|Interview by Rafi Guroian
Everyone knows that Douglas Adams is a Mac fan. He loves his Mac so much, in fact, that he has attended the past two Macworld conferences not just as a Mac user, but as a publisher! The news of Starship Titanic broke in late 1997 when it was announced that Douglas Adams would once again be releasing a computer game dubbed "Starship Titanic." The Mac version was considered a shoe-in for the most part during those days. We knew that Mr. Adams was a huge Mac fan, and it seemed only sensical that his game be released on the Macintosh. E3 rolled around in May of 1998. The PC version had just been released; the Mac version was delayed until October. In the meantime, Adams didn't fail to let his Mac comarades down. He has hyped "Starship Titanic" for the past two Macworlds, making special guest appearances, and has even gone so far as to answer Mac gamers' concerns personally, assuring them that the game was not far off. Titanic has finally been released, and the game is simply stellar (be sure to keep an eye out for MacReactor's review later this month).
In the spirit of recent events, MacReactor asked Douglas Adams if he'd like to do an interview with us, and he agreed. I've got to admit that brainstorming questions to ask Douglas Adams is kind of like imagining how you might act should you be given a million dollars. Do you commit to the obvious and go on a shopping spree, or do you get creative? Well, we tried to do both. We asked Mr. Adams the obligatory questions about his new game as well as got a little creative. Did you ever know the man likes to Scuba dive? Or perhaps that he's a huge fan of Sushi? Well, you do now. So, without further ado, our interview with Mr. Douglas Adams.
MacReactor: Here we are and Starship Titanic is finally coming to not just our platform, but your platform. How long have you been a Mac user (or an Apple customer for that matter)?
DA: I bought my first Mac the very day the first Mac came out. I've used Macs (many, many of them, even a PB5300...) ever since.
How did the concept of doing another computer game after such a lengthy hiatus come into being? Were you approached by TDV or Simon & Schuster or did you approach them?
We approached them. I'd enjoyed doing the Hitchhiker Game, which was a conversation based text-only game. Those games disappeared in the mid eighties with the coming of graphics, only the graphics weren't any good! I was waiting for the opportunity to do a game that would incorporate a conversation-based interaction in a beautifully designed graphics game.
How did you create Starship Titanic's basic premise? Did the story evolve over time or did you have a pretty clear idea of what you wanted to do?
Both. The basic premise I'd had hanging around for years. Then I started working it up into a game script, first by myself, then with Michael Bywater and then Neil Richards (the total script is vast!), and then gradually the designers and programmers start to come on board, and it all becomes a very collaborative process.
Was there anything about the game that you wanted to improve or add but just couldn't because of time constraints?
Inevitably, we had hugely ambitious plans for pushing the boundaries in every direction in which we could see boundaries! But in the end we had to decide which were the key areas we really wanted to excel in - and conversation-driven interaction was the main one.
Starship just won the 1998 Software Publisher's Association CODIE Award for "Best New Adventure/Role Playing Software Game." That's QUITE an achievement. Did you have any idea that the game would get such a response?
Well, we were utterly delighted, as you can imagine. You never know what response you're going to get; you merely hope!
I think a question that's on everyone's mind is if you think you'll be
making any more games any time soon. Any thoughts?
I'm off to work in movies now!
You've just finished up with Starship Titanic promotion worldwide. What have you been up to these past few months?
I've been working on draft after draft of the screenplay of the big movie which Disney is planning to make of the Hitchhiker's Guide.
Can you give us a little preview of what we can look forward to?
No! But I can say that fans will recognise a lot of it, but also find a lot of new stuff.
Do you have any hobbies?
Music (I have bunch of guitars and synths) and scuba-diving, which I don't get to do a lot of in London...
Any favorite foods?
I guess my absolute favourite is sushi.
What kind of car do you drive?
Are you a pet lover?
We have a young dog, a Wheaten Terrier/Boxer/Labrador mix (i.e. a mutt, but a very good natured happy mutt.) It's a bit tricky having a dog in London, of course.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
First I wanted to be a nuclear scientist, then I wanted to be a comedy writer and actor. Well, one out of three is OK guess.
Is there any advice you'd like to give to any aspiring writers out there who might be reading this? Any anecdotes you've come across and can relate?
It's a tough job - really!
We'd like to thank Douglas Adams for taking the time out to sit down with us. If you've met him in person, you know what a personable and down-to-earth human being he is. We wish him the best of luck on his new Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, and encourage you to give Starship Titanic a try.