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Plugged In

Game legend’s NYC home is a geek’s dream

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(Credit: Polygon)

You wouldn't expect a man who calls himself ‘Lord British’ to live somewhere mundane -- and game design guru Richard Garriott's homes certainly defy that description.

His Austin castle -- yes, castle -- is a thing of legend, complete with secret passages, a waterfall, a carousel and an observatory. But it turns out his New York pad is just as cool.

The five-story Manhattan brownstone is Garriott's fourth house, and he opened the doors to Polygon to give them a tour of the eccentricities that we've come to expect from the man who created the Ultima franchise. What did he have to show off?

Well, the house itself is only 16 feet wide -- a bit unique, even in Manhattan. But it’s stuffed with fossils, mummies, automatons, and much, much more.

How about a mechanized pepper grinder that's nearly six feet tall? Or perhaps a vampire hunting kit? Like Austin, there are secret passages. He's even got a sidewalk vault – as in, an actual vault that's hidden under the streets of New York And as if that weren't enough, the house holds incredibly rare original backups of Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2. Yes, that Sputnik.

Of course, Garriott gets plenty of work done from home, too. He uses a robotic device to check in regularly with the Austin offices of Portalarium, his game studio.

By the way, if you were hoping to buy a home like Garriott's, you're in luck. Two years ago, Britannia Manor II, a 5,000 square foot home in Austin that overlooks 3,000 acres of protected land, was put on the market for a little more than $4 million. It didn't sell, and it's now been re-listed for a modest (well, for a castle) $2.4 million.

The listing was removed last June, though, when no buyer emerged. Maybe after seeing the shrunken heads, elephant skulls, and weaponry, potential buyers knew there was no way they'd be able to live up to the home's heritage.

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