Video games were not very advanced in 1984. RPGs and games with complex plot lines were generally text based. One of the greats was the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, given that the book was also text based it seemed a good fit.

In 2004, for the 20th anniversary of the game, the BBC updated it with a Flash interface. The upgraded game included illustrations which “followed in the tradition of E. H. Shepard’s illustrations for A.A. Milne’s books.” It was by no means animated, but it did include simple drawings to show you some of the things that were being discussed. The game was good enough to pick up a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Award) and to raise traffic to BBC Radio 4’s website by a reported 1000%.

In 2014, the BBC reports that the game was still drawing about 70 visitors a day (not bad a decade on) and the decision was made to upgrade it once more. The game is still text based, but the Flash has been replaced with HTML 5 and a few simple upgrades have been made.

You can go play it right now at the BBC Radio 4 website. One final word of warning from the BBC though “The game will kill you frequently. It’s a bit mean like that.”

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