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Akalabeth was one of the first computer games made. It was created by then-teenaged Richard Garriott in 1978, who distributed the game himself by collaborating with computer store owners in Austin, Texas.

Garriott created the game in an attempt to capture the gameplay mechanics of role-playing games in computer form. (It is for this reason that some gamers call Akalabeth the ancestor of all console and computer role-playing games, although several other seminal influences, such as Rogue, exist.) Naturally, Akalabeth's gameplay and graphics are very crude by modern standards, but this did not stop the game from attracting a large amount of attention.

Though not explicitly stated, Akalabeth is seen as the first game of the Ultima series, a very popular and influential series of computer role-playing games. It is, therefore, included as part of the Ultima Collection.

Its name derives from Tolkien work Akallabęth, the story of the drowning of Numenor.