Akalabeth was Richard Garriott’s first commercial game and was published in 1979 for the Apple II. Technically not an Ultima back then, it still offered some references to Lord British and Mondain and basic feels like a prototype for Ultima I, hence why it was eventually dubbed (first unofficially and later officially at the release of the Ultima Collection), “Ultima 0”.
Personally I can’t say I ever cared much for Akalabeth. I discovered it in early 1998 through an unofficial port made by Finire Dragon and played for a few minutes before like “What the eck is this crap ?” and quitting the game. I replayed a few minutes of the game with the Ultima Collection remake (which included a new menu, a few colors and some midi music taken from Ultima III), but again never bothered to play through it.
As such, this will actually be my first play through “Ultima 0: Akalabeth” so I guess this is something to be celebrated, somewhat. I’ll post my impressions later – I doubt the game will be that long to finish. I will of course be using the Ultima Collection version through DosBox to play it.