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Sid Meier's Pirates! is an original 1987 by Sid Meier for his company MicroProse made computer game that combines elements of computer role-playing game , the economic simulation and real-time strategy game combines. It was initially released for PC (DOS Bootable / CGA), C64 , Apple II , CPC , NES , Atari ST and the Amiga . After a Gold Edition for some platforms appeared in 1993 , a new 3D version for PC and Xbox (PSP 2007, Mac 2008) was released in 2004. In addition, a mobile version for iOS devices was released in July 2011.

Game description

The player takes on the role of captain of a crew of pirates in the Caribbean from the 16th to 18th centuries. The aim is to gain reputation and wealth with four major European powers ( England , France , Holland , Spain ), which are in changeable diplomatic relations with each other (between alliance and war) through pirate trips . In addition to the normal game, the 1987 version also has the option of replaying historical missions, for example The silver train ambush by Francis Drake in 1573. There is a choice between four (2004: five) levels of difficulty, which are not final , because you can choose a higher level of difficulty in the course of the game. Furthermore, you choose a special ability of your character, for example ability in fencing or navigation .

You can plunder war and merchant ships as well as fortified cities and receive additional rewards such as titles of nobility and lands or ask for the hand of the governor's daughter. Other pirates can also be captured and either sold for a ransom or given to a governor as a token of loyalty to the country (1987). As an additional highlight, the Silver Train moving from city to city and the sailing Treasure Fleet beckon with incredible treasures. There is in Pirates! also unexpected encounters, for example with heavily armed pirate hunters or treasure ships with large amounts of gold on board, which can be found near the Treasure Fleet .

In addition to the warlike events, there is the possibility of finding buried treasures or reuniting your long-lost family. It is also possible to increase one's wealth by trading various commodities. The main objectives are:

  1. Achievement of the highest title of Duke (Duke) in all nations
  2. Finding the whole family (four people)
  3. Find the four great treasures through the family members' treasure maps
  4. Marriage of the most beautiful daughter of the governor

After each raid, the player is assigned a certain part of the looted treasures in relation to the chosen level of difficulty. At the end of the game there is an overall rating; In addition to personal fortune, this evaluation also takes into account the title of nobility, the land given, the status of the woman, one's own age, the family members found, the fortune received by the occupation and the number of personal defeats: The player is informed in text and images presents how he lived on after his pirate career. The highest attainable level is that of the king's advisor, which can be reached with almost 100 pirate points. Another distinction follows in brackets, with King's Advisor (Prince) being the highest grade - at almost 200 points.


Pirates! was at the time of its release a game that developed a large fan base. It is considered a classic in the history of computer games and has similarities with the Seven Cities of Gold game programmed a few years earlier . 2011 became Pirates! voted one of the 80 games presented by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in its exhibition The Art of Video Games following a public vote . It stands for the artistic design of games for the Commodore 64.


A specialty from Pirates! lies in the dynamics of the game. The game world continues to develop beyond the player's influence: cities can wither into villages, other villages into large cities, and the political events between the four nations always create new surprises and opportunities for one's own pirate career. In addition, there are atmospheric subtleties such as the background music with mostly festive baroque music (especially by JS Bach ), realistic sound effects and changeable sea weather. In addition to many unpredictable elements, Pirates! in particular by its non-linear variety of actions and freedom of action.


  • 5th place in IGN's Top 100 Games (2005)
  • # 27 of IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time (2003)

Gold Edition (1993)

In 1993, due to its enormous success, the Gold Edition for PC (DOS / SVGA), Mac OS 7 , Amiga CD³² , Sega Mega Drive / Genesis and later for Windows 95 was released. Some program errors in the C64 version were corrected and minor changes and additions were introduced .

3D remake: Sid Meier's Pirates!

Sid Meier's Pirates! · Live the Life
Studio United StatesUnited States Firaxis Games
Publisher FranceFrance Atari 2K Games (since July 1, 2005)
United StatesUnited States
2004 (Win)
2005 (Xbox)
2007 (PSP)
2008 (Mac, Xbox 360)
2010 (Wii)
2011 (iOS)
2012 (Windows Phone)
platform Windows , macOS , Xbox , Xbox 360 , PSP , iOS , Wii , Windows Phone
genre Computer role-playing game , business simulation , real-time strategy game
Game mode Single player
control Joystick , keyboard , mouse (PC)
system advantages
Approximately 1.0 GHz (macOS 10.4)
medium CD-ROM , download
language German
Age rating
USK released from 0
PEGI recommended for ages 12 and up

At the end of November 2004, the developer Firaxis Games released a 3D version under the name Sid Meier's Pirates! finished, which was initially distributed by Atari .

The remake with the additional title Live the Life has not only been graphically adapted, but additions have also been made to the gameplay. The level of detail in many points (ships, weather, equipment) has been increased considerably, and new skill tests (dancing, escape) have been introduced.

However, elements from the original game have also been left out or changed. The historical missions no longer exist, and the Silver Train is also missing . Instead, there is now the hunt for criminals, which brings a reward, and the wedding with the governor's daughter has been expanded into a separate quest .

At the beginning of May 2005 it was announced that the publishing rights for Xbox and PC would be taken over by Take 2 with effect from July 1, 2005 . On November 7, 2005, the publisher finally took over the Firaxis development studio. A version for the PSP was released in early 2007 .

In August 2008, a version for macOS 10.4 (and higher) appeared as a universal binary (system minimums are given as 1.6 GHz, but a G4 with around 1.0 GHz is sufficient ). The publisher is Feral Interactive . Sid Meier's Pirates! is the first in a new series called Feral Legends . The game was released for iPad on July 21, 2011 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Art of Video Games Voting Result ( English , pdf; 1.0 MB) Smithsonian Institution . May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  2. Kris Graft: Smithsonian Art Exhibit Recognizes Games From Pac-Man To Heavy Rain ( English ) In: Gamasutra . UBM plc. May 5, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  3. 5th place in IGN's Top 100 Games (2005) ( Memento of the original from March 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / uk.top100.ign.com
  4. Place 27 of IGN's Top 100 Games (2003) ( Memento of the original from September 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / uk.top100.ign.com
  5. http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/sid-meiers-pirates!-for-ipad/id438635005