Richard Garriott’s proto-RPG Akalabeth now free on GOG

Akalabeth: World of Doom

Richard Garriott’s Akalabeth is an artifact – possibly the oldest game you’ll ever play, and certainly imbued with as much historical significance as any. This Apple II RPG was the template for Ultima, and is now yours to keep on GOG.

Akalabeth: World of Doom for Windows, Mac and Linux appeared among GOG’s permanent collection of free games this morning – and the Ultima series that followed is 80% off for the next 48 hours.

Garriott built the game 35 years ago for his own entertainment, but was persuaded by a friend at a computer shop to sell copies in resealable bags filled with disks and instruction sheets.

“Selling games out of sandwich bags with artwork by your mom,” point out GOG. “It doesn’t get more indie than that.”

Akalabeth boasts two classes – fighter and mage – and switches to first-person when fighting in its grid-based underworld. At least one of its traditions has survived: the loot gets better the deeper you go.

What’s the oldest game you lot have ever played?