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Ultima VI Ends Age of Enlightenment – Today in Retro Gaming – June 1st 1990

Ultima, one of gaming’s rags to riches stories, saw release of the sixth title in the series on June 1st 1990.  This was the ending of the “Age of Enlightenment” trilogy.  The sixth Ultima game also marked a change in the graphics, sound and interaction with the game world- something many fans were not happy with.  Gone were the icons on the map that became full blown towns, castles and dungeons when entered.  They were replaced with the actual town, castle and more on the map- kind of changed the landscape as far as travel was concerned.  Ultima VI also brought a major update to the graphics and sound effects featured in these games previously.  This is also one of those titles that fans simply won’t let go of.

If you are unfamiliar with the Ultima line of games, then sit down for a minute and read on.  If you are, then just skip this paragraph to continue focus on Ultima VI.  These games started life on the Apple II series computer.  That is pretty old compared to today’s tech.  Amazingly, up till the development of VI, EVERY Ultima game was developed with the Apple II series of computers in mind as the base.  Nearly a decade and a lot of improved hardware came and went during that period.  This was also a sign of dedication to the original hardware that was still in quite a bit of use in the late 80’s.

Ultima VI was a departure from the previous titles due to its focus not being the Apple II computer line.  Instead, VI was developed with IBM PC computers armed with VGA graphics cards and decent sound cards.  This change in base hardware brought with it changes that could not have been done previously.  Characters had portraits, more color was used, maps were bigger, more sound and music helped set the mood and generally this was a sign that things must move forward.  Sadly, the Apple II computer was never given a version of Ultima VI, the only 8-Bit computer to receive a port was the Commodore 64 (though severely crippled in comparison to the PC version).  As with most changes like this, there were a few vocal pundits against it.

Ultima VI was released during a period when in box items were at an all-time high.  There was a cloth map of Britannia included and a Moonstone.  Try and get even a color manual today and see how you fare.

Ultima VI received a Deluxe Edition release, saw the engine used in the Worlds of Ultima series and has seen massive fan support over the years.  Fans have created an engine remake, Nuvie, and others have used Dungeon Siege to recreate the world of Ultima VI.  There was even a massively multiplayer online game based on this seminal release.

Ultima VI: The False Prophet has seen release on the Commodore 64, FM Towns Marty and the Super Nintendo console.  Ebay has many of these available for purchase right now.


Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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