ABOVE IS THE TEXT ADVENTURE
the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Don't Panic (help
is here - below, actually)
The Hitchhiker's Guide was
renowned as one of the most fiendishly complex
adventure games ever released. Many considered it a signal achievement
even to get out of the house at the start. The Java version you have here
won't let you save or restore a game, so I'm afraid you're stuck with
starting from scratch each time you play. If you'd like to be notified
when the full shareware version becomes available, please e-mail Richard
Harris at TDV (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you aren't familiar with
the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy you will likely be very confused.
If you are familiar with the HHGG, you will also be very confused - while
the game starts similarly to the book, it soon diverges. In summary, you
play the part of Arthur Dent a rather ordinary and ineffectual Earth being
with a liking for tea. The game starts when the local council makes a
spirited attempt to demolish your house to make way for a bypass. While
you're trying to cope with that, your friend Ford Prefect drops past to
tell you that your efforts are pointless, as the Earth itself is about
to be demolished to make way for a Hyperspace bypass. The rest is up to
To help you with the basics
of playing the game, here's a few basic
commands to get you started.
Commands are entered at the > prompt at the bottom of the
screen. These are only a small part of what the game understands - try
whatever English commands seem appropriate at any given point. Note that
the game only recognises the first six characters of
will get you most places - use E, W, S, N, NE etc. (Out, In.
Down and Up will also work in many places).
Lie Down (you'll
find this useful when facing the bulldozer)
Up (a good way to start the game)
Look - gives you a
full description of your current location
Diagnose - gives you a report of your physical condition
Inventory - gives you a list of what you are carrying (abbreviates to
Wait - electronic equivalent of taking a nap
Get, Get All - lets you pick things up
Open - open something closed
Examine - fully describe an object
Drop, Drop All - put things down
Where is, What is, Who is - questions about places, things and people
in the game
When you come across
another character in the game, you can talk to them
by entering their name followed by a comma, then the question, e.g.:
Ford, where are you
Marvin, give me the hammer
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 ogrammer 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 (http://www.starshiptitanic.com/)
- 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. What
you see here is the last of these. Enjoy.
work in the Web version.
Restart will restart the game, after giving you your score
Quit will end the game, give you your score and end the Java session
Brief will only describe a location fully the first time you enter
it. Thereafter you'll get a short description only
Superbrief takes it further - you'll only get the name of the place.
Verbose switches off the effects of the Brief and Superbrief
commands - you'll get a full description each time you enter a location.
Score will give you your current score. You get points for
The Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Galaxy is Copyright © Douglas
Adams and The Digital Village
And if you think that this is a complicated copyright notice,
just wait until Disney brings the feature film out.
Java Z interpreter courtesy
of Matthew Russotto
Software archaeology by Richard Harris at TDV.