Origin Systems, Inc., known commonly as Origin or OSI, was an American video game developer and publisher from 1983-2004. The most popular game series developed by Origin are Ultima and Wing Commander. Origin was also the creator of one of the first hugely popular MMORPGs, Ultima Online, whose success was partially the company's downfall. Since Origin was owned by Electronic Arts (who bought them in 1992), they had the authority to convert them into an online-only company. This huge shift, and the poor sales of Ultima IX: Ascension, caused EA to cancel all of Origins games except for Ultima Online, and a large portion of the staff quit. EA kept Origin around simply as a means of supporting Ultima Online before shutting them down entirely in 2004.
The company motto was "We create worlds," which was pretty accurate as many of their games had game worlds that were far more detailed than other games at the time. Origin also included trinkets and cloth maps which added a lot of quality to their games. Hint books created for their games were designed as though they existed as actual books in the game, which was really impressive.
My earliest experience with Origin was the NES port of Ultima: Exodus, and then, shortly after, Ultima VII: The Black Gate for MS-DOS. From there, I got really interested in the Ultima series and then the Wing Commander series. I've since played most of the games from the Origin catalog.
The following are games released by Origin that are important to me.
- Times of Lore
- Ultima: Exodus
- Ultima: Quest of the Avatar
- Ultima VI: The False Prophet
- Ultima VII: The Black Gate
- Ultima VII, Part 2: Serpent Isle
- Ultima VIII: Pagan
- Ultima Online
- Ultima Underworld
- Wing Commander
- Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi
- Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger
- Wing Commander: Prophecy
These are people who were employed by Origin whose work I appreciate.
- Chris Roberts
- Dana Glover
- Denis Loubet
- Jeff Dee
- John Romero
- Ken Arnold
- Ken Demarest
- Martin Galway
- Richard Garriott
- Warren Spector
Origin's logo slowly evolved over time.
This logo was first used in 1983 in Ultima III: Exodus. It focuses on the origin point of a Cartesian plane and was used until 1988. This is my least favorite logo of theirs. The graphic is a bit dull, the typeface uses the same weight throughout each letter, and I think it's slanted a bit too much to be easily read.
The logo switched from white to blue in 1990, though Ultima Underworld and some of the Strike Commander games colored it gold.