Episode 2: Richard Garriott and The Virtues

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In the 1980s, Richard Garriott created a cultural innovation in computer games in Ultima IV by developing a system of secular virtues, which guided the main character beyond a wholesale slaughter of enemies and into an ethical dilemma of doing the right thing.

I’ve been a fan of the Ultima series since 1987, when my dad bought us Ultima III for the Atari ST computer. After that, I continued my adventure with Ultima VI, VIII, IX, Ultima Online, and more, courtesy of the intellectual work of Richard Garriott.

During this conversation, Richard Garriott (AKA Lord British) and I discuss ethics, morals, religion, current events, and some of the history of the seminal Ultima series of games.

As I say in the podcast, I think technology without ethics is pointless. So I think we can learn a lot from the system developed by Richard over 30 years ago now.

Hope you enjoy it.


  1. I was a straight A student until I reached the 10th grade. That was when I received Ultima IV for my c64 in all of its glory. The cloth map, the manual, the small ankh — it was the first game that engulfed my imagination in its world. I faked being sick so I could stay home and play as much as I could. On the days I was forced to go, I would carry the manual and map to school and read them. It was one of the first games I remember finishing and it changed the way I view games. I know it had a greater impact on me than my sophomore year of high school and I have no regrets!

    Thanks for the great interview! I am eager to see what future interviews you have in store.

  2. This podcast sounds very well-planned and professional, and this particular episode was especially good.

    If you think ethics sounds like a dry topic, don’t let that put you off. Within the first minute or two you will almost certainly be hooked, as I was!

  3. I really enjoyed this blog episode … hearing Richard Garriot was a treat. I’m not a huge gamer but it was fascinating , from a history of computing perspective, to hear his eloquent rationale and philosophy behind the Ultima game series. Mixed in with Benj’s awesomely creative music, this episode was really fun and engaging. Definitely worth a listen!

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