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The Latest On Lord British

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the who-doesn't-want-a-moat-after-all dept.

Games 103

Our friends at Salon have an article "The Return of Lord British" about what Richard Garriot has been up to in the last year since he's left Origin. It is mostly about Lineage (a mmporpg ? ), but it touches on EA mismanagement (new tagline "We create write-offs").

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whoohoo (-1, Offtopic)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652883)

I'd like to dedicate this first post to all the under-recognized physicists out there.

Re:whoohoo (-1)

Pr0n K1ng (160688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652889)

Thank you. Very much. I mean it. To get this kind of recognition, finally, maens the world to me.

Again, thank you.

thank you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652898)

I have studied uranus [] for many years without the recognition I so clearly deserve

This just in! (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653044)

My night out
Copyright (C) 2001 CmdrTaco

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation


With one hand in my pocket I was rubbing my hardon and with the other I was trying to flag down a cab, all up it'd been a lousy night.

Being 29 years old I made a point to avoid the clubs but I didn't mind the pubs. I didn't have the kind of body gay guys seem to go for, the muscle in my arms and legs was their but it didn't have that self-consciousness about it, it was just everyday muscle, nothing special and lacking any real definition due to the ever increasing body fat. I didn't give a fuck really, I had pale white skin and maybe too much hair in some places and not enough in others but I always thought I wasn't that bad to look at, besides I was a decent kind of guy so if that was a problem well, fuck em'. At least that's what my geek compound friends and other Slashdot folk tend to tell me.

Feeling light headed from the beers I'd drank at the pub I'd let my friend Jon grope me between two cars in the parking lot, both of us had worked up decent stiff poles in our trousers and it'd seemed only natural to make our way back to my flat across town. I was just about to suggest we make a move when a woman's voice yelled out across the lot 'Jon, we've gotta go NOW! I know you're out there. I just hope you're not molesting some misunderstood geek guy 'cos I sure as hell am not gonna bail you out this time!'. Turned out Jon had been drinking with his sister and two friends at a pub nearby and his sister had met an ex-boyfriend and started carrying on about some bullshit in their past. I really didn't give a fuck about all that but Jon reluctantly said he had to go because of some fuckin' reason or other. By then it was getting onto 2:00 a.m, the bars were closing up and I couldn't handle going to a club so with my hardon straining against the fly of my khaki's I made my way out to the street and started searching for a cab. Absentmindedly I rubbed my cock through the lining of my pockets and ran through my mind the things I'd hoped to be doing with that guy Jon before the whole plan was shot to hell by his sister.

After 15 minutes I hadn't seen one cab that wasn't booked or full, the frustration was building up in me and so all I wanted to do was get home and jack off as a release. As I was trying to see through the traffic if the cab half a block down was trying to do a U-turn towards me another cab must've seen my hand raised as it glided to a stop next to me. The driver leant forward and looked at me "where you going?" He'd driven up so fast I hadn't seen him so with a jerk of my arm I pulled my hand out of my pocket, leaning forward to hide the rise in my trousers I gave him my address. With a barely noticeable glance at my crotch the driver nodded his head and told me to get in. "You very lucky, I just start work for tonight. You my first fare" "Yeah, great. I've been trying for twenty minutes" We'd pulled out into the street but in this part of town, at this time of night it wasn't long before we ground to a halt in the heavy traffic. The driver was an Arab guy, the ID on the dash gave his name as Ahmed, from the street lights I could see he was early to mid thirties, even so his moustache and unshaven face had the light covering I'd usually associate with a younger guy. As he looked around us and muttered about the traffic I had a chance to see his face, his full looking lips had a slight glint of saliva on them, his skin was dark and I could just make out some slight old acne scars - I try to avoid generalising but his nose, eyebrows and the thick but cut short black curly hair were what I'd call Arab looking.

He wasn't skinny, I wouldn't call him fat but he was solid, it was obvious someone must of fed him well and regularly. He was a good looking guy but as with most middle eastern blokes I always assume they're straight so I turned and looked out the opposite window. A few times he half heartedly blew the cabs horn but as we inched along the crowded street it soon became obvious to him that no matter what we weren't going anywhere in a hurry. With a barely audible sigh he relaxed in his seat and accepted the wait. As I looked out the window at the other cars and pedestrians I could feel the driver looking at me, with a small cough I shifted in my seat and pretended not to know. I wasn't in a talking mood and I didn't wanna hear his gripes about the traffic.

"Where you been tonight?" he asked.

"Maloney's". Looking at him as he nodded his head I guessed he knew that this pub got alot of gay men in it. "Now you go home alone"

"Yeah. It was going well but he had to leave" Making it known that it was men I was into I felt my flaccid cock shift slightly in my briefs.

"Did you touch his cock?" This question shocked me, so damn direct but I wasn't gonna complain. I wasn't sure if he was interested or subtly taunting a guy he assumed was some western slut - stereotypes kind of figure loud in first meetings. 'Fuck it' I thought to myself I'll play along either way. "I was just about to but he had to leave"

"Did you touch his arse?" "Yeah, I got my hand down the back of his trousers" This was crap, I didn't get that far but the glint in Ahmed's eyes made a few lies worth it.

"Then what did you do?" "I rubbed one of his arse cheeks and ran my finger along the edge of his crack" "This men's arse is like a cunt to you?"

"Yep. Anything you do with a cunt I do with a man's arse"

By now Ahmed wasn't bothered by the traffic, shifting his thighs on the beaded seat cover, I could tell he was trying to adjust his own stiffening cock. Raising my hips slightly I made it clear that I was enjoying this conversation, my dick had stiffened at an awkward angle so the tent in my trousers was uncomfortable but for the moment I decided not to use my hand to adjust it.

"Do you lick these men's arse?"

"Only if they're clean, if they are I kiss their puckered hole"

At the same time we adjusted our cocks as they strained against the fabric of our trousers. I didn't know how far Ahmed would want to take this but I was going to push it as much as I could.

"Do you let them finger your hole?"

"If they lick it first, yeah I do"

"Do you put your finger in their arse?"

"Yeah, I..."

The loud prolonged beeping horn of the car behind us made it clear that the traffic was moving. With his stiff cock tenting his black trousers Ahmed momentarily concentrated on the road, coming up to an intersection we turned left and headed towards one of the main roads that wove through the quieter commercial part of town. Their was few cars on these roads so I could divert Ahmend's attention. Leaning over to him I tentatively rubbed at the rock solid bulge in his trousers, with a throaty moan he shifted his crotch so it pressed against the palm of my hand. Getting my hand under his slightly overhanging stomach I undid his belt and pulled his zipper down, lifting his arse out of his chair allowed me to pull his trousers down until they rested on his thick, dark and hairy thighs. His white y-front briefs strained and jutted into the air, through the slightly damp fabric I rubbed firmly on his meaty, heavy erection, the outline of the head of his cock was clearly visible through the fabric.

Rubbing my thumb on the growing wet spot in the fabric over his piss slit I used my other hand to slide down his back until the tips brushed against the waistband of his briefs. Once again Ahmed lifted his heavy arse out of his seat, I guided my hand down the back of his briefs and rubbed at the light covering of course hair that trailed down his spine into his arse crack.

Ahmed groaned deeply as my fingers began to journey down his sweaty arse crack, the clammy sweat between his cheeks spread across my palm...

"Oaahh...Ahmed, I wanna lick ya' arse..."

With a sudden swerve of the cab Ahmed drove down a side street between two darkened office blocks, gliding into a an empty car park we jolted to a stop. Ahmed kicked off his shoes, roughly took his trousers off then in one quick clumsy move he lent over the drivers seat, pushed his arse towards my face and lifting the shirt tail of his blue cab uniform offered his arse to me. His heavy arse was still covered by his large white y-fronts, two heavy mounds of flesh just inches from my face, by the light from the car park it wasn't hard to make out the dampness along the fabric over his crack. Hooking my fingers under his waistband I slid his briefs down to reveal two dark arse cheeks, the heady, musky aroma filled my nostrils as I breathed deep to experience the smell of a man's arse. Coarse hair lightly covered the cheeks, growing thicker along his crack I noticed that it thinned out closer to his puckered hole. Ahmed had began to slowly but strongly pound his stiff cock and rub it into the beaded seat cover...

"You lick my hole now"

As he said these words his slightly puffy arse lips twitched and contracted, spreading each hand over an arse cheek I lowered my face into the steamy, sweaty crevice. The clean, musky spiciness of his crack got me blinking my eye's trying to focus on the beauty of this Arab arse, lowering my lips onto the hole, the puckering arse lips met mine and I ground them into his hole.

Ahmed's whole body jumped forward in ecstasy, the cab filled with the sounds of his groans and deep guttural sighs as I wiped my lips across this hidden opening, they soon became moist from the lust fuelled sweat that poured from Ahmed's skin. The dark hairs along his crack rasped against my cheeks as I began to push my tongue onto his hole, the clean exotic taste flowed through my body as my tongue slid across the top of the twitching flesh. Making small jabs of my tongue I managed to easily get my tongue past his arse ring until the hot muscle of his bowels squeezed tightly against this intruding tongue, pumping quickly I managed to work up spit which I pushed over my lips onto Ahmed's hole. Pushing it into his chute I could feel it relax and soften...

"Oh man...oh man....ooahhh...lick me me...."

Bringing my finger closer to his hole I took a couple of sloppy licks until they glistened with spit, resting my middle finger against his arse lips I began to push it against his hole....

"Ahmed...push out...push out"

Ahmed got the message and his arse lips grew and opened slightly, welcoming my finger as I rammed and burrowed into the warm, softness of his arse. With every thrust of my finger Ahmed's head rose in a grunt, pushing his arse closer to me I knew he wanted more so I slipped the second finger past his ring into the depth of his bowels.

"You fuck my arse. You fuck me" Pulling my two fingers out of Ahmed's moist, smooth hole I wiped them on his slowly humping arse cheeks. Fumbling wildly at my zipper I wrenched my trousers down and hoisted my rock hard cock from out of my briefs, Ahmed looked back and smiled lustfully as he saw my circumcised cock head jutting out from my fist. I spat and dribbled onto my palm and slathered my cock shaft until it glistened in the street lights. Ahmed reached back and pulled his arse cheeks apart, strained his arse so it opened and contracted greedily, guiding my cock head onto his hole his twitching arse lips seemed to want to suck my shaft into his hot Arab tunnel.

Placing the head onto his opening, I leaned forward, grab Ahmed's shoulder and pulled myself hard against his body, my cock head initially strained and pushed against the hole. Ahmed let out a groan of pain, lust and desire, grunting like an animal my cock head popped past his arse opening muscle then quickly I slid into his body, inching my way up his hole I watched as my cock shaft sunk between the dark hairs of this beautiful Arab. Riding and humping his body my cock prodded against the warm bowel muscles, digging deep into his guts as he pummeled at his cock, Ahemd's groans and grunts grew louder and faster my heavy pale thighs slapped sweatily against his upturned arse cheeks. The heat and musky aroma of cock digging into a man's arse rose up from our bodies and filled the cab the unmistakable smell of men's sweat.

"Uh...huh...huh..." I could tell Ahmeds was close and from the way my taught shrunken balls nestled between his cheeks I knew I was close to. Deep inside his arse I felt the head of my cock tingle and harden even more...."ah...ah...Ahmed....I'm" With a glistening wet brow Ahmed looked over his shoulders into my eye's, glassy with lust he asked me to cum on his back..."blow your shirt....huh....huh". I was close. I was close....this fuckin' hot arab arse...."whoa...whoa...whoa".

Suddenly Ahmed's whole body started to shake and buck "o...o...o...huh...huh..huh...huhhhhhh" His cumming cock blew his load hard against the seat....yanking my cock from his hole I had just enough time to start pumping at the greasy shaft...."ah...ah...ahh...ah...ahhh" ribbons of white cum shot out of my piss slit, splattering wildly across Ahmed's back it wasn't long before the blue fabric was coated in wild, wet strings of cum, soaking into the fabric his shirt clung to his body as the sweat and the cum plastered his uniform...still holding my slimy, arse sweat covered cock I grabbed at Ahmed's shirt tail and wiped the softening shaft clean...leaning forward into his wet back we both took long deep breaths of satisfaction. Ahmed's heavy body heaved under mine until our breathing was in unison....I did end up in the right place tonight.

more importantly. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652890)

who cares.

everything sucked past ultima VI.

UO sucks.
even worse are UO players.
almost as bad as EQ freaks...
(never trust an EQ player, they'll sell you out for that game.)

Re:more importantly. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652894)

modded down by an EQ player.
go figure.

...surprised you're not logged on now playing.

Why is this important to us at slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652891)


no shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653005)

time to crack open a red bull to hold off boredom.

EA's mismanagement? (2, Interesting)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652893)

If I recall correctly, EA was the savior of Origin Systems, bailing Origin out of its own mismanagement. An AC above said, "Who cares, everything past Ultima 6 sucked." Well, in my opinion, it's because Garriott was more involved with running the company at that point than he was with designing games. His gifts lie with the latter, not the former.

Re:EA's mismanagement? (5, Interesting)

Moofie (22272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652932)

They saved the village, by destroying it. I worked at Origin during the Wing Commander IV era, and EA's revolving door management, and utter intolerance for any new ideas out of Austin, made certain that Origin would never do anything innovative again. All EA wanted to hear from Origin was "Yes, Master, the new Ultima/Wing Commander/Crusader game is on schedule and under budget. May we please refrain from laying off our staff this year?"

With the possible exception of UO, which I personally didn't enjoy very much, but other people apparently groove to. And don't get me started about Ultima:Ascention.

I can't speak to Mr. Garriott's company management skills. Hell, I certainly wouldn't have the first idea how to run a company like that...I don't think anybody really does. He did, at one point, have a unique gift for storytelling in the medium of computer games. Unfortunately, that got buried under creeping featuritis. Hopefully, he'll be able to start with a clean slate (or a Tabula Rasa...wonder if that name is more than just coincidental? : ) and get back to his unique visionary roots.

I sure hope so. U6 is one of my favourite games ever.

Re:EA's mismanagement? (1)

markyd (517099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653037)

Is it me, or did Wing Commander go rapidly downhill after 3 anyway?

Re:EA's mismanagement? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2655197)

There were parts of IV that I rather liked. Those parts went away quickly after about the nine zillionth playthrough. Now, I loathe that game with the loathing of one thousand loathes.

Catscratch...that whiny ass little punk bitch...

WHAT?? (2)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653114)

I worked at Origin during the Wing Commander IV era, and EA's revolving door management, and utter intolerance for any new ideas out of Austin, made certain that Origin would never do anything innovative again. All EA wanted to hear from Origin was "Yes, Master, the new Ultima/Wing Commander/Crusader game is on schedule and under budget. May we please refrain from laying off our staff this year?"

A big company stopping innovation and insisting on clones and sequels for constant, growing revenue and unattainable profits? Say it isn't so!

Sigh... what wonders have been lost but for the crushing weight of dull, grey, uninspired, witless corporate bureaucracy.

Re:WHAT?? (0)

mr breakfast (242421) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653287)

Sigh... what wonders have been lost but for the crushing weight of dull, grey, uninspired, witless corporate bureaucracy.

Well I wouldn't know, but anyone who played Bullfrog games will notice that after EA bought them out they stopped producing any of the cool and original stuff they were doing before and turned into a theme-park/hospital/toilet sequel factory instead.

Its seems so obvious that a big company buys out a small creative one and crushes its originality to turn it into a safe, sequel building money machine that it is almost cliche, but apparently that is exactly how EA works.

Re:WHAT?? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653846)

I'm not sure who owns them now, but it used to be that Avalon Hill was the place (mainly non-computer) games went to die.

Avalon Hill (1)

McBeth (1724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654160)

Avalon hill was dying, and hasbro bought them out. As is usual with hasbro, they can't decide whether to kill them off, or keep them around. For a while they just let them sell back stock, but lately I have been seeing more and more of their old games on the market. The cry in shame is that Avalon Hill can sell the expansion to Civilization (Advanced Civilization) but not the original board game. Presumably, this is because of a dispute with Sid Meyer, or Activision, or whoever held the rights to the civilization computer game at the time.

BTW, at The Underdogs [] you can still get the Advanced Civilization computer game, there are some bugs, but also patches to fix most of them. Not to far from the board game.

Re:WHAT?? (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 12 years ago | (#2655116)

I'm not saying it's Wrong, I'm not even saying that given the current climate it's not good business...but it does NOT make good video games.

Of course, making good video games is a great way to go out of business or get bought out. I wish that were not so, but that's the way it seems to be.

EA made SSX. (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2655593)

EA made SSX, and thus can do no wrong. Well, at least not until my thumbs heal.

I'd call SSX pretty inspired and even innovative, despite its debt to Tony Hawk.

Re:EA's mismanagement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653134)

Hopefully, he'll be able to start with a clean slate (or a Tabula Rasa...wonder if that name is more than just coincidental? : )

There's no subtlety about it :)

Re:EA's mismanagement? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652937)

You don't know how to shut the fuck up!

Re:EA's mismanagement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652977)

U6 was good.
U7 was the best IMO.

U8 and U9 don't even worth the CD they are on (argh, I was foolish enough to buy a Dragon Box)

I just hope R.G. will make good games again.

Lord British immortalised by (2, Interesting)

Joe 'Nova' (98613) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652895)

one []

two []

Tribute- []

I just think the way the company mismanaged its projects(U7-10), basicly sabotaging them, is a shame. Origin had tons of kewl games, I'm just glad R.G. has found something productive.

Re:Tribute link- (1)

Joe 'Nova' (98613) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652909)

Tribute []

Damn @#$^%& slashbox

Re:Lord British immortalised by (1)

vermicious (533005) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653473)

Hmm U7-10? First off - theres no 10. Secondly, while 8 and 9 were technical failures, that was the result of rushed deadlines... And I cant imagine why anyone would lump Ultima 7 with 8 and 9. 7 was the last full-quality Ultima game.

Re:Lord British immortalised by (1)

Dudio (529949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653642)

First off - theres no 10.

He probably meant Ultima Online 2 [] . I realize that UO/UO2 don't really belong in the same class with the single-player series, but UO2 was highly anticipated, much hyped, and then quietly taken out back and shot by its masters. Not a good way to build customer confidence.

Obscure (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652897)

Why do things that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things constitute front page news? I mean come on you could think of 500 significant articles than this.

Significance is overrated... (-1, Offtopic)

cirby (2599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653008)

For every thing that someone deems "significant" but will be forgotten in six weeks, there are a thousand things that really matter...

I had a look at it (2, Interesting)

jeti (105266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652900)

Several weeks ago, I read in a forum
that Lineage would be the most popular
MMPORG in asia. So I downloaded the free
trial version (>200MB) and had a look.

Well - the graphics were ok. But there
really wasn't too much to do. Also there
were a lot of players on the server
complaining that they'd de facto beta-
test the game for $15 per month. It seems
like the free trial had just been introduced.

I now consider the message about the
popularity a plant. Hopefully things have

Re:I had a look at it (3, Interesting)

Hadean (32319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652927)

Well, if you actually read anything about the game, you'd have realized that the popularity talked about is for Asia, which is currently at around 3 million players. Lord British and the gang are creating a whole new universe (ie new players) for non-Asian areas (in Garriott's own words, more or less, Asian players are too good at cooperating, and would destroy North American players in this type of game). So yeah, this version of the game isn't massively populated at the moment, but no, you're not beta testing... it's been through the ringer already.

Re:I had a look at it (2)

Hadean (32319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652933)

In case anyone doubts what I just said, I might as well back it up (mostly because I'm bored):
In the United States the cooperation is not as well orchestrated as it is in Korea. It only takes a guild of 20 or 30 people to really take and hold a castle so it doesn't take a gigantic group. []

Re:I had a look at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653208)

That's 3 million licenses, by the way...Lineage is mostly played in cybercafes in Korea. So the 3 million players is a bit of an overstatement.

thx I rlpk u hehe HUK ^_^

Re:I had a look at it (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653014)

I was simply reporting what a lot of players, who obviously had spent quite a while on the servers, where saying. They were definitely very unhappy with the game.
But as I said this was a while ago and a free trial was introduced even shortly before I played.

Maybe the post hadn't been a plant and the game really is popular in asia. But all I could see was a game that looked unfinished and a few unhappy players.
And the game did not even have pathing implemented!

can't hope to succeed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652901)

His games were stellar when the platform didn't have all the bells and whistles, today they are nothing compared to Neverwinter etc. (just imagine playing something like Never on an Apple II ... woulda creamed your jeans ). He was a pioneer in the day (god bless the man for distractions in grade 5 [ultima I]) but sadly I think there is little he'll do that will seem as great as it did back then.

Re:can't hope to succeed (2, Interesting)

sittius (227744) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653151)

Well, we can hope that maybe he'll come up with something new and innovative.

I do remember meeting him in the early '80s at a computer software store in Georgia. I agree that he was a pioneer and obviously very dedicated to what he was doing. What struck me, was that even though he was quite well known and successful, at that point he possessed a quality I've rarely seen in programmers : Humility

I imagine he's grown up and lost that quality, but that's the way I remember him...

And I still remember the original Ultima ( the C-64) version with fondness.


Re:can't hope to succeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653828)

What struck me, was that even though he was quite well known and successful, at that point he possessed a quality I've rarely seen in programmers : Humility

Sheesh, you sound like you're saying RG is a character from Ultima IV... erm, sheesh, I need some coffee.

Re:can't hope to succeed (1)

Nematode (197503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654181)

What struck me, was that even though he was quite well known and successful, at that point he possessed a quality I've rarely seen in programmers : Humility

I imagine he's grown up and lost that quality, but that's the way I remember him...

A couple years ago - during my honeymoon of all things - I ended up standing in a line at DisneyWorld next to him. I couldn't help myself, so I started pestering him and talking about his games, having played them since grade school and recently finished one of them.

He was in fact a real polite, friendly guy. Tolerated the dumb questions with good humor, and seemed quite happy to talk about his games. This was after he bought his castle, so I guess it hadn't gone to his head then either :)

The Play's the Thing (4, Interesting)

epepke (462220) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654373)

A few years ago, I saw the late Douglas Adams give the keynote address at Siggraph. He was just designing Starship Titanic at the time. He said one thing that has stuck with me: "Use your limitations, before they are denied you." By that I think he meant that computing power and graphics cards would advance to the point where it would become tempting to rely on flash and adrenaline for the success of a game and neglect thought.

I think that time has come. There is a dreadful sameness to the games that are being produced today. Consider Alice. The art and texture are marvelous, as is the potential of the idea: the internal world of a madwoman. Yet the play reduces to running around and shooting, with a few Donkey Kong skills thrown in. All the big tasks consist of defeating bosses, a la Duke Nukem. A good play, no doubt, but it could have been so much more.

On the other hand, consider Deus Ex. The reasonably modern first-person graphics are very good, but it also weaves in RPG elements, interaction with characters, and a multipath plot.

Are older game designers extinct dinosaurs, useless in an age where form is king? Or are they, instead, people who remember when flashy graphics were not enough to ensure satisfactory Christmas sales? Are they, in fact, the descendents of dinosaurs: soaring birds?

I hope to see computer games emerge from the current state, which is like movies in 1910, and come into their own as a real art form. To do this, I think that we need art that does more than show off the technology. I think that the skills of the pioneers are still needed.

Re:The Play's the Thing (3, Insightful)

DrCode (95839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654839)

I think your post should have been modded higher.

I keep thinking about how the computer games industry compares to fiction publishing. Imagine walking into a book store and only finding 100 titles on the shelves. Suppose you bought the latest Steven King novel, and found that it was filled with 80 pages of full-color pictures, but only 10 pages of text, and cost $50?

Some more links (4, Informative)

Hadean (32319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652915)

Just wanted to add some more links for anyone who's interested - and for the lazy (although this article isn't too shabby):

  1. IGN PC: (really good) Lineage: The Blood Pledge Interview []

  2. RPG Vault: Richard Garriott Destination Games Interview []

  3. RPG Vault: Carly Staehlin (NCsoft/Destination Games) Interview []

  4. Voodoo Extreme - Destination Games []

  5. Intelgamer: Review of Lineage []

  6. Wired: Audio interview []

  7. Gamesmania: Garrott and Long Interview []

Re:Some more links (-1, Offtopic)

Hadean (32319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652940)

Er, I got marked down as Troll? Why the hell for, 'cause I felt like helping being understand the background a bit more? (since Salon isn't the best at explaining things sometimes)... Sheesh.

Re:Some more links (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652970)

You're not alone, just yesterday I saw a perfectly valid, informative post, completely ontopic modded as -1 Offtopic. I posted a reply about how stupid the moderators there were too...but don't worry, by the end of the day it came up to +3. I think the trolls have accumulated a few mod points, and have decided to abuse them.

Re:Some more links (2)

Hadean (32319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2657149)

Kinda sad, if you think about it... although, there's no point thinking about it too much then, is there?

Re:Some more links (-1)

Gay Linux Conspiracy (451909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652979)

Shut up, you nigger.

That's my monkey! (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653052)

I have this recurring fantasy.

I'm a monkey.

Not a cute monkey mind you, but a strong monkey, a good 45 pound spider
monkey, lean and mean. My limbs are incredibly long, all sinew and tight
muscle. I EAT cute little TV and organ-grinder monkeys. I'm a mean,
wild, strong male spider monkey.

And I wait.

I follow him easily. In the noisy city he can't hear me as I brachiate
through the few trees that line the street outside his spacious condo. I
take to the building facades when necessary, deftly keeping pace with my
quarry, my obsession. The trim black hat is easy to track, not least of
which since his movements are so predictable. Some days I fly ahead,
perching on a cornice to wait for him to catch up. I catch site of him
two blocks away. I watch with growing excitement as he approaches. The
face crystalizes below the hat as he approaches and I sway anxiously as he
gets closer. The round full cheeks, well lined...the small dark
eyes...the short neck...all are seen and quickly passed over as I stare at
the Nose.

Yes, the Nose. The object of my fascination: so large and round, those
huge, hair-rimmed nostrils. I feel my small monkey penis begin to stir.
I scramble around the corner as he passes, staring at the Nose as best I
can. My monkeyhood is definitely rigid now, a burning red lance that begs
me for gratification NOW, but I force myself to go on, following my quarry
up the final block to the condo. I stop, rewarding myself with a few
tentative whacks while he fumbles his keys out and lets himself into the
lobby, heading for the small courtyard within.

The courtyard. It is time.

I scramble up the wall and hurl myself onto the roof, twisting to keep my
turgid monkeymember clear of the stonework and run awkwardly in a
fourlegged crab gait across the asphalt roof to the open courtyard
within. He's just entering now. Crossing the brick walk towards the
private entrance on the other side. And he is alone. I must do it now.
NOW! I throw myself into the air with a shriek, crashing into the big oak
below and thrashing my way down, straight towards him. He starts at my
shrill cry of lust, whirls around in fear and stumbles as he backs away
and he finally SEES me and the eyes go wide as I leap the final distance
and spread my limbs and THUD! I land right on top of him! I slam into his
face staggering him back against the wall as I shriek again and wrap my
spindly arms and legs around his head, digging my nails into his tender
skin as my hips begin their uncommanded gyrations, my burning hot monkey
love-stick beating his face and finally, with a gasp of triumph, it hits
home! My monkey-tool quickly fills the nostril and my slimy monkey pre-cum
lubricates it easily after the first dozen dry thrusts, my shrieks of
pleasure drowning his frantic cries of suprise and alarm. I thrust
harder, HARDER, my primal monkey lust driving me to an ever increasing
frenzy of pure animal nostril fucking.

He falls back against the wall again, his screams muffled by my dense ass
fur and the base of my tail as my swollen balls beat a pounding staccatto
rythymn on his upper lip. His hands flail on my back and sides in a vain
attempt to pry me loose, but I just dig my nails deeper into the back of
his neck. My eyes have long since stopped to register anything as I
mercilessly wail my monkey-club into his nostrils. I switch often, a
dozen quick thrusts to the left, then a dozen more to the right. My furry
asss is a blur and my open mouth drools onto the top of his bald head, the
hat long lost. Faster, Faster, I feel the end, oh god the Nose is so damn
good, no monkey bitch was EVER like this, oh god, I feel it, I feel...
AAAHHHHHH!! I bite down hard as I blast a wad of monkey-gut into the
nostril, feverishly pumping the last of my primate lust into that famous

He has stopped struggling, stopped screaming. I withdraw quickly,
launching from his shoulders back to the lower limb of the oak and turn to
see him collapse onto the walkway. His face is a mess. His cheeks are
smeared with blood. It drips off his chin onto his now-crumpled white
shirt. Two wide streams of blood, thinned now with monkey-spunk, run over
his lips and into his mouth. But I really see only the Nose. So
brutalized, it's as red as my now-shrivelled monkey-piston. Battered and
bruised, but still magnificent. I catch my breath, only for a few seconds
though, then I'm off.

Up onto the roof, I am soon lost into the urban jungle to finally rest and
recover from my spent passions. I am content, for now. For now. But
soon enough, I'll be back. To watch, at first. To follow. To admire
that sexiest of all noses. And, eventually, to sate my all-encompassing
monkey-lust. It is always this way, but he is always there. He always
knows I'm coming back. I think, sometimes, that he waits with the same
growing excitement as I do...

A short history (4, Interesting)

gusnz (455113) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652920)

Lineage has been mentioned on Slashdot [] previously, as part of a furore over violence in games resulting to aggression in the real world.

For anyone who doesn't want to load that page up, it linked a very interesting TIME article here [] . I suggest reading it -- in the Western world, the whole dollars-for-Diablo-items routine is normally as bad as this gets, but this is (if true) several steps beyond that entirely.

Re:A short history (0, Troll)

Bi()hazard (323405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653058)

For those who don't feel like reading through that entire posting log linked to above, here's a few of the most interesting posts: 1 [] 2 [] 3 [] .

Before getting too excited about this possible Next Big Thing, think about how incredibly difficult it is to create a smoothly functioning online RPG. (No I will not use the ridiculous acronym MMOORMMORGPG!) The kinds of concerns you see in the posts listed and the pieces linked to in the article are pervasive in online gaming. I've played a lot of Diablo 2, and it provides an excellent example. In fact, Blizzard's lackluster attempts to fix these issues have been much better than most companies'.

Players sell characters and equipment online for real money. Although this is illegal, game companies generally ignore even the worst offenders. Fraud is rampant, and watch out whenever a patch drastically changes the game or a new cheat becomes known. All hell breaks loose, as you would expect when there is a major monetary incentive to abuse the game and naive buyers. As games grow in popularity this problem will worsen exponentially, and the stakes will become higher. We all know what happens when money, corruption, and lack of law enforcement coincide.

The more important concern is how players relate to one another. In Korea, we see violence in the streets-this is not poor reporting by Salon, there's a history of this sort of thing stemming from a variety of games. This isn't going to happen with the US version of the game, but we will see problems. Look at Diablo 2: Although there are separate realms for US and Asian players you find huge numbers of Koreans on the US servers. At first you might think, "Cultural exchange always benefits everyone", but you would be mistaken. There exists extereme animosity between US and Korean Diablo 2 players, and racism is nearly universal on both sides. My friends and I have found ourselves convinced that the Korean players are inferior to US players in every way, including as human beings-despite the fact that we're open minded enough to have Korean immigrant friends in real life. The Korean players, by culture, are more aggressive, selfish, and eager to use unfair advantages (those gaming cafes are competitive, and often help players cheat in exchange for customer loyalty), while at the same time being fairly dumb in regard to strategy, annoying and obnoxious, and much more likely to steal and kill other players. They don't speak english either, and that definitely hurts relations. In short, the majority of Korean players act like the typical 12 year old American player. (that includes the language skills ;) ) How much do you associate with typical 12 year olds, and what do you expect from them in real life? Exactly. Although there are plenty of problematic American players, these are the minority-but among the Koreans, the friendly and honest players are the exceptions. They even have a word for changing their playing style to one that doesn't involve behaving like sociopaths at every opportunity, it translates into "manner game." It tells you a lot that the American players need no equivalent term. It also tells you a lot that the Koreans have had extensive experience with these games in the past few years, while the genre is still developing in the US. Perhaps as time goes by more American players will act like the Koreans?

After seeing all of this in the game world, I can assure you these problems are not easily solved by game designers. Don't expect to see the perfect online RPG any time soon-unless you expect tourism in space to become mainstream soon. Social engineering is not easy. However, psychiatrists have a reason to celebrate: you can expect to see everything wrong with modern society distilled and prominently displayed within these fantasy worlds.

Re:A short history (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653231)

Americans good, foreigners bad...what a close-minded, racist world-view. I really feel sorry for rednecks like yourself.

Re:A short history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2657565)

What's with all the unfair "troll" and "offtopic" moderations? many of the posts on this article were modded down unfairly, just look at the moderation totals. Look at this one-modded up twice, but down enough to make it 0, under the threshold of many who would moderate it up. This is obviously not a troll, and this post makes several valid points about social behavior in online RPG's. somebody with mod points, please mod up.

Re:A short history (4, Informative)

Kefabi (178403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653142)

Video Gaming is serious in Korea.

They have televised StarCraft matches, complete with announcers, play by play analysis, and strategy talk. I've seen some shows go as far as have the players wear "futuristic" type wear while playing each other.

Diablo II is big too. I've seen televised duels between players.

Lineage gets a good amount of screen time too with talk about the world and items and skills and such.

There are entire channels devoted to computer games.

The fact is, they have PC rooms open 24 hours a day where you can use PC's for less than a dollar and hours. They almost always have people in them too playing one of the above games, or Go, or a game called Fortress 2 (Expanded Worms-like game), or whatever else. At 3 in the morning there are still plenty of males and females still playing games.

I've seen arcades take up three floors, people have made livings playign Video Games there. It's not something loser kids with no time do, it's part of the culture.

Now the sorry thing is some culturally insensitive prick's gonna mod this +1 Funny...

Re:A short history (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653879)

I can see why some countries see these Internet cafes as a threat. The amount of time those students waste in them only cause plenty of grief for their parents who expect 100% effort in their studies. Just look at the amount of time people waste reading forums like Slashdot.

Last days at Origin (4, Interesting)

nsample (261457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652924)

I had the pleasure of visiting EA/Origin's Austin facility before the Garriott + team exodus. It was a neat place to be, but there was a real feeling that people were being stifled, not getting to do what they wanted creatively, and being slaves to the visions of other...

And I saw Richard's car in the parking lot. Hella cool. =)

Anyway, now they're off on their own, striking out! With a new company and new ideas... "destination games." They were going to lead us back to their roots (which are our roots), back to greatness...

But now, even their email addresses are at NC... the makers of Bloodpledge. The reason is, for apparently financial reasons, they're porting games. Hardly a creative process. I can only hope they pick it up and get back on track after they're done with Bloodpledge. Otherwise, they changed the name of the masters from "EA" to "NC" and the game from "Ultima Online" to "Bloodpledge."

Someone else's ideas and blood, sweat and tears. We hope to see yours again, Garriot! All your fans are hoping you find the path again.

Re:Last days at Origin (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652951)

There's one vote for informative and one vote for troll. I get the informative but what in the world makes it a troll?

Ahh, yes, I remember (3, Funny)

Proud Geek (260376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652925)

"And it occurs to me that Garriott is standing here on 19th and Mission, a street corner caked with garbage and human poo, as one more refugee of that receding tide."

What an inspiring read. I mean, if I had a chance to interview one of the premiere game designers around, poop is obviously what I'd talk about.

And gender exploration by pretending to be a burly male warrior or a female wizard with 3 foot long breasts. I mean, having a picture like that and saying it's me teaches me exactly what it is like to be a woman. Oh, those lousy androgenous graphics are going to squish my budding transexuality.

Come on, you've got a good subject, and some interesting dirt (what is this Tabula Rasa of which you speak?). Why can't you make something good of it????

Oh, I forgot. It's on

OT: did anyone else get that intersistial? (0, Offtopic)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652941)

So I click the link and I get this huge graphic, advertising the movie "A beautiful mind" I guess. I couldn't figure out what was going on for a while. Weird.

Did salon just start doing this? Is it just on deep linked articles?

Anyway, it was weird.

Re:OT: did anyone else get that intersistial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652995)

I didn't notice an ad when I used Opera to browse the page, but did in IE. I guess fancy advertising is one of those special IE features.

Re:OT: did anyone else get that intersistial? (0, Offtopic)

tim_uk (123339) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652997)

Yes, Salon started this quite recently. If you subscribe to their Premium service, you don't get them.

Re:OT: did anyone else get that intersistial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2654393)

Actually, I have found that if you subscribe to their Premium Service and use IE you don't get them.

I can't get it to let me log on properly with Netscape. I gave up awhile back.

I used to work for Origin/EA (1, Troll)

mark knopfler 69 (535609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2652948)

Starting on the Ultima 7 and the Serpent Island shit. I was a tools programmers, which is pretty significant in the whole scheme of things (binding icons to the executable, world editor, and file formats, that sort of thing) but little focus was spent on it. Whoever said everything after Ultima 6 was absolutely right.

Its obvious that Garriott has incredible programming talents and innovative game design ideas, but with the Ultima 7 project he spent most of the time diddling with project numbers, budgets, the latest of his many bosses, etc. Most of the time he was trying to please EA which was not an easy task.

At any rate, about half way through the original project timeline (games weren't as late back then, but this one missed its milestones by a lot in many cases), it was apparent that the game was going to suck. People sort of stopped caring about not only Ultima 7 but the entire series from then on it. EA constantly bitching at programmers who have little to no ability to change anything didn't help better.

The end result: a buggy, incomplete game. Whoop!

Utter crap... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653485)

U7 and SI were probably the -best- ultimas in the final series. Ultima VI was clumsy and incomplete by comparison (the whole Scara Brae "bug", for example).

U7 and SI saw the involvement of Warren Spector (who later went to Looking Glass where the true spirit of Origin was kept alive), and had probably the best storylines of the entire series. The only -good- to come out of Ultima VI were the highly underrated spin-offs, the Worlds of Ultima games (Martian Dreams and Savage Empire, both based on the U6 engine).

Crap? Hardly. These were classics. Why do you think the outrage against the horrid Ultima: Ascension was so great? U:A didn't even come close to living up to the standard set by U7.

And have you forgotten the Ultima Underworlds? They were post U7 and are legendary. Ultima Underworld 1 was the -first- 3D engine on the market (beating Wolf3d by two months), and was a joy to play. UU2 had probably the most intricate story in a 3D RPG I've ever encountered. These games were the spiritual predecessors of Thief: The Dark Project, System Shock and Deus Ex.

These games were -not- crap. They were great IN SPITE of Electronic Arts' meddling. Things went downhill with Ultima 8 simply because they wanted to "expand the userbase" by dumbing the game down into a Super Avatar Brothers-style game. Even the U8 engine wasn't wasted in the end: it was successfully used to create another fantastic game called Crusader: No Remorse/Regret.

Re:Utter crap... (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654694)

Well said! Ultima 7/BG was the first RPG I played (not counting Rogue), and I was amazed at the size and interactivity of its world. Many of us have worked countless hours [exult.sourceforge] to keep it alive, and someday make new games in the same style.

Re:Utter crap... (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2656694)

Agreed. Though I'd played other RPGs before (U6, etc.) Ultima VII blew me away. Appearing out of the red moongate into an amazingly realistic world. Walking amongst the trees, the scene darkening as clouds gather and it begins to rain... Discovering how to cut bandages out of fabric... Discovering how to bake bread... Desperately searching through a pack in the pitch dark, looking for a torch and wishing the game was a little [i]less[/i] realistic... It still surpasses many games of today: Compare Ultima 7 to Balder's Gate... - In Ultima 7, chests/barrels/drawers/boxes/etc are clearly identifiable, can be picked up and moved around (if they're light enough for you to carry), and can always be opened, though they may be locked - In Baldur's Gate, they are painted on the background. Finding the one chest/barrel that you can open out of the dozens in the room is an endless maddening quest of "find the hotspot".

Re:Utter crap... (-1)

mark knopfler 69 (535609) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654890)

to tell you the truth, i have no idea what the fuck i was talking about. i was karma whoring

Garriot does nothing for Lineage (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652962)

It was done by the Koreans, 100% in Korea, and it was alive and well in Korea and Asia for YEARS before Garriot even stepped in.

He's just a figurehead for marketing the game in the US more or less; I really don't see why he's getting all the credit.

Re:Garriot does EXACTLY what he was hired for (1)

sonic2 (535301) | more than 12 years ago | (#2657558)

I don't think anywhere you'll find him getting "all the credit" for Lineage's success, or even part of it for that matter. Now if you said he's getting all the attention in the North American release, I would agree, but it's hardly the same thing, and it's exactly what they wanted.

Richard Garriot's involvement isn't about how successful Lineage is in Asia, it's not about downplaying the work of its Korean's developers, it's about having a successul North American launch.

Sure he's a figurehead, but that's the whole point. An icon in the gaming industry decided to associate with this game, an association which got me, by the way, to check out the game. Mission accomplished, except in my case, I don't find it particularly interesting and won't likely continue to play.

ultima (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2652996)

man i remember playing that game

god did it ever suck

The days of yore... (5, Interesting)

AntonVoyl (125030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653001)

... were in the '80s for Richard Garriott and Ultima. That's when games were about gameplay, gamers needed graphpaper, and people whose names were on the boxes still coded. We may scoff at him now, but Lord British was a big deal in those days.

Picture this: it's a Saturday morning in the late '80s and 300 restless geeks are packed into a Georgetown University auditorium waiting with baited breath for Lord British himself to unveil the Ultima V beta.

We were the GameSIG of the Washington Apple Pi, and Richard Garriott was our guest and our friend. He wasn't just showing us a preview of Ultima V, he was showing it to us before anyone else got to see it.

Already, Ultima IV had blown our minds, and we all wanted to see where the series went next. For many of us who were at an impressionable age (I was 11), the Ultima series was a big part of our intellectual lives. Lord British was our guardian in the game and our hero in life.

When Garriott stepped onto the stage wearing armor and carrying a sword and shield, we just went nuts. Better still, he came bearing gifts; he reached into his satchel and threw handfuls of silvery ankhs out to the roaring crowd. I caught one and still treasure it.

Then the lights dimmed and we waited for the moment of truth. Lord British put the 5.25" diskettes into the Apple IIGS (256K). He fiddled with the projection system a bit and them blam: Ultima V blasted onto the screen.

The graphics and sound just blew us away, and Garriott explained each improvement as he took us through an hour-long tour of the game. You could see (and hear!) grass sway in the wind, waves rolled, trees blocked light while windows let it in... And the music!!!

The climax came when he showed us the lighthouse. You could see and hear the surf pounding on the rocks, while a beam of light swept over land and sea, just like a real lighthouse. And all of this before the backdrop of convincingly forboding music. Inside the lighthouse awaited a surprise: the keeper was none other than the don of our GameSIG, Ron Wartow. Somebody we knew was in Ultima V!

After talking to the Wartow character and getting him to crack a few jokes, Garriott looked up at us and then paused for a full ten seconds. Breaking the silence, he asked: "Well, shall we attack Ron?" We yelled back an affirmative reply. 8 turns later, Ron was a bloody pulp and our party was 5 gold and a ham sandwich richer. We were in stitches... the kid next me laughed so hard he puked through his nose.

On his way out, Lord British gave us cloth maps and whispered to us about Easter eggs he'd sprinkled throughout the series. We were on cloud nine, and I was ready to devote my life to becoming a pixelated Avatar. I wanted to grow up to be Lord British. I wanted to make games, I wanted to be in them, and I wanted to live them.

Sadly, I never got to play Ultima V. The game was delayed and the 'rents wouldn't spring for the IIGS. By time I had the resources to play the game, I'd moved onto the PC and was hooked on a series of games by a guy named Sid Meier, but that's another story for another day...

Re:The days of yore... (2, Interesting)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653392)

That's when games were about gameplay

Yeah back during the halcyon days of creativity when they churned out such classics as Ms. Pac Man and Jr. Pac Man, and who could forget ET? And then there all those Great Games like Tapper, LED Storm, Cupfinal, and Chase HQ. Wait, you mean you don't remember them? That's because they sucked. They had horrible gameplay. Hell, try going back and playing Dig Dug or Pac Man or Paperboy and tell me the gameplay on those things doesn't suck ass.

The problem with nostalgia is you only remember the best of the past and you're comparing it against the average from the present. How is Diablo's gameplay any worse than the original Gauntlet's? How is Thief or Half-Life less engrossing than Shinobi? How is Ghostbusters better than X-COM? Is Gran Tourismo less interesting than Pole Position?

The current complaints about style over substance might seem valid unless you haven't excised memories of Cinemaware and Dragon's Lair.

Re:The days of yore... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654204)

Yeah back during the halcyon days of creativity when they churned out such classics as Ms. Pac Man and Jr. Pac Man, and who could forget ET? And then there all those Great Games like Tapper, LED Storm, Cupfinal, and Chase HQ. Wait, you mean you don't remember them? That's because they sucked. They had horrible gameplay. Hell, try going back and playing Dig Dug or Pac Man or Paperboy and tell me the gameplay on those things doesn't suck ass.

Pac Man and Dig Dug certainly don't "suck ass". I play them often even today, thanks to (x)mame. Now ET, I grant you, was pretty bad.

The problem with nostalgia is you only remember the best of the past and you're comparing it against the average from the present. How is Diablo's gameplay any worse than the original Gauntlet's?

That point isn't that it isn't worse, the point is that it is hardly better. With all the resources available to us today, games should be awesome. Instead, the best they can do is remakes. Just like Hollywood. I hear that they are going to remake the 1970's SF classic "Rollerball" (minus the anti-corporate overtones -- can't have that today, now can we?). Why? Can't they come up with something original?

Re:The days of yore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2654515)

More on the remake of "Rollerball"...

Chase HQ (2)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2656263)

Chase HQ? I loved that game. Tapper? Bring it on! How about Crisis Mountain, Burger Time, Lode Runner (with its 256 levels), and GhostBusters? I play those games for hours in my apple][e emulator.

Paper Boy was awesome, but it doesn't translate well to nintendo for the same reason HardDrivn' doesn't. Too much of the game play is the interface.

How about Spy Hunter? Available on!

No but I get your point. Neither of them suck, any more than 1950's cars are better or worse than cars in the 1990's.

Re:The days of yore... (1)

tjgrant (108530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654560)

Wow! Great post!

My first Ultima game was Ultima III on the Amiga. My wife and I beat it together. We worked very hard, and she figured out the final puzzle. Then we did Ultima IV together.

After that I departed from the Ultima series until Ultima Online came around. Ultima Online is amazing. The community within the game spills out into the real world. I played UO from 4/98 to 7/00, and then left until late last month. When I returned it truly was like a homecoming.

The best part is that my eight-year-old son is now able to play (he types a bit slowly, but other than that I don't know how many people would know he's eight).

So, if you play UO on the Pacific Shard and run into a Schizophrenic Ranger named Leo (GoL; Ranger Emeritus), or a slow-of-speech fighter named David. Stop and say "Hi" we'd love for you to be part of our community.

Re:The days of yore... (2)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 12 years ago | (#2656161)

I live in Austin and move in fairly big geek circles, and one day I fear that I'm going to run into Richard Garriot.

Why am I afraid? I'm afraid because I'm going to have to confess to him that about once a year I still have a dream set in Britania, circa Ultima 4.

Non-asian gaming tactics != inferior (1, Insightful)

quistas (137309) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653029)

I'm annoyed British thinks that different problem-solving approaches outside of Asia would hamper the game. That players in America are (perhaps) less willing to pledge their loyalty easily or submit to authority doesn't mean that Lineage would suck more here.

Maybe that means that American players respond better to causes than fealty, or that they tend to form or volunteer for skills-based groups to accomplish specifc tasks (for varying motivations) and vote for the person they think can best lead them. The citizen-soldier ideal America fields results in vastly superior lower-level performance as units can react to events they face quicker and better than, say, heirarchial-based phalanxes or some shit.

The point being that looking at cultures as impediments to success rather than seeing that as a challenge to improve gameplay is narrow-sighted and wrong. If he can't figure that out about his own country of residence, I think he's blinded by his own success.

Re:Non-asian gaming tactics != inferior (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653923)

The point being that looking at cultures as impediments to success rather than seeing that as a challenge to improve gameplay is narrow-sighted and wrong. If he can't figure that out about his own country of residence, I think he's blinded by his own success.

Maybe because he sees Lineage as a game catering more to Asian (Korean) tastes than American? Maybe Lineage was developed to work with Asian tactics and overlooked American? Maybe that's why Lord British is there, to balance it out?

Re:Non-asian gaming tactics != inferior (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2654322)

But our culture WOULD be an impediment to a game such as that. When you're dealing with an online world, you have all types, from good players, to lone wolves, to people that shoot at everything just for the hell of it. In Korea, the cultural outlook is team-oriented enough that a game like this works. For an example of team-based CTF or base defense, look at Tribes; half of the time, there are people on those servers who have no intention of playing as a team, and as a result the entire team gets steamrolled by the one that plays well.

Re:Non-asian gaming tactics != inferior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2657424)

Yes, those tactics *are* inferior. But it's a result of the design of the
game- hell, of almost all the online RPGs. Combat is the only way to do
things, and that combat is quite simplistic. There is no room for
strategy. Brute force is the only way to succeed.

So what was the full link for the Enron story? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653101)

Since part of a URL for a enron story is pasted in the article I have to wonder if it's a little too much past W. Au's bed time.

The netcode must be great! (0)

Guy Innagorillasuit (249136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653113)

"He's about to lead me through the domains of his new realm, one that stretches across continents and oceans -- as soon as his publicist can get a solid connection to AOL on his laptop."

Sick of it (2, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653152)

What is it about people, journalists in particular, that makes them believe that the U.S. "market" is so well insulated by the McDisney cultural powerhouse, that nothing can ever be "successful" in the United States.

The number of "foreign" products, games, whatever, that are seeing tremendous success here is staggering, but the "yeah, but" crowd just continues to bury their head in the demographics reports. I'll guarantee that some tie-wearing cynical #*@&!~*@%& at some arrogant company said Harry Potter would never be a "success" either. Can't you just hear it? Some haircut in a grey suit holding his hand over his #%&@#*()%# cell-phone and saying "a kid with glasses and a broom? Give me a break!"

Just a reaction to the "far too foreign to make a truly successful crossover title" remark in the article. What is truly successful? How much? A billion? A hundred billion? What?

This is what causes the money-grab mindset of businesses now. If it doesn't lead to a 100000% market-cap increase and an IPO and put us in the Fortune 100, and the creative team can't PROVE that will happen, then we'd rather just have another meeting.

I just read a few articles about "Dance Dance Revolution." Here's another product that U.S. companies probably laughed at. Yet, whenever I see the game, some kid is putting money in it, and 437 other kids are lined up around the corner to play it, and 300 other people are watching, and 10,000 other people are putting up web sites about it.

Keep having meetings and keep running your mouths, U.S. corporate-types. There's a million little companies out there with a million little really neat ideas that are eventually going to eat your %#&@$()* lunch.

return rant();

Re:Sick of it (1)

chrome koran (177357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653269)

I think you are right in your comments for the most part...pride doth goeth before the fall...

HOWEVER, in this specific case you are wrong. I have played Lineage, and while it may be all the rage in a country where people find their way into someone else's house to rent computer time by the hour, frankly, the game sucks by the standards of AC, EQ, or the new MMORPG king, Dark Age of Camelot. You will note that LB was kind of reserved in his praise...sounded more like someone being a good corporate citizen while biding his time until the completion of Tabula Rasa.

Recently, a Norwegian company named Funcom also made a big splash on the scene with a game called Anarchy Online, and then quickly began fading into the background as their game was plagued by latency issues, over-ambitious graphics, terrible maintenance and bug resolution, and horrendous customer relations. Meanwhile, Mythic has done nothing but succeed with Dark Age since launch.

While you may be right in the long run, right now, US game companies have this market cornered in North America and Europe because they are making better product, not because of entrenched positions. Lineage is at least two years behind Dark Age IMHO.

Re:Sick of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2654201)

Have you played DAoC? It is slightly better than EQ, but it still comes down to camping good monster zones and striving to reach the next level. The Realm vs Realm aspect of it is interesting, but they are having balance problems. They also introduced quests and tasks.

The tasks tend to be "deliver this message" or "kill this monster" type of things, but the quests are essentially the same thing except they add "run to the farthest point in the Realm, run back and tell me what you did, then run back again, and then back to me and I'll give you 5 sp." The addition of horses makes it a bit easier, but it is still Boring. You could easily spend hours on a quest (especially the epic quests) and get practically nothing for your time.
To make it even more fun, some of the quest/task instructions are down right wrong.

Mythic is now in the process of tweaking (nerfing) the various classes to regain balance. As for customer service (nice people, but it sometimes takes weeks to get a response)

Most of what mythic hopes to accomplish sounds good, but right now it is "wait until we release this feature, you'll love it!" I played in beta for both EQ and DAoC, and they were fun while they were new, but eventually you realize there is nothing there to do. There is no real sense of adventure.

Tabula Rasa sounds really interesting. The time sink for the other MMORPGs is a big problem, and TR is supposed to address this. With EQ et. al., if you don't invest your life, you don't advance. You strive just to keep up with your friends so that you can group together. It feeds on itself, but it has the nutrients of a stale piece of white bread.

Re:Sick of it (1)

chrome koran (177357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654738)

Hehe. Don't really disagree with most of that, except that I think DAOC's RvsR is not nearly as flawed as you make it out to be. The balance problem IMHO is not so much one of inequality between realms or classes, as it is a matter of more good PvsP players end up in Midgard than anywhere else, because the PVPers always flock to the perceived evil or cool side. Also the game has been up for less than 60 days. After 60 days, EQ was still fighting major lag problems and bugs.

However, that doesn't change my original point: Lineage is miles behind even EQ, and no one other than a US gaming company has turned out a decent MMORPG yet. TR does sound interesting and I didn't say anything negative about it. It is of course, being built by a US company with US coders that happens to have merged with an Asian one, so I don't see how that's contrary to my original point...

MBAs as Stupidity Barometers (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653605)

The gist of the post seems to imply that Richard Garriot's role as manager and interacting with management seems less productive than his earlier, more hands-on role. Since many managers are MBAs, could be there's a positive correlation between the number of MBAs at a company and bad performance. A few weeks ago a posting pointed out Aeron Chairs as Stupidity Barometers [] . Could the same be said of MBA's?

Re:MBAs as Stupidity Barometers (2)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653937)

Look on the bright side: If MBAs are stupidity barometers, you can always use them to measure the heights of buildings. (Since no one would trade for an MBA, you'd have to fall back to the drop/time method. ;^)

Re:Sick of it (1)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654604)

You're absolutely right. I was surprised by the success of 'Tomagotchi', 'Pokemon' and 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'. I wish people would remember that before they say 'X will never catch on outiside of Asia.' I guess train simulators won't be far behind.

Sure Blood Pledge has so-so graphics, but so did UO and Pokemon.

Re:Sick of it (2)

DrCode (95839) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654873)

I'm still surprised by the success of 'Crouching Tiger'. It started out good, up to the point where one of the women floated up into the air as if she were suspended from a wire.

Lineage is abysmal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653177)

I downloaded the free Lineage trial, and boy is it primitive in every respect: crude graphics, wretched user interface, pointless gameplay. Far worse than the original Diablo, which you can buy for only $12 retail and play to your hearts content for free on What are all those Koreans thinking? It makes me suspect that NCSoft is running some kind of scam.... Has anyone audited the NCSoft membership numbers?

Re:Lineage is abysmal (1)

ShaggusMacHaggis (178339) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654100)

Yes, I too downloaded the free trial to try it out (afterall, I thought to myself, hey Lord British is part of it, it *must* be cool!). Oh how I was wrong. This thing was a steaming pile of dog doodoo. Not only were the graphics horrible (just gotta love the stuttering screen scrolling), the interface was horrible, and no tutorial to speak of. I really fail to see how this is going to last in the US. I also don't understand why Garriet attached his name to this's freaking horrible! (AND for $15/month! the most expensive online game yet!)

Re:Lineage is abysmal (1)

Deathtoll (541010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654250)

Agreed. The Anime-style character portraits were really sweet, but definitely didn't justify the 172 meg download. And yes, the graphics were terribly dated. It might possibly be worth playing if it was free. At least it's not as bad as Nexus: Crossroads of the Winds. That being said, there's not supposed to be a tutorial. It's an MMORPG... you're supposed to get one of your friends to teach you how to play. If none of your friends play, you're not gonna pick it up, anyways.

about 12 bucks a month? no thanks. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653209)

We're venting here about MS's new licensing policy while at the same time these countless money pumping games pop up every other day. Parents, please don't give your children any money at all, they're only wasting it into these kind of bullskits!

This Lineage POS is yet another cashing machine, aimed to make maximum profits. Only reason this scheme is going to benefit us other people in any way is one golden rule in the book of business: happy customers are better cashcows.

EA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653228)

Isn't it ironic that the company that once saw further is now the worst franchise-whore in the whole industry? All those goddamn NHL, FIFA and other crap sports games people buy year after year.. It makes me sick just to think about it.

Lord British = asshole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2653361)

Fuck this guy and Origin for not supporting Ultima 9. Don't buy their products.... If the product is a huge flop they stop providing tech support within 2 days.

The Once Great Lord British... (1)

Patoski (121455) | more than 12 years ago | (#2653825)

Why are we even talking about this guy anymore? Sure its nostalgic to talk about the good ole days but after playing Ultima 9 I was cured of any nostalgia I once had for the man's games. Has anyone heard any recent interviews with him recently? The guy is a SUIT! A fruity suit I grant you but a suit none the less. All the interviews I've seen or read from him lately make it seem like he cares less about the games he creates and more about the business aspect of creating games. Sure the guy needs to have some business accumen to run a company but the majority of the time LB just goes on and on about business matters. Maybe I'm just being too hard on the guy but I don't think so. I think it started somewhere around Ultima 6 but LB has somehow lost his touch for creating great games and wonderful stories. Please don't bring up UO in his defense either. While it was a good game to start inane hacks that were supposed to solve problems, tons of broken promises, and cheaters have all but ruined the game. Perhaps he will be revitalized with Tabula Rasa but listening to his latest interviews I'm not hopeful.

Maybe still great. (1)

Skraig (168565) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654138)

Video games are a great example of a classic software project.
All the Ultima games were pretty typical of the way software was being developed at the time they were made.
U1-4 were made by pretty small teams over amazingly short periods of time, considering what tools they had to work with.
With U5 and U6 the projects start getting much bigger U7-10 and UO had pretty huge groups working on them.
These big groups may have been able to do something great but the task required different skills. More "suit" less h4x0r. My guess is that Lord Brittish had a hard time learning how to run a big team. Give the guy some slack this was not an easy thing to do!
He has lots of expierence now maybe he can pull off another great game.
I loved U4 and U5 and hated UO. He seems to have a handle on some of the things that went so badly wrong with UO. (I have no need to pay $10 a month to be virtually mugged) I will give his next game a chance if it looks like he solved the killer problems.

Ultima Online story (2, Funny)

portforward (313061) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654042)

One of the funniest things that I ever read in a games magazine was when Ultima Online was a few months old. Lord British decided that he wanted to give a "State of the Game" address so he arranged for everyone to come to a certain place in the game at a certain time and he would speak. Some guy's character was in the first or second row and thought to himself "I'm never going to get this close again." He stole a spell scroll out of the backpack of the character next to him (it was a wall of flame) and cast it at Lord British mid speech.

Now normally British was immortal, but there had been a server crash and someone neglected to reset the immortal bit. When British saw the flame wave coming he typed "Ha, Ha, nice try" and then was surprised when the "you're dead" message popped up on the screen. Everything paused for a few seconds. . .and then all hell broke loose. People were casting demons, fireballs, and everything else you can think of. In the ensuing chaos and carngae, the "assasin" escaped.

If anyone else knows where the URL is for that magazine story, or BETTER YET if you were there (in a virtual sense) please let me know.


Re:Ultima Online story (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2654606)

Village Voice has a story here,

And there is a reference here I belive... tm l

(search for smirkleton, about 1/3 the way down.. )

And now for some death screenshots: y2 .html


Re:Ultima Online story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2655926)

That was Rainz. You're not entirely correct, though. I was actually there at the scene. He stole the scroll from a guard, not a player. In the beta test, almost no player had any spellcasting ability whatsoever. Even at the very end of beta testing, I was only casting 4th circle spells. I knew only one person who could cast 7th (I think he only had gate) and none with 8th. It wasn't that spellcasting was difficult - the cost was simply too much as gold was scarce in beta.

Anyhow, Lord British was giving a speech. He and his entourage were high up on a balcony where they couldn't be reached by the players. The firewall was able to be cast up there, however. Rainz didn't escape, though. *People* were not summoning daemons (remember: at 8th circle, no one except GMs could really do that). Blackthorn, who DID have his flags properly set, was responsible for most of the carnage, including Rainz who was finished off.

The game was a lot more fun in its "wild west" days, I'll give it that :)


Lineage in the US (2)

iabervon (1971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2654691)

It seems like the US Lineage players would tend to be mainly mercenaries, either for money, for experience, or because they think their employer is doing something good.

A separate Lineage game in the US probably wouldn't work very well-- people want to play the "main character", or one of a band of adventurers, while the world must be made mostly of minor characters who are important in groups. On the other hand, if the world has 2 million people playing people in groups, the addition of a few hundred thousand freelance people would probably work fine for game mechanics.

It would probably be very interesting to go on quests in a fully-fleshed-out world inhabited by a large number of PCs and NPCs in realistic arrangements. Thinking about LotR, there are a ton of groups of people who clearly ought to be PCs who don't fit the adventurer model, and it would be very interesting to have a MMRPG with people who actually want to play those roles.

Interesting sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2655670)

We've been pulling from 'The Republic,' 'The Iliad'... 'The Odyssey' ... Dante's "Inferno"

In our litigious society, if he got ideas from anything written before 1900 someone would sue him for copyright infringement. It just goes to show you that the best things in life are free. Any of those 4 books beats out the entire NYT best seller list IMHO. Dodging the possible legal bullet shows he has his head on straight, which casts doubt onto the accusation by EA mgmt that he's talking through his butt.

Lord British has been forced to grow up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2657653)

A few of you seem to have attacked Richard Garriot for becoming a suit, but i'd dare say that this is the maturity games designers eventually have to go through, especially pioneering ones. I am sure he has spent the last 5-8 years managing the games rather than designing them.

This was obvious in Ultima 8 and 9, especially in u9 where you find Richard in the dungeon proclaiming to be the real Lord British, as if to say "my hands are tied".

Games production is not lucrative for the developers, and as such, many developers are forced to sell out to larger companies, this means that the top level people, who used to designe the games, are stuck as the middle men between the developer and the publisher or parent company.

A lot of pioneering designers left the industry (braybrook comes to mind) or are stark raving mad, have enough money to live off and just do the odd bits and pieces - ala Jeff Minter.
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