Posts Tagged ‘origin systems’

Ultima Online was released twenty years ago today

ultimaonlineanniversary

I’ll never forget where I was when I heard that Lord British had been killed.

The character, Ultima creator Richard Garriott’s alter-ego and in-game avatar, burned to a crisp during a beta test of Ultima Online on August 9th, 1997. The game officially launched a month and a half later, twenty years ago today, and I loved it in a way that has kept me from loving any massively multiplayer RPG released since. It might not look like much now, but back then it looked like the future and I could only imagine the kind of worlds I’d be building an alternate online life in twenty years down the line. I can still only imagine them because the spirit of Ultima Online, at least what it meant to me, seemed to wither on the vine.

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18 Years Later, Why Are People Still Playing Ultima Online?

Later this year, Ultima Online [official site] will turn 18 years old. In the genre of MMOs, that makes the game positively ancient – and it’s even more remarkable when you consider that it’s still funded via a subscription model.

I’ve never played an Ultima game, much less one that’s nearly my age. I wanted to find out what the game is like to play today as a newcomer, and to ask people why they’ve continued visiting Britannia for nearly two decades.

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Have You Played… Crusader – No Remorse?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I wasn’t sure if I remembered Crusader: No Remorse more fondly than I should and then I noticed that it’s free on Origin at the moment, so I downloaded it to check. You should download it as well because it might well be better than my memories of isometric carnage suggested. It’s a game of tactical violence wrapped in a sci-fi action shell that is both darkly dystopian and tremendously technicoloured. Yes, you need to use Origin to play a game created by Origin Systems for free, but you can also buy it alone or with its sequel at GoG.com.

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Kilrathi Gratuit: Wing Commander 3 Free On Origin

Serious stuff, spaceships.

Mark Hamill might be wearing those dusty old wizard robes again, but 20 years ago, the Wing Commander games were the only hope of Hamillaniacs to see him zapping about in spaceships and all that. Perhaps in the spirit of his renewed Star Warring, or patting Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts on the back for Star Citizen, or–who knows!–possibly even promoting their service, EA are giving away Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger free on Origin for a bit.

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Beyond Britannia: Worlds Of Ultima Free At GOG

This is what heroism used to look like

Free RPGs of old! I hadn’t thought about the Worlds of Ultima games for a long time but they are now free on GOG.com and seeing that made me hunger for a continuation. Rather than taking place in Britannia, land of vice and virtue, the short-lived spin-off series transports the Avatar to fantastical Vernian environments, namely a savage jungle empire and a Victorian era Mars. The second game, Martian Dreams, even had Freud and Tesla in it which earns an automatic +2 points out of arbitrary number of choice. I love this sort of thing in my RPGs but for now it’s enough that both games can be mine again for free and more of the same, old or new, would be very welcome. They are hither and thither.

Gaming Made Me: Ultima VII

The Guardian had some fine voice acting

I was only young when I played Ultima VII but I had already ventured to the depths of dungeons that dripped with dread, partaken in interstellar war and defended my home planet from invaders. Like Roy Batty and all people who grew up with games, I had seen and done so much. Between adventures in space, I’d rezone my commercial districts or build a new bus route, leaving room in the schedules for occasional postal service functions. Yes, I had lived a full life already, but I had never watched a man clad in the finest clothes in Britain eat an egg and then belch in the face of a barmaid, so who can say I had experienced anything worthwhile at all?

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Project: Origin (No, Not That One)

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Gaming archaeology: now there’s an idea. It can only be better than Bonekickers, anyway.

Upon hearing that EA Mythic had received several crateloads full of Origin Systems (the long-dead studio behind the Wing Commander and Ultima games, plus System Shock, and once home to the power duo of Warren Spector and Richard Garriot) archive materials, a group of fans arranged to catalogue the treasure trove. It turned out that EA seems to have hung onto an incredible amount of stuff, making this find perhaps the PC game equivalent of discovering all those fossilised folk in Pompeii. Best of all, there’s a good chance all these historical goodies will be released to the public.
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