When Douglas Adams paired with text adventure giant Infocom to do a computer game version of his much-beloved satirical SF book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it seemed an idea too good to have come from the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy. Infocom was the biggest player in the market, and Adams a computer-literate author who’s works matched the sensibilities and episodic nature of the genre. All the more so when Adams was matched with Infocom “IMP” or Implementor (what the company called its game designers) Steve Meretzky, author of some very Adamsy games for the company such as the Planetfall series.
So it came to pass that Infocom released the HHGTTG game for a myriad of home computer systems in 1984, and it was a huge success, a top-seller that dominated the game sales charts for months and became Infocom’s best-selling product. You can read more of the HHGTTG game’s development and Douglas Adams’ other major contributions to the video game landscape in a previous entry in this blog, written to celebrate what would have been his 60th birthday if not for his passing in 2001.
As for the video mentioned in the post title, here is Adams demonstrating the electronic version of his novel on the U.K. TV show Micro Live. He very cheerfully points out how diabolically obtuse and unfair his game is, as well as takes the host through the opening passages of it:
For more information on the history of Infocom and its seminal text adventure Zork, consult your local Dot Eaters article: