A legend in computer games.
I know it has a lot of rivals (the Zork series, Balance Of Power, BattleHawk's 42, and Silent Service to name a few), but to me this was probably the best PC game of the '80's. So much quality was crammed into those two 5.25" 360K floppy disks it's unbelievable. Today's games are so bloated and require hundreds of Megs of hard drive space and come on 4 *CD*s... ugh. Back in the 80's games were so much better.
Pirates! was simple, yet so fun. It was also educational... I learned more about real Pirates and general life in the 1600's from this game (and the manual) than I did in all my years in school.
I loved the graphics, all the action (sword fights, ship-to-ship battles, land battles), all the options (different time periods, each one with a unique map, goals, and roles to choose from), and just the whole role-playing aspect. You actually became a pirate! You rescued your ancestors, you kept the crew happy, you decided where to sail... you were the captain.
I know people have said the music wasn't good, but don't judge it by today's standards. Back then, the PC Speaker was pretty much the standard, and they did a good job with it. I know it sounded like a synthetic Casio accordian, but hey, I think the accordian was used in Carribbean music back then. :)
The one thing I never liked about Pirates was the 8-ship limit. I always wished I could've had a larger fleet.
The Bottom Line
Pirates! was a game which has never been equaled: no game this small has been this much fun and full of so many options. This is an example of why Windoze was so bad for games... you can't find a commercial game nowadays under 1 MB, much less under 50 or 100MB. If you can only play one game from the '80's, this should be it.