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A 1984 text-based adventure game published by Infocom and yet another spinoff of that wholly remarkable franchise The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The game was co-written by Douglas Adams and Steve Meretzky.
It's notorious for being maddeningly difficult and very funny, and stays close to the other versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
You can play it online here.
- Clingy MacGuffin: The Thing That Your Aunt Gave You That You Don't Know What It Is. But it's a good thing you couldn't lose it.
- Controllable Helplessness: When you are in "Dark".
- Doublethink: "Intelligence" is defined as the ability to do this, and the only way to enter Marvin's room is to demonstrate that you have intelligence. Appropriately enough, you ultimately accomplish this by physically removing your common sense, allowing you to carry "tea" and "no tea" at the same time.
- Easter Egg: There's couple of the footnotes have nothing referring to them; you'll only read them if you're specifically going through all the footnotes.
- Empty Room Psych: "You can't hear anything, see anything, smell anything, feel anything, or taste anything, and do not even know where you are or who you are or how you got there" seems to be the narrator's catchphrase. If you wait long enough, one of the senses will be elimated from the list, and using it will help you quite a bit (even if it seems useless at first).
- Footnote Fever: The footnotes are all accessed by putting in "Footnote 1", "Footnote 2", etc. Because of this, you don't have to wait to be prompted with one, you can read them all whenever. After a certain number, it starts telling you there is no footnote for that number, and a little past that, you get a note saying "Reading all the footnotes is fun, isn't it?".
- Gay Option: The game recognizes commands to kiss and enjoy characters of either gender... but it just tells you that this isn't that kind of game. Sorry, Yaoi Fangirls.
- Guide Dang It: On a couple of levels. For one thing, many of the puzzles have no clues except for the in-game Hitchhiker's Guide, and the articles they're found in are sometimes something no one would think to look up on their own ("Brownian Motion"?). For another, said puzzles are often Nintendo Hard anyway, and if you mess any of them up, the game will become unwinnable.
- Have a Nice Death: One of them goes on for several screens, reacting to whatever you try to type with "You keep out of this, you're dead." Another one reads:
"Your serious allergic reaction to protein loss from matter transference beams becomes a cause celebre among various holistic pressure groups in the Galaxy and leads to a total ban on dematerialisation. Within fifty years, space travel is replaced by a keen interest in old furniture restoration and market gardening. In this new quieter Galaxy, the art of telepathy flourishes as never before, creating a new universal harmony which brings all life together, converts all matter into thought and brings about the rebirth of the entire Universe on a higher and better plane of existence. However, none of this affects you, because you are dead."
- In the Future We Still Have Roombas: They make getting the Babel Fish considerably more difficult than it should be.
- Lost Forever
- The Many Deaths of You: There are an insane number of ways to die, and pretty much all of them garner you a snarky message.
- Nintendo Hard: Oh, so very much. This game has been known to cause grown men to cry at the mere mention of the phrase "Babel Fish".
- Painting the Fourth Wall
- Soup Cans: Oh, dear lord.
- Temporal Paradox: You'll revisit the same events from the viewpoint of different characters, alter the past through things you haven't done yet, and just generally give causality a good pantsing.
- Unreliable Narrator: As if the game wasn't hard enough already, the narrator will sometimes lie outright about what's going on. In fact, after you win the argument and force it to let you into the Engine Room, the game initially refuses to tell you what's in there because it's sulking.
- Unwinnable by Design: The player can render the game unwinnable easily and without warning. For instance, there are two entirely separate ways in which it is possible to get all the way to the end of the game and then learn that the game is now unwinnable because of something you didn't do right at the start.
- One thing you need to do at the start, but probably won't think of if somebody doesn't warn you, is giving a dog a sandwich. Yes, giving a dog a sandwich. Although you do get a second chance to do it (during the Ford Prefect time travel sequence) if you didn't do it the first time, meaning you theoretically have a chance to perform the action after having found out through play that it might be useful.
- There are about a dozen tools hidden throughout the game. Near the very end of the game, Marvin will need just one of these tools to save you. Unless you have every tool, the game will deliberately pick one that you don't have. Furthermore, as you can bring only one tool to the relevant site and have no second chance to go fetch one, you not only need to have found every tool but also found a way to get a precognitive vision of exactly which tool Marvin will want in the future. Not even random chance will do it; the game is programmed so that Marvin will never pick the tool you are already holding unless you have obtained 100% certain foreknowledge that it will be the right one.