User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire

MobyRank MobyScore
PC-98
...
4.5
DOS
...
3.9
Sharp X68000
...
4.0

Trivia

Cameo

The Three Stooges make an appearance in the game.

Gameplay

One thing about finishing this game is that all completing the quests do is gain you levels and tell you where to go to kill the end villain. In hind sight, if you were powerful enough you could just go straight there and kill her and complete the game.

Programming

The following is written by ORIGIN programmer Paul Meyer:
This was the game that started the "Thank you for Playing" tradition at Origin. Part of that came from Texas culture - it just seemed right to thank people for playing the game - but the actual moment of genesis has a story behind it.

If you remember the bad old world of DOS programming, you know that the OS was more or less incapable of stopping you from doing hokey things - or even bloody murder - at the machine level. Development environments of the day would try to help out. In particular, the environment used to program this game put a guard block at address zero in memory, so bad writes to null pointers would not damage anything and could be detected when the program exited.

At one point in the development of the game, there was a bug that was causing just such a write. When a couple of weeks of work failed to find the bug, and one night while a little punchy from lost sleep, Steve was inspired to hack the error message. Instead of saying "Null pointer write detected" as you exited the game, it would say "Thank you for playing."

Eventually the bug was actually found and fixed, but everybody decided that the message was so appropriate it should be there, so they added the message as normal code when the game exited. But whenever I see a "Thank you for playing " message, I remember that late-night half-mad hack, and grin.

References

Both this game and its sequel, Martian Dreams, feature a character named Dr. Spector. He is based on Warren Spector.

Special Edition

Available by pre-order from Origin only, there was also a Special Edition of this game that contained a T-shirt and the hint book, plus the box was autographed in gold ink by Lord British.

Information also contributed by Mark Ennis, mocagh, Timo Takalo, weregamer, and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe

Contributed by Fafnir (72) on Apr 06, 2001. [revised by : Alaka (31032)]. -- edit trivia