Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1984)

While I often profess to not have a sense of humor, I have a real fondness for Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. I find them quite funny! I got the paperbacks with the little round green guy at book fairs at my elementary school — I think I’d read through the first three by sixth grade. I got tapes of the BBC radio play around then and was pretty fixated on the franchise in 7th grade (I had a minor corrective surgery that year and the doctors were very perplexed by my 42-centric anesthesia ramblings). Around that time, someone passed along a floppy disk to me that had a Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy interactive fiction game (1984) on it. I set about playing it immediately. I found it maddeningly hard! I still do. I’ve never finished it. There were t-shirts made to specifically mock people like me. You can go to the BBC and bang your head against a web version of it if you like.

The difficulty didn’t impede the game’s popularity — it was one of Infocom’s biggest sellers and is warmly remembered today (the nice thing about text-based games is that they always look as good as they did on the day they released).

The feelies are kind of a mix of genius and eye-rolling, and I mean that in the most positive way. You have an empty plastic bag labeled “Microscopic Space Fleet” and opaque cardboard “peril sensitive” sunglasses and some pocket fluff (a cotton ball). There are also orders for the destruction of Arthur Dent’s house and the planet earth. The best one is the Don’t Panic pin. That one’s spent time on my various bags over the years, not gonna lie.

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