Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Unearthing the story of Milliways

Twenty years after the fact, Andy Baio has uncovered the story of "Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," the unreleased sequel to Infocom's interactive fiction computer game, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." More interestingly, his post has garnered over 200 comments, including a number by the people described in Baio's article, many of whom debate the appropriateness of releasing personal emails without prior consent. It's a fascinating, if long, read.

I always wondered about that sequel game. I met Douglas Adams as a kid, at a poorly-attended autograph session at an American chain bookstore in a shopping mall (which in and of itself should have been unbelievably absurd to me at the time, but sadly, wasn't), and I effused to him about — among other things — the Infocom Hitchhikers' game, having spent hours baffling out how to just get a damn fish out of a machine (among other baffling things).

I asked him if there would be a sequel game, and he told me that indeed there would. I probably effused some more, but my young mind quickly ran out of things to say to an adult whose books (and radio shows, and TV shows, et al) would turn out to have a lasting effect on the evolution of my young sense of humor and indeed my whole way of viewing the universe.

Much later, when the new Douglas Adams game was announced by Infocom, it was called Bureaucracy, and it didn't really seem to have anything to do with the Hichhikers' Guide, nor any of the H2G2 characters. I was confused by this until now.

By the way, the Infocom game still features prominently among my Douglas Adams collection, and I still have my Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses and Microscopic Space Fleet. And the pocket fluff too, of course — can't ever get rid of that stuff.

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