Rule Britannia: Every Ultima For The Price Of A Pint

By Adam Smith on June 19th, 2014 at 11:04 am.

That’s right – Ultima 1-9, plus the two Underworld games, for the price of a pint. And not one of those fancy craft ales that you’d sup in a tweedy pop-up bar that charges sixteen quid for a thimble filled with ‘paprika-spiced apple cinnamon wedges’ that taste like rancid Doritos. GOG.com are currently offering the Ultima bundle for $7.14. That’s the price of a pint of Carling round these parts, with a pack of Transform-a-Snacks on the side. Ultima is far better for body and soul.

It’s a slice of gaming history, from the experimentation of the early games as they drift from RPG combat to more complex fare, to the incredible high of ‘World’s Greatest RPG’ Ultima VII, and the sad collapse of Ultima IX. The Underworld games still hold up and are the precursors to everything you love, if you are sensible enough to love immersive first-person games of any sort. Only three hours left!

I’ve written about my love of Ultima VII before. Cast aside any preconceptions about the dated interface and graphics, and play it right now. It’s a magnificent simulated world that I’d love to see more modern RPGs attempt to emulate in some way. The same is true of Underworld, which belongs to the Looking Glass school of titles that were not only ahead of their time but apparently from a different dimenson.

Spend some pennies, play some Ultima. Be happy.

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31 Comments »

  1. distantlurker says:

    Thou shouldn’t not do that, Avatar.

  2. gnodab says:

    I just want to point out that Ultima IX is actually pretty great. The only problem is that it should be taken as an introduction to Ultima, which makes it a bit rubbish at being the ultimate Ultima.
    Aside from that I think it is one of the most underrated games of all time. It had a fantastic open world, amazing graphics (for the time) and was clearly a labor of love, full of in game nods to the series. It should have received all the praise people gave Gothic a few years later.
    The GOG version ran perfectly for me, which removes the main problem the game had on release, namely being a buggy mess.

    • colw00t says:

      The real problem with Ultima IX is that it may be the most repetitive game ever made.

    • gritz says:

      Having “nods to the series” is a bit of a problem when you’re supposed to be the endpoint of the series.

    • JayG says:

      I kinda agree with Spoony’s review of Ultima 9, which is well worth watching for any Ultima fan. On the other hand Ultima 8 was one of my first PC games, and I loved it. Came to Ultima 7 and the Ultima Underworlds afterwards. Still amongst the best RPG’s of all time. I have them on my Shield along with a lot of other old games.

      • ansionnach says:

        Never finished Ultima IX, have the collector’s edition. Really wanted to like it but by then I’d played VIII, VII and Underworld.

        I did really like Ultima VIII, though. A lot of people give out about the jumping and other bugs that were actually fixed in subsequent patches. In the CD version you point the mouse at where you want to jump and as long as it’s in range you almost always make it. Anyway, I’d say that Pagan is a great starting point seeing as it’s very simplified from an RPG perspective but it’s still quite strong from an adventuring point of view.

        Pretty much all of the Ultima games except for the second one (and Runes of Virtue) are still great fun to play today and are surprisingly well-designed (hub design, do quests in any order, resurrected with monetary penalty on death). Ultima was responsible for many gaming firsts that are often attributed to other games!

    • Antistar says:

      I strongly disagree; Ultima IX felt like a slap in the face for anyone who had played an earlier Ultima game.

      Ultima VII was my favourite game of all time until Morrowind came along, and I got a lot out of Ultima VIII – though one playthrough was enough – but Ultima IX is the first game I ever followed the development of, and I have never been more disappointed in a computer game.

      Among other issues, the story*, characters, voice acting and dungeon design were all appalling.

      *Perhaps not entirely Origin’s fault; I seem to recall hearing that the original story was scrapped for a hastily-cobbled-together alternative when EA gave them a “release by this date or be cancelled” ultimatum.

  3. Gilead says:

    If anybody wants to get this, you’ve only got about two hours before this bundle ends. So if you’re wavering it’s probably a good idea to make a decision and then decide to get this and the D&D bundle, and then die of RPG overload.

  4. somnolentsurfer says:

    Would be great, except I’ve been unable to connect to GOG properly for two days.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      For some reason I can get on there on another computer. Strange. Also, it turns out GOG can’t count. Apparently Ultima 1-9 and UU 1&2 totals ‘six games’.

      • HothMonster says:

        1+2+3 are sold as a bundle so it is “one game”. Same for 4+5+6

        • welverin says:

          Yep they were counting bundles of games, not individual games (which would be 12, and that doesn’t include expansions). Guess they didn’t include the Worlds of Ultima games, though they’re free.

  5. lurkalisk says:

    I guess I should feel lucky that ’round here, that’s two pints.

  6. LuckyLuigi says:

    Finally bit the bullet and got them this time. 165 games and counting on GOG now 0_o. I may need help.

  7. Dingbatwhirr says:

    Ultima VII or Transform-a-Snacks? On the one hand, you could buy something utterly unique: an ambitious and creative idea made reality, the experience of which surpasses every expectation and is unparalleled – nothing else can quite replicate it.

    Or, on the other hand, you could buy Ultima…

  8. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    If you wanted to be more selective, just pick up Ultima 7 for a quid in that sale. I’ve played all of them over the years and it’s the only one I always come back to. It’s quite something.

    • basilisk says:

      And Underworld. The game was astonishing for its time and holds up remarkably well even today.

  9. mpk says:

    £4 for a pint of love-in-a-canoe lager? I’d rather drink my own sweat.

    • Maritz says:

      Damn right, it would be far cheaper and far tastier if I just pissed in a glass and drank that.

  10. Niko says:

    I miss the city of Tenebrae.

  11. RaoulDuke says:

    On Topic: Great deal, purchasing now.

    Off Topic: A lot of craft beer is excellent and more people should try it. Like Samuel Smith’s in Tadcaster, amazing stuff in the usual varieties [lager, stout, pale ale, india ale, brown ale] except, it doesn’t taste like the devil’s anus cream and gas you up like the… devil’s anus… gas.

    http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/bottles.html

    Drinking lots of Carling/Tennets/Budweiser/Miller/Stella/Horrible Chemical Crap every day in 1st year of uni + a bout of gastroenteritis [sp?] is what caused my IBS. And I wouldn’t wish this painful shit on anyone.

    Say no to the 50p a bottle shit next time you have a barbeque! Its 50p for reasons other than market domination.

    • Volcanu says:

      Interestingly enough if you were a student in London….which I were, on the rare occasions when we could afford to drink in an actual pub it would invariably be a Sam Smith’s pub. They were, and still are, a much cheaper option than even your big chain pubs in our nation’s capital.

      Not the best ‘craft beer’ around, but passable nevertheless.

      • RaoulDuke says:

        I know its not ‘amazing’ stuff but I’m trying to lure them from their horrible cheap ‘beer’, engaging in hyperbole is the only way.

    • Maritz says:

      I brew my own, that way it’s 50p a pint and decent ale as well, plus the satisfaction of having made it myself.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Sam Smiths isn’t craft anything. They’re a national frigging brewery and pub chain. The beer is pretty good, yes, but not at all improved by the appendage of a hipster prefix or the sense of superiority that presumably goes therewith.

  12. frightlever says:

    Huh, I had a look and, while I knew I had 1-8, I didn’t realise I had Ultima 9. What a rare treat that is.

  13. Crabtipus says:

    I’m glad that could get me a couple pints here. The only Ultima I really grew up playing was VIII, and that’s mostly because I had friends who played UO at the time and it looked just like it.

  14. sinister agent says:

    It’s been namedropped already I think, but as someone who’d basically never played an Ultima game before, Spoony did an excellent retrospective of the whole series a while back. Well worth watching all of them (and I watch hardly any videos about games), not least for the buildup to what seems to me the most personal and heartfelt thing he’s ever written/said about games, which comes in the last video and would likely resonate with many viewers.

    http://spoonyexperiment.com/game-reviews/ultima-retrospective/page/4/

  15. E_FD says:

    No Savage Empire and Martian Dreams? Humbug.