Pirates NES Game Cartridge
Pirates! was released for the NES in 1991. MicroProse developed the game and Ultra Games published the NES version. It became the first video game to have Sid Meier’s name on the title to attract the fans of Sid Meier’s past games, with most of those being simulation games of vehicle combat. This game simulates the the lives of either a pirate, privateer, or pirate hunter that are from the 18th, 17th, and 16th centuries. The setting of the game is the Caribbean with the play fields including Central America, Yucatan Peninsula, Spanish Main, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, all of the Caribbean islands, and Bermuda. The player will have freedom to sail any of the play fields, with the barriers of the game southeast of the island Trinidad and going northeast of the island Bermuda.
Pirates is open world and single player. A marque letter is sent to the player, giving them authorization for privateer service for the French’s colonial empire, Kingdom of England, Dutch Republic, or Spanish Empire. The loyalty of the player can change over time while playing the game. Rank can be held by the player in multiple countries, and you can turn into a pirate at any given time. There is open ended gameplay, which will allow the player choices of attacking enemy towns and ships, hunting pirates, seeking buried treasure, rescuing long lost members of the family, or avoiding any violence at all and try increasing their riches through trade. The game does not have a predetermined end, but as time goes by, recruiting crew members will become harder. Also when the player ages, fights will also become harder, with deteriorating health eventually forcing the player’s character to retire. When the player retires, the game will end, and their character will be given a future life position that ranges from a beggar to the King’s advisor that is based on the total wealth accumulated, rank, marital status, land, and other game accomplishments.
The era of time to play is a choice the player has at the beginning of the game. Each era will have different challenges due to economic and political power shifts with the four European empires. If the earliest year is chosen, which is 1560, the Caribbean almost has no influence other than Spain. If the latest year is chosen, which is 1680, the Caribbean will have more maturity with a lot of colonies being non Spanish and having more activity within the region. The other years that can be chosen are 1660, 1640, 1620, and 1600. The later the year, the less Spanish dominance there is, and seafaring traffic is increased. The designs of the ships also depend on the era. Some of the types will appear more often in specific eras while appearing less often in others. Specific nations will also have near exclusive ship types.
The game will test a large range of the players skills. The fencing sections will test hand eye coordination, the sea and land combat will test tactical ability, and thinking strategically for most everything like choosing your wife and deciding on when the plunder will need dividing. The game is also likely to be different every time played due to most of the events during game being random. This includes political and economic systems, and the early part of the game, these can affect the players strategic options in the future greatly. During gameplay, the player can choose to tack inside a frigate to chase down a pinnace that is faster and smaller. They also will need to be fortunate of having the weather gage, a position advantage for the ships.
A really innovative feature in Pirates is introducing a playing field that is dynamic. Most of the important factors that will affect the player’s decision will be randomized when the game is started, and will continue shifting throughout gameplay. This will require flexibility of the player and have them ready to take advantage of possibilities whenever they happen. Changes will happen while time is passing and they will be unrelated to the player’s actions. Random events will not have any representation graphically, with the player not being ale to do anything about them. Cities will also be dynamic with the population and wealth constantly fluctuating. A menu will have the city list, allowing the player to see statistics of all the cities. Knowing these statistics can help the player’s future plans, like regards with trading or conquering cities.
The most crucial random factor Pirates has are the four European nations’ diplomatic relations in claiming the Caribbean. The relationships with the nations will probably differ every game played, having the power to shift instantly, which will create and remove opportunities, maybe for a long period of time. When two countries or more go to war, the player will generally benefit because any type of aggression towards cities or ships of another country, happening often if not avoided, will have the enemies gain recognition. This will prompt them to present the player with titles, land, and other types of benefits. When there is peace, the player only benefits when capturing pirates on sea, being favorable to all the nations. These occurrences are rare.
Genre: Action and Adventure
Region: NTSC (North America)