for the kindness of Bob Newell. These are his comments and interesting short bio:

I gathered up the DRED games in the early 90s, and even then they were hard to find (today, it's impossible).  The first two games came from various BBS systems, but the third game was nowhere to be found except CompuServe, and I didn't want to buy an expensive CompuServe subscription.  Then, one day the solution came in the mail in the form of a CompuServe trial offer.  It must have been the world's shortest CompuServe membership.  I signed up for the trial, downloaded the 3rd DRED game, and cancelled my membership, all in the space of less than 30 minutes.  But the complete trilogy was now mine.

Then I went off to spend a week at IBM's Executive Institute somewhere on the Palisades.   It was some sort of training for information systems managers; they had a swanky hotel on site, and in those days before laptops, they provided a PS/2 desktop computer in every guest room.  I planned ahead.  I put the DRED trilogy on a bootable 3 1/2 inch floppy and took it along.  I must have spent all of my break time running back to my room to boot up DRED and play a few more turns.
(We were supposed to be doing business case studies, but I had my priorities.)  I don't think this was quite what IBM had in mind when they provided the PS/2 computers!

I have been a text adventure / interactive fiction fan for a very long time.  As far back as 1980, I did something only a fan would do.  I got hold of the source to Crowther & Woods original Adventure and ported it to a Honeywell mainframe computer (not an easy job in that day and age).  It was the rage of the office for a while and work-related productivity took a severe hit.

In the 1990s I started to collect text games and eventually ran my own BBS system, which specialized in text games, roguelikes, and other ASCII and ANSI amusements.  I had available for online play a very large number --- thousands, in fact--- including some rare and unusual items, the DRED trilogy among them.  I ran the BBS for maybe five years and then work obligations just became too much and I sadly gave it all up.

For a couple of years I maintained a DOS port of Graham Nelson's "Inform" Zcode compiler, and was active on rec.arts.int-fiction on Usenet.  I published a detailed study (now of course hopelessly out of date) comparing the merits of about a dozen text game generation systems, which sparked a brief "feature war" between the leaders of the day, TADS and Inform.

To this day, as time allows, I still enjoy a good text game, and some of the games published in the last five or ten years have been truly outstanding.  But for some reason, the DRED trilogy remains a sentimental favorite.  Although it doesn't reach today's standard of sophistication, the DRED games seemed to me to be quite an accomplishment, especially the home-brew parser which worked remarkably well, and the unified story line, carried through the series, which engendered ongoing interest.

And, absolutely nothing--- and I mean nothing--- anywhere in the history of the genre can quite match up to the "stale booger" in Spectre Towers.

I am, obviously, a computer person.  I learned Fortran and IBM 1620 assembler back in 1966 while in high school.  I went on to a degree in electrical engineering from MIT in 1970.  In 1976 during the big energy boom I ended up at a utility company in North Dakota, where I stayed for almost 23 years, the last 13 as the IT manager.  I moved to New Mexico in 1998, where I live today and do computer consulting.
Sometime later on in 2009 I plan to retire, and my wife and I will move to our condo in Honolulu, where hopefully I'll have more time to play text adventures both old and new.

I am truly flattered that Bob cared enough about my creations that he kept them around all this time. There is no way I could ever adequately thank Bob for saving my DRED series. As any author would relate to - any lost creation is like a lost child - and Bob brought my children back home - 20 years later. I wish him every happiness and peace in his upcoming retirement. I have a feeling he'll be playing adventures for a very long time.

 

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Copyright ©2009 by Wayne McWilliams