Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cross media cult product goes mobile

Today it is a holiday in The Netherlands. So I should not be too concerned about professional news; of course the world just continues. So I thought I keep my blog light for today.

There are few cross media examples with cult status. One of these is Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy. Almost 20 years ago, when the family was living in London, I bought the game, including the book (sic!) and played the game of the Hitchhikers Guide on a Commodore 64 with my daughter (she still thinks that the game was not easy). The Commodore as well as the game are still working, although the pages of the book have gone yellow.

This is the front of the box I bought in 1984. The box is still completely in shape and complete. Besides the 8 inch disc and the program instructions, there is the book, an order for demolition of Mr Dent's residence and the Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Microscopic Space Fleet. Posted by Hello

So the game started its galaxy migration from the 8 inch floppy disc to the optical disc and with the arrival of Internet the game found a place on the net; in 1999 to be precise. Douglas Adams was one of the original founders of the site ‘h2g2’, as The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy became known on the web. It was an enhanced version of Douglas Adams' best-selling 1984 computer original. More than 30m moves have been played since the launch and the site continues to generate more than a million page impressions every week. The BBC took over the running of the site in February 2001 and 'The Guide' now provides user-generated content, including blog-style journals and postings to the discussion forums. The updated website features new adaptations of the game - with fresh graphics from members of the public and improved tips - while new webchats, interviews, episode streaming (live or on-demand) and updated photo galleries will appear during the series.

Now the mobile generation has its own version of the guide to ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’. Users with the latest smart phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) can now access more than 7,000 edited articles from the BBC's 'h2g2' while on the move. 'h2g2'site is an encyclopaedic project that aims to be an unconventional 'Guide to Life' with entries written by people from all over the world.

The Radio4 Hitchhiker’s Guide which supports its 'Hitchhikers' radio play, is offering new versions of the 'Hitchhikers' adventure game it launched in September 2004, with improved features to coincide with the broadcast of the radio programme's latest instalment in May 2005.

From radio to book to floppy to optical disc to Internet and mobile. This is a galactic travel. The Guide will one day end up as Internet radio and television.