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The Future of Piracy

Avast, ye Landlubbers! Pirate themed games have been around almost as long as video games themselves. I am someone who adores the idea of being able to sail the seas to pillage and plunder, but I have noticed something that I think needs to change. When was the last time you played a game with a pirate theme and what was the overall feel of it? Seriousness and grit isn’t something that seems to be prevelant in these types of games which is a huge contrast to the real life of a pirate. There are exceptions to this of course, like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and the upcoming Skull & Bones.

Before we talk about what I think should be in a future pirate-themed game, let’s take a look at some games up to now. Starting with…

Pirate Ship Higemaru

Developer: Capcom
Released: 1984

A maze video game with similar gameplay to Pengo and Bomberman, you play as Momotaro, a Norwegian sailor. The objective of the game is to roam the deck and grab barrels, drums and large bags to throw or roll towards the invading band of pirates.

Treasure Island Dizzy

Developer: The Oliver Twins
Released: 1988

The second game in the Dizzy series leaves Dizzy on a treasure island. To escape, you need to go through a series of extremely difficult inventory based puzzles. This game was a huge difficulty spike compared to the first game.

The Secret of Monkey Island

Developer: Lucasfilm Games
Released: 1990

The first game in one of my favourite series, The Secret of Monkey Island has you controlling Guybrush Threepwood on his quest to become a mighty pirate. Taking out player death makes this adventure game easier to dive into. Filled with obscure puzzles and wit, this game forever changed the landscape of pirate adventure games.

A playthrough and review of The Curse of Monkey Island will be making its way to my YouTube channel shortly.

Captain Claw

Developer: Monolith
Released: 1997

This 2D side-scrolling platformer has you filling the boots of Captain Claw, an anthropomorphic cat. The goal of this game is to collect 9 gems along with an amulet before the Cocker-Spaniards. A PC exclusive with a vibrant colour palette and sticks out amongst other games of the time.

Skies of Arcadia

Developer: Overworks
Released: 2000

Many games have toyed with the idea of pirates sailing through the sky or space and one that comes to mind is Skies of Arcadia. This JRPG takes the conventional look of pirates and their vessels but adds in fantasy as you sail through the clouds. A breath of fresh air in setting provides a new feels to the typical turn-based combat that JRPG fans are used to.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

Developer: Capcom
Released: 2007

Playing as Zack, who dreams of being the most famous pirate, you must search for treasure alongside your monkey companion, Wiki. Finding treasure involves using the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls to solve. It’s a beautiful looking game that received good reviews but we are unlikely to see any sequels to this one due to its low sales.

Jolly Rover

Developer: Brawsome
Released: 2010

Almost instantly, you can see the inspiration this game has drawn from the Monkey Island series. This traditional point-and-click adventure game sees Gaius James Rover, a Dachshund, exploring many different locations and solving puzzles. Critics have described this as “strong and original” stating that it “brings some interesting new ideas to the point-and-click adventure genre”.

What Do I Want to See in a Pirate Game?

There are tons of other games I can talk about that take on a more serious tone but they are few and far between. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I think would make a good premise for a pirate game and I think I have found the perfect solution. I’m definitely going to want to get Rockstar or Santa Monica Studios on the phone after this because it needs to be rich, it needs to be vibrant, it needs to be gritty. So, here is what I think would be a great story for a pirate game.

Your character has been sailing the Caribbean for many years and has build up both fortune and fame as the worlds best sea merchant. A loyal crew you can trust and has complete faith in your abilities to tackle any situation on the sea to protect them and the booty. This all changes very quickly.

A pirate ship intercepts and boards your vessel and demands that you hand over everything you have or face the consequences. You try to use all of your speech skills you have acquired as a merchant to dissolve the situation and leave with both your riches and crew in tact but, unfortunately for you, the band of pirates that has boarded your vessel are the most fearsome and ruthless in the Caribbean and perhaps even the world. Your naivety costs you dearly as the pirates dispose of your crew and take your ship, marooning you on a nearby island.

Your task throughout the game is to use the high speech level you had as a merchant to gather yourself a new crew, new ships and more booty by fighting fire with fire and becoming the one thing that destroyed your life to begin with; a pirate.

Thank you for reading my observation of pirate themed games. How many of these games have you played? Please subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with more of my content. If you would like to see more from my daily life then head over to my Instagram by clicking the icon below where you can view my stories or visit my YouTube channel where I document my process of turning my passion for gaming into a profession and feature other bloggers.

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