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Back in the Olden Dayes, near the beginning of the computer… - Pat [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Jul. 9th, 2017|11:21 am]
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Back in the Olden Dayes, near the beginning of the computer revolution, there were games.
Because, aside from pornography, the second thing we always do with a new technology is attempt to play D&D on it, some of the most popular games of the early 1980s were text adventures. Entire universes with complex storylines, compelling characters, and puzzles that made no sense whatsoever could be created.

The earliest known one of these was "Adventure". Originally actually called "Advent" because the system it ran on could only do filenames up to six characters. Later called "Colossal Cave Adventure". It eventually got updated and expanded and became "Zork" and spawned several sequels - many, later, with graphics.

One of the most famous and popular and, by all accounts, best written of these was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Following the events of the BBC Radio series (and later novels, TV series, and movies), you played Arthur and Ford and Trillian as you set out to survive the overall weirdness that is our galaxy.

I never did finish it. As I recall, I spent a couple of hours trying to get the Babel Fish into my ear, then went to the sauna, came out "a changed man" (which I assumed was code that now I was playing Ford instead of Arthur) and never figured out what to do after that. Possibly I was killed by Vogons.

Anyway, this is just a long backstory to share with you all the important information that I just discovered: A few years ago, the BBC updated the game to work on the web and put it on their web site. You can play it at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1g84m0sXpnNCv84GpN2PLZG/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-game-30th-anniversary-edition

That one has some graphics, which my version of the original did not. But they do look like the kind of thing an Apple II was capable of, so they may have been from a later update. (Or maybe they just made new graphics in the old Apple II style. Anyway, go, play, and if you figure out how to get off of the Vogon spaceship, let me know.)

You're welcome.