I was a child of the 8-bit computer gaming boom in the 1980s and as both an avid gamer and a young person with a growing fondness for the written word I was captivated by the "interactive fiction" that the late, great Infocom pioneered during that period. They were more than just text adventures; they painted worlds with words and brought you into them utterly. Zork, Planetfall, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Leather Goddesses of Phobos, Trinity, Suspended, Deadline... the list of Infocom classics goes on and on, and today the company remains rightly celebrated as one of the true pioneering forces in gaming's development as an art form.
But for me the high water mark of Infocom's work was A Mind Forever Voyaging, a fascinating and thought-provoking piece of science fiction by Steve Meretzky, who also created many of Infocom's other greatest hits. It stuck with me long after I first played it on its debut in 1985, so much so that many years later, as I started to dabble in screenwriting, I wanted to take a crack at adapting it into a movie.
By that time the publishing rights to Infocom's catalog had become buried beneath a pile of legal red tape at Activision and so I knew the chances of ever getting an official thumbs-up would be slim to none, but I pursued writing it anyway as a passion project. Through the connections I'd developed during my time in the gaming industry I was able to reach out to Steve Meretzky, whom I'd met a few times before (he was one of the 25 "PC Gaming Gods" profiled in a photo-feature I organized during my final year as Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer in 1999) and he very graciously gave me his informal blessing to take a crack at adapting his mind-bending work of interactive sci-fi into a screenplay for a feature film. Endlessly helpful and supportive, Steve even sent me copies of his original research materials and design and story notes to help me with the adaptation and was warmly receptive of the finished work when I sent it to him to read.
That was back in 2002. I would have liked to have taken it to the next step, acquiring an option on the underlying rights so I could have shown the script to producers and seen if there was any interest in actually making a movie. But every attempt I made to talk to Activision about the idea came to nothing. I must have tried ten different avenues of approach, only to hit a brick wall of apathy every time. Eventually I gave up.
My love for the project has never really gone away, and I tried again to enquire about the rights just last year, this time with the assistance of a major producer who had a real interest in making the movie, only to be foiled by supreme indifference on Activision's part yet again. It's a shame to see something you've written gather dust, never to be read by anyone, so I thought I'd make the screenplay available for those fans of the game and any other curious souls to download and read if they wish. I do this with the VERY LARGE DISCLAIMER that this was written nearly ten years ago, when I was still very much at the beginning of the long and difficult process of learning how to write for the screen, and it should be read with that in mind. I've learned a lot since then and I if the opportunity to actually do this movie should ever arise in the future, I would without doubt go back and heavily, heavily revise it. But for now here it is, my unproduced and previously unseen 2002 screenplay adaptation of A Mind Forever Voyaging. Enjoy.
Download A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING (287K PDF)