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Incline Roe R. Adams III

samuraigaiden

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500_person-716_adams-iii.jpg


Roe R. Adams III was the first person in the world to finish the legendarily obtuse Sierra Hi-Res Adventure game Time Zone, which shipped with six double-sided floppy disks and contained 1,500 screens you had to go through to beat it's many puzzles.

There's a Digital Antiquarian article that goes in-depth on how he managed to do it just one week after the game released. It's a great read.

Adams was, as the antiquarian describes him, a prolific adventure-game reviewer and columnist for several magazines. You can find some of his writing in early 80s editions of Computer Gaming World.

To my knowledge, his earliest credit in a video game is in Ultima III: Exodus, for which he wrote the manual and was a play tester. He is also credited as a play tester for Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, not the original Apple II release but rather the 1984 PC Booter re-release (which is the version present in The Ultimate Wizardry Archives collection).

Adams was more directly involved in the development of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar and according to some accounts it was he who came up with the idea of the Eight Virtues.

He had a minor role in the development of The Bard's Tale, in which he is credited as additional designer. He also designed levels for Championship Lode Runner, the first sequel to the seminal puzzle action game.

Next came his greatest contribution to gaming. Roe R. Adams III was the lead designer in Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna, working alongside Robert Woodhead to create one of the most insane and wonderful games ever made.

Adams and Woodhead then founded AnimEigo, a company specialized in bringing Japanese animation films to the US market.

He later worked in the localization of two Super Nintendo games (Paladin's Quest and Xardion) and had advisor or consultant roles in a few other titles.

Adams also was heavily involved in the creation of Tokyo Dungeon, a Japan-only RPG released for the PlayStation in 1995 (thanks, newtmonkey ). He is credited as game designer alongside Kazutoshi Ueda, who previously worked on some Megami Tensei games.

After that, any information is scarce. A LinkedIn profile page which may or may not be his would indicate that Adams is or was at some point self-employed and living in Portland.
 
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thesheeep

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There's a Digital Antiquarian article that goes in-depth on how he managed to do it just one week after the game released. It's a great read.

Adams was, as the antiquarian describes him, a prolific adventure-game reviewer and columnist for several magazines. You can find some of his writing in early 80s editions of Computer Gaming World.
Imagine that.
A game journalist/reviewer/whatever for a magazine who actually plays the games they review - and in depth, too!
 

rohand

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Ah the era where game journalists were among the best players around.
 

KeighnMcDeath

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Looks like Tokyo Dungeon needs an english remaster. I can't tell what's going on in some of those screens. Good anime vids though.

hmmm....


 
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mondoar

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Roe's alter-ego, Hawkwind, appears in Ultima IV and Wizardry IV. I'm not sure about Bard's Tale but I assume he's in there too.
 

Bruma Hobo

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Adams was more directly involved in the development of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar and according to some accounts it was he who came up with the idea of the Eight Virtues.
That wouldn't surprise me at all, I've always thought that Garriott was not clever enough to write such a plot, let alone his 23 year old self. He was a great game designer, but he was also a little too shallow, while the following Ultima games had always better writers involved.
 

mondoar

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If you read interviews with Richard Garriott, he basically takes 100% credit for Ultimas 1-4 but he had a lot of early collaborators that made important contributions to the games. Like Roe R Adams with Ultimas 3 and 4. Ken Williams and others at Sierra for helping him with learning assembly for Ultima 2. Denis Loubet for the art. Ken Arnold for the music and some programming.
 
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xEnd3r

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Sorry for gravedigging thos topic but...
I'm the author of Through the Moongate: the story of Richard Garriott, Origin Systems Inc and Ultima and I researched a lot this subject.
I can confirm that Roe Adams III played a very important role in early CRPG evolution. It's not a coincidence that Hawkwind is in each of the three best selling CRPG of early '80 (Ultima, Wizardry and Bard's Tale), since he was involved in the development of all these games.
He was very into CRPG and graphical adventures (expecially those by Roberta Williams) and he wrote for the most important magazine of the early '80 (softalk and CGW most of all).
When Garriott moved to New Hampshire, they met. Adams helped Garriott with Ultima III manual and then they developed the virtues system. I'm quite sure the original idea was by Adams. He was much more literate than Garriott and he did a similar Paradigm shift with Wizardry IV (his idea was to give the player the control of the bad-guy Werdna and fight the teams of heroes that were actually created by players of previous chapters of Wizardry). But something happened between Adams and Garriott. They parted ways and later Garriott stopped mentioning Adams when speaking about Ultima IV gameplay revolution.
Anyway, Hawkwind of Skara Brae was RAIII D&D character so now you can see why Hawkwind is in each of the rpg he worked on. And by the way, you can also find Skara Brae in Ultima and in Bard's Tales

I hope this helps :)
 

HiroIwasaki

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Hi, I am an old Japanese game developer and a game journalist.

First, I can contact Roe directly.

Second, I talked to Roe right after he wrote the scenario for U4 and listened to him in detail. I do not doubt that Roe did the scenario and level design, no matter what Garriott says.

Regardless of what Garriott says, I think anyone who plays both Wiz4 and U4 can see that Roe wrote the U4 scenario.
Roe made a synopsis of U4-5-6 and gave it to Garriott. Then he played U5 and got mad at me, saying that the dungeon was not well done.

In Japan, Roe's accomplishments are well known.
This is because Roe's friend, Yutaka Tama, introduced Roe's achievements in his book "Next Generation RPGs Will Be Like This.
I am also convinced that only Roe could have written the scenario for U4.
When comparing U3 scenarios to U4 scenarios, the difference in quality is staggering.

Also, I left the following link with the Roe story I remember. It's in Japanese, so you'll have to translate it to read it.

http://www.highriskrevolution.com/wp/gamelife/?s=Roe
 

HiroIwasaki

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Roe's testimony about what Roe did at U4 is in the book.
Yutaka Tama authored this book just after PS1 was released.
Yutaka Tama was a friend of Roe's and was the translator of the Japanese version of Wiz4.
And Roe was in Japan at this time. So, Roe was interviewed by Mr. Tama and explained to Mr. Tama what he did in U4.
So, it is safe to assume that the work Roe did in this book is mostly Roe's testimony.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/次世代RPGはこーなる-電撃ゲーム文庫-多摩-豊/dp/4073034561
 

Bruma Hobo

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Very interesting, so apparently Roe was doing all the work while Garriott was doing cocaine. I'm usually sceptical of this kind of statements, but considering Garriott's track record, how lame he normally is, and how sophisticated Ultima IV was, I've decided to believe they're 100% accurate and more.
 

Cleveland Mark Blakemore

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One of the greats. The reason the early history of the games industry was so magical. Sounds like this guy was the man behind the curtain and was never properly credited for a lot of his work.

I don't doubt that a spaz like Garriott would let him author an entire game and then claim he didn't even work on it. This guy was never much more than a retard who managed to learn how character graphics work on a terminal. It makes a lot more sense that Adams was the real creator of the classic Ultima.

Also now I know one more person the Siroteks must have treated very poorly.
 

Cleveland Mark Blakemore

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Hi, I am an old Japanese game developer and a game journalist.

First, I can contact Roe directly.

Second, I talked to Roe right after he wrote the scenario for U4 and listened to him in detail. I do not doubt that Roe did the scenario and level design, no matter what Garriott says.

Regardless of what Garriott says, I think anyone who plays both Wiz4 and U4 can see that Roe wrote the U4 scenario.
Roe made a synopsis of U4-5-6 and gave it to Garriott. Then he played U5 and got mad at me, saying that the dungeon was not well done.

In Japan, Roe's accomplishments are well known.
This is because Roe's friend, Yutaka Tama, introduced Roe's achievements in his book "Next Generation RPGs Will Be Like This.
I am also convinced that only Roe could have written the scenario for U4.
When comparing U3 scenarios to U4 scenarios, the difference in quality is staggering.

Also, I left the following link with the Roe story I remember. It's in Japanese, so you'll have to translate it to read it.

http://www.highriskrevolution.com/wp/gamelife/?s=Roe
This all makes so much sense.

U3 is the work of an autistic basket case who still lives with his mother. Then suddenly U4 is this amazingly literate masterpiece. I used to read interviews with Garriott and have trouble believing this chronic masturbator running around in a fake chainmail suit waving a wooden sword calling himself "Lord British" could possibly have authored a game of such quality. U4 was the work of a mature wise head with a very broad perspective.

Answers to many questions I have had for years.
 

HiroIwasaki

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One of the greats. The reason the early history of the games industry was so magical. Sounds like this guy was the man behind the curtain and was never properly credited for a lot of his work.

I don't doubt that a spaz like Garriott would let him author an entire game and then claim he didn't even work on it. This guy was never much more than a retard who managed to learn how character graphics work on a terminal. It makes a lot more sense that Adams was the real creator of the classic Ultima.

Also now I know one more person the Siroteks must have treated very poorly.
In Japan, Roe's work was well known because the game scenarios had to be translated from English to Japanese.
When translating, you must ask the scenario writer what you don't understand.
And it was always Roe who answered the questions.
So, in Japan, it was common to read in magazine articles that "Roe wrote the scenario for U4.
 

unseeingeye

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This all makes so much sense.

U3 is the work of an autistic basket case who still lives with his mother. Then suddenly U4 is this amazingly literate masterpiece. I used to read interviews with Garriott and have trouble believing this chronic masturbator running around in a fake chainmail suit waving a wooden sword calling himself "Lord British" could possibly have authored a game of such quality. U4 was the work of a mature wise head with a very broad perspective.

Answers to many questions I have had for years.
I had to laugh when I read about how Ultima 4 was made as a consequence of Garriott trying to disprove the claims of the Satanic Panic crowd and their ilk that video games are evil and only negatively effect their audiences. Even though he supposedly didn't give them much credence he nevertheless was "deeply" troubled by this perspective on video games so he decided to subvert expectations and make the game about the virtues and so on. In my mind I thought "there is no fucking way that clown came up with such a genius idea" never mind its execution, and reading this thread puts the whole history of those games (and several others!) into a clarified perspective that makes much, much more sense. Can't believe I wasn't more familiar with Roe; I'd encountered the name but had no idea about most of this.
 

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