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.
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 :-)