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2.2 Computer Games (Douglas Adams and Computers)


This article is from the Douglas Adams FAQ, by Nathan Hughes nhughes@umich.edu with numerous contributions by others.

2.2 Computer Games (Douglas Adams and Computers)

With Infocom's Steve Meretzky (who no longer works for Infocom after
their takeover by Mediagenic), he wrote "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy" adventure game. "Bureaucracy" was credited to "Douglas Adams
and The Staff of Infocom" - there were lots of Infocom people involved
(Jeff O'Neill, Dave Lebling, Fred Morgan and others).

The end sequence to the game "Hitchhiker's Guide" mentions a second
game called "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", but this game
doesn't exist. Douglas Adams started to write it, as because
"Bureaucracy" had poor sales, Adams and Infocom dropped the project.
Infocom tried to revive the project later, but the virtual death of
Infocom in 1990 brought this idea to an end.

Douglas Adams also started work on another game, where the emphasis
was to be on creating a virtual reality in the adventure, but petered
out after his partner lost interest. Douglas has stated that he has
just set up a whole new company, part of the remit of which is to
allow him to develop CD ROM games, however, so perhaps we will see
some new games from the man...

Meretzky is still writing computer adventure games for "Legend
Entertainment". Infocom only exists as a label for Activision, the
company having been closed in 1989. The games are available from
Virgin Mastertronic in "Infocom From Mastertonic" (a budget games
house in the UK). Their address is :

Customer Services
Virgin Mastertronic Ltd
16 Portland Road
London W11 2LA
Tel: 071 - 727 8070

Probably the easiest way to play the games is to purchase the Infocom
game compilations put out by Activision, the Lost Treasures of Infocom
I & II. The HHG is in part I, Bureaucracy is in part II (of course. *sigh*).
Here's the complete information:

Includes:                Moonmist             Starcross
Zork I, II, & III        Spellbreaker         The Witness
Beyonk Zork              Ballyhoo             Planetfall
Zork Zero                Infedel              Stationfall
Sorcerer                 THE HITCHHIKER'S     Suspended
Enchanter                  GUIDE TO THE       The Lurking Horror
Deadline                   GALAXY             Suspect
Price: $39.95
Includes:                      Nord and Bert
A Mind Forever Voyaging        Sherlock
Bureaucracy (writ by DNA)      Trinity
Cutthroats                     Wishbringer
Hollywood Hihinx               Border Zone
Plundered Hearts               Seastalker
Price: $19.95

TO ORDER, CALL 1 (800) 477-3650

Specially priced in Aus. & NZ at AUD$59.95 plus s&h for Lost Treas. and
AUD$39.95 plus s&h for Lost Treas. II. To order, call (61) 2 809 4444.

Specially priced in Europe at f29.99 plus s&h for Lost Treas. and f19.99 plus
s&h for Lost Treas. II. To order, call (44) 295 252 524.

Available only in English.
Available on disk and CD-ROM for IBM and Mac.

Another number to try for ordering info is (800)-533-4677. I don't have
a name for this company, just the phone number. Good Luck!


Activision has also recently re-released the Infocom games under several
packages, with names such as "The Comedy Collection", "The Sci-Fi Collection",
etc. You can find the HHG Game in the "Sci-Fi Collection", and Bureaucracy
in the "Comedy Collection". These just might be easier to find than the
"Lost Treasures" packages. Check your local software stores.

CDD-3097 Infocom Sci-Fi Collection US$14.99 (THHGTTG game)
CDD-3094 Infocom Comedy Collection US$14.99 (Bureaucracy)

699 hertel Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14207

You can also check out the Interactive Fiction Archive in Germany, which
contains solutions etc. to the Infocom Games, as well as lots more. It's
at ftp://ftp.gmd.de/.

Obviously Infocom related discussions are abound in the
rec.games.int-fiction newsgroup. The Lost Treasures compilations
haven't been made for quite a while now, and pretty much all stocks of
these compilations have run dry (probably because of all the
r.g.int-fiction folk hunting the last few out!) Although the smaller
Activision compilations are suppossed to replace the Lost Treasures
compilations, certainly in the UK they are near impossible to find.
For people in the UK http://www.reserve.co.uk/ may possibly have a few
copies of LTOI 1 & 2 as it is still in their on-line catalogue.

You don't need a Mac or a PC to play the games, nor do you need the
right versions of the games for the right machines. Infocom games
were interpreted, and hence the game files themselves are useable
across all platforms with a suitable Infocom interpreter. There are
PD versions of suitable interpreters available for most machines, so
it is quite possible to play HHGTTG on anything from UNIX to an Acorn
Archamedies, even if your copy of HHGTTG is for a completely different
machine. Chat to the folk in rec.games.int-fiction for more

For Mac/PC users who can't find the Mac/PC versions of the Lost
Treasures compilations, it should be noted that LTOI 1 was also
released for the Commodore Amiga, and these might be easier to still
get hold of. Assuming you can transfer the files from Amiga floppies
to your system, and get hold of one of the freely available PD infocom
game interpreters, then you can play all but one of the games in the
compilation (including HHGTTG.)


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