This week, I'm pleased to present a very special guest: Richard "Lord British" Garriott, the father of computer role-playing games. I'm sure this man needs no introduction with you guys. We talk mostly here about his Shroud of the Avatar kickstarter, which you definitely don't want to miss if you're a fan of Ultima and Ultima Online. The game will offer some really neat innovations, including a scalable multiplayer option and tons more interactivity than we've grown accustomed to. I'm in at the $125 tier for the box and cloth map.
Download the mp4.
After watching one of Marks latest videos, it got me thinking about some of my favorite video gaming memories. We're all getting older- a point driven home every time I notice the yellowing of the boxes on my older games.. and it suddenly dawned on me just how much gaming history I've actually lived through.
So.. anyway. The point is, we all have gaming moments that we hold dear.. Not necessarily because they relate to amazing games... sometimes it's the people, events or times that those memories are attached to..
While casual photos and videos are fine for posting something quickly, sometimes readers want a bit more quality. While I'm not going to put a lot of effort into these per se, i.e., you won't mistake these for studio quality, I will take a bit more care in taking and posting anything in this particular series. For this first entry, I focused on three of the most recent additions to my collection, Tomy's electro-mechanical tabletop, Daring Driver, Commodore's Gorf for the C-64, and the 2012 Ultima Collector's Guide. Enjoy:
I'm back from vacation and again have a big remarkable auctions catch up post. This time I look at recently closed auctions for The Elder Scrolls: Arena - Deluxe Edition (PC DOS), Stack-Up (NES), Ultima (Apple II), The Witness (Apple II), and Zork Trilogy (Amiga):
Today's remarkable auction is Sierra On-Line's (OnLine Systems), Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress, big box version, for the Apple II. Ultima II was Richard Garriott's somewhat divisive sequel to the first Ultima game, and one of the most sought after entries in the series for collectors. There were several different versions of the game, some in large boxes, some in small boxes, and some with Origin as the primary publisher rather than Sierra. Origin also re-released Ultima II in yet another variation, this time in conjunction with Ultima I and III, in a materially scaled back compilation called the Ultima Trilogy. In any case, what makes this particular auction remarkable is not so much the final sale price, which was a relatively fair $257.00 with free shipping, but the fact that the game was sealed, which had the potential to drive the price even higher. As with most of the Ultima games, Ultima II saw release on a wide range of platforms, but the Apple II version was the original, and also was one of the only Western platforms to get a slightly upgraded re-release. I personally own all the games in the Ultima series boxed except for Ultima II, which I only have outside of PC CD-based compilations in the Commodore 64 version of the Ultima Trilogy, though I do have the original disks for the Atari 8-bit version of Ultima II. Though not spectacular, the Japanese-only FM Towns version of Ultima II, is arguably the nicest looking of the official releases.
Check out the video from LordKarnov42 below to see the original Apple II release in action for the RPG game that tasked you with traveling to every planet in the solar system, including Planet X:
Hot on the heels of the launch of the new Ultima Forever Website, Bioware and Electronic Arts have made the PC version of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, available for free download (the original Apple II version was released in 1985). All you need to supply is DOSbox to be able to play it. Hopefully additional games in the Ultima series will follow (and more platforms!). Also hoped for is that this is just the beginning of a proper resurrection of the moribund Ultima franchise. Certainly Bioware and Electronic Arts have the necessary talents and resources to do so, and this is certainly a great start.
Milano Italy-based professional photographer, Enrico Ricciardi - who is also a noted computer software collector - has put together a lavish Ultima-inspired calendar that has received the blessing of series creator Richard "Lord British" Garriott himself. While neither Ricciardi or Garriott have the rights to the Ultima license, the end product, named "Mystik 2010", still has a lot of the famous series' spirit. Check it out here and be sure to check out the photographer's other works while there (as well as the behind-the-scenes making of the calendar itself). They all have a very slick and sexy European feel to my American eyes.
By request, this week's Matt Chat covers Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Ultima VII is a masterpiece of the early 90s, with tremendous scope and important innovations that would influence many later games. It's definitely not hard to see this game's influence on later hits such as Diablo (1997) and Baldur's Gate (1998).
Wrath of Denethenor is an early Ultima clone written for the Apple II and C64 by Christopher Crim and published by Sierra On-Line in 1986 (c64) and 84-85 (Apple II).