Ultima Online: The Great Granddaddy of MMORPGs
Ultima Online (PC) is acknowledged as the game that started the modern MMORPG boom. Its gameplay is similar to text-based MUDs (multi-user dungeons), a genre popular in college computer labs since the '70s, but Ultima Online added state-of-the-art graphics and sound. More importantly, it had the Ultima name and world. When series patriarch Richard Garriott—aka Lord British—aka the man who practically invented the electronic RPG announced the franchise was going online, people listened. About 230,000 gamers still play the game, though because of its dated look and gameplay, popularity is steadily on the decline. Still, most who have moved on still remember fondly the game that started it all—including Level 5's president Akihiro Hino, who recalls endless late nights spent adventuring with Japanese players.