Monday, June 17, 2024


Let’s Check Out for Pirate Game Pioneers.

(AfroGamers.com) In the 2000s, there were memes centered around pirates versus ninjas. It’s a fun image featuring two historical badass warriors both being shrouded in myth and mystery. In gaming, we’ve seen ninjas get a ton of love in the form of Strider as well as the Naruto, Tenchu, Ninja Gaiden, and Shinobi among other titles. Not only that but ninjas are heavily featured in games where ninjas aren’t the focus.

However, the humble pirate doesn’t get that same attention. Sure, they pop up here and there but pirates didn’t begin to pop until Jack Sparrow swaggered onto the scene. We’re going to look at four pioneering pirate-themed games.

Uncharted Waters: New Horizons

It’s important that I mention the second the game in Koei Tecmo’s Uncharted Waters series on the Super Nintendo and Sega Master System and Genesis consoles. While the first is a fine game and establishes many of the mechanics in the second game, it simply isn’t as polished as New Horizons. The game—more of a sea trade simulator than outright pirate title—takes place around the world a bit before the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean.

Actually, it might take place during the early years of the Golden Age as you’re not running into too much activity in the Caribbean in the game. Most of the activity is in the form of sea trade and travel by both traders and pirates.

You have three main paths to take as an explorer, trader, or pirate. However, I’ve found that no matter the play through and with whichever character, you’ll dabble in all three before for trafficking in one or two. While I wanted to dedicate more of my time to trading, I just dabbled and tend to be a natural pirate and explorer since that’s just free stuff to trade, gold, and more influence for investing in ports for a country.

Uncharted Waters: New Horizons also serves as a fun and pretty accurate simulation of sea trade but other games on this list would go deeper.

Uncharted Waters - New Horizons

Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag

Black Flag isn’t one of those games. This is an Assassin’s Creed game with a pirate theme and storyline which ties into the main storyline of Desmond Miles. Let me just say that, the Miles part of these games tend to be the least interesting part of these games. The historical parts with these characters in their time periods should be…the game. That’s it.

However, Ubisoft is usually working with something with these large, lore-heavy stories of Assassins vs. Templars and the fate of the world. The influence on pirate-centric games here comes from the exciting, easy to learn naval combat improved upon from Assassin’s Creed III. Something was just perfect about the mix of parkour assassins and piracy that just works.

It features something of simplified trade system—simpler than AC III’s I feel—which you’ll need for ship and gear upgrades. I will say that the away naval missions from AC III returning in Black Flag was also a perfect move.

Port Royal

Another game that is more a sea trade business manager set during the Golden Age of Piracy or Caribbean Colonial era. You can play as a trader aeagssociated with one of the colonial super powers or as a pirate, there’s a very active commerce system, but the sea combat can seem a little stiff and slow. Honestly, I put this down to the game going the strategy route with combat so sea battles are slower paced and centered heavily on placement and artillery.

It’s very similar to the sea combat in Uncharted Waters. This isn’t action combat like Assassin’s Creed. That aside, this game is also like Uncharted Waters: New Horizon in that you’ll eventually engage in piracy even if you’re a legit trader investing in colonies.

Pirates! Gold

The perfect pirate game belongs to Pirates! Gold. I’m certain I touched on this game before in passing but it’s definitely the greatest pioneer on this micro genre. You start as a citizen of France, England, the Netherlands, or Spain but as in all mentioned games—besides Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag—you can turn against your country, align with another, and either get a letter of marque to operate as a privateer or go full pirate.

You’re also able to assault town and forts, claim them for a country, attack treasure ships and big merchant hauls, and improve your ships—or get new ones. Of course, you’ve got to split the loot after lengthy voyages and you’re able to move up in society in the colonies.

There was a lot going on in a game made in 1987. I play the 1993 remake on the Sega Genesis as I was really into games like this and Aerobiz early on. They were just different from the more action-oriented titles I normally played.

Now, you could very well go the trader route and it’s actually recommended. It seems like the game kind of gives you more wiggle room as a trader who dabbles in a bit of piracy. However, the piracy in this game is just so lucrative that you’ll be tempted to just spin the Caribbean with cannons blazing!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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