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Have You Played... Starship Titanic?

That bloody parrot

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Starship Titanic didn’t work. It was Douglas Adams’ second foray into the world of gaming, following Infocom’s infamous Hitchhiker’s Guide in 1984, and it was a far wider miss. Released in 1998, it managed to contain dead ends, abysmal puzzles, horrid pre-rendered graphics, and a text parser that was spectacularly dreadful. But still, Douglas Adams!

Okay, I confess, there’s a dreadful ulterior motive for my mentioning this game. It’s a gargantuan namedrop. At the time of its release I was at university, and was “Comedy Editor” of the student newspaper. This primarily involved sitting in the tiny cupboard newspaper offices when I was supposed to be in lectures, and getting into the union comedy nights for free. I was asked by someone on the paper team if I wanted to interview Douglas Adams about the game. Er, yeah, I said. Yes, I’ll do that.

So there we go, I got to speak to Douglas Adams on the phone for about half an hour. He was astonishingly lovely, so very generous with my 19-year-old questions that he must have answered ten thousand times, and seeming to genuinely enjoy regaling me with tales about how he’d been writing H2G2’s radio scripts in the BBC toilets, while the recording of the episode he was still writing had already started. I distinctly remember asking him about a photo I had in a book, of him and Terry Jones nude in a bathtub together, and his brightly recollecting the circumstances. I think we briefly mentioned the game.

I think I just did that too.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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