Written by Joe Pranevich
For the era that we study, Brian Moriarty is one of the giants. He brought us three of Infocom’s classics, starting with Wishbringer
, and jumped over to LucasArts to create Loom
, one of my favorite adventure games of all time. Before we move on to Trinity
(1986) and start the story of Infocom-under-Activision, I’d like to reverse course and fill in the final blank from his early career. In the early 1980s, Moriarty worked as a writer and eventual technical editor for Analog Computing
magazine, celebrating the Atari personal computers that he loved. In that role, he wrote his first game, a tepid Adventure in the Fifth Dimension
(1983) that failed to foreshadow the fantastic designer he would become. The following year, he penned Crash Dive!
, his final Atari game before joining Infocom. Does that game show his potential? That’s what I would like to find out.
Inspiration can strike from just about anywhere, but Crash Dive!
has perhaps one of the more unusual origin stories that I have ever heard. It starts with a failure: in 1982, Analog
’s Jon Bell and Tom Hudson wanted to make a submarine action game. Bell and his team even toured two submarines (the Nimitz
) for inspiration and historical accuracy. Cover art was commissioned, the game was announced, and even the back-of-box copy was written… but it evaporated into thin air. Despite the time and expense, it was never released. That would be the end of the Crash Dive!
story, if it wasn’t for its “inspirational” cover art and a very special issue of Analog Computing