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Text adventure developer Infocom's co-founders to receive 2013 AIAS Pioneer Award

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Co-founders Dave Lebling and Marc Blank of Infocom, developer of text-based adventures Zork and Enchanter, will be honored with the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) Pioneer Award at the 2013 DICE Summit for their contributions to interactive fiction, the organization announced today.

The Pioneer Award is given to individuals who have helped to shape the interactive entertainment industry with their creative work.

"Great storytelling with a healthy dose of wit is the foundation of everything we create in the interactive entertainment industry," said AIAS president Martin Rae is a press release. "At the 16th DICE Awards, Dave and Marc will be recognized for their pioneering career in front of game makers they have greatly influenced, colleagues who have admired their work, and new audiences who will get their first glimpse into this important piece of gaming history. The Academy is very much looking forward to honoring these individuals for their seminal work and achievements."

Lebling and Blank met at Massachusetts Institute of Technology around the time Blank was creating the "Z-Machine," what would later become the basis of Zork. The pair co-founded Infocom in 1979 and together produced text adventures Zork, Zork 2, Zork 3 and Enchanter.

Lebling has worked on graphic story editing and newsroom software, multimedia web services and touch- and voice-controlled systems. Currently he serves as a principal investigator and engineer at BAE Systems making web-based tactical tools for the US Air Force.

Blank furthered his work on the Z-Machine and founded a small company, Eidetic, after Infocom's closure in 1989. He has developed email applications for smartphones and spent three years working on Android applications for Google. He is currently a principal software engineer at electronics research and development company Lab126.

The awards ceremony will take place at the 2013 DICE Summit on Thursday, Feb. 7 in Las Vegas.