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Ultima - A2 - USA.jpg

Apple II - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Richard Garriott
Publisher California Pacific Computer
Published 1981-??-??
Platforms Apple II, Apple IIgs, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX2, PC-8800, PC-9800, Sharp X1
Genres Dungeon crawler, Exploration, Role-playing game
Themes Adventure, Fantasy
Series Ultima
Distribution Commercial

Ultima is a fantasy role-playing video game developed by Richard Garriott with help from Kenneth Arnold and published by California Pacific Computer in 1981 for the Apple II. The game was remade as Ultima I in 1986 and released for several other platforms. And again on 1988 as Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness for Japanese platforms. This is the first Ultima title in the series and was highly influential game in the computer RPG genre.

In the game's story, you play the role of a hero tasked with defeating the evil sorcerer Mondain to save the world. To do this you must explore the various continents, visit kings who charge you with quests, slay many monsters, and even travel through space and time.


Own?Yes. Two copies of the PC remake published in the Complete Ultima CD-ROM compilation.

I've booted Ultima up a couple of times, but never played it very much. It's so out-dated now, I have little desire to try to beat it and haven't even tried. Despite playing very little of the game, I have done quite a bit of work reverse engineering the DOS port and placed my results on ModdingWiki.


I don't know enough about this game to review it.


Box Art





Longplay - Apple II, remake.
Longplay - DOS.

Play Online



Strong female character?PassThe player can choose to be female.
Bechdel test?FailIf the player doesn't choose to be female, there are no women in the game.
Strong person of color character?FailNobody has an explicit race.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Richard Garriott started programming Ultima in his freshman year of college using Applesoft BASIC with the graphic tile drawing code written by Ken Arnold in 6502 assembly. Much of the dungeon code was pulled from his earlier game, Akalabeth: World of Doom. The game was published on the Apple II in 1981. The game was later ported to the Atari 8-bit line in 1983 and the BASIC portions were probably rewritten in Atari BASIC. The game was rewritten from the ground up in 6502 assembly under the title Ultima I and released for the Apple II and Commodore 64. This version had better graphics, more town maps, and came with paper maps and a bag of coins. This version was rewritten in Intel assembly and ported to MS-DOS in 1987. The game was completely reprogrammed again when it was ported to five Japanese home computers spanning 1988-1990. Although each Japanese port shares a similar graphics and music style (the quality level differs per platform), the PC-9801, PC-8801, and FM Towns ports were probably written in Intel Assembly, while the Sharp X1 and MSX2 ports were probably written in Z80 Assembly. The game was completely reprogrammed one last time for the Apple IIgs in 1994, probably in 65C02 Assembly.

Released Title Platform Primary Developer Publisher Programming Language
1981-??-?? Ultima Apple II Richard Garriott California Pacific Computer Co. Applesoft BASIC, 6502 assembly
1983-??-?? Ultima I Atari 8-bit Sigma Micro Systems Sierra On-Line Probably Atari BASIC
1986-??-?? Ultima I Apple II Origin Systems Origin Systems 6502 assembly
1986-??-?? Ultima I Commodore 64 Dav Holle Origin Systems 6502 assembly
1987-??-?? Ultima I MS-DOS John Fachini Origin Systems Intel assembly
1988-12-21 Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness PC-9801 Newtopia Planning Pony Canyon Probably Intel assembly
1988-12-?? Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness PC-8801 Newtopia Planning Pony Canyon Probably Intel assembly
1988-??-?? Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness Sharp X1 Newtopia planning Pony Canyon Probably Z80 assembly
1989-??-?? Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness MSX2 Newtopia Planning Pony Canyon Probably Z80 assembly
1990-10-?? Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness FM Towns Newtopia Planning Fujitsu Interactive Probably Intel assembly
1994-??-?? Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness Apple IIgs Rebecca Heineman Shareware Solutions II 65816 assembly using Merlin 16.


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