If you’re an older gamer pining for the days when videogames didn’t have fancy shmancy graphics, silly QTEs and unscrupulous business practices creeping into actual gameplay, or perhaps a younger gamer looking to get a peek at history, then you might be pleased to know that Akalabeth: World of Doom, regarded as the progenitor to the modern RPG, is now free on GOG.com
Originally released in 1980, Akalabeth: World of Doom is truly a game that puts the ‘old’ in ‘old school’. The game was conceived by one Richard Garriott, aka Lord British, during his high school years using an Apple II computer.
Originally meant to be a personal project not intended for public consumption, Akalabeth impressed Garriott’s boss at retail store ComputerLand , who encouraged him to sell the game.
For its time, Akalabeth featured some truly advanced designs. such as first person dungeon gameplay, procedurally generated worlds and player stats, and requiring food consumption to survive. Of course, the game by today’s standards is more likely to damage your eyes than anything else, but nonetheless, this is where games like Skyrim and even Diablo owe their success.
Of course, if you think Akalabeth is old school, then you should check out its predecessors, which were produced using an acoustic modem and paper tape punch/reader.
Akalabeth, now completely free to download at GOG.com without any DRM , would later serve as the springboard that allowed Garriott to create his famed Ultima series. Although that series hasn’t seen anything new in the last 15 years, Garriott is currently working on its spiritual successor, Shroud of the Avatar