As I mentioned previously, I've been playing Ultima IV - mostly when I'm watching the Olympics or killing time that I can't productively spend otherwise.
I learned a few things about gaming from it, including explanations for why things I did previously were good ideas.
Focus on the fun part - Ultima IV is an old-school RPG game; you have to buy food or starve to death. Pretty cool, huh? That's hard core old school.
But it also kind of sucks.
I remembered the food issue keenly from my Ultima III/IV/VI days, so the first thing I did this time around was go around solo and build up gold killing monsters so I could stock up on food. This leveled me up, but also distracted me from the main quest since my first priority was getting food. It didn't take long, but "get gold to buy food" is a recurring issue in the game, even if only a minor one later on.
The thing is, it's not fun to buy food or starve to death. The "challenge" of keeping a stock of food is merely expensive, discouraging you from amassing a full 8-man party until you've got piles of gold because of the expense of feeding them.
In my own GURPS game, I track food. But I also made an arrangement with my players to simply charge a bit extra for upkeep, which includes the cost of replacing their rations. If they have a couple day's worth, we know they won't starve in the dungeon, and they buy new ones and presumably eat the old ones. No one complains, and we avoid an issue that doesn't add much fun . . . while retaining the danger of lack of food if they get really stuck.
If it's not fun, ditch it entirely - aka The Wind, She Blows!
Sea travel (and balloon travel) in Ultima IV is influenced by the wind. Which mainly means you learn the Wind spell (and buy the material components to cast it) and save it for when you find a balloon. For ships, it just means lots of teeth getting as you try to sail directly into the wind and take extra game time doing nothing except pressing a direction button. Sure, you get a few more encounters because the wind pins you in close to the monsters. But that further eats into game time, and combat isn't especially interesting. So all the wind influence on the game does is slow down the fun bits (going places, talking to people, coaxing information out of them) and add more unfun bits ("Slow Progress!" as you hit buttons to no avail, or more useless fights.)
So what does this add?
Not a lot. If it only minorly affected sea travel, and majorly affected balloons, that would be fine. But all it really does is annoy the heck out of me when I want to go to some island city and do something and have a nice save point before I get back to work . . . and to do it takes hammering keys waiting for the wind to change.
It basically is extra detail that distracts me from what I want to do (explore, accomplish goals, talk to people) and makes me spend time doing things I don't (hitting buttons and waiting to do the exploring, accomplishing, talking).
Provide a way around bad stuff - In Ultima IV, swamps can poison you. Poison needs magic or expensive in-town healing to cure, which means for non-spellcasters swamp kills you and for spellcasters swamp costs you money in spell components. In Ultima VI, you could get special boots that avoided this. This was a good idea, because swamp squares in IV are just frustrating and annoying. Forcing a one-time cost to avoid the ongoing (smaller) cost of cures is fine with me, because it makes you find an in-game solution to the problem. Yet it makes the problem go away, so it's not an ongoing frustration. But in IV, it's just "stock up, mix Cure spells, and cast them in spades as you have to trek across swamps to reach game-critical areas." Bleh.
I haven't done something quite like this in my game, I don't think, unless you count orcs allowing passage into their dungeon areas. That's my players' doing, anyway. But yeah, if walking into area X causes damage and costs money to fix the damage, expect that area X is just marked down as "unfun, avoid unless you absolutely have to." A tradeoff (this makes area X safe, but it's not as good as other gear) is totally fine, and encourages choices and thought.
Anyway, besides remembering how annoying games without diagonal movement and weird rules are (fighters can use bow, but not magical bows . . . ), and having some fun finishing up a game I never did get to finish, I think I've learned something from replaying this old game.