It would be some time before Ultima V would make it’s appearance so I went on a journey to visit the lands of Ultima II. There was no way of getting Akalabeth or the original Ultima and it was only by luck that I got my hands on Ultima II. Some people don’t throw anything away.
I was interested in seeing the roots of Ultima and where it came from.While the game was simplistic it was still impressive as hell. It didn’t have a lot of the D&D elements we would see in later versions, but it had plenty of adventure themes. There was the Pub, the Torture rooms, the Armoury and the Blacksmith; all those original elements that Lord British would later build on. There were plenty of quests and the game seemed massive. I got lost plenty of times. I also saw the humor Richard had woven into the game with MacDonald’s and the Wizard saying, “Hex E Poo, Hex On You” when you tried to talk to him. There was also, “Psst, Wanna Buy a Watch?” That sort of thing just cracked me up. I loved that he was keeping the game light and entertaining.
Besides the game, I was absolutely intrigued by how Lord British had put it all together. How was he making the Jester move? How was he defining borders so you couldn’t go through walls? How did he make those faux calligraphy letters for the shoppes? I was amazed at how an 18/19 year old had learned how to put all this together? Keep in mind, there weren’t programming books just sitting the shelves like there are today. To say I was jealous was a mild understatement. I was decent with using computers, but this was so far beyond that. This was making the computer dance and sing. This was graphics, sound, animation and storytelling all in one. Programming has never been my thing and I considered this to be a piece of art.
I don’t really remember the ending of Ultima II or that I actually finished that game. I do remember thinking it was incredibly cool and that for a teenager to have put it together, it was one hell of a coding effort. Even with all the tools at my disposal today, I couldn’t write something a good as Ultima II was. Maybe I should go back and actually try to play this one again.
More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia
- A Brave New World in Ultima IV
- 1988, Ultima V sends me off to college
- It all started with Ultima III
- The entire Ultima Collection is On Sale for 60% off at GOG.com (Good Old Games) – 3 Days Only!!
- Ember by N-Fusion Interactive – A game inspired by Ultima
- Freegameslist interviews: Richard Garriot
- Tracy & Laura Hickman’s Sojourner Tales Board Game
- Tracy & Laura Hickman’s Sojourner Tales Board Game – The Final 12 Hours
- Last decade’s nerd is today’s mainstream gamer
- A Question of Virtue