Retro Sci-Fi Games: The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Posted by Guest Author on Mar 17, 2008 in Videogames |

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Text Adventure

It seems almost impossible to fall over in a game store without knocking over a few dozen sci-fi themed games, so we wanted to take a look at the ten best examples of the genre. Our twist? Retro! So here’s one glimpse of the future from the past:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Text Adventure

First off, no, I never got the Babel Fish. At least not on my own.

The text-adventure version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the most evil games ever created. It’s also, as most inherently evil things tend to be, a huge amount of fun. Not surprising since the source material is brilliant and the game was adapted by author Douglas Adams himself. The game follows the plot of the book just about as much as the books themselves follow any sort of plot. Much like the book, the player is simply called to react to the events transpiring around him. From the bulldozing of the house to the trip to space and the travels of the Heart of Gold, everything just sort of happens. Naturally there are a lot of new bits and a lot of missing bits, but collectively all of the bits make for a great experience.

Also, a horribly frustrating one. It should come as no surprise that the game was built to be almost unplayable at times, and in fact offers up several chances to render the game unwinnable without letting the player in on the joke. The counterintuitive nature of the text-adventure perfectly fits the like-wise counterintuitive nature (to say the least) of the book. Even the game’s reactions to particular actions and text commands are a bit of a game in and of themselves. Of course having too much fun poking around could very easily get you killed. It’s very life-like in that regard.

Zac Bentz is a regular contributor to the Japanese culture blog Japanator, runs his own Japanese music review blog ZB’s A-Z of J-Music and plays crazy electro-rock in The Surfactants. He lives in Duluth, MN with his wife, pets and a closet full of adventure.

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