The original Ultima was distributed by California Pacific Computers for the Apple II in 1980.
It did not have any box or luxury like maps etc. like the later games but was released in a simple ziploc bag containing the disk, a play book, reference card and a nice 'cover' art page - amazingly they still sold about 50,000 copies this way. This first release has the line 'top of the orchard software' printed on both the cover as well as the disk.
In 1986, Origin decided to rerelease the early Ultima games, starting with the first, and it was ported to several new platforms. The assembly language was rewritten and the graphics were updated. In addition, the re-release contained nifty new maps and coins that were not included in the original release.
When teenagers Richard Garriott and his friend Ken Arnold worked together at a local Computerland during the summer of 1979, they got together and created the first "Ultima" based upon Richard's success with his first game, Akalabeth.
The two boys created the technique of "tile graphics" by tracing their hand-drawn pictures on graph paper, changing the graphs to hexadecimal data and typing them into the computer.
The game sold over 50,000 copies in a time before the first IBM PC had even seen the light of day.