Some of you have discovered that the BBC has released the original Infocom Hitchhiker’s Guide game on their web site. I’ve been trying to find a version of this game that would run on a modern operating system for many years. In fact, the penultimate question I asked Douglas Adams was about the availability of that game.
My then girlfriend and I bumped into him at MacWorld in the Apple booth around 1999 (I think it was 1999). He was really tall! He explained that he thought it was unavailable for purchase…but that if I poked around on the Net, I could probably find it. Of course, he continued, he had to clamp down on anyone distributing it without permission to protect his copyright…but…it was out there and I should look for it.
I then asked him about the Hitchhiker feature and explained that I worked at ILM and many of us were really hoping that we would get to do the effects. He was very excited about the film and said he had just met with the director (who was Jay Roach at that point) and thought he was a good choice. While the decision about which effects house would do the movie was up to Disney, he said he’s let them know that there was interest at ILM.
We exchanged business cards and in the process he dropped his American Express card…and didn’t notice. We gave it back to him.
On a side note, this was one of the many periods when I was thinking about leaving ILM and I contacted his new company, The Digital Village about joining them. They were really small at that point and didn’t need any help yet. Needless to say things improved temporarily at ILM and I hung on a bit longer.
I do think every once and a while what things would be like if I had moved to England to work for Douglas Adams.