Although I was quite upset after losing my Ultima save game, the accident brought about an epiphany. I’m sure in the past I would have lost control or done something I would have regretted such as yell at the computer or something equally as stupid. This time I thought about the pros and cons of restarting and what it would mean for the blog and my own time. While I was playing through originally, I frequently wondered about how things would flow once all the clues and goals were documented. This ‘tragedy’ is the perfect chance to find out.
The answer is: Ultima 4 can be completed in less than ten hours.
Aside from some grinding virtues and difficulty finding a boat (again), things have progressed about four times as fast. I am about to ascend in all the virtues after about three hours of playing and will be diving into the dungeons to collect the stones and keys once again. I will even be able to better prepare this time to prevent delays caused by my dungeon nemeses: Reavers. These stationary monsters that cast sleep on everyone at once can cause nightmares for the player. Six reavers can cast sleep six times in one turn, put your entire party to sleep, and pound them with electricity and fire. If I can make a lot of tremor/earthquake spells, these huge encounters should be much more comfortable.
[A common sight. (Pic taken from Nakar's wonderful Let's Play of the series.)]
I would put my estimated play time at about six to eight hours. I will be eager to see if this is how it will actually go down. After ‘power gaming’ for a few hours, it must be said that the entire flavor of the game world comes from conversations with the locals and the sense of wonder derived from exploring all the towns. Although I can handle the mechanics easily, it is like opening a television and seeing all the complex and ugly parts that weren’t meant to be observed individually. If you take the time to play, I genuinely suggest you do not consult a FAQ until necessary to fully absorb and appreciate the rich imagination of Lord British.
As for me…
I may be getting too confessional again, but I am very proud of how this entire thing went down. In the past, I can imagine this whole debacle weighing heavily on my mind with regards to time lost, effort lost on writing, my own stupidity and carelessness, and the actual act of giving up. The truth is that I was going to give up initially, but why not go for it? I had just written an entire post about how beating the game was going to prove to myself that I had recovered leaps and bounds beyond my previous mental state. Wouldn't giving up be falling into the same traps?
My wife also encouraged me to do the same, even though she doesn’t understand why I take video games so seriously. In most cases I would not care so much, but Ultima 4 carries so much weight for me. You could call this my last remaining white whale from that time. I cannot think of another project or game I would like to complete that I was unable to because of my problems. This one is more important than others, but only to me. Do you have any games (or books or other projects) that you regret not finishing for any reasons that may seem unreasonable to others? Be sure to let me know in the comments, I think it’s a really interesting idea to explore. I know I have always set arbitrary goals for games to beat such as Wizardry or Ultima 4. Although… I think most of these are super difficult games just so I can say “I finished it!”
I will continue to play, but will hold off the next entry until I have some real progress to write about. I still anticipate the next entry to be a ‘Won!’ post so stay tuned, this ain’t over yet.