Friday, September 2, 2011

Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

(image from Moby Games)

If you've got the hankering to try a really old game (from 1985), I thought I'd point out that has Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar available for free.

OK, yeah, it's been freeware for awhile now, but has their games set up to play on modern computers. They make it so easy - and their games are so cheap - that I often buy a game from them even when I already own it.

Ultima IV is widely considered to be one of the best games of all-time. Of course, it's very old. And although it was incredible when it first came out, its flaws are far more evident these days. The CRPG Addict did a playthrough of Ultima IV last year. You might want to check that out. (Note that the posts are shown in reverse order there.)

I meant to do a Great Games post about this game (I'm not getting too far with those, am I?), but I couldn't remember if I played Ultima IV or Ultima V. Whichever it was, it was one of the first computer games I ever played and the game which really got me hooked on RPGs.

Ultima V is an even better game, I think, though it's not yet available on (soon, I expect). If you're curious, The CRPG Addict is doing a playthrough of that game right now. (Again, the posts are shown in reverse order.)

But note that these old games aren't usually easy to play these days. It's not just the difficulty of getting them to run on modern computers, but the fact that game interfaces have improved so much over the years. And, let's face it, we've become accustomed to far better graphics and audio.

The gameplay is still great. Indeed, in many ways we've gone downhill when it comes to gameplay. But you still have to be pretty dedicated - or maybe just curious - to play a lot of these old games. And for many of us, nostalgia is also a huge factor. Maybe that wouldn't be the case for you.

Still, when Ultima IV is free, what can you lose? And really, almost all of the old games at are so cheap you'd get your money's worth even if you only played an hour or two. And I can pretty well guarantee you'll do far more than that. (I've been having a great time lately with Fallout - still meaning to write a Great Games post on that one.)


Anonymous said...

Also, you can find inexpensive oldies ported to today's PC on a site called Steam:

I downloaded the whole X-Com series (5 titles?) about 2 years ago for $14.99.
Christ - UFO Defense stole about 3 months of my life when it originally launched. The old 486SX was put through its paces.

And, coincidentally, as of late I've been replaying Fallout 3. I'm still awed by the work that went into building everything that comprises that free range world, and the artful mastery of the lighting (sun).

: )

WCG said...

Not long ago, I bought X-Com: UFO Defense from Steam, even though I already owned it. I don't like Steam. I'd rather buy from almost any other game company. But for a couple of bucks, it was too good to pass up (mainly because I didn't have to fiddle with getting the game to run).

And yeah, I've been playing that one, too - again. What a great game!

I still haven't tried Fallout 3, though the first two games were superb. But I was hugely disappointed that they changed the turn-based combat. (But not as disappointed as when they announced an "XCOM" action game!)