Richard Garriott

Richard Garriott

Infobox Astronaut

name = Richard Garriott
type = Spaceflight Participant
nationality = American
date_birth = birth date and age|1961|7|4
place_birth = Cambridge, England
place_death =
current_occupation = Game designer
rank =
selection =
time =
mission = Soyuz TMA-13
insignia =|

Richard Allen Garriott (born July 4, 1961), also known as Lord British in "Ultima" and General British in "Tabula Rasa", is a significant figure in the video game industry. He was originally a game designer and programmer, but now engages in various aspects of computer game development. He is scheduled to fly as spaceflight participant to the International Space Station in October 2008.cite web | url = | title = Former Astronaut's Son Signs on as Next Space Tourist | work = | accessdate = October 9 | accessyear = 2007]


Early life

Garriott, an American citizen, was born in Cambridge, England, and raised in Nassau Bay, Texas. He is the son of scientist Owen K. Garriott, who became an astronaut and flew with Skylab 3 and Space Shuttle mission STS-9. At Clear Creek High School, he took an interest in computers and began self-directed courses in programming in which he created fantasy computer games. He also gained the nickname Lord British from older students at his school who thought he spoke with a British accent.citation | date = March 1986 | periodical = Computer Gaming World | title = Inside Ultima IV | year = 1986 | pages = 18-21]

Programming career

Richard continued programming many games, often offering them to friends for free. He produced his first published game, "Akalabeth" ("DND28b" [cite web | url = | title = Interview with Richard Garriott at Frictionless Insight | author = Ackerman, Kyle | date = 2002-03-17 | accessdate = 2008-01-31] ), in the summer of 1980 while working at a ComputerLand retail store. Garriott earned more than enough money from "Akalabeth" to pay to continue his education. In the fall, he entered the University of Texas at Austin, joined the school's fencing team and later joined the Society for Creative Anachronism.

In the early 1980s, Garriott developed the "Ultima" computer game series (sequels after the first were numbered, such as "Ultima II", "Ultima III" and so on). Originally programmed for the Apple II, the first was published by California Pacific Computers, and sold in ziploc plastic bags to interested parties. The second part was published by Sierra On-Line. By the time he developed his third installment, the games had such a large following that Garriott (along with his brother, Robert, and father and others) established Origin Systems, their own video game publisher, to handle the publishing and distribution of his title, now available on several platforms. Origin went on to become one of the most influential game developers in the history of video games.

Garriott sold Origin to Electronic Arts in September 1992. In 1999 and 2000, EA canceled all of Origin's new development projects, including "Privateer Online", and "Harry Potter Online" [cite web | url = | title = IGN: Harry Potter LEGO Redux | author = Linder, Brian | date = 2001-05-10 | accessdate = 2007-04-28] cite web | url = | title = When Kings Fall: Part II of II | author = Matonis, Misty | date = 2002-01-05 | accessdate = 2007-04-28] . In the midst of these events, Garriott resigned from the company and returned to the industry by forming Destination Games in April 2000 with his brother and Starr Long (the producer of "Ultima Online"). Once Garriott's non-compete agreement with EA expired a year later, Destination partnered with NCsoft where he currently acts as a producer and designer of MMORPGs.


On September 28 2007, Space Adventures announced that Garriott would fly to the International Space Station in October 2008 as the sixth space tourist. He will launch onboard Soyuz TMA-13, and will land with Soyuz TMA-12. [] He will become the first offspring of an American Astronaut to go into space himself, and the second after cosmonaut Sergey Volkov. Soyuz TMA-12 will carry both of them on its return trip. []

During his spaceflight, Richard will take part in several education outreach efforts. He is an Amateur Radio Operator (W5KWQ), and during his stay on the International Space Station (ISS), he is expected to communicate with students and other Amateur Radio operators using Amateur Radio [cite news|url=|title=Richard Garriott on ISS |date=2008-09-19|accessdate=2008-10-07] . In addition, Richard is working with the Windows on Earth project, which provides an interactive, virtual view of Earth as seen from the ISS. [cite web|url=|title=Windows on Earth] During his flight, Richard will use Windows on Earth software to assist in the selection of locations on Earth to photograph, and the public can use the same online tool to track the ISS and see the view Richard is experiencing out an ISS window. Then, after the flight, Richard's photographs, along with ones taken by his astronaut father Owen Garriott in 1973, will be available to the public through Windows on Earth, adding a personal element to studies of Earth and how Earth has changed over time.

Video game works


Garriott became the ninth inductee into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2006.

Other accomplishments and interests

Garriott acted as corner man for professional boxer and friend Jesús Chávez in his first title defense against Erik Morales in 2004.

He is also an avid magician and magic collector, and appeared on the cover of the January 2008 "MUM", the magazine of the Society of American Magicians.

Garriott built a "haunted house"/museum at his residence called Britannia Manor in Austin, Texas. He also promotes private space flight as vice-chairman of the board of directors for Space Adventures and as a trustee of the X-Prize.


External links

* [ Blog and details about Garriott's spaceflight]
* [ Spacefacts biography of Richard Garriott]
* [ Richard Garriott] interview on [ Next-Gen]
* [ Richard Garriott] interview on [ UORadio]
* [ Biography of Garriott from]
* [ Interview with Garriott in Austin Chronicle from 2000]
* [ Munchkin Village mayor tries to go to space: Computer programmer touts commercial space tourism] (The Daily Texan, 7/19/2005)
* [ Interview with Richard Garriott on space tourism] (The Space Review, 8/8/2005)
* [ The Dot Eaters article] featuring a history of Gariott/Lord British, his games, and Origin.
* [ Interview with Garriott on space and Operation Immortality] featuring footage of Richard training.
* [ Windows on Earth]

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