Ultima 3 Musings
I've recently started playing the PC version Ultima III: Exodus via DOSBox with an upgrade patch to allow for EGA graphics and midi music to more closely match the colors and music of the original on other platforms. The PC version out of the box uses CGA graphics and has no music.
This was my introduction to the series, but I didn't play it on a computer when it came out initially, but rather on the NES many years later. I hadn't heard of the game, and I was blown away. The NES version has a different look and feel compared to the computer versions, but it is otherwise a decently faithful port.
I think this is the installment that made the series really take off in a big way. You could form a party of 4 characters, with several race and class choices with different strengths and weaknesses. The choices can really make a difference in the effectiveness and survivability of the party.
It is also the only one of the series where there isn't really a central hero. You make 4 characters, assign a marching order, and begin adventuring. If those 4 are all killed, then you can create 4 more, and resume with the world in the state that you left it. You can also freely swap out party members with new ones as needed. Official Ultima cannon says that the Stranger / Avatar is among these heros, but I prefer to think that he/she just decided to sit this one out, and let the land solve its own problems for once.
I have a soft spot for the NES ports of Ultima, since that was my introduction to this awesome series. I think I'm actually too big of a fan to attempt my own port to the Atari, but I would like to take a stab at producing something very heavily inspired by Ultima III.