Discover the answer to life, the universe and everything 30 years on

Gamers of yore will remember the delight that could come from playing a text-based computer game. Forget pushing polygons around the screen as fast as a GPU's legs can pump, these were games where words were king. Back in 1984, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game took the gaming world by storm and now, thirty years later the BBC has resurrected the classic title in an exclusive online version that's free for anyone to play.

This accessible and hilarious sci-fi classic translated well into a game, and whether you missed it the first time around or you like the idea of reliving the mid-80s, warm up your keyboard and prepare to type your way to victory -- and immense frustration. This is not the first time the game has been revived, but this time around there is an HTML5 version to enjoy and there are some comedic touches right from the start. The game developers decided to replace the $, % and ^ symbols with symbols for the Altarian Dollar, Flanian Pobble Bead and the Triganic Pu, "not because they are needed in the game, but just because we felt like it."

As was the case with the 20th anniversary edition, the 30th birthday release has been tarted up with a few sparse graphics -- but don't expect to see anything to rival Titanfall! It is described as a "wonderful piece of interactive fiction", and this is a very fitting description. It's a game that simply has to be experienced, and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t go and test it out this very instant!

To revel in a little nostalgic gaming, head over to the BBC mini-site for the game, and you can get started straight away. If you would like to be able to save your progress, you'll need to create an account with the BBC (which is free). We found that the game didn’t play nicely with all browsers -- Chrome seemed to have trouble, for instance -- but it's worth persevering if you do run into a problem. Just bear in mind the introductory caution: "A word of warning. This game will kill you frequently. It's a bit mean like that."

© 1998-2014 BetaNews, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.