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Free Game Friday 2/11/22: Akalabeth: World of Doom

 A piece of history for sure, Akalabeth: World of Doom is the precursor to Richard Garriott's legendary Ultima series, developed as a hobby and sold independently in a local computer shop, with one copy eventually making its way to a California based publisher and kicking off his career as a game developer.  Some elements of Ultima show themselves for the first time here; Akalabeth is the world's introduction to the moniker of Lord British, and the manual even makes mention of the first villain to prominently feature in that series, Mondain. Drawing inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons and the works of Tolkien, Akalabeth is a pretty simple little dungeon crawler - playing as either a Fighter or Mage, you venture through seed-generated dungeons, collect items and vanquish monsters, earning more hit points upon successfully escaping the dungeon and boosting your stats upon reporting success to Lord British.  Upon completing the ultimate challenge (slaying the Balrog), you win the game, but can continue to play if you wish to see how long you can last. Pretty simple stuff by modern standards, but surprisingly well-made for 1979, and definitely worth a look for Ultima fans or RPG historians in general. 

(I recommend you play via the installer listed as the 1998 "Windows" version rather than the original DOS release, as the DOS version contains a bug that prevents quest progress.  The "Windows" version also contains enhancements like added music, color graphics and and a save feature)