A quick one for today! This ad shows off the personality of both the games and the company in one shot. The runes along the edges and the ankhs in the corners, though, play favorites with Richard Garriott’s Ultima — the land of Britannia, where the game takes place, uses runes as its alphabet and the ankh is the symbol of its hero, the Avatar.
But it also shows off Moebius (a role-playing, martial arts action title), Auto Duel (an adaptation of Steve Jackson’s Car Wars tabletop game that pits player in vehicles dueling it out on the lawless roads of the America in a dystopian future), and Ogre (a boardgame adaptation where one player is a super tank — the Ogre — and a second player commanding a small army must find the right tactics to defeat it).
Origin was eager to spread its creative wings outside the Avatar’s shadow, a direction that would lead it into experimenting with a number of different genres from games touted as ‘interactive movies’ like BioForge to epic space sims like Wing Commander in later years, examples living up to its better known motto — “We Create Worlds”.
unwashedmass in the comments suggested that there might be a message hidden in those runes in the ad above so I took another look and there was something there!
I used a copy of the runic alphabet from the Ultima Wiki as a reference in translating the runes.
I started with the top bar (I flipped it vertically and then reversed it horizontally) and this is what it translated to as best I could figure out:
F COMBINING HUMAN WILL AND NAT
Then I took a look at the left side bar (I rotated the ad clockwise from its starting neutral position and translated it from there) and this was the result of that one:
SSES AND EFFECTS OF COMBINING HUMAN WILL AND NAT
The right bar is the same as the left, and the bottom bar is the same as the top.
I’m not sure what these mean — they seem like fragments of something else but I’m not sure what. Putting the broken phrases into Google had yielded links to toxicity studies but I’ll hazard a guess that’s not quite what Lord British had in mind for his Avatar. If anyone has anything else to add, please do!