Akalabeth (1979)


Genre Period Developer Publisher Theme
cRPG, Dungeon Crawling Vintage (Pre 1990) Richard Garriott California Pacific Computer Co. Medieval fantasy, Magic

Akalabeth is a dungeon crawling cRPG developed by Richard Garriott, creator of Ultima series. This game was his experimental pre-cursor to the Ultima games. It only has historical significance and some nostalgic value for those who played when it was first released, because during its time it was a revolution of sorts.

Game Assessment

Complexity Matrix 

Complexity Parameters Values (0, 0.5, 1)
Control Scheme 0: Easy
Complexity 1: Complex
Story 0.5: Dungeon crawling, levels, quests
Lore 1: Rich (follows into the world of Ultima)
Immersion 0.5: Although role-play but premature
Difficulty 1: High
Learning Curve 0: Easy
Total Score 4/7: Mediumweight game

Satisfaction Matrix

Needs Satisfaction Score (0-3)
Analytical 2: Moderately met
Creative 0: Not met
Mastery 3: Well met (difficult)
Destructive 0: Not met
Entertainment 0: Not met
Pace 0: Not met
Horror 1: Slightly met
Total Score 6/21: Moderate Game

Game Review

TL;DR A game that has not aged well inspite of its innovation and brilliance. Do not waste time unless you want to get a taste of PC gaming history..


  • None I can think of


  • No automap in the dungeons

Game rejected.

Purpose – Study

Gameplay – Considering the period from which this game is from, the gameplay is quite obviously good and challenging. The primary challenge however boils down to the capability of manually mapping the dungeon levels. That did not appeal to me much and therefore I had to give it up.

Graphics – Wire-frame graphics. Considered ahead of its time in 1979.

Performance – Can run on a peanut (!)

Entertainment – Frankly, there is none.

Plot (if applicable) – There is a vague setting about a king sending you into dungeons to slay various monsters, but it cannot be really termed as a ‘plot’.

Replay value – None.

Immersion – None.

All in all a good example to try out for someone who wants to experience history of RPGs or computer games. Otherwise, it is of no particular use.


Author: Rex Aurelius

Cogito ergo sum.

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