…like they used to. We’ve been around the block a few times with this one. However, Coyote send me a link to a very interesting article over on RPGVault, where several designers talk about this subject, leading off with comments by D.W. Bradley. But it was a remark made by Jeff Vogel of Spiderweb Software, that got me thinking.

He said that, much though he reveres it, Ultima IV is unplayable today. After reflecting on that awhile, I concluded there was a fair amount of truth in his statement.

Ultima IV is atypical in many ways, as you know if you played it yourself or read my article Ultima IV – Still The Best. There are no side quests. Almost all the items you find are saved up for the end game. Combat, while important, is a secondary activity.

In fact, the major activity in the game is talking to people for information. I had a notebook where each town, village, and special place had a page devoted to it. Every person I met was written down, along with what he or she had to say.

Above all, the game required patience and attention to detail. That is not true of the usual RPG today. There may be NPC’s, but now you have a journal where all the important facts are recorded for you. Nor do you have to talk to so many people as in U4.

Most gamers who are only familiar with products of, say, the last ten years or so, would likely consider Ultima IV impossible. The constant note-taking, conversations, carefully walking the path of the Avatar, primitive graphics (anathema to the eye candy crowd), lack of an automap – these would make it unbearable to the younger player.

Of course, none of that changes my opinion of the game. But it does indicate that times have changed. And while Ultima IV is still the best, it is, I think, something newer gamers will never experience, because it isn’t what they’re used to, and they won’t have the patience for the detail work.

Link to the article below:

They Don’t Make RPGs Like They Used To