- For those paying attention, a recent GameSetWatch article centered on my delighted discovery that the successful computer company in Douglas Adams' practically psychedelic book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - was called WayForward Technologies.

This, of course, is the same name as the game developer behind Contra IV, Shantae, and a host of other neat handheld/other titles, so I mailed my contacts there and waiting for a reply from company owner Voldi Way - who has the same last name as Dirk Gently character Gordon Way, heh.

And I did indeed receive an email all about it from Voldi, and am sharing it with you:

"Good catch! Our name was, in fact, inspired by Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. it was early 1990, while i was still contemplating starting a game development company, that i happened to be reading that book.

It's been 18 years since i read it, so please forgive me if i'm remembering the details wrong, but as i recall, Mr. Way (Gordon, not Voldi) developed MIDI software for Windows and Macintosh. Well, back then, i was developing software professionally for Windows and had been playing with Macs as a hobby. On top of that, i had ambitions of becoming a rock-star (like most 19 year-olds), so i had a lot of MIDI equipment. I had even been writing my own MIDI sequencing software on the side.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Gordon Way's company did indeed release the MIDI software 'Anthem', which is, according to Wikipedia, "...designed as a spreadsheet, but also has a unique feature to convert corporate accounts into music" - though it was designed by protagonist Richard MacDuff for Gordon's company. This is still an awesome idea that somebody should do, incidentally.]

In any case, the similarities were just too astounding, so when I officially started the company on my birthday a few months later (3/1/1990), i chose the name WayForward Technologies as a tribute to Douglas Adams. at the time, i half expected to fail and have to start over as WayForward Technologies II, which would've been even more fitting [since that's what happened in the book].

In a weird way, even that turned out to be a parallel. We got bought by a book publisher in 1995, and a couple years later, they realized they were better at selling books than software, so they liquidated us and all of our assets in 1997. We managed to buy back all the equipment for pennies on the dollar, but we lost the rights to all of our IP. So in a sense, our current incarnation could be considered WayForward Technologies II, although we haven't been mentioned in the same sentence as companies such as IBM and Microsoft (or was it Lotus in the book?)

Anyway, you've inspired me to dig up my old copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and re-read it for old time sake. It'll be especially nostalgic since any hopes of another sequel have passed on with Douglas Adams."

Ah well - as Adams fans know, there is, at least, The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul to be read, though that can only be described as an _extremely_ tangential sequel, and as comments in the previous post noted, The Salmon Of Doubt has fragments of another Dirk Gently book in it. But it's nice to know Adams' legacy is living, namewise, in an entirely unrelated entity.