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For the most part, you had to have been there with Ultima. As a huge fan, I"d say just steer around it now. Maybe create a character in Ultima IV so you can get a sense of how off the formula it was, especially for it's time.
And wow, what it did was groundbreaking. Now, it's just old news. If you can look at a game, at it's pieces, and in your mind put where in regards to everything else this happened, they're amazing. Ultima IV broke the mold by having an RPG not about, start out week, get strong, kill the evil _____. There was no evil ____. It was a quest for self improvement and becoming a better person.
Let that sink in a minute.
A game who's sole purpose, was to set up an ethical system of what it means to be 'good', and it only ends when you find a book of wisdom and bring it back to share with others. I can't think of another game who took that approach.
But the interface is cludgy by today's standards. Keyboard, no mouse, graphics are way dated, even if you find and download the VGA upgrade. It's rough to get through.
One of my fondest memories was a game called Deathlord. 16 continents, 128 unique monsters, more NPC's than I can remember, and twenty dungeons, yet fit on only 2 double-density 5¼". The sheer scope, it took, at that time, 2 years to finally find everything in it (allowing for breaks for other games of course). I actually only found a secret room in the first dungeon 12 years later on a fan site's maps.
The thing was, what made that tolerable was it didn't matter if/when I finished it. For the time, those were fun to play. I can put the time into Wizard's Crown now, because I'm working on my own game, and it's fun to dissect something from almost 30 years ago that has implemented almost every feature I want in what I'm working on.
What I can also say about it is this... I'm going through it much faster than most people would. I've kicked the delay's down, there is no load times, and I'm just better at gaming. Things I would have gotten stuck on, I've already got a plan for because of my gaming experience. If I actually get some real blocks of time to play, I'll probably have it done in a week or so.
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