Douglas Adams is one of our very favorite people here at GFR, and his Hitchhiker’s Guide books are some of our very favorite things. Although it’s been through many incarnations over the years, from novels to TV series to movies to games, die-hard HHGG fans will recall that we were first introduced to Adams’ deliciously goofy universe in the form of a BBC radio play first broadcast in 1978. That led to Adams’ releasing the first novel in 1979, the BBC TV series in 1981, and so on. Well, the BBC recently returned the Hitchhiker’s Guide to its roots, reuniting the original radio cast for a live stage performance at London’s BBC Radio Theatre. But don’t panic just because you missed the show: you can listen to the entire performance online, courtesy of BBC Radio 4.
The core returning cast included Simon Jones as Arthur Dent (sporting a bathrobe, naturally), Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Geoff McGivern as Ford Prefect, Stephen Moore as Marvin the Paranoid Android, and Susan Sheridan as Trillian. The show was adapted and directed by Dirk Miggs. The entire performance clocks in at around 75 minutes, so turn down the lights, throw on some headphones, close your eyes, and let the cast take you into space, which, you might recall, is big. Really big. You can listen to the program right here.
If you’d prefer a more hands-on approach to the Hitchhiker’s Guide universe, we’ve got just the thing. Or rather BBC Radio 4 does, because earlier this year they released an updated version of the classic HHGG video game, which you can play for free in your browser. The original text-based game was released back in 1984 for various computer platforms including the Apple II, Macintosh, Commodore 64, DOS, Amiga, Atari 8-bit and Atari ST platforms. It was created by Adams and game developer Steve Meretzky.
You get to play as Arthur Dent, waking up to discover his home is about to be demolished by bulldozers, a fact that is soon overshadowed by his home planet being demolished by a fleet of Vogon ships, making way for a hyperspace bypass. The game more or less follows the plot of the first book, culminating with Dent, Ford Prefect, and the rest arriving on the planet Magrathea.
The game already received one makeover for its 20th anniversary in 2004, which even won a BAFTA for “Best Online Entertainment.” The 30th anniversary is the first iteration available in high definition, and it has been given upgrades to make it work well on tablets and other mobile devices, and you can share your score via social media. It’s still mostly text based, but with snazzy upgraded graphics and illustrations. You can play the game right here.
And if all this talk about Hitchhiker’s Guide has made you eager to relive the story, you can listen to the original radio drama via the embeds below. Man, I love that theme song.