The classic text adventure game The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been given a spruce-up for its 30th birthday, and is available to play free on the BBC’s website now.

A 20th anniversary edition, made in 2004 was already up, but the Beeb’s programmers have given it an extra polish to bring it a little more up-to-date.

“The old Flash game would not work on the new servers, and in porting it to a new HTML5 incarnation, several innovations took place,” explained a BBC spokesman.   “We were able to build in a larger, handier interface, with additional keys and functionality, and build in the ability to tweet from the game.

“Then things started to get silly. Having covered the basics, we decided to slip in an ‘Any’ key, just because we could. The $, % and ^ symbols were replaced with new ones for the Altarian Dollar, Flanian Pobble Bead and the Triganic Pu, not because they are needed in the game, but just because we felt like it. We then decided that rather than having a simple functionality where the user could tweet, we would allow the game itself to tweet, based on the actions of users in the game.

This was when the game’s personality started to shine through. This may or may not prove to have been a good idea…”

The original game was released in 1984, developed by Steve Meretzky at Intercom with input from original author Douglas Adams.  If you’ve never played it before, be warned that it likes to kill you a lot and several of the puzzles’ solutions won’t be obvious unless you’ve listened to the radio show/read the books/watched the TV series/seen the film.  Luckily, there are guides out there. Guides to the Guide.  How appropriate…