Following the success of Ultima IV, Richard Garriott was faced with something of a challenge. Just how does one follow up a game like Quest of the Avatar; a title that was not just an exemplary gaming experience but was, in retrospect, a seminal moment in interactive storytelling. It’s not exaggerating to say that Ultima IV changed the face of gaming narrative, demonstrating that there wasn’t just room for complex and profound storylines in gaming, but that the medium could enhance the telling of the story itself. What, exactly, can you do to improve on something that was already shoulders above its peers?
Once upon a time games were complete. They shipped with whatever problems they had and those problems didn’t change or get fixed. Game developers released a game only when it was done and not months before when it was an incomplete mess and fill it in with various patches and DLC’s in order to take more money from the already expensive full-retail game in the hopes that this will finally make the game ‘complete’ for those customers that cue up and are eager to buy the game, yet the corporation care so little about.
Well LucasArts is dead, but looking at the last decade they weren’t really living. But in its heyday LucasArts was top notch and had a Beatles-Rolling Stones style rivalry for the PC game market. Typically I played Sierra games which taught me how to type out bizarre commands to achieve outrageous goals, but I had a handful of LucasArts games like Day of the Tentacle and Rebel Assault. Also I had the peerless gem Tie Fighter. Tie Fighter was something special. I was semi familiar with the flight sim genre from Sierras Aces of the Pacific series but that gave strove for realism in piloting a World War 2 plane. Tie Fighter too tried for realism but that’s a loose term in the Sci-Fi genre and outer space allowed for much more room to screw around. And screw around I did so let’s reminisce about Tie Fighter.
In every great game or series of games there is a tipping point, a defining moment at which the piece transitions from being merely brilliant to being something truly special. For some this a particular point in a narrative; for others it’s a particular mechanic implemented especially well. For yet others, often the most exceptional, it’s a confluence of all of these elements; a point at which the whole dynamic of a game or series shifts and steps up to another level.
Ultima III: Exodus can be seen as something of a landmark for the Ultima series and Richard Garriott himself, in retrospective terms at least. Released in 1983, Ultima III was the first game to be published by the then fledgling Origin Systems.
The games industry today is abuzz with talk of the next generation of gaming. With the WiiU already with us, the Playstation 4 having been announced a while ago and, by the time you read this, Microsoft being about to or having just announced the next Xbox unit, you can’t move around the gaming web [...]
Computer games, as much as any other medium, are mysterious things. They can stir our souls, hotwire our adrenaline glands or disappoint us to our core. For every person who plays a game there is a valid and varied opinion. It’s one of the things that make the subject of a game’s relative quality a [...]
Across every genre of entertainment there are specific titles or releases that become synonymous with failure, that in the eyes of fans and critics alike embody the worst that the genre has to offer. They become the universal butt of any joke in that medium, the yardstick against which every other poorly-received release is measured. [...]
Over recent years there has been a shift in the focus of the gaming industry towards online multiplayer as a gaming model. Indeed, the biggest sellers of this generation of titles have been primarily online competitive titles, such as Halo 4 & Call of Duty. Over this time there has developed a very distinct separation [...]