The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

From IFWiki

Science Fiction
Crazy quilt
Crazy quilt
Outer space
Outer space
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Hitchhikers small cover.png
Author(s) Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky
Publisher(s) Infocom, BBC
Release date(s) 1984
Authoring system ZIL
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
License(s) Commercial
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Cruel

How It Begins

You are Arthur Dent. You have just woken up in the dark. You have a splitting headache and no tea.

Notable Features

  • Possibly one of the earliest text adventures to deliberately lie to the player.
  • The babel fish puzzle was so notorious, the term has entered the common lexicon of IF terminology to refer to a cascading type of puzzle, where solving part of the puzzle introduces new difficulties.
  • Multiple PCs. For most of the game, the PC is Arthur Dent. However, some sections of the game are played as Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, or Trillian. (Possibly one of the first text adventures to have multiple PCs.)
  • First known IF game to use footnotes.
  • The bizarre "no tea" object in Arthur's inventory; it can't be dropped except by taking "tea".
  • The equally bizarre "thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is"; its very properties are a puzzle to be figured out.

Trivia and Comments

  • Although based on Douglas Adams's radio play and book of the same name, knowledge of either is not necessary to play the game.
  • This game did not appear on the Classic Text Adventure Masterpieces of Infocom CD-ROM because ownership of the game reverted to Douglas Adams by that time.
  • A sequel was planned but never written.
  • Represented text adventure games in the "Game On!" exhibition at London's Science Museum.
  • In 1984, Infocom sponsored a revival/replaying of the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series to drum up interest in the game.


Infocom releases

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky).
    • Release 59 / Serial number 851108 (publisher: Infocom; 1984; Z-code)
      • Versions were published for the Apple II, Macintosh, Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, and the IBM PC.
      • Play online at
    • Release 31 / Serial number 871119 (publisher: Activision; 1991; Z-code)
      • This was the version included in The Lost Treasures of Infocom.


Feelies are extra items included in the game package.

  • "How Many Times Has This Happened To You?". - A mini-booklet that includes the game documentation.
  • Fluff. - A bit of cotton in a tiny plastic bag stapled shut.
  • Destruct Orders for Your Home and Planet. - Two sheets of paper: a folded yellow page titled "ORDER FOR DESTRUCTION" and a folder silver page in heavier stock whose text is entirely in "alien" symbols (a mix of Greek, astrology, and other glyphs). The English destruct orders places Arthur Dent's home at 155 Country Lane, Cottington, Cottingshire County, UK, and sets the date of the demolition (and thus the game events itself) on October 4th, 1982. The last signature on the page is that of Steve Meretzky, as the Earle of Cottingshire.
  • "Don't Panic!" button. - A wearable red button with "DON'T PANIC!" in yellow lettering.
  • Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. - A piece of heavy black paper stock cut in the shape of sunglasses, with the arms folded back. There are no cutouts to see through; the "glasses" are solid black.
  • Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy™ Microscopic Space Fleet. - An empty plastic bag with an pasteboard label stapled on top.

BBC illustrated versions

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (illustrator: Rod Lord, publisher: BBC; 21-Sep-2004; Flash/Z-code hybrid).
    • Note: The illustrated version of the game is really the same Z-code version as before, but uses a very specialized Z-machine interpreter to provide additional interface features, including the graphics.
    • Interactive BAFTA Award: winner for Best Online Entertainment on March 2, 2005.
    • Play it online at