Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Infocom Adventure



There was a time when computer games didn't have graphics. Or at least they couldn't have graphics and sound at the same time. They certainly couldn't have graphics, sound and enough content to keep even a human being amused for more than a few minutes. So they had text. This was radical - a computer game you could control by typing in commands. The game would then respond to your commands with a breathtakingly prescient understanding of your intent. Or not. Usually not - the early text parsers (circa 1977) weren't that bright. But, as long as you limited yourself to what the game understood and the game designers wrote creatively enough to misunderstand you in a humorous and entertaining fashion, it all worked. It therefore stands to reason that any game which combined a really good programmer with a really good writer was likely to do well. So when Steve Meretzky of Infocom got together with Douglas Adams to create a game based around the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the result was never going to be less than interesting and more than likely insane. So it proved - the Hitchhiker's Guide adventure game was one of the best-selling games of its era, selling some 350,000 copies. In 1984.

Then graphics games came along and the computer using portion of the human race forgot all about 500,000 years of language evolution and went straight back to the electronic equivalent of banging rocks together - the point'n'click game. Infocom and most of its competitors went to the wall - signaling the arrival of the post-literate society. That's the way it's been for most of the last dozen years.

Something strange has now happened. The Net, and particularly e-mail, has become an integral part of millions of lives. People have learned to type again and are taking an interest in interacting, via their computers, with other people and with content. At TDV, we've taken the basic need to create products with wit, intelligence and humour and created Starship Titanic - the game that reinvented the art of conversation. Following many requests from HHG fans and those sad people who still remember it, we're also re-releasing the original game as shareware in three formats: Mac, PC and Java.

And now some news ...

If you've read this far, congratulations, you clearly have one of the necessary requirements to play the actual game online. Another requirement is a Java interpreter, and the final requirement is a keyboard or some other typing device.

If you don't have Java, then may we suggest the BBC's rather excellent 20th Anniversary Edition? It uses Flash, allows you to save games, and sports some rather natty illustrations by Rod Lord - creator of the guide graphics for the BBC TV series.

To avoid the dissapointment of a pointless quarter-megabyte download (and to prevent our poor server from being hammered by thousands of fruitless fetches) we moved the game to its own page. So, if you're still keen to see the original version in all its 1984 retro-glory, simply type the serial number from the opening screen into the field below.

We apologise for the inconvenience, but the game is still so insanely popular that our bandwidth budget has been ravenously bug-blattered. Rather than remove the game completely, we've taken these measures to ensure that anyone who really wants to play the game should have no trouble doing so :-)


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