Dino's Guide to Ultima VII - The Black Gate

Introduction

It has become a kind-of twisted tradition in Ultimas to try and kill Lord British. The game programmers almost always had a secret way to get past the ‘invulnerability’ of LB, and U7 was no exception. Lots of people know how to do it, but for those that don’t:

At 12 noon every day, Lord British will leave the throne room, and walk out to the doorway of his castle. Over this doorway is a sign that says,”The Throne Room of Lord British”. If you click on this sign when he is directly under it, it will fall on his head and kill him!

But where did this easter egg come from? Here’s the exclusive story (told to us FIRST-HAND) behind this interesting bit of Ultima trivia!

The Story

Back in 1992, when Origin was working on Ultima 7, it was tradition for the programmers to take frequent smoking breaks outside of the Origin offices. They would talk about their work, and brainstorm for solutions to problems, and such. Richard Garriott would even occasionally come out and talk with the guys, giving input and support. The security door to Origin was held closed by a large magnet that kept out unwanted visitors, an ‘I’ll buzz you in’ sort of thing. Years of pulling on this door had loosened the bolt of the large iron plate that the magnet stuck to...

The fates were not with Richard that night, and when he pulled open the door, the bolt holding in the plate were ripped from the door, causing the 8-pound metal bar to hit him directly on the head!

Richard crumpled to the ground, and the programmers panicked — they thought for a second that he was dead! An ambulance ride, one concussion, and 3 stitches later, Richard was all right, but the event left him a bit shaken. When all was back to normal, the programmers decided to incorporate it into Ultima 7, and commemorate the event by showing it to Richard, but not before giving him a little gift to prevent further incidents (note the very bad pun!):

Yancey-Hausman was the company that owned the Origin Building at the time, and as such, they were resposible for the maintenance of the security door--making this accident kind of 'THEIR FAULT', hence the reference in the game when Lord British is killed by the plaque - "He's dead, Avatar! Yancey-Hausman will pay!" It was a joke as to who should be sued for this!

By Joe Garrity, curator of the Origin Museum, on 27th July 2003. The story and pictures above are from The Origin Museum’s personal and unpublished archives. They are the property of The Origin Museum and should not be copied without permission.

© by Daniel D'Agostino 2002-2014
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