Aaron A. Reed reviews the classic text adventure game The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy released in 1984.
Douglas Adams, at first, did not like computers. In fact he had built a career out of making fun of them with his Hitchhiker’s Guide franchise, which began on the radio before spilling into other media, most famously a bestselling series of books. Hitchhiker’s is hard to summarize, but one of its overarching themes is that technology, in the hands of big business and bloated bureaucracies, does not make life better: in fact it makes it far, far worse. Hence characters like Marvin, a robot given a “Genuine People Personality” who promptly becomes terminally, insufferably depressed; Deep Thought, tasked with finding the meaning of life and coming back six million years later with the number 42.
While living in Hollywood for a year as he attempted to write a Hitchhiker’s screenplay, Adams bought his own computer, and he got hooked.
…he discovered interactive fiction. He played Adventure, and then got turned on to the games of Infocom: Suspended, in particular, fascinated him. He “discovered that there was a sort of great world of wit and invention and logical problems” in text games. “And I suddenly thought, ‘I would love to be doing this.’”
While Adams originally wanted to do something other than another Hitchhiker’s adaptation, it was by far the most obvious choice for a project, and he perked up at the notion that the game could be more experimental than previous incarnations.
Would you like to play the game? BBC Radio 4 has an online version here.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
By Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky
Released: October 1984 (Infocom)
Original Price: $39.95
Platform: Z-Machine version 3 (Apple II; Atari 8-bit; Commodore 16, Plus/4, 64; PC DOS; Macintosh; TI-99/4A; TRS-80)
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
No comments yet.
Adafruit has a “be excellent to each other” comment policy. Help us keep the community here positive and helpful. Stick to the topic, be respectful of makers of all ages and skill levels. Be kind, and don’t spam – Thank you!