The Game: Darkness has fallen anew upon Sosaria, and Lord British calls for your service again. You set out with four adventurers on a quest to gain the experience that will be necessary to survive the long voyage to a volcanic island where the source of all the evil plaguing the world is said to be. (Origin Systems, 1984)
Memories: The third game in Richard Garriott’s Ultima cycle, Ultima III was the tops in computer RPGs for ages (at least until Ultima IV came along). Ultima III was the first game in the series to track the movements of the two moons, and the first to feature a part of multiple player characters (as well as parties of evil beings to fight them). Gone was Ultima II‘s odd notion of including space travel in the Ultima games, though the moon gates did remain, and were often the best ticket to reach a distant locale.
Another innovation in this chapter of the saga was the beginning of – and I hate to paraphrase Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Data on this – an ethical subroutine that would later see its full fruition in Ultima IV: if you stole, or killed someone in a town, guards would descend upon you like bees and, more than likely, destroy you.
So fond of Ultima III was the gaming world that “world editors” were introduced, allowing gamers to create their own global map, towns, castles, and dungeons. But, as good as Ultima III was (and this game consumed vast stretches of my life at the age of twelve), the best was yet to come.