The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

aka: H2G2, HHGTTG, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - a science fiction story, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Don't Panic!
Moby ID: 88
TRS-80 CoCo Specs
Buy on Commodore 64
$40.00 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

You are Arthur Dent, an Englishman with a bad hangover wearing a dressing gown containing a much needed buffered analgesic and some fluff. Your house has just been destroyed, followed shortly thereafter by your planet Earth (mostly harmless). You’ve been rescued by your friend Ford Prefect, who’s not actually an out-of-work actor. He has given you a book (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), a towel, and is now telling you to put a fish in your ear. It must be a Thursday; you’ve never quite gotten the hang of Thursdays.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is written by Douglas Adams and Steven Meretzky and based on Adams’ BBC radio series, television series, and the series of subsequent novelizations. It’s one of the classic Interactive Fiction games produced by Infocom, labeled as Science Fiction and has a Standard Level of Difficulty. Though divergent from the source material, the main characters, locations, and concepts are here. Unlike the book, death can come quickly if Arthur fails to observe his surroundings, collect inventory, talk to people, and consult the Guide. DON’T PANIC!

Original C=64 Grey Box Contents: Megadodo Publications Advertising Booklet for your very own Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy complete with Fluff, Destruct orders for your home and planet, a nice red button with the words DON'T PANIC printed in large yellow letters, a pair of Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses, No Tea, and your very own Microscopic Space Fleet. All this can be yours, for the low, low price of only 59.99 Altairian Dollars.

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

4 People

Design
Front Cover Illustration by
Tester

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 15 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 159 ratings with 4 reviews)

One of the funniest games ever made.

The Good
I discovered the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” (in book form) when I was eleven years old. My dad’s girlfriend gave me the books to keep me occupied and out of the way when she was visiting one day. I was instantly hooked. I read the rest of the series (up to “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”) within a month and became obsessed with the universe of Douglas Adams. I even dressed as Arthur Dent for Halloween including all the essentials such as a towel, a bathrobe, and the Guide itself (an old Speak and Spell with a “Don’t Panic” label attached to it).

Since I was a rabid fan of computer games my father surprised me on my birthday with this Infocom game. This would be a first for me in many ways. It was the first game that was purchased for or by me (all my others were copies), it was my first introduction to Infocom, and my first introduction to interactive fiction. I had never seen anything like it. The ability to type in full sentences, explore, solve problems, and live inside a book is a great experience.

The humor of Douglas Adams remains intact and is complimented by Steve Meretzky (who is very funny in his own right, see Planetfall). I wouldn’t play a funnier game until I found “Sam and Max Hit the Road”.

You play good old Arthur Dent who is suddenly whisked away from his home to confront Vogons (doing a cameo role here) and their poetry, two headed aliens, depressed robots and no tea. Fans of the book will feel right at home and for those that have never heard of Douglas Adams there is a bunch of introductory packaging included that will quickly bring them up to speed.

The parser is excellent and is not limiting at all. You can try almost anything and there seems to be a response to it. Typing “eat Ford” or “look under bed” or “kill myself” actually generate responses and not the typical “I don’t understand”. There are a lot of hidden things that really reward the observant gamer. You can ask the Guide for info on just about anything, get drunk at the pub, punch people, panic, try to call yourself when you are at home, and tons of extra stuff.

The Bad
This game is really for experts. There are two major problems that can ruin the experience for new gamers: timed puzzles and the ability to leave behind important items. Timed puzzles are all over the first half of this game. Until you get to the Heart of Gold the game is a non-stop kill fest (your death mostly). I’ll explain. If you don’t leave your house in a few moves you die, if you don’t stop the bulldozer in a few moves you die, if you don’t eat the peanuts or drink enough beer or figure out how to work the Sub-Etha Signaling Device then, you guessed it, death.

The ability to leave an item behind will also ruin your day. Leave your junk mail on the porch or your screwdriver in the house and you won’t be able to complete the game. But it certainly won’t tell you that. You can continue to play long after you left something behind and then all of a sudden you won’t be able to continue because you left item X back on Earth and there is no way to go back and get it because Earth has been reduced to space rubble! Helpful hint: if it isn’t nailed down then take it and if it is nailed down then pry them out and take it anyway.

There is also a problem for people who have read the book and those that haven’t. People who are already familiar with the book will get lulled into a false sense of security because the opening of the game is exactly like it. The rest of the game takes a complete detour though. Those that have never read the book will be stumped by some early puzzles. How would they ever know that to stop the bulldozer they had to lie down in front of it?

The game ends with a cliff hanger. You reach the planet of Magrathea and then are told to wait for the sequel to find out what happens. That’s all well in good but THE SEQUAL WAS NEVER MADE! It probably will never get made since Douglas Adams has sprung his mortal coil and Infocom has been destroyed by Activision Studios.

The Bottom Line
Don’t let the negative points keep you from playing this game. It is a milestone in humorous interactive fiction and should be played by everyone.

DOS · by saladpuncher (22) · 2003

Two words: BABEL FISH

The Good
To this day, I still cannot forget the dreaded babel fish puzzle. This puzzle taxed my brain for weeks. I ended up having to get a couple of friends to come over to brainstorm with me on how to get the babel fish in my possesion. It was things like this that make me have fond memories of this game. This was one of the first games I played on my computer when I got it in 1985. It also made me realize how games like this could make me and my buddies stay up all night trying to think up ways to solve some of these puzzles. I only wish that some of the puzzles in today's games would match up to the evils of this game.

The Bad
Not much.

The Bottom Line
The ultimate thinking game. That could be said about any Infocom game. You definitly have to think your way through all of the puzzles.

DOS · by mclazyj (28) · 2000

Another Infocom Milestone

The Good
This was the first game to be adapted from a license, and Steve M's wit was a perfect match for the source material. This game houses the most hallowed of all confounding puzzles, the Babel Fish! Its other achievement is it broke the rules of classic text adventures (such as lying to you which ways you could really go!)

The Bad
I was not amused about that lying part at first (it's one of the first things you encounter!) Also, the game was quite difficult. I believe this game prompted the ratings system for all Infocom games.

The Bottom Line
If you loved the book and love text adventures, this is a match made in heaven!

DOS · by Tony Van (2797) · 1999

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
graphical remake? Pseudo_Intellectual (66423) Oct 23, 2008
Waxy makes an interesting score DJP Mom (11333) Apr 19, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequel

A sequel, The Restraunt at the End of the Universe, was planned but never was finished due to a bad consultant.

Extras

This game came with some of the most humorous software trinkets (Infocom called them "feelies") found in a game box. For example, you get a "Microscopic Space Fleet" (a closed ziplock bag with -- apparently -- nothing in it), Peril-sensitive Sunglasses (the lenses are solid black), etc.

Graphics

A version of the game with graphics added can be played at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml. Unlike the version found at Douglas Adams' website, you can save and load in this one.

Sales

According to DouglasAdams.com, the game sold around 350,000 copies. The site goes on to note that, with the development of graphics games, the human race rapidly abandoned all that it had learned about language resulting in Infocom's closing.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#42 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) –#4 Funniest Computer Game
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #8 Hardest Computer Game

Information also contributed by emerging lurker, LeChimp, PCGamer77, Terrence Bosky and FatherJack

Analytics

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Related Sites +

  • Infocom homepage
    At this site you can find information on ALL of Infocom's interactive games, Infocom related articles, sample transcripts, InvisiClue hints, walkthroughs, maps and information on buying Infocom games today.
  • Play The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    A Java applet that allows you to play the game within your web browser.
  • THE HITCHHIKER ADVENTURE GAME by Douglas Adams - 20th Anniversary Edition
    Hosted by the BBC, this version of Hitchhiker's also has a graphical interface. Sean Sollé, who worked with Adams on Starship Titanic, and Rod Lord, who did the graphics on the BBC's television version of Hitchhiker's, provided the coding and the artwork. Shimon Young tied it all together using Flash.
  • The Commodore Zone
    All about Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - introduction, images, related links and comments area.
  • The Infocom Gallery
    High-quality scans of the grey box package and manual of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 88
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

TRS-80 CoCo added by Slik. Commodore 128 added by Starbuck the Third. Atari 8-bit, Amstrad CPC added by Kabushi. Browser added by Pseudo_Intellectual. PC Booter added by Nélio. Macintosh, Amiga, Commodore 16, Plus/4 added by Terok Nor. TRS-80, TI-99/4A, Apple II added by Servo. Amstrad PCW, Tatung Einstein added by Игги Друге. Commodore 64, Atari ST added by Belboz.

Additional contributors: Dietmar Uschkoreit, Timo Takalo, Terrence Bosky, krammer, Pseudo_Intellectual, mo , formercontrib, c64fan, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added March 8, 1999. Last modified May 23, 2024.