About Richard Learn about Richard's career, interests, and homes.
For a man who has experienced a lifetime of adventures ranging from the icy desert of Antarctica to the watery depths of the Titanic, space was the only stone left unturned for this explorer—until recently.
A video game pioneer, Richard Garriott de Cayeux traveled into orbit in October 2008 and fulfilled his lifelong dream. Born July 4th, 1961 in Cambridge, England, son of astronaut Owen Garriott, Richard has led a spectacular life unlike any other.
Read more about Richard’s activities in the following fields:
Under the pseudonym Lord British, Richard Garriott de Cayeux is best known for creating the longest running RPG series, Ultima, which has been produced since the 1980’s. His love of creating fantasy computer games led to an early career in game development. Richard first made waves with his game entitled Akalabeth which was distributed in 1980 in Ziploc® bags. After Akalabeth was picked up by an early publisher, Richard began work on his Ultima computer game series. The series maintained production via different publishing companies until Garriott and his brother Robert created their own company, Origin Systems. Garriott continued to publish the new editions of Ultima through Origin until selling the company to Electronic Arts in 1992 where he continued development of the series.
His place in video gaming history was solidified with his creation of Ultima Online which was the first large scale commercial “massively multi-player online game” (MMOG), outsold all previous versions of the Ultima series by ten-fold, and still remains a best seller to this day. Richard retired from Origin in 2000 and re-entered the gaming industry in 2001 with his brother under the company title of Destination Games. Destination Games soon merged with the South Korean gaming giant NCsoft. While with NCsoft, Richard developed Tabula Rasa and expanded the NCsoft brand to London, Los Angeles, and Seattle.
With such an expansive gaming record, Richard has achieved many accolades from the gaming industry. These awards serve as markers for his progression through his gaming career.
- → 1992: Awarded Entrepreneur Of The Year by Inc. Magazine (presented to Richard and his brother Robert).
- → 2005: Inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science’s Hall of Fame.
- → 2005: Presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the IGDA.
- → Awarded Game of the Year, Game Designer of the Year, and Role Playing Game Design Award.
Besides being a video game mogul, Richard has also maintained a thirst for adventure and exploration. Not only is he active in the adventure sports of scuba diving, hang gliding, sky diving, caving, rappelling, and other water sports and winter sports, but Richard also enjoys taking his love of adventure to the next level. He has participated in two expeditions in search of meteorites on the continent of Antarctica during which he was able to witness spectacular views of the continent he still describes as the most beautiful place on earth.
Tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda and canoeing down the Amazon both seem tame in comparison to his deep ocean hydrothermal vent expeditions in order to study extremophile bacteria and his involvement in one of the first non-salvage dives to the Titanic. Richard also took part in the 2001 Atlantic Sands expedition which discovered and performed salvage operations on the world’s deepest wooden shipwreck which is believed to have sunk in a storm sometime around the year 1810.
Richard is an active member of The Explorers Club. And in support of the traditions of The Explorers Club, Richard took the club flag with him on his mission to space.
As his fame in the gaming industry grew, Richard still maintained a passion for his childhood dream of space exploration by investing in various space related ventures. Richard was an early investor in Zero-G Corporation—a company founded in 1993 with a goal of promoting the experience of weightlessness to the general public. Since Zero-G Corporation began offering flights, it has flown over 2,500 private citizens.
The X-Prize Foundation is a venture that Richard participates in as a trustee and “New Spirit” member. The X-Prize Foundation is a non-profit foundation devoted to the advancement of science through the offering of multi-million dollar prizes for groups that create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. It has since been creating waves in space, medical, and energy research to name a few.
In addition to Zero-G, Richard serves as Vice Chairman of Space Adventures, the world’s leading private space tourism company. With a goal of opening the space frontier to private citizens, Space Adventures has since sent the world’s only six private space tourists to the International Space Station.
As a resident of Austin, TX
As a private citizen in Austin, TX, Richard Garriott de Cayeux is most well known for his home, Britannia Manor. His famed estate holds an eclectic array of amazing architectural features and exotic collections. Features include an observatory, secret passages, and even a dungeon. Modeled after his Ultima games, Britannia Manor has consistently been featured on television programs for its creativity and ingenuity.
To accompany his home’s unique features, Richard also possesses many collections of rare artifacts. His collections revolve around his wide variety of interests in space, science, orreries, automata, magic, and natural history. The artifacts range from 16th century weaponry, mummified objects, century old antique science equipment to objects he has gathered from the various expeditions he has underwent from the depths of the ocean to the cold terrain of Antarctica. Most recently, Britannia Manor II was showcased on MTV.
Aside from Britannia Manor’s unique home design, it also earned a reputation during the early 1990’s as the country’s most elaborate haunted house. As a devoted aficionado of the tradition of Halloween, Garriott would spend months transforming his home into a haunted house unlike anything that others had ever dreamed of. Richard allotted thousands of dollars each year towards building and converting Britannia into something that people would love to experience. It was the most interactive haunted house in the country—an individual would have to run, jump, crawl, and paddle their way to safety as they underwent quests and adventures throughout his estate. With each year, talk of his home grew and lines of people would form outside of his home for a chance to enter his haunted house. Britannia Manor soon gained national exposure as word spread and became a Texas institution. The manor discontinued its role as a haunted house in 1994 with Garriott vowing to create an even better haunted house attraction in the future with the building of his new home.
In the Austin community, Richard participates in various philanthropies with the earth and performance arts in mind. He regularly hosts the Austin Shakespeare Festival on his estate at his built-to-scale replica of the Globe Theatre. Richard has also sponsored haunted trails and hosts a yearly concert and fund raiser on the behalf of the Wild Basin Preserve, has supported the Bat Conservation International group along with the Nature Conservancy.
Magic & Boxing
In addition to the arts, Richard shares a great interest in the world of magic. He is currently a lifetime member in the Society of American Magicians and a participating member in the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Garriott recently hosted an event at his home entitled Magic at the Manor in which top magicians from across the world performed for his guests. Richard is also a boxing fanatic and has even served as a corner man in a match for his professional boxer friend and two time world champion, Jesus Chavez.
With his thirst of adventure on land and under water having been quenched, space was the final frontier for Richard.
Having caught the space bug as a child from his astronaut father, Richard has a passion for the space industry and has participated in many space simulated training activities such as Zero-G parabolas, centrifuge simulations of Soyuz launch and landing, and Mig 25 flights to the edge of space. He has also invested in space-related ventures such as the Zero-G corporation, X-Prize, Spacehab, and Space Adventures.
His dream of visiting outer space finally become a reality when he launch aboard Soyuz TMA-13 as the world’s sixth private space explorer and first second-generation astronaut. It was the mission of a lifetime.