Ultima I

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RAM Requirement: 1 meg RAM

Control: Keyboard

Release Status: Abandonware

Year: 1992

Publisher: Vitesse, Inc.

Developers: Rebecca 'Burger' Heineman

System 6 Compatible: Yes

Hard Drive Installable: Yes

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According to the 'Get Info' dialog on the application, Ultima was released by Softdisk publishing under license from Origin, the original publisher. The game was programmed by Burger Becky Heineman, who, at a time when things were really winding down for the IIGS, kept developing commercial games. Rumour has it she was also working on Sim City and the Bard's Tale 3 for the IIGS, one or both being unable for release due to copyright problems. Ultima I GS was released at one point by Vitesse, makers of quality IIGS utility software.

Ultima, well known to every computer role player out there as the game that spawned popularity of the genre, as well as spawned mass wealth for Richard Garriott, its eccentric creator. Known to like being referred to as Lord British, Garriott now lives in his very own castle.

The IIGS version looks very much the same as the original - only the graphics are now in super hi-res mode. The appearance of the mazes you explore resemble the original very closely. Walls, doors and ladders are all represented by unfilled vectors on a black background. A far cry from the graphical splendour of The Bard's Tale, another classic role playing game that was released five years earlier, and programmed by none other than Burger Becky herself.

Perhaps true die-hard fans of Ultima appreciated the lack of change in the IIGS version and instead enjoyed a lack of disk swapping,sharper graphics and a better musical score? For me, I was looking for the next visual and aural experience in RPG gaming for the IIGS around 1992, and while a worthwhile conversion to the IIGS, didn't excite me like the prospect of Bard's Tale III for the IIGS.