Ultima is a computer role-playing game developed by Richard Garriott with help from Kenneth Arnold and published by California Pacific Computer Co. 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 Ultima, 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.
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. 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 own two copies of the PC remake published in the Complete Ultima CD-ROM compilation. I have not beaten the game or even played it much.
I don't know enough about this game to review it.
- youtube.com/watch?v=NrQFzWO4pYo - Longplay, Apple II remake.
- youtube.com/watch?v=7XUsdNh7J_A - Longplay, DOS.
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. 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-98, PC-88, 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|
|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-98||Newtopia Planning||Pony Canyon||Probably Intel Assembly|
|1988-12-??||Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness||PC-88||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||Probably 65C02 Assembly|
- wiki.ultimacodex.com/wiki/Computer_Ports_of_Ultima_I - Ultima Codex Wiki - Ports.
- mobygames.com/game/ultima-i - MobyGames (Remake).