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As today’s (Talk like a) Pirate Day, let’s take the time to remember the games about the people that love booty more than the rest of us put together.

Pirates in simulation games

Sid Meyer’s Pirates! (the ’87 original and the 2004 remake), Sea Dogs, Age of Booty, Age of Pirates and Age of Sail.

Sid Meyer’s Pirates! was the game that started it all, on the Commodore 64, more than 20 years ago. This was the first game to have Sid Meyer’s name attached to its title, a PR stunt from Microprose trying to get fans of Meyer’s other titles (mostly flying sims) to purchase this original pirate sim. And boy, was it original:  the gameplay was open ended meaning you chose your own adventure as you’d attack other ships and towns, look for treasure or avoid combat and all things pirate by living the peaceful life of a trader (till you ran into pirates yourself).  Since then many have jumped on the pirate sim bandwagon and also a remake for the game was released in 2004.  Also a notable mention would be Pirates of Caribbean, a mediocre game when released but, thanks to the modding comunity, a worthy pirate title.

Pirates in MMOs

(Pirates of the Burning Seas, Pirates of the Caribbean Online)

MMOs expanded on the whole “live the life of a pirate” thing by adding, well, more pirates.  Controlled by players. Pirates of the Burning Seas gets the top spot here, with Pirates of the Caribbean Online from Disney also providing a satisfying pirate adventure,  although, Disney style, keeping it as kid friendly as possible.

Pirates in strategy games

Age of Booty, Port Royale 2 and Tropico 2: Pirate Cove

Pirates, strategy and resource management? Well yes, you can actually mix those thing up and come up with a good game. Age of Booty revolves around your  ship and town upgrading, Port Royale 2 is more about establishing trade routes and building shipping cartels than buccaneers and swordplay and Tropico 2 ditches some of the economic develepment options from the previous game and features a “reverse economy” where money can be stolen rather than earned.

tropico2_2

Pirates in adventure games

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbados’  Treasure, the  Monkey Island series

Zack & Wiki blew the critics away when it hit the Wii. It offered a fun adventure/puzzle mix and the controls were praised as controlling  wannabe pirate Zack was a breeze (which is how all games should fell like on the Wii). But when it comes to wannabe pirates, there’s one character that stands out. Guybrush Threepwood is the main character of the Monkey Island series and he’s had nothing but trouble because of the name. Each game follows Guybrush as he tries to become the most feared pirate in the Caribbean Sea, save governor, damsel in distress and love interest Elaine Marley and defeat his arch-nemesis, evil undead pirate LeChuck. Apart from being very good adventure games, the Monkey Island titles were most known for their humor. Every other line is a joke and this sometimes translates into the puzzles, some solutions requiring you to think waaaay out of the box. After four successful titles, Lucasarts is testing the waters (meaning interest in the series) with a remake of the original Monkey Island and some episodic content develop by another company. If things go right (and by the sales number, they are), a full sequel is incoming.

monkey1

Future of pirates?

The future seems to favor the pirates. If the present has them locked in a brutal fight with the ninjas (with no side willing to surrender) , space pirates seem to be what the future holds for us, titles like Metroid prime or movie Treasure Planet replacing the dreaded seas with space. Why are pirates so cool? I don’t know, they just Arrrr! (mandatory pirate day joke: achievement completed)

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One Comment

  1. Three men left on a dead man’s chest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bag of indo!

    To “Errrrrrr” is human, to “Arrrrr” is pirate! Arrrrr !


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