Although this week celebrates one of the biggest and most hyped game released in years with the sophisticated, online-only shooter Titanfall, there is a very different sort of game that is worth a look – or perhaps worth a re-look. The website of BBC Radio 4 is offering gamers a chance to play the classic text adventure adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in their browsers, to celebrate the novel’s 30th anniversary
Hitchhiker is the work of author Douglas Adams, who also contributed to the game, and his dry wit shows. Command the protagonist and series star Arthur Dent to take a nearby toothbrush and this is the response you get: “You’re certainly picking the tough tasks. The floor acts like a trampoline on an ice rink, or like something they’ve been working on for years at Disneyland.”
The website comes with a warning, and it’s one that players of the original game will likely recall after a few minutes of play: “This game will kill you frequently. It’s a bit mean like that.”
In order to combat this, you can save your game at any time; you just need to sign in to BBCiD. The site also offers a guide to help you get your browser set up, a “how to play” guide for those that didn’t grow up with text-based computer adventures, and a note about the words the game will recognize. You can’t “crouch,” but you can “lick the window” with hilarious results.
Fans of the book should definitely check this out just to see Adams’ style. Those with fond memories of playing the original back in the day should embrace the game’s glorious petulance once more, as it refuses to let you do the simplest things like pick up a damned toothbrush. (Seriously, why can’t you pick up the toothbrush?!)