I was reminded of my now-distant technology past today by meandering through the blog of my favorite fellow UCSB alum, Tony (aka T-dog, Tony-P, and Big-T [all unbeknownst to him as we’ve never met]). Through him, I found the awesome text-based game for the zealously satirical Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

I vaugely recall spending hours on games like this, pirated between friends on 5 1/4″ floppy disks (please say someone out there remembers 5 1/4″ disks), sometime back in the 80’s. I thoroughly suggest you go play the game, as it’s astoundingly frustrating. For those of you weaned on Quake and The Sims, you will find it particularly horrid. Here’s a sample excerpt:

It is pitch black.

>get up

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

>look

It is pitch black

>open eyes

They are

>go to hell

I don’t know the word “hell”

>fuck you

I don’t know the word “fuck”

>shit

I don’t know the word “shit”

>kiss my ass

This is family entertainment, not a video nasty.

>kill myself

Done.

***You have died***

and so it goes…

I know this will amaze some of you, but there was a time when computer games had no graphics. In fact, computer anything didn’t have graphics, and it was all displayed on a gloriously banal monochromatic screen. You’d think that would get boring fast, but somehow it didn’t…and it hasn’t for the last 20 minutes I’ve been trying to remember how to beat this game…

(Hint: before you punch your screen in, lie in front of the bulldozer and wait, wait, wait, wait)

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