Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy returns to the screen in new Hulu series

The classic TV series cannot be topped, but is very old, whereas the movie is quite new, but can surely be topped. So let's hope that the new Hulu reboot of Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy offers the best of both worlds.

For those few who might be unfamiliar with this classic of geekdom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tells the tale of Earth’s destruction so that aliens can build a space highway. It centers on a Brit named Arthur Dent and his best friend Ford Prefect, who is writing the travel guide of the title.

The series was first conceived as a radio show on the BBC back in 1978. Since then, Adams turned the idea into a set of novels that became many fans’ first exposure to his comedic stylings. This Hulu project isn’t the first time Hitchhiker’s Guide has received a visual treatment. The original novel was released as a feature film starring Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Sam Rockwell, and Stephen Fry in 2005. It was also made into a TV series in the UK in the 1980s, and recently the original radio cast reunited for a new radio dramatization.

I feel about Hitchhiker's Guide the way I feel about another Douglas Adams masterwork, The Meaning of Liff. I love it, but it's a statue in the pantheon, so maybe I'm just nostalgic about the idea of it and what it represents. It's coupled to a long-ago moment of the British comic imagination: tantalizingly close to modern frequencies but, in truth, another universe. Read the rest

You can play the Hitchhiker's Guide game right now

Yesterday, March 11, was Douglas Adams' birthday. Did you know you can celebrate by playing the 1984 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game in your browser at work this instant?

Although games made with a text parser -- you know, where you type commands like TURN ON LIGHT or LOOK IN POCKET or S to travel "south" through described space -- are increasingly a lost art, the Hitchhiker's Guide game, made by Adams and Infocom's Steve Meretzky, was radically accessible for its time. The game playfully teaches you how to succeed at its opening circumstance by letting you die repeatedly in ways that quickly acclimate you to its sense of time, space, and humor.

The frustrating thing (or the beautiful thing, if you're like me) about old text games is the limitations of what they can understand. But the Hitchhiker's Guide game was downright literary for its time, empathetic to uncommon commands, skilled at understanding what the player wanted to do. It holds up well even today.

Give it a try. Maybe help each other out in the comments?

You can also emulate it a little more neatly with help from this crucial abandonware repository and an emulator like DOXBox or similar. Read the rest