MobyGames Classic: Ultima 7

MobyGames.com Classic returns with the classic 1992 role-playing title, Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Widely considered the best in the franchise's long history, Ultima VII thrust players in the middle of a vast murder-mystery.

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To many fans of the franchise--and even series creator Richard Garriot--Ultima VII represented the pinnacle of virtual world simulation for the famed role-playing game series. "I felt that was the most masterfully executed of the Ultima series, so to speak," Garriot said in a 2006 interview. Years later, the series lives on with 'The Complete' edition of Ultima VII being released on Good Old Games.

Today we add 1992's classic role-playing title Ultima VII: The Black Gate to our growing list of video game classics, presented by MobyGames.com.

"Ultima VII represented the pinnacle of virtual world simulation where I really felt I had done the best job of interactive storytelling and of world detailing to create a play space and a play environment and reasons to be there," Garriott told GameSpot in 2006.

"Ultima VII: The Black Gate follows in the rich tradition of the thirteen-title Ultima series," MobyGames.com reviewer Chris Wright noted in his 2007 review. Ultima VII featured more extensive dialogue trees and individual conversation topics compared to the series' previous installments, but gave players the freedom of exploration they had come to expect from the franchise. "Ultima VII: The Black Gate is an exceptionally well-put-together title from Origin, perhaps the best in their highly successful stable," Wright added.

Whether it holds up today is inconsequential. Ultima VII is fondly remembered for its masterful storytelling and spectacular design in both art and gameplay.

"'Ultima VII' is the most engrossing world you'll ever plunge into, it is a universe, a noble legend, a proper object of cult," MobyGames.com reviewer Unicorn Lynx wrote in 2004. "It is a monster of a game, a veritable behemoth, a wonder of programming and of generous creativity. For me personally, "Ultima VII" is a milestone in my development as a gamer. It showed me aspects of gaming I never dreamed about."

Tell Us Your Stories! We want to hear about your experiences with Ultima VII, whether it be the core title or its expansions. Tell us your stories. Why did you love it? What drove you crazy? Remember it fondly with us in the comments below. We'll select some of your thoughts and memories and add it to a Weekend Update to this feature.

Ultima VII: The Black Gate on MobyGames.com

The Avatar sees a strange message on his computer screen. An unknown being who calls himself the Guardian claims that Britannia has entered a true age of enlightenment, and soon everyone, including the Avatar himself, shall bow before the new lord. A horrible ritualistic murder has just occurred--the body of the local blacksmith was found in the stables. The champion of Britannia must solve the murder and find out about the Fellowship's true purpose, while still pursued by the ominous warnings of the mysterious Guardian.


    MobyGames Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site MobyGames.com. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.

    From The Chatty
    • reply
      November 30, 2011 1:00 PM

      Xav de Matos posted a new article, Moby Games Classic: Ultima 7.

      MobyGames.com Classic returns with the classic 1992 role-playing title, Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Widely considered the best in the franchise's long history, Ultima VII thrust players in the middle of a vast murder-mystery.

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        November 30, 2011 2:27 PM

        If my memory is intact (hah!) wasn't this game just a total pain to configure your memory to get it to run? It used that Voodoo Memory Manager stuff. My original machine at the time ran this like crap.

        While I do miss some of the power of the dos days, I don't miss having to jump through so many hoops to get a game to run.

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          November 30, 2011 6:47 PM

          "Who needs more than 640k?" he says. Every game developer in the late 80's and 90's, that's who.

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          November 30, 2011 6:49 PM

          oh yeah, I remember having to make customized boot disks to get by all that memory manager stuff. Luckily Exult makes playing those games on modern systems ez pz

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          December 1, 2011 12:46 AM

          have a look at http://exult.sourceforge.net/. which is a port (or better "complete rewrite") of the ultima 7 engine.
          If i recall correctly the original sourcecode has been lost.

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        November 30, 2011 6:43 PM

        I miss Origin :(

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        December 1, 2011 1:25 PM

        I remember finding the semi-insane wizard's shack out in the woods, and looting all sorts of awesome magic items from it, then going outside and inadvertantly aggravating a wisp and getting blasted with what looked like little lakes of fire until dead.

        I loved just exploring and wandering around in that game. It was just like Skyrim. I purposely avoided the main questline in order to just have fun and live in the game world.

        I also remember someone (Shamino? The Avatar?) throwing up all over the floor when first seeing the murder scene.

        Even though I have nothing against going to church, whenever I am in a church or temple or whatever, I hear the Fellowship music in my head.

        Those are the most prominent memories. Oh, that and "Avatar, you are not welcome here." while my character's brains dribbled out their ears because I didn't have the cadellite helms.

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        December 1, 2011 3:02 PM

        Getting the magic carpet. I randomly found it in a cave, I think, and it was a total game changer. I was flying all over the place and exploring the world. I lost track of what I was doing in the main quest because of that magic carpet.

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        December 2, 2011 11:34 AM

        Piling on - the thrill of actually getting the game to run, with its own custom boot disk with specific autoexec.bat and config.sys. :)

        Also, the very beginning of the game - the gruesome murder of two people in Trinsic - was very effective at setting a very disturbing tone. Something is seriously wrong in Britannia, and SHIT JUST GOT REAL.

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        December 2, 2011 12:03 PM

        This game cost me two months of summer holidays I spent on following the 300+ pages walkthrough I borrowod from a friend to the letter to complete every sidequest in both games and the expansions. They just don't make games like that anymore! It was enormous!

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