Play the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text-based adventure game, the BBC has released a free online version.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text-based adventure game, the BBC has released an online version, playable for free.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams and first appearing as a radio play in 1979, is one of sci-fi's most beloved franchises, spinning off into a series of novels (published from 1979), a TV show, a comic book, a film — and, in 1984, an interactive text-based adventure game by developer Infocom.

The original is hard to find (and play) now, but hoopy froods can rejoice! for the BBC has delivered a brand-new free-to-play HTML5 remake. You won't get the feelies, but you will get the original game as written by Douglas Adams himself and programmed by Steve Meretzky, along with a few little upgrades.

"The old Flash game would not work on the new servers, and in porting it to a new HTML5 incarnation, several innovations took place. We were able to build in a larger, handier interface, with additional keys and functionality, and build in the ability to tweet from the game," the dev team wrote.

"Then things started to get silly. Having covered the basics, we decided to slip in an 'Any' key, just because we could. The $, % and ^ symbols were replaced with new ones for the Altarian Dollar, Flanian Pobble Bead and the Triganic Pu, not because they are needed in the game, but just because we felt like it. We then decided that rather than having a simple functionality where the user could tweet, we would allow the game itself to tweet, based on the actions of users in the game."

The result is the same punishingly difficult gameplay (which will "kill you frequently") in a brand-new interface. If you were hankering after the 20th anniversary edition, though, never fear: it's still around

You can give it a play for yourself on the BBC website.

About the author

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.


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