Anyone reaching into the depths of gaming history has surely hit upon gemsters and junkness, and probably games that could really qualify as both. One perhaps need look no farther than the original Ultima 1 (later, “Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness”… yeah, “darkness” for sure) for a telling example. We’ve come a long way since the early 80s. Games like Donkey Kong and the original Mario Bros remain replayable and endearing classics, while some of the more ambitious and trendsetting titles have sadly long since been eclipsed by modern experiences.
It’s hard to really say that Ultima 1 is ‘bad’ with any semblance of objectivity; it’s actually quite easy to appreciate the things it accomplished and the path it paved for the computer RPG genre, and even its own eventual well-loved sequels. This time around, we discuss our impressions of this first Ultima (and to a lesser degree its predecessor, “Akalabeth”) viewed from a modern perspective. We’re both pretty sympathetic to its status as an important piece of gaming history, but neither of us are too fond of the game (despite playing the more accessible DOS remake from ’87!).
It seems the game has soured Ultima overall for Steve, who no longer even intends to play the entirety of his Ultima collection for the forseeable future. Matt’s characteristically more retro, and is more likely to hack his way through the series some day to get to Ultima V ~ VII, which both boss nerds agree look to be much more appealing games.
Any parents listening might appreciate our lead-in where we discuss integrating our kids into our busy / nerdy lives; any childless folks are probably better off skipping a good ten minutes or so to get to the meat of the matter: why Ultima I might just beat Tetris on Stephen’s list of much disliked games that are supposed to be good.