Best Games - Sid Meier’s Pirates!
Imagine there was a game made up almost entirely of minigames. Strike one. The minigames are repeated a bewildering number of times. Strike two. The bulk of the remaining part of the game is uneventfully sailing across open ocean. Strike three. For a game called Pirates! you very rarely get to wear a captain's hat or an eyepatch. Strike four.
That’s right. Four Strikes. That’s more than the recommended number of strikes. On paper Pirates! should be a dismal failure of a game. It is both repetitive and slow. It’s also fun in every direction. The repetitive minigames are fun, or at least short enough that they never become grating. The sailing is simple, but engaging enough that it still demands your attention. The naval combat is so enjoyable that you could probably base a game on ship to ship fighting alone and it would still be fun. The presentation, at least in the 2004 remake, is light and stylish in a way that makes it almost timeless. Save for the resolution of some of the textures, Pirates! could have been released last week.
The game is dense with numbers, sliders, and management. This could easily make doing anything a slog. That would be another strike, except Pirates! is so cleanly designed that maintaining a crew of hundreds on a whole fleet of ships is trivial. Even enjoyable.
If you had a list of features in front of you, Pirates! appears to be a terrible game. Dull, tedious, and repetitive. The final game is, of course, anything but. The best description would probably be fun. Top to bottom fun.