Richard Garriott is Back in the Game

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Richard Garriott is Back in the Game

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Ultima creator Richard Garriott is returning to the videogame industry with Portalarium, a new social media company whose first release is - get this - a Texas Hold 'Em card game.

Oh, Richard. How did it come to this? You co-founded Origin Systems. You gave the world the magic of Ultima! And now, the best you can come up with is a Texas Hold 'Em game on Facebook called Sweet @$! Poker? Seriously?

Garriott is serving as vice president and creative director at Portalarium, where he will be joined by co-founders Dallas Snell and Fred Schmidt, both of whom worked with Garriott at Origin, Electronic Arts and NCsoft, and Stephen Nichols, formerly the producer and lead programmer on Dungeon Runners. While the company is beginning with online games, it has a "broad-based, open-social mission" that will eventually take it into other areas like "open learning, open health, open science/environment [and] open government... all wrapped in a connective virtual world in the online social networking space."

Portalarium's first offering is The Portalarium Player, a cross-platform web browser plug-in that allows games developed across numerous technologies to run "seamlessly" on major social networks without having to rely on Adobe Flash. The software currently supports all major PC browsers and is being developed for the Mac and mobile devices like the iPhone and Android, and is currently in limited beta testing on Facebook, where it is running the aforementioned Sweet @$! Poker game. Versions that will run on MySpace and other social networks are also in the works.

Garriott quit the game industry near the end of 2008, just prior to the ugly closure of his Tabula Rasa MMOG venture. At the time he claimed that he was leaving the game industry behind to "pursue other interests," but within a couple of months he changed his mind and said he was ready to get back to work on a new game. This, apparently, is it: The "invigorated and engaged" Garriott, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of videogames, said Portalarium is "exactly" what he wants to do. "This really takes me back to my roots in the game business," he said. "Small development teams, low barriers to entry, affordable budgets for quality projects, and unlimited new interactive frontiers to explore together with our customers."

Hey, whatever. Where's my Ultima Underworld 3, Richard?

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how the might has fallen, or actually i didn't care much for ultima, but making sweet ass poker for facebook is considered a fall for pretty much everyone.

but if making poker games for the social networks is what floats his boat then so be it.

Hey, you never know. Maybe someone will find a way to kill House Dealer British.

Ouch...

Anyway, he made it into space... that's probably more than a lot of us will achieve xD
http://www.richardinspace.com/

I'm having a mental image of Lord British playing some 'sweet ass' poker. It's... strangely amusing.

Feh. I see no problem with this. If no one's going to buy the quality games why make quality games? It's a business first.

I think Lord/General/Emperor/Spaceman British one day got a fit of the giggles from saying "Sweet Ass Poker" with various degrees of emphasis repeatedly.

"Sweet ass-poker!" HA!

oppp7:
Feh. I see no problem with this. If no one's going to buy the quality games why make quality games? It's a business first.

When it's been 18 years since your last quality game... :p

JEBWrench:

oppp7:
Feh. I see no problem with this. If no one's going to buy the quality games why make quality games? It's a business first.

When it's been 18 years since your last quality game... :p

What was wrong with Tabula Rasa? FPS gameplay with goals from MMOs seems like a good idea, and it's at least being original unlike the other 50 fantasy MMOs.

It seems the man who insisted that everyone call him Lord British has truly climbed aboard the crazy train and can now call himself Captain Crazy McInsano

Can we pay him to get back out of the game? ...If not have him escorted out of the game?

Sad really, but he's done a runner from most of his projects, so we shouldn't really be surprised.

A shame really, I quite enjoyed Tabula Rasa. Easily my second favorite MMORPG. I don't think this will replace it, however.

Oh, getting ripped-off by Dealer British, eh? Or are we playing against Mr. British this time?

But really, a card game? Come on...

Sweet what?

Sweet chilli?

Sweet thai chicken?

Sweet donkey?

I liked the idea of Tabula Rasa, I just think Garriott overextended himself technologically. And unlike 20 or 30 years ago, modern audiences generally won't put up with that.

But Richard Garriott's Sweet Ass Poker? Wow, dude.

"Sweet ats poker"? Sounds silly to me.

I bought the beta for Tabula Rasa, and to be honest, it was a sorry excuse for a MMO, not surprising that he lowered his standards to a poker game..

Damn it. I thought he retired.

Jeezy Chreezy.

You know, I FELL for Tabula Rasa. I beta'ed that thing because I wanted so badly to believe he'd come back with something fantastic. But, come gold release, how so thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed I was...

I wish he'd just go crazy in a mountain somewhere, seriously. This latest venture is just an embarrassment.

Hell, it could be better than Tabula Rasa.

Constantly keeps running away from projects, and now this? Richard Garriot is a shame to the game designer profession.

Certainly a step down from Tabula Rosa...heh

First I'll admit: I'm a historyless freak who haven't really gotten into the "great stuff" Richard Garriott has done. Tabula Rasa, however, was pretty damn good, in my opinion. Some polish could have made it truly amazing.

But I wonder: what is it about Garriott that makes the world incapable of being neutral about him? It's one of those love/hate things, but it goes beyond his games. People tend not to say that they love or hate his games, but that they love or hate HIM.

I don't get it. The man obviously has SOME worth, since he has been integrally involved in games that people played and enjoyed.

When this game gets released, not just am I going to play it, I'm going to spout on and on about the Principles and the Virtues the whole time I'm playing it to whoever I'm playing with

oppp7:
What was wrong with Tabula Rasa? FPS gameplay with goals from MMOs seems like a good idea, and it's at least being original unlike the other 50 fantasy MMOs.

The idea was nothing bad. It just rubbed me the wrong way. (In part because the only FPSes I've ever enjoyed have been mostly story-driven, mostly so I could allow myself to ignore my sucking.)

Andy Chalk:

But Richard Garriott's Sweet Ass Poker? Wow, dude.

Sweet Ass Poker needs to be a badge somehow. You're a contributor, make it so!

And for a second I was scared.

DJShire:
When this game gets released, not just am I going to play it, I'm going to spout on and on about the Principles and the Virtues the whole time I'm playing it to whoever I'm playing with

The game is available as a limited beta right now: http://apps.facebook.com/sweet_poker . Chips are currently free, but when we release the game in a few weeks, we will be wiping everyone's chip total and achievements.

Aw, brilliant. I've just lost The Game now, cheers.

On topic, online Texas Hold 'Em is awesome. Or, atleast it was on Puzzle Pirates...

MrTact:

DJShire:
When this game gets released, not just am I going to play it, I'm going to spout on and on about the Principles and the Virtues the whole time I'm playing it to whoever I'm playing with

The game is available as a limited beta right now: http://apps.facebook.com/sweet_poker . Chips are currently free, but when we release the game in a few weeks, we will be wiping everyone's chip total and achievements.

I'm so there. That's right. I'm going to try Sweet Ass Poker.

He's building a competitor to Adobe's Flash plug-in? Bold move, to say the least. However, I think Flash needs a kick in the rear. Maybe Adobe will get around to speeding up that hoggish engine.

Hey Andy Chalk -- Thanks for the nice write up. We're still LOL at your second paragraph! I see that your "Occupation" in your profile is "Ultima Hombre" from Canada. Very cool. All I can say to you and the forum posters here is: Don't sell Richard and our team short too fast. We're just doing a suite of fun casual games to prove up some tools, technology and operating infrastructure...and to help get a baseline revenue stream started. Then we're gonna dive in deep and also give you some product closer to what you might desire. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if y'all have played most of the card/poker games on Facebook today, then try our Sweet @$! Poker to see the difference! We're all holed up in little Austin cabin, in a bootstrapped operation, just like 25 years ago -- and having a blast again. Looking forward to bringing some of what we've learned over all these years to the massive global market of new and seasoned gamers via the wild wild west of the social networks.

Cheers,
Fred Schmidt
CEO, Portalarium

JEBWrench:
Hey, you never know. Maybe someone will find a way to kill House Dealer British.

Did no one get the joke? Very clever JEBWrench. :D

Fred Schmidt:
Hey Andy Chalk -- Thanks for the nice write up. We're still LOL at your second paragraph! I see that your "Occupation" in your profile is "Ultima Hombre" from Canada. Very cool. All I can say to you and the forum posters here is: Don't sell Richard and our team short too fast. We're just doing a suite of fun casual games to prove up some tools, technology and operating infrastructure...and to help get a baseline revenue stream started. Then we're gonna dive in deep and also give you some product closer to what you might desire. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if y'all have played most of the card/poker games on Facebook today, then try our Sweet @$! Poker to see the difference! We're all holed up in little Austin cabin, in a bootstrapped operation, just like 25 years ago -- and having a blast again. Looking forward to bringing some of what we've learned over all these years to the massive global market of new and seasoned gamers via the wild wild west of the social networks.

Cheers,
Fred Schmidt
CEO, Portalarium

Tell you what, if you guys can pull me away from the Facebook game that has me most enthralled, I will never badmouth Lord... General... Wait, you said Austin? So Oil Tycoon British... again. :p

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