Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Good Old Commodore 64... Online?!

Back in the day, my computing power was limited to 64kB of RAM on my Commodore 64. Ahhh, the good old days. Later on I upgraded to a C-128. 128 kB of RAM! Why, I could NEVER use all that memory! (I remember saying the same thing when I bought a 2400 baud modem a few years later... how fast!)

My "video games" were mostly limited to text. Well, the good ones, anyway. Sure, I had some games that involved flying aircraft and bombing places in foreign countries, those were always fun (what middle school-aged boy doesn't like to blow things up, after all?).

But the text games were an art form. You loaded the game, and would get a text prompt. You would type commands, and it would tell you the result. For example, "look" would return a statement of the things around you. To move, you would enter, "Go south" or "exit room" or what have you.

Two such games come to mind. One was Zork. The other has been on my mind as of late, "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy". Yes, I played this game when I was a kid. It was an interactive, text-based version of the book. It was awesome.

So today I hit Google, and typed in, "Commodore 64 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" and found this website. They have the text game online!!

Now, I remember a few things. In the beginning, you only have so many moves until the house gets knocked down, or the world gets destroyed. And you have to get away from your house before it gets knocked down, or you will be killed by a falling brick.

As you can see below, I forgot all of this. Cut me a break, it's been at least 16 years since I played this game.

Infocom interactive fiction - a science fiction story
Copyright (c) 1984 by Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
Release 59 / Serial number 851108

You wake up. The room is spinning very gently round your head. Or at least it would be if you could see it which you can't.

It is pitch black.

> look

It is pitch black.

> get up

Very difficult, but you manage it. The room is still spinning. It dips and sways a little.

> turn on light
Good start to the day. Pity it's going to be the worst one of your life. The light is now on.

The bedroom is a mess.
It is a small bedroom with a faded carpet and old wallpaper. There is a washbasin, a chair with a tatty dressing gown slung over it, and a window with the curtains drawn. Near the exit leading south is a phone.
There is a flathead screwdriver here.
There is a toothbrush here.

> get phone
You reach for the receiver. You're certainly picking the tough tasks. The floor acts like a trampoline on an ice rink, or like something they've been working on for years at Disneyland.

> brush teeth

You have nothing to brush your teeth with.

> go south

You miss the doorway by a good eighteen inches. The wall jostles you rather rudely.

> leave room

You miss the doorway by a good eighteen inches. The wall jostles you rather rudely.

> get dressed

You're not holding your gown.

> get gown

Luckily, this is large enough for you to get hold of. You notice something in the pocket.

> look in pocket

It's hard to open or close the pocket unless you're wearing the gown.

> wear gown

You are now wearing your gown.

> open pocket

Opening your gown reveals a thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is, a buffered analgesic, and pocket fluff.

> swallow analgesic

You swallow the tablet. After a few seconds the room begins to calm down and behave in an orderly manner. Your terrible headache goes.

> go south

You make your way down to the front porch.

Front Porch
This is the enclosed front porch of your home. Your front garden lies to the south, and you can re-enter your home to the north.
On the doormat is a pile of junk mail.

> go south

Front of House
You can enter your home to the north. A path leads around it to the northeast and northwest, and a country lane is visible to the south. All that lies between your home and the huge yellow bulldozer bearing down on it is a few yards of mud.

Mr. Prosser, from the local council, is standing on the other side of the bulldozer. He seems to be wearing a digital watch. He looks startled to see you emerge, and yells at you to get out of the way.
The bulldozer rumbles slowly toward your home.

> stop bulldozer

You lie down in the path of the advancing bulldozer. Prosser yells at you to for crissake move!!!

> wait

Time passes...

The bulldozer thunders toward you. The ground is shaking beneath you as you lie in the mud.

> wait

Time passes...

The noise of the giant bulldozer is now so violently loud that you can't even hear Prosser yelling to warn you that you will be killed if you don't get the hell out of the way. You just see him gesticulating wildly.

> wait

Time passes...

With a terrible grinding of gears the bulldozer comes to an abrupt halt just in front of you. It shakes, shudders, and emits noxious substances all over your rose bed. Prosser is incoherent with rage.

Moments later, your friend Ford Prefect arrives. He hardly seems to notice your predicament, but keeps glancing nervously at the sky. He says "Hello, Arthur," takes a towel from his battered leather satchel, and offers it to you.

> take towel

As you take it, Ford says "Er, look, thanks for lending me the towel... been nice knowing you... got to go now..." He smiles oddly and walks down the Country Lane.

> follow ford

You can't do that while you're lying down!

> get up

The bulldozer driver gives a quick chew of his gum and slams in the clutch. The bulldozer piles into the side of your home.

Your home collapses in a cloud of dust, and a stray flying brick hits you squarely on the back of the head. You try to think of some suitable last words, but what with the confusion of the moment and the spinning of your head, you are unable to compose anything pithy and expire in silence.

> start over
You keep out of this, you're dead. An ambulance arrives.

> look
You keep out of this, you're dead and should be concentrating on developing a good firm rigor mortis. You are put in the ambulance, which drives away.

> wait
For a dead person you are talking too much. As the ambulance reaches the mortuary a fleet of Vogon Constructor ships unexpectedly arrives and demolishes the Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.

We are about to give you your score. Put on your peril-sensitive sunglasses now.

That's probably how I'll die, in silence unable to think of anything pithy! Anyway, I've bookmarked this site and see myself spending many-a-lunch-hour there.


At April 14, 2005 12:31 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

That's terrific!

or terrible!

I sense a new addiction entering our house - as if we need more - and worse, I am the potential addict. I don't have time for this!

And I am totally unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker's Guide, so I am going to be so lost.

Generally I hate computer games. Although we avoid evil, violent, immoral games in our home so that's not it, I hate that my family all become deaf and dumb in their presence, totally unresponsive to human contact. (Myst does have beautiful art though) Now you introduce ME to one?!

What have you done to me!

Resisitance is futile. You will be assimulated.

At April 14, 2005 1:14 PM, Anonymous Miriam said...

I remember a similar game that we had when I was a kid. It had the same format where you type directions and it gives you text. It had the same type of "witty" come backs, too. lol. I guess that was pretty funny back then. I seem to remember graphics on it though. If I remember right, it was a spooky theme one where you wander around a forest and may encounter halloween-type villians. I have no idea what the goal of the game was, except not to die. Maybe you were searching for something - I can't remember

Yeah, we had an Apple II E and I always have to laugh when I remember the graphics on that computer. I remember a concentration game (you know - flip two cards over and try to get a matching pair, and get more pairs than your opponent) where there was a graphic that we weren't sure if it was supposed to be a heart or a swimsuit. I would say very pixelated, but it was more like blocks than pixels.

The funny thing is, it seemed like the games were better back then. Maybe it's just nastalgia, or less expectation, but it seems like games now have more flash and better graphics, but aren't as good at teaching things on the learning type games. I remember a typing game called Microtype. It was really good for teaching and practicing typing.

At April 14, 2005 4:02 PM, Anonymous Sariah said...

Miriam: Transylvannia!!! That is exactly what I was thinking of when I read this post too! The point was to rescue the princess. I remember that once you get there you have to wake her up (by saying some silly password) but we couldn't figure it out for awhile. All I remember is telling it to kiss her, and the response was always "Isn't that kind of corny?" lol

Eddie: Meet my sister, Miriam. (If you haven't met her before.) Do you all of a sudden wonder if my family is taking over your blog? (And we're all long-winded! lol) And you've never met any of us! That just goes to show what a fun blog you have!

At April 16, 2005 11:33 PM, Blogger T said...

The oldest computer my parents have is an 8088, and it still works. Dad likes the word procesor that came with it, and still uses it. I used to play lots of DOS games like Castle and Digger. I loved Digger...

At April 17, 2005 4:08 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

That's hilarious!

While I'm sort of worried about the new movie coming out and whether it's going to actually be any good or not, I'm thrilled that Alan Rickman is doing Marvin's voice.

At April 17, 2005 9:06 PM, Blogger T said...

I know! I'm so excited! My folks are getting a bunch of us together the Saturday after it comes out.

At April 18, 2005 12:31 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

Joseph stayed up last night and won the game.

Does this mean I will have computer access again?
(Probably not.)

I only played Thursday and didn't get out of the first dark. I know how now, I just haven't had time to play.

At April 18, 2005 4:47 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

Now that I've won the game, I'm back! lol. So it only took me about 15-20 years.

Barbara: You're hooked, muahahahah! Good going for Joseph--he beat me, but then again I was only playing at lunch time.

Miriam: I agree--the games were in ways better than they are now. There was definitely more left to the imagination, and more thought required. The people that put the new version of HG2G together said,

"Then graphics games came along and the computer using portion of the human race forgot all about 500,000 years of language evolution and went straight back to the electronic equivalent of banging rocks together - the point'n'click game. Infocom and most of its competitors went to the wall - signalling the arrival of the post-literate society."

I remember those days. There were some good games and good things that went by the wayside.

Sariah: You guys are all welcome, of course, and I enjoy hearing from all of you. Maybe I'll crash a family reunion sometime, lol.

Kelly: Same here--I hope the movie does justice to the book, and well, the game too, lol. Alan Rickman was a perfect choice for the voice.

The new trailer is hysterical. If you guys haven't seen it it's over at It's an entry from the HG2G regarding movie trailers.

T: I don't remember digger.... Castle sounds familiar though.

And guess what just came.. my copy of the BOOK. I don't think I've ever read this thing all the way through.. Started sometime in middle school and never finished (I think I was reading it for clues...)

So now I'll read it, and then watch the movie, thus fully overloading my synapses.


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