Picking on Mr. Garriott

I used to feel a bit bad for Richard Garriott.

I used to think that perhaps the press was emphasizing the whole “Richard Garriott in space!” angle a bit too much.

Every story about the guy in the last five years or so has featured a picture of him in a space suite, regardless of the topic actually being discussed.  It often seemed a bit of a distraction, or an unnecessary implied comment on the man.

The headlines might as well read something like, “Crazy Space Guy is going to make Facebook Games!” or “Garriott to sue NCSoft once he Returns to Planet Earth!”

But then I started to follow him on Twitter.

And, aside from a Twitter feed that is a bit of a yawn fest (nice run there on Sunday, 4.52 miles in an hour is better than I could do these days), he does seem to emphasize the whole space thing quite a bit.

His Twitter pages lists his activities in this order:

  • Space Explorer
  • Game Developer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Philanthropist
  • Visionary
  • Explorer

And, of course, for his avatar, and the background picture of his Twitter page, he has a picture of himself in a space suit.

So every message from him has him in a space suit.

Congratulations Mr. Garriott.  May you and your bride find happiness.

Meanwhile, we’ll all be working out a joke involving you, your wedding night, and a space suit.

Or maybe that is just me.

Maybe the “crazy space guy” angle of things and the “ground control to Maj. Tom” subtexts are all just a product of my own imagination. Maybe it is me projecting these thoughts, and it is not some wry commentary at all when I see a story about his plan to make a poker game on Facebook and it includes the inevitable picture of him ready for outer space.

Am I alone in this?

Anyway, carry on with the space suit pictures.  It seems that this is something important to the man.

19 thoughts on “Picking on Mr. Garriott

  1. Genda

    Who is he again? Didn’t he make a game back in the 90’s?

    Oh, yeah he lives here in Austin.

    I joke, but the only game of his I ever tried was TR, and it was fail. He does seem to like his attention though.

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  2. Stabs

    His dad was an astronaut. I actually find it rather cool, he’s both following in his father’s footsteps and living the American Dream.

    I appreciate the timing was unfortunate, Emperor British fiddling in space while Tabula Rasa burned but I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of in achieving his lifelong hope to go to space.

    It seems neither does he nor does Twitter.

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  3. James Haight

    Well, I understand that before this his schtick was crowns, castles and crushed velvet.. though yeah, I’m not sure if it’s an improvement.

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  4. sarapickell

    vis a vis wikipedia –
    “As of June 20 2011, a total of 523 people from 38 countries[5] have reached 100 km (62 mi) or more in altitude, of which 520 reached Low Earth orbit or beyond.[6][7]”

    From a population of 6 billion, that’s a pretty small group to be a member of. Honestly, if I had the chance, I’d go, no matter what projects I had going on.

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  5. TheRemedy

    I’m really surprised no one has mashed up the Space Core from Portal 2 and Richard Garriot yet.

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Sara – I wasn’t knocking his space flight ambitions. I’d go too.

    I was just wondering about the the fact that just about every story related to him in the press shows him in a space suit regardless of the actual subject of the story. And often, said picture seems to be used as a way to mock him. I was amazed a couple of months ago when Massively mentioned him in an article and showed a picture of him NOT in a space suit.

    It reminded me a bit of Tom Hanks who for years, at every event, would be greeted by a big background shot of him playing Forest Gump, as though that was what we should all know about him. I understand that the Gump thing used to annoy him and was wondering if the “always in a space suit” angle bothered Mr. Garriott. My guess now would be “no.”

    Still, the guy is also heavily into magic and is an accomplished magician, yet I don’t recall the press ever using stock images of him in tails pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Maybe there just aren’t any such images handy.

    @James – You should read about his house. He became wealthy at a relatively young age and did what most nerds might have done… built a castle with an astronomical observatory. I’d do that too.

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  7. Dril

    You know, I never, ever thought of it the way you did.

    I just thought the whole space-flight was his thing, a way to distinguish him from the crowd of other devs with a public profile. If he wanted to be seen as Fleet Commander British or whatever, go nuts.

    Although I have to ask: what is he? British or a “second-generation American”? I mean, it looks like he was sort of clutching for a “first” there, since (I assume, I have no knowledge of my nation’s space capability) there’s been other Brits in space.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I supposed when you are a cynic and prone to sarcasm, you tend to see that in others as well. I try consciously to avoid projecting (as well as to avoid being overly sarcastic, a flaw of my youth), or to at least to try to recognize when I am, but you are what you are.

    His dad was born in the US, in Oklahoma, though he himself was born in the UK. I do not see a mention of his mother anywhere, but I gather that since they credit him as a “British American” that his mother might have been such.

    Still, he was raised in the US and sounds like it when he speaks.

    He is the first son of somebody who has been in space to make it into space, or so I gather, though his father got NASA to foot the bill for his trips into the black by being pretty brilliant of his own accord.

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  9. Aufero

    I liked TR (despite feeling like it needed another 6-12 months of work before release) and I’d undoubtedly take a trip into space if I could afford one. Heck, I liked Ultima I,II and III. Guess I can’t really criticize Richard Garriott.

    (And I just realized I’m two weeks older than he is. Wish I’d spent 1979-89 writing games instead of statistical analysis programs and point-of-sale databases.)

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  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Aufero – Ultima III was a big deal for me. I played that one to death, then found that somebody made a game editor, bought that, and created a Bored of the Rings version of the game. I even had the Mockingboard sound card that played the high quality sound track for the game.

    I also played I, II, and IV, along with other games from Origin like AutoDuel, the translation of SJ Games’ Car Wars to the 8-bit computing world. After that I bought a Mac and Origin went to IBM compatible-only for its titles.

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  11. Gina Cirelli

    Well, I remember some years (decades?) ago reading about him marrying his personal trainer. I got a good laugh out of that one. So yeah, there’s probably no data for a reason.

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  12. Gina Cirelli

    Annnd I just realize how catty I’m sounding. He’s just such an incredibly intelligent man that I’ve always hoped he’d pair with an intellectual equal — the world could use whatever came out of that union of minds.

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  13. Dolnor

    I actually got to talk to Richard at length at a NCSoft VIP party. Maybe because it was post-E3 and not in a huge convention space, but he was very casual and talked like just another every-day person. This was pre-Tabula Rasa release.

    These days, he has realized that the only way to keep media attention is to talk about the space trip. In media worlds, if your name isn’t fresh on news hounds minds, you will fade away in the minds of investors/general public. So he is milking the space trip for everything it can provide.

    I respect Mr. Garriott much more than one of his fellow co-founders of his new venture Portalarium . That person would be Stephen Nichols…a person who’s own ego far exceeds Richard’s and 99% of the world (including all the past/current Dictators!).

    As for him being marrried, he got a divorce a while back. And in marrying another woman. Here is announcement of his engagement… http://www.ultimaaiera.com/blog/richard-garriott-is-engaged/ and his marriage… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJMozzLh5fc

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