The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Interactive fiction and video games

Sometime between 1982 and 1984 (accounts differ), the British company Supersoft published a text-based adventure game based on the book, which was released in versions for the Commodore PET and Commodore 64. One account states that there was a dispute as to whether valid permission for publication had been granted, and following legal action the game was withdrawn and all remaining copies were destroyed. Another account states that the programmer, Bob Chappell, rewrote the game to remove all Hitchhiker's references, and republished it as "Cosmic Capers".[41]

Officially, the TV series was followed in 1984 by a best-selling "interactive fiction", or text-based adventure game, distributed by Infocom. It was designed by Adams and Infocom regular Steve Meretzky[42] and was one of Infocom's most successful games.[43] As with many Infocom games, the box contained a number of "feelies" including a "Don't panic" badge, some "pocket fluff", a pair of peril-sensitive sunglasses, an order for the destruction of the Earth, a small, clear plastic bag containing "a microscopic battle fleet" and an order for the destruction of Arthur Dent's house (signed by Adams and Meretzky).[44]

In September 2004, it was revived by the BBC on the Hitchhiker's section of the Radio 4 website for the initial broadcast of the Tertiary Phase, and is still available to play online.[45][46] This new version uses an original Infocom datafile with a custom-written interpreter, by Sean Sollé, and Flash programming by Shimon Young, both of whom used to work at The Digital Village (TDV). The new version includes illustrations by Rod Lord, who was head of Pearce Animation Studios in 1980, which produced the guide graphics for the TV series. On 2 March 2005 it won the Interactive BAFTA in the "best online entertainment" category.[47][48]

A sequel to the original Infocom game was never made. An all-new, fully graphical game was designed and developed by a joint venture between The Digital Village and PAN Interactive (no connection to Pan Books / Pan Mcmillan).[49][50] This new game was planned and developed between 1998 and 2002, but like the sequel to the Infocom game, it also never materialised.[51] In April 2005, Starwave Mobile released two mobile games to accompany the release of the film adaptation. The first, developed by Atatio, was called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Vogon Planet Destructor".[52] It was a typical top-down shooter and except for the title had little to do with the actual story. The second game, developed by TKO Software, was a graphical adventure game named "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Adventure Game".[53] Despite its name, the newly designed puzzles by TKO Software's Ireland studio were different from the Infocom ones, and the game followed the movie's script closely and included the new characters and places. The "Adventure Game" won the IGN's "Editors' Choice Award" in May 2005.

On 25 May 2011, Hothead Games announced they were working on a new edition of The Guide.[54] Along with the announcement, Hothead Games launched a teaser web site made to look like an announcement from Megadodo Publications that The Guide will soon be available on Earth.[55] It has since been revealed that they are developing an iOS app in the style of the fictional Guide.[56]


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