There was a whole lot going on in the world of computers and games in the years leading up to the founding of Origin Systems in 1983. It was the golden age of the arcades, and Dungeons & Dragons was probably more popular than ever with the release of the accessible Basic Sets. As the Apple II approached obsolescence and the Apple III was touted as purely a business computer, the IBM PC was launched in 1981 and the Commodore 64 in 1982. With these computers available to a wider audience, homebrew games became a more tangible cottage industry. It was in this environment that Richard Garriott self-published Akalabeth: World of Doom in 1979, famously using Ziploc bags as packaging for the floppy disks. Garriott’s father was an astronaut who pushed his son towards programming. In 1977, Garriott had attended a programming summer camp at Oklahoma University, where he also played D&D for the first time. This experience was the hybrid seed for the creation of Origin Systems’ most famous franchise: Ultima. After a few prototypes based on D&D, he released Akalabeth and was picked up by the publisher California Pacific Computer Company. It was then that he set to work on… Read full this story
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