Richard Garriott  

Richard Garriott
GameTabula Rasa
Main CharacterGeneral British
CompanyDestination Games
Official Site
Gaming Biography

Tabula Rasa - Destination Games/NCSoft

Ultima VII, Ultima Online - Electronic Arts

Ultima I-VI - Origin Systems/Sierra On-Line
Early 80s-1992

Garriott was born in Cambridge, England, and raised in Nassau Bay, Texas. He is the son of scientist Owen K. Garriott, who became an astronaut and flew with Skylab 3 and Space Shuttle mission STS-9. At Clear Creek High School, he took an interest in computers and began self-directed courses in programming in which he created fantasy computer games. In the summer of 1977, Richard's parents sent him to Oklahoma University for a seven-week computer camp. Shortly after he arrived, some of the other boys attending the camp introduced themselves. When Garriott replied to their greeting of "Hi" with "Hello" they decided he sounded like he was from Britain, and gave him the nickname "British". Garriott uses the name to this day for his various gaming characters, including Ultima character Lord British and Tabula Rasa character General British, despite the fact that Garriott's parents moved to Texas when he was a baby and - despite his nickname and birthplace - he has an American accent, not a British accent.

Richard continued programming many games, often offering them to friends for free. He produced his first published game, Akalabeth (DND28b), in the summer of 1980 while working at a ComputerLand retail store. Garriott earned more than enough money from Akalabeth to pay to continue his education. In the fall, he entered the University of Texas at Austin, joined the school's fencing team and later joined the Society for Creative Anachronism.

In the early 1980s, Garriott developed the Ultima computer game series (sequels after the first were numbered, such as Ultima II, Ultima III and so on). Originally programmed for the Apple II, the first was published by California Pacific Computers, and sold in Ziploc plastic bags to interested parties. The second part was published by Sierra On-Line. By the time he developed his third installment, the games had such a large following that Garriott (along with his brother, Robert, and father and others) established Origin Systems, their own video game publisher, to handle the publishing and distribution of his title, now available on several platforms. Origin went on to become one of the most influential game developers in the history of video games.

Garriott sold Origin to Electronic Arts in September 1992. In 1999 and 2000, EA canceled all of Origin's new development projects, including Privateer Online, and Harry Potter Online. In the midst of these events, Garriott resigned from the company and returned to the industry by forming Destination Games in April 2000 with his brother and Starr Long (the producer of Ultima Online). Once Garriott's non-compete agreement with EA expired a year later, Destination partnered with NCsoft where he acted as a producer and designer of MMORPGs. After it, he became the CEO of NCSoft Austin, also known as NC Interactive.

In an open letter on the Tabula Rasa website posted November 11, 2008, Garriott announced his plans to leave NCSoft to pursue new interests sparked by his spaceflight experiences. On the 24th of November NCSoft announced they planned to end the live service of Tabula Rasa. The servers shut down on February 28, 2009, after a period of free play from January 10th onward for existing account holders.[1]

ZAM Network

  1. ^ entry on Wikipedia

This page last modified 2009-03-17 21:49:17.