Origin - The Roots of CRPGs @ Bitmob
Bitmob sent word the next installment of their Forgotten Ruins series is up, discussing the role of Origin in the history of RPGs. A taste:
From his tentative steps with Akalebeth and then on to the first Ultima and its sequel, Richard Garriott clearly saw just how successful his computer role-playing game was going to be when the cash began rolling in and the phone calls never stopped.
Garriott (aka Lord British to his fans) founded Origin Systems in '83 partly as a result of the series's runaway popularity. The Ultima games would become the standard bearer alongside other pioneers such as Wizardry in defining the early years of the CRPG. Even in Japan, Ultima and Richard Garriott had received the kind of accolades -- and merchandising -- that had been reserved only for properties like Hello Kitty.
Ultima's amazing success on both sides of the world owed itself as much to Garriott's hard work as it later did in challenging the player later with social questions and deep narratives that expanded the fictional world of Britannia, such as when Ultima 4 revolutionized the genre again in '85 by replacing the typical world-destroying threat at the end, which stamped its chest with even more accolades from the press and CRPG fans in general.