Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!

atari saboteur

Description

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.

Screenshots

Sid Meier's Pirates! Commodore 64 Selling a ship
Sid Meier's Pirates! Commodore 64 The ship's log keeps track of important events
Sid Meier's Pirates! Commodore 64 You may even get a chance to meet the governor's young pretty daughter
Sid Meier's Pirates! Commodore 64 Title screen

Promo Images

Sid Meier's Pirates! Magazine Advertisement
Sid Meier's Pirates! Magazine Advertisement TILT (issue 49, December 1987, p 139)
Sid Meier's Pirates! Magazine Advertisement
Sid Meier's Pirates! Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "席德梅尔的海盗" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Xide Meier de Haidao" -- Simplified Chinese title
  • "Sid Meier's Pirates!: Action and Adventure on the Spanish Main" -- Tag-lined title
  • "Pirates!" -- NES title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The most timeless game I have ever found Peter Brady (4) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
ABsolutely awesome game, even in 2004 stvrich (3) 3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

Critic Reviews

Computer Gaming World (CGW) Oct, 1990 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Dragon Apr, 1988 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Australian Commodore and Amiga Review Nov, 1987 92 out of 100 92
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Nov, 1987 9 out of 10 90
Happy Computer Sep, 1987 85 out of 100 85
Your Commodore Oct, 1987 34 out of 40 85
Power Play 1989 85 out of 100 85
64'er 1991 8 out of 10 80
Zzap! Sep, 1987 68 out of 100 68
Commodore Format Aug, 1993 57 out of 100 57

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Is the listed DOS CD-ROM version really Pirates? 2 Rwolf (19341)
Oct 28, 2017

Trivia

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.

Development

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.

Extras

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.

Missions

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.

Music

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? An item simply labelled "crops."

Awards

  • 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 Web Sites

PCGamer77 (3229) added Sid Meier's Pirates! (Commodore 64) on Apr 03, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Trypticon (11039), PCGamer77 (3229), Raphael (1261), Rebound Boy (19540), Martin Smith (78234), Terok Nor (32112), Scaryfun (17977), formercontrib (158050) and Garcia (4827)
atari breakout