Game designer, entrepreneur, and adventurer Garriott de Cayeux explores a number of his escapades.
The author, who describes himself as a “serial enthusiast” with an “almost desperate need for adventure,” is best known as the creator of the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game, “Ultima Online.” During his Dungeons & Dragons–playing youth in the 1970s, he learned how to program computers; along with his brother, they began crafting video games, including a large number of “Ultima” games. His descriptions of the challenges of dealing with the surprising success of “Ultima Online,” though disappointingly brief, make up the most fascinating portion of the book. The author is clearly exhilarated to find ways to make his world more detailed and fend off those attempting to destroy it, and he is astonished to observe the growing intersection between the economy of his world and the real-world economy. With the fortune he made in his various companies, he has gone on to put his dreams into action: he built a haunted house for himself in Austin, Texas, rode in a submarine down to where the Titanic rests (and almost got trapped in the process), and, most famously, bought a two-week sojourn in the Russian section of the International Space Station, an experience he discusses mostly in relation to the difficulties of using the restroom in space. This is not a book in which other people feature heavily or in which the dots are connected, though the author’s stories are lively and entertaining. He embeds puzzles and games in the book for those who want to take it beyond the simple experience of reading.
Not so much a conventional memoir as a series of anecdotes. While its insights are limited, those looking for glimpses into an adventurous life should be pleased.