Inspired by Infocom games (specifically Zork), Bob Bates co-founded a company to sell text adventures, called Challenge, Inc. Contacting Activision about licensing the Infocom engine, Bates had a meeting with Jim Levy of Activision and was soon asked to develop games for Infocom directly on a contractor basis. This resulted in Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels and Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur. After these projects, Infocom was shut down, scuttling projects Bates was working on. (An adaptation of James Cameron's film The Abyss and a third "from the legends of history" game based on Robin Hood.)
Bates then founded (with Mike Verdu) a follow-up company called Legend Entertainment, which continued to produce games in the style of Infocom, including the efforts of a number of ex-Infocom employees as contributors/writers.
Legend was later acquired by GT Interactive, and GT Interactive was acquired by Infogrames (later named Atari), which shut down the Legend Entertainment division in 2004. Bates continues to work in games industry.
- Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels (publisher: Infocom; 1988; Z-code).
- Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur (publisher: Infocom; 1989; Z-code)
- Timequest (publisher: Legend Entertainment; 1991; MS-DOS).
- Eric the Unready (publisher: Legend Entertainment; 1993; MS-DOS).
- Founded Legend Entertainment with Mike Verdu.
- "Designing the Puzzle (archived)." Game Developers Conference, San Jose, California, April 1997.
- John Saul's Blackstone Chronicles (publisher: Legend Entertainment; 1998) graphic adventure game.
- Co-founder and organizer of the Game Designers Workshop, an annual conference of computer game designers concerned with storytelling.
- Game Design: The Art and Business of Creating Games. Prima Publishing, 2001.