Richard Garriott recalls his early career and ‘favorite love-hate fan’ Donald Brinky

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Richard Garriott about his new MMO project, Effigy. Garriott came into the project with an incredible RPG heritage, and one that might be a bit underrated in the contemporary scene. His first game, Akalabeth, wasn’t intended for commercial release, but he was persuaded to sell it by an enthusiastic shopkeeper, making it arguably the first video game role-playing game. Its successor, Ultima, was also the foundation of earlier RPGs, and in the 1990s, Ultima Online was one of the MMOs that set the direction for the entire genre.

Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar was my first RPG, as a port of the Master System, and I remember it well because I couldn’t read it very well when I was four or five. This character will always get poisoned somewhere near the start of the game and end up dying, I don’t know how to cure him. Only later did I find out what the word “antidote” meant.