🐳 New! Moby v2023.12.02

Sid Meier's Pirates!

aka: Pirates!, Sid Meier's Pirates!: Action and Adventure on the Spanish Main, Xide Meier de Haidao
Moby ID: 214
PC Booter Specs
See Also

Description official descriptions

Take on the life of a buccaneer in the golden age of Caribbean Piracy! This game lets you choose from 6 different "ages" (for example, "The Silver Empire" from 1560-1600, "War For Profit" from 1640-1660, etc.), one of 4 nationalities (English, French, Dutch, Spanish), 4 difficulty levels, and one of 5 special abilities (skill at fencing, skill at navigation, etc.). Nine different types of ships were represented.

The goal of the game is to retire with as much gold and land as possible, as many ranks/titles as possible (Colonel, Admiral, Marquis, Duke), and a wife. Finding long lost relatives helps too. You accomplish these goals by plundering cities, capturing and sinking enemy ships, getting in good with governors to receive titles, learn news of "evil Spaniards" holding your relatives, capturing evil pirates, etc.

The game is educational, as you will learn about piracy through the thoroughly researched manual. You'll smell the sea salt as you participate in wild sword fights, desperate sea battles, and daring attacks by land.


  • 席德梅尔的海盗 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +



Credits (PC Booter version)

24 People · View all



Average score: 83% (based on 38 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 208 ratings with 9 reviews)

The most timeless game I have ever found

The Good
For me, even the 8 bit version of this game is pretty flawless. From the ability to choose a combination of a historical period and nationality, to the freedom of choice in in-game actions, the scope of this game is only just being reached by far more sophisticated modern releases (Operation Flashpoint for example) I first played this game aged about 9 on a commodore 64, and it held me captivated for months, if not years. I have now downloaded it for a 64 emmulator, and am once again spending most of my gaming hours (limited, as a married man of 26 with 2 kids) playing it once again. This game has educational importance as well. Other have said that this game taught them more about the period than schooling, and I can only agree. My interest in the period has endured, so much so that I am hopefully to soon join an expedition to St Kitts to explore the maritime archaeology in the area.

The Bad
In all honesty, I cannot fault the C64 version of the game.....except that Bach and Handel (major musical contributors to the game) were of a later period... Bach wasnt born 'till March 1685!!!!!! Having said this, I wont deny that the choice of scores set the scene! :-)

The Bottom Line
Pure freedom to loot, pillage and cause as much havoc as you care to wreak!

Commodore 64 · by Peter Brady (3) · 2003

Screw the Gold edition play this one!

The Good
I always loved pirate stories as a kid and now I finally got to be one. These game is flawless, even the manual was fun to read! Just by reading the book you learned the history of piracy and find out that Captain Morgan was not just the name of a bottle of rum. The game had different settings which would increase or decrease the difficulty. Combat was challenging, the graphics were quite good for EGA and the game just oozes atmosphere.

The Bad
Music could be better. I also wish there was a possibility of setting up a permanent pirate base rather than installing a govenor, sometimes there was no friendly govenor for me to install!

The Bottom Line
This game is in many ways an RPG, as you get to wear the guise of a patch and peg leg as you battle your way across the Spanish Maine.

PC Booter · by woods01 (129) · 2001

My second best game of all time!

The Good
Everything! Well not everything, but this game is superb, and is guaranteed to take those days away from your life. You can spend hours hunting down other ships, attacking towns, finding members of your family, finding the Silver Train ... the list goes on and on. This has got to be one of the deepest games ever ...

The Bad
The land battles are a pain, MUCH easier to attack by boat. Also the wind always blows west so its annoying to sail right.

The Bottom Line
A brilliant pirate adventure with plenty to keep you occupied.

PC Booter · by ^^Snoop^^ (36) · 2002

[ View all 9 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Is the listed DOS CD-ROM version really Pirates? Silvano Ciccioli (128) Oct 28th, 2017


1001 Video Games

Sid Meier's Pirates! appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Amazingly, the original Commodore 64 version is written in large part in BASIC with certain parts written in assembler for speed, such as the sailing around the map.


The original box came with a map of the entire Caribbean, with each of the cities noted with their founding date (so you'd know when not to visit them!)

Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Pirates! was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Pirates! was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on the title screen made for the Amiga version) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI. While all other game screens in Game Art Beyond featured a remix of their respective title music, there really was no compelling theme in the original C64 version except for a few jingles, so instead you'll hear a C64 SID remix of Bach Prelude C Minor, which later suddenly turns into Pirates of the Carribbean.

Historical Accuracy

Sid Meier on his design philosophy and how he applied it to his favorite game (from the May 2001 issue of Computer Gaming World):

We have a joke that we only do the research after the game is finished. If I read too many books, I will create a game based on the books.
Pirates! was about pirate movies, not the period.

However, each of the six "ages" you could choose from were historically accurate. Some examples: Some ages featured cities that others didn't (the cities historically hadn't been settled yet), the four different European powers gained and lost power as they did in history, and different types of ships were more common in different eras.


Unlike the early versions such as the C64 and Apple II, some following versions often lets governors offer the player special missions to accept or reject in return for potential rewards.


If the player runs Sid Meier's Pirates! on a Tandy machine, the player will find snippets of 3-voice music throughout the game.

Amstrad CPC version

Amstrad CPC version of the game was advertised as "The World's First Swashbuckling Simulation" and was only for CPC 6128.

NES version

Unlike other versions of Pirates!, the NES port lacks "tobacco" as a trade item for the 1600-1640 time period. In its place there is an item simply labelled "crops".


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 01/1991 – Best Adventure Game in 1990
  • Computer Gaming World
    • Hall of Fame member
    • October 1988 (Issue #52) - Action Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #18 overall among the “150 Best Games of All Time”
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #6 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2013 – One of the "Ten Best C64 Games“
  • Retro Gamer
    • September 2004 (Issue #8) – #84 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Andrew Grasmeder, Indra was here, JubalHarshaw, Kasey Chang, Nathan Jedinak and PCGamer77

Related Games

Pirates! Gold Plus
Released 2012 on Macintosh, Windows, 2014 on Linux
Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Released 2018 on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Sid Meier's Civilization VI
Released 2016 on Windows, 2016 on Macintosh, 2017 on Linux...
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World
Released 2013 on Windows, Macintosh, 2014 on Linux
Sid Meier's Colonization
Released 1994 on DOS, 2012 on Windows, 2014 on Linux...
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Complete
Released 2007 on Windows
Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete
Released 2004 on Windows, 2006 on Macintosh

Related Sites +

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Raphael.

PC-88 added by Trypticon. Commodore 64, NES, Apple II added by PCGamer77. Amiga, Atari ST added by Rebound Boy. Amstrad CPC added by Martin Smith. PC-98 added by Terok Nor. Apple IIgs added by Scaryfun. DOS added by formercontrib. Macintosh added by Garcia.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, Sergio Brinkhuis, BdR, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, S Olafsson, Malte Mundt, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 14th, 1999. Last modified September 16th, 2023.