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You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head.
March 10, 2014 6:43 AM   Subscribe

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the classic Infocom text adventure based on "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." To celebrate, BBC has put up a "spit and polish" refresh of the game, playable in your browser.

Some background on the update to the game, which references the 20th anniversary edition that is soon to be taken down.
posted by jbickers (82 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yay, I already managed to demolish earth and die in one turn, just six words.
posted by taz at 6:49 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


"Sorry, we could not connect to the zMachine server. Please try again."

It's a lot harsher than I remember.
posted by jquinby at 6:50 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


Well, after 30 years, and having it typed probably a billion times, the game still "doesn't know the word 'fuck' ".
posted by HuronBob at 6:51 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


It turns out the z Machine is the world's most powerful X-ray generator, and not terribly well suited for playing text adventure games. Meanwhile, some material scientists are puzzling over the output of their latest experiment on the Z-Machine, which is saying there's a buffered analgesic in their pocket along with a piece of fluff.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:00 AM on March 10 [5 favorites]


One of the most beautiful, zen things I've ever seen on a computer is that in the HHG text adventure, "no tea" is an object. You can simply

> drop no tea

... and you will have tea.

So, you don't need to acquire something. Instead, you can simply divest yourself of the condition of not having it, and there it is.
posted by mhoye at 7:16 AM on March 10 [51 favorites]


You wake up. The room is spinning very gently around your head. Ot at least it would be if you could see it which you can't.

It is pitch black.


Cool. So I know exactly what to do from real life experience.

> Take another drink.

I don't know the word "another."

> Take a drink.

You used the word "drink" in a way that I don't understand."

> Drink alcohol.

It's too dark to see!

Wow. Even when I am hungover like a dog I can think more clearly than this.
posted by three blind mice at 7:19 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


don't forget to get whatever is under the @#$% bed when you wake up, because you KNOW that's what marvin's gonna want at the end of the game.. As much as I hated all the sierra games (kings quest, space quest, etc) for being so unforgiving, I can still overlook infocom for this.

Also, did they make getting the babel fish any easier in the remake ?
posted by k5.user at 7:22 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


It was a massive achievement for me to even get off the Earth, but I don't think I ever made it out of the first room on the Heart of Gold. You had to get a screwdriver or something out of a glass case and I just couldn't do it.

I'm not sure I remember how to survive the bulldozer any more. (Well, I know what you have to do, but not how many times. There, that's not a spoiler.)
posted by hoyland at 7:23 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I'd need an infinite improbability drive to finish this bloody game /not bitter
posted by ersatz at 7:24 AM on March 10


What I miss about this era of computer games - Infocom games, in particular - is that they came with *stuff*.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:25 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


One of the most beautiful, zen things I've ever seen on a computer is that in the HHG text adventure, "no tea" is an object. You can simply

> drop no tea

... and you will have tea.


I just tried this and it didn't work! Despite there clearly being an icon in my inventory for "no tea."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:27 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Fun post! Thanks.

Here's a walkthrough of the original.
posted by zarq at 7:28 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Slight derail, but I always preferred Bureaucracy, another Infocom game written by Adams. And, yes, it came with tons of feelies, which were half the fun.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:29 AM on March 10 [6 favorites]


I loved loved loved this game. But I could never get the damned babel fish in my ear and after a zillion attempts I gave up. Then when I found out what you had to do to get it, I gave up again. Too nefarious for my simian brain. sigh.
posted by Mchelly at 7:29 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Oh god, Bureaucracy! I desperately wish I could find that online, I don't know how to get it again and I loved it so much.
posted by corb at 7:30 AM on March 10


Bureaucracy was awesome. A whole game whose main object was to get your mail from the post office.
posted by Mchelly at 7:30 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


mhoye: "One of the most beautiful, zen things I've ever seen on a computer is that in the HHG text adventure, "no tea" is an object. You can simply

> drop no tea

... and you will have tea.
"

Welll... not exactly.

"No tea" is an object. And when you finally do get tea, you drop the "no tea" because you now have tea. There's a puzzle towards the end that requires you to simultaneously possess tea and no tea in your inventory.
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


So, you don't need to acquire something. Instead, you can simply divest yourself of the condition of not having it, and there it is.

Ha, that's nicely reflective of one of my favorite bits from the book:

"There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. Its knack lies in learning to throw yourself at the ground and miss. ... Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, that presents the difficulties."
posted by kmz at 7:33 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


At the end of the game, Marvin will ask for a tool from you to fix some whimjab. Like a screwdriver or something. Which tool? It's chosen at random, which tool.

Unless you missed picking one up, that is. Then it will always be the one you missed.

I've ragequit at this game before. Guess at which part. Guess.
posted by KChasm at 7:34 AM on March 10 [13 favorites]


all you quitters and haters: you never tried

> help

? That's how I got through a few of the more obnoxious parts. (babel fish was a lot of trial and error, but was it the nutrimatic no-tea that was a pain, I forget.. )
posted by k5.user at 7:35 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Oh Freddled Gruntbuggly, thy nacturations are to me
As plurdled Gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
Groop! I implore thee, my foonting Turlingdromes
and hooptiously drangle me with crinkly Bindlewurdles
or I will rend thee in the Gobberwarts
with my Blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!

Gashee Morphousite, thou expungiest quoopisk
Bleem miserable Venchit! Bleem forever mestinglish asunder frapt
Fripping lyshus Wimbgunts, awhilst moongrovenly kormzibs
Gerond withoutitude form into formless Bloit, why not then? Moose.


I could never get through any Infocom game without the magic pen thingy books. No imagination. Learned to type, though! And managed to get it through my brain eventually that just because the 'computer' was talking to me didn't mean it was sentient with a full vocabulary.

Also I thought it was cool that they only recognised the first six letters of any word, making 'toothb' and 'screwd' a more or less permanent part of my vocabulary.
posted by you must supply a verb at 7:52 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Is this something I'd have to be carrying a towel to survive?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:55 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I got stuck in the original because it didn't occur to me to use 'block' as a verb.

Also, my only complaint about the original was that they had a universe with all these rich and vibrant characters (and Trillian too), and once you reached the Heart of Gold they all fucked right off into the sauna for the duration.
posted by delfin at 7:55 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I've read the original. Was very happy I don't have to live in it. Still am.
posted by hat_eater at 8:10 AM on March 10


... a universe with all these rich and vibrant characters (and Trillian too), and once you reached the Heart of Gold they all fucked right off into the sauna for the duration.

I'm in a universe full of rich and vibrant characters right now, and I can't honestly say that fucking right off to the sauna for the duration isn't tempting.
posted by mhoye at 8:15 AM on March 10 [19 favorites]


It's doing a weird thing where every time I hit Enter it registers twice. It is a testament to the deviousness of the game that I tried to remember if that was part of the gameplay or not.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:33 AM on March 10


There used to be only three ways to figure this game out:
1.  Be Douglas Adams.*
2.  Read Douglas Adams' mind.**
3.  Use a cheat book / cheat site.

Now there is a fourth:
4.  Build a time machine, jump fjordward to 2014, and read the spoilers in this thread.

-----------------------------------
*Much as I loved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in all most of its forms, Adams' approach to designing 'puzzles' was primarily based on this. In an attempt to avoid making HHGTTG another 'rat trapped in a maze' Infocom game, they ended up making the player a rat trapped the maze that is DNA's mind. See also the aptly named Starship Titanic.

**Despite Adams' and Infocom's claims to the contrary, I have a difficult time believng that anyone could make much progress in this game without some familiarity with the story, either the first radio series or the first novel. At a minimum, you are absolutely dependent upon the cheats that are actually included with the game.
posted by Herodios at 8:50 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Oh Freddled Gruntbuggly, thy nacturations are to me

That's "micturations" -- one of the few words that are actually words in Prostetnic's (known) Ĺ“uvre.

Which may be a clue of some kind.

The walrus was Paul, you know.

posted by Herodios at 8:56 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


The walkthrough includes things you can do for your amusement:

Have you tried...

- Looking under your bed?
- Enjoying the mud while you're lying in front of the bulldozer?
- Phoning home from your bedroom?
- Asking Prosser for the time?
- Getting drunk in the pub?
- Buying peanuts (as Arthur)?
- Listening to the jukebox music (several times, then again when you're Ford)?
- Petting the dog?
- Kicking the dog?
- Feeding peanuts to the dog (You can only do this as Ford)?
- Hitting Prosser before your house is demolished?
- Hitting Prosser after your house is demolished?
- Enjoying your house after it's been demolished?
- Asking Prosser about your home after it's been demolished?
- Giving the towel to Prosser?
- Giving the thing your aunt gave you to Prosser?
- Giving the satchel to Prosser (You can only do this as Ford)?
- Talking to Prosser after the Vogon fleet has arrived?
- Eating the cheese sandwich when you're Ford?
- Going straight to the Pub when you're Ford, instead of giving Arthur the towel, and then waiting a few turns?
- Yelling in the Dark?
- Waiting about 60 turns in Dark to see the hints you get?
- Not eating the peanuts in the Vogon Hold?
- Drinking the Santraginean Mineral Water?
- Asking Ford about the Earth once it's been destroyed?
- Enjoying the Vogon poetry without the babel fish?
- Opening the hatch in the Heart of Gold before landing on Magrathea?
- Kicking the screening door, then entering Marvin's Pantry?
- Closing the screening door once you've opened it?
- Reading the tiny message on the circuit board with the magnifying glass?
- Smashing the circuit board?
- Turning on the spare drive while plugged into the control panel before the missile attack begins?
- Turning on the spare drive while not plugged into the control panel
- during the missile attack?
- Asking Eddie to open the hatch after the ship has landed?
- Not going to the Access Space after asking Marvin to fix the hatch?
- Saying something other than your name when the Beast asks for it?
- Saying your name with the towel over your eyes?
- Carving a name on the memorial instead of carving your name on the memorial?
- Carving one of the names suggested by carving a name on the memorial?
- Carving the Beast's name on the memorial?
- Reading the memorial before carving your name?
- Reading the memorial after carving your name?
- Showing the thing your aunt gave you to the Beast?
- Waking the sleeping Beast?
- Drinking the wine at the party?
- Eating one of the hors d'oeuvres (try several times)?
- Throwing the glass of wine?
- Throwing the plate of hors d'oeuvres?
- Picking up Arthur at the party?
- Picking up Phil at the party?
- Jumping into the water from the Presidential Speedboat?
- Throwing something into the water from the boat?
- Shooting the crowd?
- Shooting the guards?
- Shooting Trillian?
- Shooting yourself?
- Shooting the toolbox?
- Shooting anything?
- Ordering the guards to shoot before they've dropped their photon rifles?
- Ordering the guards to shoot after they've dropped their photon rifles?
- Examining the approaching star system and the third planet from the War Chamber of the battle fleet?
- Talking to the Vl'Hurg leader or G'Gugvunt leader?
- Dropping something in the Maze and then walking around once you've gotten out?
- Talking to the bulldozer driver?
- Talking to the Vogon Captain?
- Talking to the hostess?
- Closing the thing your aunt gave you?
- Wrapping the towel around your head anywhere except Traal?
- Typing I AM ARTHUR DENT (not to a character)?
- Typing PANIC?
- Typing DON'T PANIC?
- Pushing the red button on the Thumb when an Engineer is already there?
- Counting the hors d'oeuvres at various points?
- Counting the crowd at the Dais at various points?
- Counting the guards at various points?
- Typing DON'T LOOK?
- Typing DON'T WAIT?
- Typing DON'T [verb]?
- Examining the bulldozer?
- Examining the Vogon fleet?
- Examining the flowerpot?
- Examining the mechanism in the Access Space?
- Examining various tools?
- Typing GIVE UP?
- Typing THROW IN THE TOWEL?
- Typing PULL MYSELF TOGETHER?
- Brushing your teeth with the toothbrush?
- Typing ESCAPE at any point?
- Filling anything?
- Returning to various scenes after you've successfully completed them?
- Applauding at any point other than during the poetry reading?
- Answering the game's various rhetorical questions by typing yes or no?
- Typing APPRECIATE [noun]?
- Asking characters about the object of the game?
- Kissing someone?
- Punching yourself?
- Taking Prosser's digital watch?
- Spilling beer on Ford?
- Hitting a button instead of pushing it?
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on March 10 [17 favorites]


oh god no not this game it was the pinnacle of no-interface command-line on-rails-narrative frustratingness

I will probably go play it again anyway
posted by gusandrews at 9:15 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Well, there goes my day.

Apologizing in advance to my better half for not doing the dishes.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on March 10


Eagerly looking forward to repeating one of the most frustrating experiences of my childhood.
posted by moss at 9:54 AM on March 10


I've ragequit at this game before. Guess at which part. Guess.

Let me guess: You didn't think to feed the dog at the beginning of the game?
posted by Wolfdog at 10:02 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Bureaucracy was a lot harder than HHGG, in my experience. The story file is here, if you're looking for it.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:06 AM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Footnote 12 is one of my favorite things in this world.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:16 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I loved loved loved this game. But I could never get the damned babel fish in my ear and after a zillion attempts I gave up. Then when I found out what you had to do to get it, I gave up again. Too nefarious for my simian brain. sigh.

That's as far as me and my friend got, too, back in the summer of '89.

It's amazing to think that if you got stuck on a game back then, you just brute forced it over time or stopped playing.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:17 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


The timing to feed the damned dog has to be perfect, too. I left the bar, saw the dog, thought "Aw, shit," went back into the bar, bought a sandwich, left the bar and now the dog has indigestion and won't eat.
posted by zarq at 10:19 AM on March 10


More games should come with packets of fluff and a microscopic space fleet. The world would be a better place for it.

(Infocom packaging was the best, though I did think the writing on the HHGttG box was a bit of a letdown compared to the rest of the text. I will forgive a lot because it also came with peril-sensitive sunglasses.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:23 AM on March 10


A radio station near me was doing a late-night re-play of the HHG BBC radio series around the time this game was current (1985 or so), and gave away the secret to the Babel fish puzzle on the air.

When I finally got my hands on the game, I couldn't remember the solution exactly, but it was enough to remember the spirit of it.

Many of the puzzles are like that; they're difficult until you grok their style, then you can work them out readily enough.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:26 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Absolutely true: When I haven't played one of these games for a while, I have a tendency to type ls -l at the prompt when I want to "look". Interesting mental slippage.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:34 AM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I was SO UPSET when I met a dude in 4th grade who had the magic pen cheat book for this game and I realized how close I had always been to beating it.

I spent so many hours looping through the war chambers and brains and speedboats and never ever thought to go screw around with the nutri-mat some more because I figured I'd already done that!
posted by SharkParty at 10:35 AM on March 10


AND I only had the disk of Bureaucracy but none of the manuals or packaging, so I couldn't get past the crazy guy who does the piracy protection question!

I bought every single book Douglas Adams put out and he would still never let me finish a game.
posted by SharkParty at 10:37 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


No, not this level of hell once more. Goddamnit, I SWORE that I would never pick up this particular slice of Satan's scrotum up again. jbickers, you are dead to me. DEAD.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 10:54 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I remember trying forever to play this game back in the day, holy shit was it insanely difficult. I'm not sure I was ever able to actually get past the first room of the Heart of Gold hell just getting past the babelfish puzzle took fucking ages because my parents always limited my computer time.
posted by vuron at 10:58 AM on March 10


Fans of the radio version might like to know that the first episode Fit the First, from The Primary Phase is on iPlayer at the moment. As it's radio, it should be accessible to those outside the UK.
posted by metaBugs at 11:01 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


This stupid game is why I don't play games. It scarred me.

Fucking Marvin.

I also remember it lying to me. I think you had to ask some questions multiple times to get an answer.
posted by fshgrl at 11:09 AM on March 10


I first had to play this before I had read the books. Needless to say I didn't get very far in the game, and the contents packaged in the Infocom box were bizarre at best. I wish I still had the Don't Panic button.
posted by loquacious at 11:35 AM on March 10


I was also pretty bummed when the game didn't actually come with what appeared to be an inflatable cosmic cutie.

Like I was young enough to actually shake the box and turn everything upside down a few times before admitting it wasn't in there.
posted by SharkParty at 11:44 AM on March 10


Oh man, this entire game is coming back to me. I think since the initial playthrough I've played it only one other time (maybe about halfway between then and now). I'm sure it's not actually true, but I feel like I remember the entire game.

My advice to everybody: Don't leave objects behind in your brain and then save over your old save file.
posted by aubilenon at 11:51 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


This thread could use some Vogon poetry to soothe the frazzled nerves.
posted by planetesimal at 12:01 PM on March 10


planetesimal:

howl howl gargle howl gargle gargle howl
gargle howl howl gargle howl gargle
gargle gargle howl howl gargle howl
howl gargle gargle
gargle gargle howl gargle howl howl howl
posted by aubilenon at 12:07 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


howl howl--will be shot.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:11 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


My dad got this game. I would wear the "Don't Panic" pin to school in the fifth grade.
posted by heathkit at 12:18 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Oh and I have the orders for demolition of my home planet in a frame somewhere. Unfortunately, it's the only relic from that game I still have.
posted by heathkit at 12:19 PM on March 10


This is one of those "OMG, my people!" moments isn't it? I had no idea this was a shared & communal frustration flashpoint for others.

My story: I got this game right before my family was heading off for a few weeks summer vacation on a lake. I was so obsessed that rather than miss two weeks of playing time I managed to smuggle our Mac into the car and into our rented cabin unbeknownst to my parents.

For you kids in the crowd I want you to appreciate this feat. I was able to smuggle this into a cabin built for 4 people max. For a few days I got away with stolen moments of gameplay in the cabin, eventually got caught, after token punishment my parents joined me in the quest. We all ended up hating that game with a passion and I remember nothing else about that vacation!

Good times.
posted by jeremias at 12:29 PM on March 10 [11 favorites]


Goddamn cheese goddamn sandwich.

As a kid I played that game, on and off, for literal years. I somehow managed to get all but to the end, and could not for the life of me figure out one of the final puzzles until I stopped playing for months and picked it back up again and accidentally walked into a room I had mentally mapped as a dead end. These days, with so much media available and so much less free time, I just can't imagine having the patience to play a game like that.
posted by aspo at 12:51 PM on March 10


About 25 years ago I played this game on a Kaypro ][. After struggling with it for hours, I finally managed to get the Babel Fish in. At that point, I called it a wrap.

I had just come off the fresh high of finishing Zork, and my defeat at the hands of HHG was a bitter one.
posted by ErikaB at 1:07 PM on March 10


I hated this game. Could never figure out how to deal with things once I was brought on board the Vogon ship. Glad to know that other people had deep frustrations with the game as well.
posted by nubs at 1:10 PM on March 10


My sister and brother-in-law and I spent a whole weekend on this stupid game and I think that we got as far as the BabbleFish. We'd done all three Zorks and Deadline but HHG was totally on a different level of frustration.
posted by octothorpe at 1:10 PM on March 10


I feel the need to admit that despite owning the game (on our, Classic? SE? Can't remember which model we had by that point) and playing it obsessively, I never ever ever managed to get the Babelfish in my ear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:16 PM on March 10


The thing I hated about the game was how, when you're in the Vogon Hold before you get the fish and the captain's announcement comes over the speakers, on my old Commodore 64 the routine that generated the garbled speech took forever for the Z-machine's implementation on that platform to produce. Playing an Infocom game with the disk in a 1541 drive was already an exercise in frustration, that made it nearly unplayable.
posted by JHarris at 2:14 PM on March 10


My friend got a mac and this game 30 years ago. I had never seen a personal computer other than my dad's programmable calculator (little metal strips!) When it booted up, I was a goner. We ended up playing this until we got the babel fish at dawn or thereabouts. Two weeks later when we dropped no tea I was ecstatic. Two more weeks later when I handed Marvin the screwdriver I think I may have wept. Having two people really helped.

Couldn't have a better intro to personal computing.
posted by umberto at 3:23 PM on March 10


I think the Vogon ship was where it lied. You'd ask it what was in the room and it would say "nothing", then you asked if it was sure and it would go "well... maybe there are some things". And then you'd chew your own arm off from displaced frustration and rage.

It might have been the Heart of Gold too, I can't clearly recall the details without my blood pressure getting dangerously high.
posted by fshgrl at 3:25 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


As I said earlier it's been a long time since I've played, but I'm pretty sure it's in Entry Bay 2 when you first arrive in the HoG where it tells you there's nothing to see there.
posted by aubilenon at 3:42 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Back around 1982, Douglas Adams came into my little computer store in Universal City to buy a new Kaypro computer. I told him I'd heard his radio show on my shortwave, and I had a game program I knew he'd like: Zork. I showed it to him and let him play a while. He bought it, so I XModemed the game from the 8" floppy disks on our Xerox 820 over to his Kaypro.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:14 PM on March 10 [12 favorites]


Back around 1982, Douglas Adams came into my little computer store in Universal City to buy a new Kaypro computer. [...] He bought it, so I XModemed the game from the 8" floppy disks on our Xerox 820 over to his Kaypro.

IT WAS YOU

I think the Vogon ship was where it lied.

It happened in the Infinite Improbability Drive room on the Heart of Gold. The game tells you there's absolutely nothing to see there. Your only real clue that there was something to see is the game's insistence there's nothing, and if you type LOOK a couple of times it's increasingly guilty assurances.
posted by JHarris at 4:19 PM on March 10


"Don't Panic" is the wallpaper on my phone when it's locked
posted by Pronoiac at 4:33 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I think there's also a room where you have to "aft" and the game insists there's no exit in that direction for the first few times you try it.

Dear god, 25+ years later and I still remember that.
posted by aspo at 4:36 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Despite how well HHGG is remembered, it had possibly the least satisfying Infocom ending except for Infidel.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:38 PM on March 10


I think there's also a room where you have to "aft" and the game insists there's no exit in that direction for the first few times you try it.

It doesn't say there's no exit, it just insists that you don't really want to go that way.
posted by aubilenon at 4:47 PM on March 10


Lights, dressing gown, analgesic, screwdriver, junkmail, mud then died. It's been at least 20 years since I played this, but I still remember you need the junk mail for the babelfish.

BRB. Trying again, and probably wasting my evening/week.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:48 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I vaugely remember playing this 30 years ago on my Atari 400.. And damn it was hard, but fun..
God the number of hours wasted getting tea and no tea..
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 4:58 PM on March 10


I seem to remember Infocom having a 1-900 number you'd call for hints. Am I crazy? Did this happen?
posted by skammer at 6:18 PM on March 10


Okay, I pretty much blew the whole day on this today - one nugget of glory occurred when I typed:
"enjoy nothing"

..which then led to a very rewarding Wikipedia read...
posted by bird internet at 6:18 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Waldenbooks, where I defeatedly reach for the Invisiclues.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:00 PM on March 10


I think the Vogon ship was where it lied.

It happened in the Infinite Improbability Drive room on the Heart of Gold. The game tells you there's absolutely nothing to see there. Your only real clue that there was something to see is the game's insistence there's nothing, and if you type LOOK a couple of times it's increasingly guilty assurances.


It also happens earlier when you first wake up on the Heart of Gold. I think it says "there is an exit port" but you can't go that way... then when you go aft it says "we were lying about the exit to port"

It's like a fun, otherwise pointless little warning that the game is going to ruin you, except it's a third of the way into the game after you've already solved several asinine puzzles and are already well aware that nothing in-game is on your side.
posted by SharkParty at 8:33 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


After several false starts and a river of whiskey later, we were finally aboard the Vogon ship.
By then it was time to go home.

Is it really 30 years later?
posted by Pudhoho at 11:19 PM on March 10


Excellent.
posted by homunculus at 12:25 AM on March 11


It also happens earlier when you first wake up on the Heart of Gold. I think it says "there is an exit port" but you can't go that way... then when you go aft it says "we were lying about the exit to port"

If you enter aft at the moment it tells you about the exit to port, it'll admit the deception immediately, a face no doubt of use to HGTTG speedrunners.

This happens at your first emergence from Dark. Later trips to Dark can have different exits, different ways to get out of Dark. Eventually, you become able to choose your method of emergence, and thus pick where you go.
posted by JHarris at 12:29 AM on March 11


> Despite how well HHGG is remembered, it had possibly the least satisfying Infocom ending except for Infidel.

The ending of HHGG is as relevant to most people's memories of the game as the best dinner ever that somebody else ate.
posted by ardgedee at 3:45 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I used to speedrun this motherfucker between rounds of hack. Just fire up the floppy, start the timer on my calculator watch, and smash it on full auto, with pure muscle memory. Best times.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:55 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


Geez, I haven't thought about this game in years. Played it way back when on my Apple IIe, and even though I had read the book at the time (I think...it was quite a while ago), that game made me fight for every INCH of progress. I don't remember if I finished the game then, or a decade later when I bought it in one of the "Lost Treasures of Infocom" packages.

The remake is pretty cool...only problem I have with it is that it seems laggy on my computer, and of course the double-enter thing as referenced above. And the sound effect when you score points...since when did a text adventure have sound?!?! Kids these days /grumble

(Just tried it now, and was able to get off Earth without dying, first time. Yay me! Time to see if I remember what to do next...)
posted by zbaco at 4:22 PM on March 11


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