Richard Garriott and his Nerdy Dream House

Ransom Riggs

Old-school computer gamers will likely have heard of Richard Garriott, AKA "Lord British," the designer of the classic and long-running Ultima series of single- and multi-player fantasy role-playing games. I have to admit to being sort of obsessed with Ultima VII back in the ninth grade, drawn in by its huge, quirky world -- fantasy/medieval with a twist -- which you could explore at will, and was full of strange objects to be discovered and played with that didn't necessarily have any point other than being interesting. That's also how you could describe most of the stuff in Garriott's house.

"Lord British" is actually a Texan, and calls his quirky, self-designed house in Austin "Britannia Manor." (Britannia is the fictional world in which all the Ultima games took place.) It's probably the strangest house ever to appear on MTV's Cribs, since what you'd find inside isn't exactly what you'd expect to see in a rapper's house. From Wikipedia:

The manor's medieval design reflects Garriott's interest in the era. The house is adorned with various medieval items such as crossbows, swords, and armour. It features traps and a network of secret passages and rooms. A secret room in the basement contains some of Garriott's most treasured artifacts, including dinosaur fossils, a coffin with a human skeleton inside it, and an authentic 16th century vampire hunting kit. The house also features other collections such as hairs from the Glacier snowman, a brick from the Great Wall of China, a Russian spacesuit, and three stained glass windows retrieved from an abandoned church. The house also has an observatory in the main complex. Although part of the house, it is structurally independent from the rest of the house in order to damp out vibrations, as they ruin long-exposure space photos.

VBS.TV took a tour of Garriott's house recently, and it's pretty fascinating stuff.