There are a few games that come to mind when I think about the word “classic”. Civilisation, Elite, Monkey Island maybe.
Sid Meir’s Pirates! is a classic game in every sense of the word.
As the name suggests, the game casts you as a 18th century pirate in the Spanish Main and, I can’t emphasize this enough, the game is MASSIVE. As much as Elite was open-ended, so is Pirates! You are completely free to choose the path that your career takes. You can mercilessly plunder the seas, attack jewel trains, invade ports, dig for buried treasure. Or if you like you can align yourself with one of the four nations in the game and wage bloody war on their enemies (who their enemies actually are changes from time to time, so be careful). Get yourself a good enough reputation and you can gain rank, privilege and maybe even the hand of a governors daughter 😉
Navigating the game-world is done via a top down map of the area, in which you sail you ship (or fleet if you are really successful) between ports, or go looking for other ships to attack.. or even search for buried treasure if you have a map. When another ship is encountered you get a choice of actions, you can attack them and attempt to steal their ship or cargo, or you can hail them for the latest news for example. Success in ship to ship combat is dependant on the size and speed of your vessel and the number of cannons that you have, and usually ends with you boarding the enemy ship and fighting the captain in a duel.
A remastered version of Pirates! was released in 1993 which had better graphics, sound and a few new features – none of which the game really needs. Given a choice between this and Pirates! Gold i’ll choose the original every time.
When it comes to atmosphere and addictiveness it’s hard to think of anything that comes close to this game. Highly recommended.
- Designed by: Sid Meier
- Published by: Microprose
Size: 738kb (3 min on 56k dial-up)