Akalabeth – World of Doom (also known as Ultima 0) was originally developed for the Apple II, by Richard Garriot, back in 1979. The first copies were sold in 1980 in ComputerLand, Austin, Texas, where Garriot worked in the summertime.
These were sold inside Ziploc bags, with photocopied instructions and cover drawn by his mother. The original copy of Akalabeth is extremely rare and only around 12-25 copies were sold at the time.
California Pacific Computer Company, who published games and computer-related software in the late ’70s and early ’80s, received a copy (this could probably have been a pirated version) and contacted Garriot and offered to publish the game. This release is known as Ultima I (which saw several releases for other platforms years later). It is believed that around 30.000 copies of the California Pacific release where sold.
Above, my California Pacific version, with cover artwork by Denis Loubet, which would end up being the artist for the covers of many more Ultima’s to come.
Since this is just a quickie I won’t be going more in detail about the history of Ultima.
As mentioned Akalabeth – World of Doom was only released for the Apple II home computer, but in the mid-nineties, an unofficial port to PC was made, and back in 2016 an Italian team of three, with the blessings of Richard Garriot himself, released a version for the Commode 64.
Only 50 physical copies were made, I was lucky enough to get a copy (#23) which can be seen below.
A small GIF showing a few images from the conversion.
The Italian team that made all this happen:
Code and Conversion: Andrea Schincaglia
Idea and Testing: Antonello Molella
Additional Graphics: David Vigh