Sid Meier’s Pirates! was a massive hit, and originally published on the C64 in 1987, marking a big shift in the Military games Microprose and Sid Meier were known for.
It was ported later that year to the Apple II and PC, and to the Apple IIGS, Macintosh and Amstrad in 1988. The Atari ST version was published in 1898, an Amiga version in 1990, culminating in a Nintendo version in 1991.
Of note, the DOS version actually was a self-booting floppy, a later 1994 remake made it work under DOS. Wikipedia tell me that versions before then were put together by pirates to make it work in DOS.
Given the number of releases, Pirates! Gold was developed and released for DOS, Windows 3.1, Mac and Sega Genesis in 1993, with an Amiga CD version in 1994. This game is fundamentally the same as the original, with upgraded graphics, sound and a few minor tweaks, including pirate flags and removing “sun sighting”.
Following up in 2004 is Sid Meier’s Pirates! a sequel with the same name as the original. The main platform for this is PC, but it was ported to pretty much every platform and console. Redone in proper 3D graphics in the Gamebryo engine (with a cartoony feel), you can re-travel the spanish main as a pirate. This game sets up the motivation of your character at the start of the game, rather than just being “a pirate captain”, you’re explicitly tasked with hunting down the Marquis de la Montalbán, who has taken your family. This game shows ships on the high sea, instead of having them as random encounters, changes up the land combat into a grid-based affair, and adds in a “dancing” minigame to woo Governor’s Daughters. Otherwise, the game will be very familar to players of the previous two games.
If anyone’s wondering what version to play, I personally would recommend new-comers to check out the 1993 Pirates! Gold remake. It’s essentially the same gameplay as the original game, but presented in much more appealing SVGA graphics, better sound, nicer UI and very importantly an in-game map! So at least you’ll have a vague idea on where you are, which you have to figure out by yourself in the original version. The game came with a map on paper I believe, which is very cool of course, but being able to show it in-game is very helpful for beginners I think.
Yeah I think there’s some sort of timing problem with the dancing, and it goes on for about 2 sections too long. The sneaking minigame is not that interesting either, and maybe they could have at least made a few different sword fighting animations 😀
All of the games are essentially the same thing, which is quite interesting given the 17 year gap, but I guess what else would you put in? Multi-ship battles? Naval Boarding strategy minigames?