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Artefacts From The Origin Museum

Joe Garrity curates the Origin Museum, one of the world's largest collections of Origin Systems materials, including design documents, pre-production artwork, source code, and the heads of fallen Kilrathi warriors. Fans of the Ultima series will have seen Origin Museum content archived on Kenneth Kully's vast and beautifully designed Ultima Codex website, such as this remarkable set of Ultima design documents.

However, the Origin Museum contains more than just the material history of the Ultima titles. I grew up with games like Tangled Tales, Bad Blood, and Knights of Legend, all published by Origin, and all just as worthy of being remembered at their more illustrious stable-mates. As Joe has the history, and I have the webspace, we've set out to digitize a few more artefacts from the Origin Museum.

And the story of how Joe ended up with all this stuff? It's just as fascinating as the items he cares for.


From: joe garrity
To: "kg@wyrdsmith.co.uk" <kg@wyrdsmith.co.uk>
Subject: Completion Certificates-the story
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2015 10:01:29 -0500

As you know, Origin Systems was closing their Austin, Texas operations in 2004, with all Origin properties being brought under the EA flag.  I had sent a few emails out to some of the development team that we were in contact with, wishing them good luck and reminding them to keep in touch.   A few weeks later, The Origin Museum was contacted by Electronic Arts (yes, just like that--out of the blue).  I was honored that with all that was going on, that they would take the time to contact me!  The representative said that they were emailing, "...to let you know that we appreciate all the Museum's work in preserving Origin's history. As the company prepares to move to the Electronic Arts offices in California, we obviously are packing up all of the items in our offices, and have come across some items that we feel need to be preserved. We've spoken to management, and they agree that The Origin Museum is the best place for these things to be. I won't tell you what we're sending, but I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised."

After about 3 weeks the packages arrived-- over 15 boxes of material, containing games, developer documentation, props, artwork, and much of the work done by the Creative Services department--slides, negatives, and the final mockups used to create the boxes.  Among some of the items sent were these completion certificates, and the final master 'paste-ups' of the creation of these certs.

The Origin Museum has been honored to be the caretakers of these artifacts, and it shows that the folks at Electronic Arts truly care about the fans, and that the development of these classic titles are preserved as part of our gaming history.


Pre-production paste-ups for the completion certificates sent out to players who finished several Origin games, including Ultima IV and V, plus some unusual blank certificates and the rare Moebius completion certificate.