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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Monday October 10, 2005
08:22 PM

The Revolution will be digitaaaaal.

[ #27104 ]
Dear Log,

The other night, I went by Walmart, to stock up on extension cables, and stopped by the DVD bargain bin. In there, I found a DVD of the cheesy early-1980 BBC TV miniseries of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, for about five bucks.

When I got it home and opened the case, it turns out to also have a bunch of BBC segments about the series from over the years, even including mention of the H2G2 site.

(Interesting facts:
1: the DVD has no commentary track, but has commentary in the form of interesting text on the subtitles halftrack, backchannel, or whatever you want to call it.
2: the animations for the BBC TV show were cell animations, inked onto acetate -- but then negatives were made of them, and those were what we saw.
3: yes, the show looked low-budget, but you have no idea how little money, equipment, and expertise they actually had.
4: The show was made with a laugh track, in complaince with some BBC policy of the time. The result was so appalling, painful, and foul. Apparently the test audiences practically rioted in disgust. The laugh track was dropped.)

This trip down memory lane brought back a queasy-making blast of nostalgia for the old Infocom game that Douglas Adams did with Steve Meretzky, which I spent a good chunk of my formative years playing, afterschool with friends, on various 8-bit machines.

But because it's the future now, it occurred to me to wonder what the result would be if I took the Z-Machine file for the old Infocom game, and ran it thru a decompiler. Unfortunately, you get something only slightly more readable than unannotated assembler code. But reading thru the string-literals was fun. Here's some of my faves:

  • Sorry, the Galactic Compendium on Interactive Fiction prohibits the use of AGAIN after your previous action.
  • Hey, I never get any appreciation! There's absolutely no job satisfaction in being a computer.
  • Congratulations on your fine dental hygiene.
  • [devour OBJ =>] Stuffing OBJ in your mouth would do little to help at this point.
  • You are obviously letting things get to you. You should learn to relax a little.
  • This is family entertainment, not a video nasty.
  • You have neither the tools nor the expertise.
  • You can't spin that!
  • You achieve a state of Negative Capability, and are able to be in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable searching after fact and reason (Footnote 1). [=> In case anyone is interested, this quotation is from a letter written by John Keats, and thus he becomes the first major 19th Century British poet to feature in a computer game.]
  • Yucchhh! You are jerked to your senses by the realisation that you are licking the lining of a whale's stomach.
  • It is the finest tea you have ever tasted. It has almost made this entire misadventure seem worthwhile. You experience several moments of complete happiness and relaxation.
  • Damogran is a planet whose surface is mostly water. It is a favourite spot for Presidential dedication ceremonies
  • The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation incompetently produces a wide range of inefficient and unreliable high-tech machinery. However, thanks to SCC's ruthless marketing division, this junk accounts for over 95% of the high-tech machinery sold in the Galaxy. (SCC's marketing division will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.)
  • Sorry, that portion of our Sub-Etha database was accidentally deleted last night during a wild office party. The lost data will be restored as soon as we find someone who knows where the back-up tapes are kept, if indeed any are kept at all.
  • Your serious allergic reaction to protein loss from teleporters becomes a cause celebre amongst various holistic pressure groups in the Galaxy and leads to a total ban on dematerialisation. Within fifty years, space travel is replaced by a keen interest in old furniture restoration and market gardening. In this new, quieter Galaxy, the art of telepathy flourishes as never before, creating a new universal harmony which brings all life together, converts all matter into thought and brings about the rebirth of the entire Universe on a higher and better plane of existence.
    However, none of this affects you, because you are dead.
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