Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Text Adventure Game


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 (rh@tdv.com).

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 you!


  The Basics :

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 each word.

Going Places:

Compass directions will get you most places - use E, W, S, N, NE etc.  (Out, In. Down and Up will also work in many places).

Typical Actions:

Lie Down (you'll find this useful when facing the bulldozer)
Get 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 I)
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 going?
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.

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 (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.



Save/Restore: doesn't 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 successfully


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.

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