Tag Archives: Ultima

Ultima Special

Richard Garriott‘s famous Role-Playing Game series began officially in 1981 with “Ultima” for the Apple II. It was a pioneering mixture of single-player adventuring, combat and levelling, with humble beginnings, starting out on early 8-bit systems and working its way up to modern PCs in the 1990s. The Ultima series was always evolving; always innovating, and constantly proving to be a considerable influence on story-based, single-player RPGs, and the fantasy adventure game market in general.

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Ultima, Atari 8-Bit

Released in 1983 by Sierra On-Line, Ultima on the Atari 8-bit is more archaic and frustrating than the original Apple II version. And it looks pretty awful too, with a real lack of colour – especially in towns where the game is in monochrome unless you play on a machine (and monitor) that supports “artifacting“. In artifacting mode the dungeon and town graphics look similar to Apple II graphics, but they don’t really take advantage of the Atari‘s superior graphics capabilities.

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Ultima, Apple II

The original 1981 Apple II version of Richard Garriott‘s Ultima was the first version of Ultima ever released. It was published by California Pacific Computer and is a stripped-down version of the more widespread re-release version put out by Origin Systems in 1986 (which can be seen here).

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Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, PC

The second of two ground-breaking Ultima Underworld games made by Blue Sky Productions (later to become Looking Glass Technologies) and Origin Systems.

Labyrinth of Worlds, first released in 1993, again features a very early (and successful) attempt to create a Role-Playing Game with a fully-explorable 3D environment. Both this – and its predecessor, The Stygian Abyss – were developed concurrently, and were a significant leap forward in terms of software technology at the time.

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Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, PC

The first of two ground-breaking Ultima Underworld games made by Looking Glass Technologies (formerly known as Blue Sky Productions) and Origin Systems.

The Stygian Abyss, first released in 1992, is one of the first Role-Playing Games to feature first-person action in a 3D environment.

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Akalabeth: World of Doom, Apple II

Richard Garriott’s Akalabeth was first released in 1979 for the Apple II home computer (and shortly afterwards for PC MS-DOS), and is arguably the first ever graphical Role-Playing Game ever released.

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