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Explore/Create: My Life in Pursuit of New Frontiers, Hidden Worlds, and the Creative Spark Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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“Richard Garriott has inspired me to explore and create since I was a teenager. I never would’ve written Ready Player One if I hadn’t grown up playing the games he created as Lord British. This is the book I’ve been waiting to read for a long, long time.” (Ernest Cline, New York Times bestselling author of Ready Player One)
“Fascinating.... Demystifies an industry and a man so instrumental in it.... A rich compendium of stories from an extraordinary life.” (Eurogamer.net)
“Lively and entertaining.... [Garriott] embeds puzzles and games in the book for those who want to take it beyond the simple experience of reading.... Those looking for glimpses into an adventurous life should be pleased.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Explore/Create is a chronicle of wonder, and the many wondrous things the future may hold. Richard and I have long shared a passion for space. Perhaps one day our kids will create and play games on a new world!” (Elon Musk, CEO, SpaceX and Tesla Motors)
“Richard and his partners at Zero-G took me on my first flight into weightlessness. ... I applaud his spirit and have enjoyed the fruits of his labor.” (Stephen Hawking)
“I was so taken by Richard Garriott’s game Ultima that I was nearly speechless when I met him at a pizza joint in Chicago. Now finally, Richard has shared his compelling story with the rest of us in Explore/Create.” (Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple)
“Richard and I are both among the first private astronauts, and we have used our unbound power of imagination to take us to new heights. This book will take you on an insider’s journey into Richards fascinating mind from creating virtual worlds and characters to exploring the cosmos. Buckle up!” (Anousheh Ansari, 1st Muslim woman to go into space)
“Garriott’s enthusiasm for his passions is evident and... even inspirational.” (Booklist Online)
“Telling. ... Learn [Garriott’s] secret to staying creative and gain valuable insight into his crazy-interesting history.” (Brit + Co)
“An entertaining book that describes Garriott’s twin passions to explore (not just space but also the deep sea and Antarctica, among other places) and create.” (The Space Review)
From the Back Cover
The inspiring memoir from legendary entrepreneur, gaming pioneer, and space adventurer Richard Garriott—“game god” (PC Gamer) and inspiration for Ready Player One—Explore/Create invites us on a grand adventure, introducing us to the wondrous and magical.
Richard Garriott’s story begins with an Apple II and a dream. At eighteen, he spent his entire life savings—two hundred dollars—to produce Akalabeth, his first video game. That covered the floppy discs and the Ziploc bags the game was sold in; his mother drew the cover art. The first week they sold maybe a dozen copies, but soon after, the California Pacific Computer Company came calling, asking to publish the game. These were the Wild West days of the game industry—hard partying, outrageous personalities, and fledgling studios trying to make a quick buck.
Never could Richard have foreseen that this would become a multibillion-dollar industry with the top games eclipsing even Hollywood’s highest grossing films. He would go on to launch Ultima, a seminal series of role-playing games. Ultima Online was the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), and one of Time’s 100 greatest video games ever. Throughout, Richard has aspired to build the most lifelike gaming worlds possible, allowing players to interact with every object on the screen, experience consequences for moral transgressions, and fully personalize their gaming journey.
Away from the screen, Richard has also pushed the limits of human experience. A lifelong adventurer, he has plumbed the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to see the remains of the Titanic and hunted for meteorites in Antarctica, and in 2008 he became one of the first private citizens to travel into space. In 2014, Maxim named him one of the “Six Most Interesting Men You Can Actually Meet.” Here, in his own words, is his extraordinary life story.
Filled with interactive tie-ins and challenges, Explore/Create is unlike any other memoir, an unforgettable ode to exploration and discovery that will spark the creative impulse in all of us.
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Fun fact; Richard bought my Ultima III cloth map on eBay! I only wish he had left feedback, haha! :)
The stories Lord British tells are very compelling. His tale of going down to the wreck of the Titanic - and getting stuck - is fantastic. His many detailed stories about his attempts to get space travel opened up to the public, and space travel itself, are (one exception, below) great. His spirit for adventure and exploration shine through in every word.
Garriott's stories behind his games are also really good. He goes into a good bit of depth on creating a unique language for Tabula Rasa and the challenges that presents. As expected, he spends the most time on Ultima IV, his groundbreaking RPG from the 80s. That said...if you're looking for in-depth studies of each Ultima, you'll be sorely disappointed. Ultimas 2, 3 & 6 are barely mentioned, if at all, while Ultima 9 seemingly doesn't exist in Garriott's world. He also makes the bizarre claim that Ultima 5 was developed on the PC and not the Apple II. And while 4 of his Ultimas are basically ignored, we get multiple pages on taking a poop in space. Ugh.
Unfortunately, through it all, Garriott comes off as having a gigantic ego. His biggest failures are either blamed on outside forces (Ultima 8) or ignored completely (Ultima 9). He mentions over and over and over that he's got lots of money and spends it. He goes into detail on why he's not the "Father of the MMORPG", including a confrontation with a detractor, but then claims the title for himself anyway (a title he has not earned, IMHO). When describing the haunted houses he would create, he wants to make sure you know that they're always really EXPENSIVE. Believe me, I'm still a huge fan of Lord British and his work but I was definitely turned off by his ego and bragging a little bit.
In the end, "Explore/Create" is an excellent book. I loved reading it and I think any fan of the Ultima games, or Richard Garriott himself, would agree.