Eight Virtues

If you don’t get this post, don’t worry. It’s a geek thing.

Today I’ve been redrafting the chapter in my thesis about the history of RPGs, and had to find out what the Eight Virtues from the *Ultima* series were. *Ultima IV* was a real milestone in videogame history, in that its hero, the Avatar, appeared in a world that had just been saved from villains three times. The people of Britannia were looking for ways to transcend their bloody past, and were building a code of ethics to guide them into a glorious future. It was the first RPG I know of that really thought about what was needed to build a good society, and possibly the first videogame that incorporated an explicitly formulated moral code that the hero was expected to adhere to.

Those whose memory of the games is clearer than mine may remember that the Eight Virtues of the Avatar are:
* honesty
* compassion
* valour
* justice
* sacrifice
* honour
* spirituality
* humility

*Ultima*s *IV–VI* asked players a series of questions to discover what virtues they favoured, to determine what the PCs attributes and class would be. Some of those questions have resurfaced as online, _Ultima_-themed “personality” tests. There’s “one that uses graphics from Ultima IV”:http://cyborgcentral.dynip.com/~strider/intro.html (lots of clicking through required to get to the test), which, like *Ultima IV* itself, asks so few questions that you’ll have an affinity with a different virtue every time. Alternatively, there’s “one that asks loads of questions”:http://www.tk421.net/ultima/ but doesn’t conclusively tell you which virtue you favour.

These tests are so far from being valid that it’s ridiculous, but the questions are all based on imaginary situations, and they’re fun for nostalgia’s sake. If you’re looking for humour, there’s also the oddly-named “Test of Avatarishness Purity Test”:http://www.aowm60.dsl.pipex.com/avatartest66.html, which doesn’t really test your personality, or have anything to do with the Virtues, but is a lot more fun than the others. It asks, among other things, “Have you ever been threatened by big red evil faces on your computer screen?” I have, and was deemed 32% Avatarish.

Tests aside, which of the virtues do I favour? Well, I think it’s honesty.

Author: Ben Hourigan

Ben Hourigan is a novelist from Melbourne, Australia. His books Kiss Me, Genius Boy and My Generation’s Lament are Amazon category bestsellers, and are available wherever good books are sold online. Ben also works as an editor, copywriter, and self-publishing consultant at his own firm, Hourigan & Co. For news and book release updates, sign up to his email newsletter.