Andy Baio of waxy.org recently posted a story that's close to my childhood: Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He has disentombed an old hard drive from Infocom, and shares the secrets behind a game that was never finished.
I never played much of the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Game -- since I hadn't and still haven't read the books by Douglas Adams -- so this particular game doesn't strike a heart chord for me. However, before HH, Infocom produced a series of games that I played the hell out of on our old Commodore 64: Zork [wikipedia.org].
Haven't heard of Zork? Too bad. It's probably not as fun to discover now as it was so many years ago...
Actually, come to think of it: it wasn't me that discovered Zork, I remember now that my dad had it. Hmm. Something to ask him after I ask him how the recent earthquake ride was.
...anyway -- probably not as fun if you discover it today, since Zork was a text-based game. No pictures, just text. You, the adventurer, had to make your way through a mostly-underground world, collecting treasures, making your way past characters that were trying to stop you from reaching the endgame (or in Zork III, past characters that were trying to help you).
Sure, text-only doesn't seem fun, but the game was great since the puzzles were challenging and the humor was odd. Without the corresponding graphics -- and if you were really adventurous, without purchasing the corresponding map of the game -- you were allowed to create the world in your imagination, to see the thief or the wizard or the house or the mine as you thought it would look.
West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.
This nostalgia bomb courtesy of Slashdot.