The Story of Legend Entertainment

Industry veteran Bob Bates, most recently Chief Creative Officer at Zynga (the company behind FarmVille) recently announced his intention to return to his game development roots in the form of a Kickstarter that will put the finishing touches to his pet project, Thaumistry: In Charms Way, a game he has been working on sporadically for the last decade. The unique selling point?  Thaumistry is a text adventure, that Bates hopes, will rival the quality of the games he helped design for Infocom, and his own company, Legend Entertainment in the late 1980s and early 1990s

At the time of writing, Thaumistry has reached the lower funding target of $25,000 that will enable Bates to take a few months off from his consulting career to complete a PC version of the game. Stretch goal targets have already been announced, which include Steam Trading Cards, compatibility conversions to Android and iOS so the game can be played on tablets and mobile phones, and a musical soundtrack.

The latest chapter in a long career that has seen him take on every industry role there is, Bates first entered the games industry in 1986, as a way of satisfying his urge to become a novelist following an earlier career as a tour guide operator. He contacted Infocom, securing the right to produce text adventures under their label. Over the next three years, he developed two well received titles; Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur, before Infocom was shuttered by owners Activision in 1989.

Encouraged by his experiences at Infocom, Bates quickly decided that he wanted to continue making games, forming Legend Entertainment with Mike Verdu, and a number of other young developers. Believing that text adventures had greater depth because, unlike point and click and 3D games, there was a sense that players could try anything, the fledgling company persisted with the genre, producing seven games between 1990 and 1993.

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