Archive for the ‘text’ Tag

[50/50] Computer Game #15: “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Computer Game #15: “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

Hitchhikers_Guide_box_artWay back in the year 1984, when personal computers were the size of small goats and had the power of pocket lint, computer games were essentially bits and bloops that implied something more than represented it. There just wasn’t enough memory or power in the hardware of the day.

The fastest way around this limitation was by using … text … just words. Simply describe the scene and let the player fill in the details. Infocom made millions selling a dozen or so of these text-only games, wherein players typed in what they wanted to do (“Get Lamp“), and proceeded to have grand adventures exploring dungeon mazes, vast kingdoms‚ or a whole galaxy, all by typing in a few words or phrases.

“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” — first a radio show, then a book, then a TV show, then a computer game, thereby entirely by accident becoming the first transmedia success story — became Infocom’s all-time best seller by tapping into what made “Hitchhiker’s Guide” so successful in the first place: Douglas Adams’ adroit use of language. Each iteration of H2G2 followed the hapless protagonist, Arthur Dent, on a improbable adventure across the universe after Earth is destroyed, and the computer game proudly continued this tradition in suitably maddening fashion.

Best yet, because the game was text-based it wasn’t limited to the latest operating system, meaning  — unlike virtually all other computer games that are eventually left behind as upgrades abandoned them — it could still be played on today’s computers. And even if you didn’t buy a copy back in the day, the BBC offered a free, updated version of the game to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original.

Art interlude — Help put my cover in the Top 5

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

SND cover #38So I just found out a couple of my designs are in the running for the cover of this year’s Society of News Design book. The SND has been throwing open the cover to newspaper designers around the world in an annual contest.

The first round is by popular vote, which means — I need your help.

Please go to this link and vote for #38 (I also did #36 and #37 … whichever one you prefer). You can vote once a day but the ballot box is only open for the next 48 hours. Voting ends this Thursday, April 11, at 5pm, when the top 5 picks then go on to the SND editors for the final round. So, if you would, please go vote for one of my covers today!

SND cover #37(You can also go to the link below and click on the “You decide the book cover” entry. Scroll down past the slide show until you see a grid of the entries — and please vote for #38 … or #36 or #37. Note that voting is marked by IP address, so unlike American Idol you can only vote once from one network a day).

Thanks for your support!