Review: Sid Meier’s Pirates!, live the glorious life of a swashbuckler
Sid Meier. He’s become a legend in the video game universe for his Civilization series. But there are others by the gaming genius that are not as well known. “Pirates” is one of them. The classic game came out for the first time in 1987, and was released for Commodore Amiga in 1990 and 1994. In Sid Meier’s Pirates!, you play as a pirate out for revenge against the evil Spanish nobleman who wronged your family. At least, that’s your initial reason for going to sea. The beauty of Sid Meier’s Pirates! is that this open-ended strategy game lets you live the glorious life of a swashbuckler your own way. You can pursue the career of a privateer, a treasure hunter, an explorer, or a trader. More often than not, you’ll dabble in all those fields at the same time. You’ll sail the Spanish main, trade broadsides with other ships, engage in dashing swordfights, search for buried treasure, sneak into hostile towns, and dance with many a governor’s daughter along the way. Your character will age over time, so your ultimate goal is to amass as much fame and fortune as possible before you retire, at which point your pirate will go into the hall of fame and you can start all over again. Sid Meier’s Pirates! is remarkably easy to pick up and play, yet that simplicity belies a considerable amount of strategic depth. Your first stop will be in port, where you can pick up a letter of marquee from the local governor, which basically gives you the right to sink any ship not flying that nation’s flag. You can also swing by the tavern to get the latest gossip, purchase a useful item from the mysterious guy in the corner, or hire a bunch of scurvy knaves for your crew. After you check in with the shipwright, who patches up any damage and can upgrade various components of your ship, you’ll visit the local merchant, where you can provision your ship and purchase or sell trade goods. Sid Meier’s Pirates! was not only popular amongst gamers, it also performed well in the eyes of the gaming press. It was awarded “Action Game of the Year” by Computer Gaming World, and also the Origin Award for “Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1987”. The game also ranked at #18 in the Computer Gaming World’s 150 Best Games of All Time. Clearly, this game has remained in the gaming public’s eye for a reason, making Sid Meier’s Pirates! a worthy addition to anyone’s game collection. It was also released on CD for the Commodore AmigaCD32 in 1994 with enhanced CD audio tracks.