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August 23rd, 2021, 10:14
GeorgGreat looks back at Ultima IV:

Ultima IV (1985): Analysis of an RPG Masterpiece

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An in-depth review/critique of Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar, a CRPG for DOS, which is also the first true philosophical video game ever made.
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August 23rd, 2021, 10:51
I didn't have a PC back then. My father bought one a little later IIRC, but not to play games. Missed opportunity

The only ones I played in that series were Ultima Underworld games, they were great.
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August 23rd, 2021, 12:50
As much as I love Ultima IV, calling it a "philosophical game" really gives it too much credit. It proposes a system of ethics, but never really examines its premises. More religious than philosophical, I would say.

If there is any philosophical discourse in the game, it is in demonstrating that ethical premises may at times conflict with each other. Ultima V elaborates on that by pointing out that ethical codices are usually open to interpretation, leading to conflicting conclusions regarding ethical behaviour.

But that's not exactly probing very deep. Goes to show a lot about typical plots in the RPG genre if this is already considered "philosophical".
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August 23rd, 2021, 17:37
It's a fine game, then and now. I played it the year it released, and probably four to five times since then. I remember enjoying the pondering I often found myself doing while playing the game, a game that gives me pause and requires thought while playing is one that will stick in the memory, for all the right reasons!
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August 23rd, 2021, 19:22
Originally Posted by Atrachasis View Post
As much as I love Ultima IV, calling it a "philosophical game" really gives it too much credit. It proposes a system of ethics, but never really examines its premises. More religious than philosophical, I would say.
What you write isn't forensically incorrect but it lacks some perspective. You have to remember, it's the mid 1980s, consumer computing technology is in its infancy, and U4 was one of the first (the first?) computer RPG game to propose a gameplay system that didn't consist of finding and defeating the uber bad guy at the end but a gameplay system that steered the player to make the "correct" moral choices and find "enlightenment" at the end.

Yes, the morality system was largely superficial, but it was among the first games to play like this, that is why U4 stands out historically.
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August 23rd, 2021, 22:58
The game that really got me into RPGs. I had played U3 on and off, but I was young and it didn't hold my interest long.
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August 23rd, 2021, 22:58
I never got to play U4. I wish I had because it feels like I missed out on something special.

I didn't have a gaming PC back then, but I really enjoyed the NES port of U3: Exodus, and it was one of the first crpgs I ever finished. I found out much later that U4 had also been ported to the NES, but I don't recall ever seeing it in stores here.
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August 23rd, 2021, 23:56
Heh, that was a weirdly presented video.

Ultima IV and V were the games that really got me into CRPGs (C64 edition, though I scored it on Amiga as well later on). I had I-III in a collected edition, but I found it hard to get into them after playing the sequels.
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August 25th, 2021, 04:59
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I never got to play U4. I wish I had because it feels like I missed out on something special.

I didn't have a gaming PC back then, but I really enjoyed the NES port of U3: Exodus, and it was one of the first crpgs I ever finished. I found out much later that U4 had also been ported to the NES, but I don't recall ever seeing it in stores here.
Funny enough, I only finished U3 on the PC version few years back (never finished the C64 version as a kid), but I actually did finish the NES port when it came out!
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