Ultima VI - Learning English Through Piracy

· 0x911dd @prose.sh

#gaming #piracy #english #ultima

Growing up in Sweden during the late 80s and early 90s, I was deeply involved in the piracy scene. I had a computer from a very early age, and it was through my friends, uncle, and surprisingly, my step-dad, that I was introduced to the world of piracy. At that time, I was too young to grasp the moral implications; all I wanted was to play games.

Besides, I couldn't afford to buy any games anyway...

In the early years, my uncle would occasionally visit with a bunch of floppy disks containing new games for me to try out. I remember playing popular titles like Dune II, DOOM, Duke Nukem 2, Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, as well as some lesser-known ones.

Most of these games were easily comprehensible and enjoyable for a young child of around ten years old, who was still in the process of learning English. In Sweden, movies and games are typically subtitled rather than dubbed, which provided me with some exposure to the English language. However, I was still actively studying English in school and had a long way to go before I could understand it fluently.

But there was one game that gave me quite a hard time: Ultima VI: The False Prophet.

This game had an anti-piracy measure that required players to look up a specific word in the manual to progress beyond the starting castle. Since I only had a pirated copy, I didn't have access to the manual, and I wasn't even sure if my version was cracked. At the time, I simply assumed I was doing something wrong, not realizing the anti-piracy measure was the actual issue.

But I managed to find ways to keep myself entertained within the castle walls. I embarked on extensive explorations, leaving no nook or cranny unvisited. Along the way, I gathered a plethora of objects, which I used to create my very own personal space within the castle walls (little did I know at the time that this room was intentionally designed for players to personalize and make their own). The game's astonishing level of customization and interactivity fascinated me as I arranged furniture, placed pots, and other items meticulously on tables and shelves. However, my adventures usually ended with chaos as I grew bored and started causing trouble, attacking characters like the king and guards. Eventually, I would meet my demise and take a break from the game.

As my English skills gradually improved, I would return to Ultima VI from time to time, determined to make progress. It was during one of these attempts that I finally discovered the existence of the anti-piracy measure. Seeking assistance, I turned to my uncle, who, with the help of his friends, managed to obtain a manual for me.Equipped with this missing piece of information, I finally escaped the castle. Little did I know that figuring out the introduction was only the beginning, and understanding the entire game would take years of effort.

Looking back on those formative years, I realize that part of my motivation to learn English stemmed from my desire to explore the world of Ultima VI. It was through my interactions with the game that I developed and sharpened my language skills. Ultima VI not only fulfilled my gaming aspirations but also served as an invaluable educational tool, allowing me to apply and refine what I had learned and shaping my ability to understand and appreciate interactive storytelling.

Today, I am deeply grateful for Ultima VI, which not only provided me with a place to utilize my English but also sparked my passion for video game design and the immersive potential of video games. It holds a special place in my personal history, reminding me of the profound impact that gaming can have on knowledge, personal growth, and the joy of exploration.

Oh, and don't worry.
I've since bought a copy of Ultima VI.