Review: Sid Meier’s Pirates!

Rating: ★★★★½
I remember playing the original Sid Meier’s Pirates! back when it was the only pirate game around. I’d sit for hours basking in the cold glow of my Amiga, pillaging villages and courting governor’s daughters. Years later I had the pleasure of revisiting the game on my Sega Genisis with the release of Pirates! Gold. And now Sid Meier has treated us to yet another installment of his wonderful creation.

First, let me be plain – this is NOT the “end-all, be-all” of pirate simulations, nor was it intended to be. This is a highly detailed, multi-faceted arcade style game – realism clearly took second place to entertainment in most every respect. A small ship can dodge cannonballs. Your character can do flips during sword fights. And governor’s daughters’ display gravity defiance that truly boggles the mind. That said, this game is beautiful, and it is FUN! Continue reading

Review: Seven Seas

Rating: ★★★½☆
www.popcap.com

Popcap has a ton of cute little games, and they seem just intellectual enough that they probably increase your SAT scores or someting like that. Seven Seas is their pirate-based game where you sail around in your little ship blowing up other pirates. The tricky bit is that everyone moves on a grid, and if you’re good you can anticipate where the enemy pirates will go before they go there. If you’re not good – well – you get blowed up. It’s a fun game, and just a little addictive. The cannon blasts make a terribly satisfying “boom,” and the music’s catchy too. There’s an online version, but it’s not nearly so impressive as the one you can download. There’s a version for your Palm Pilot as well, if you’re so inclined.

Review: Ace Murder Mystery Pirate Edition

Rating: ★★★☆☆
www.acemurdermystery.com

Rum helps us drink like pirates, costumes help us dress like pirates, and music helps us sing and dance like pirates. But there’s just not much out there that helps us ACT like pirates. Enter Ace Pirate Murder Mystery – you and seven-to-nine of your dearest friends get together to act like scalliwags, eat-drink-and-be-merry, and ruthlessly accuse each other of the most diabolical murder of Captain Kidd. Who could ask for more?

I was unsure what exactly a murder mystery party entailed, but when the package arrived I found a great deal of the work already done for me. 10 party invitations inluded an introduction to the game and ideas for how each character should dress for the evening – all I had to do was add a time and date, and figure out which character I thought would best suit each of my friends. Also provided was an instruction manual for me, the host, telling me what to do (and what not to do – no good peaking at something I shouldn’t, and thereby spoiling some surprises,) along with character-specific instruction booklets, secret clues, 2 CDs (one narrated, the other effective mood-setting background sounds), and name cards (just in case we forgot who was who.) Continue reading

Review: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

Rating: ★★★★★
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists
by Gideon Defoe

All true works of literary genius share three common traits:

1) They possess a timeless relevence

2) They speak to the reader on a level that is both highly personal yet universal

and 3) They most always feature a monocled-monkey on the cover, frequently clutching a pirate flag.

Based on this criteria alone, Gideon Defoe’s sure-to-be legendary novel of pirates, evolution, and ham is clearly one for the ages. His humor is deeply varied as it ranges from the very dry to the highly absurd – I literally couldn’t put it down, and was thus banned from the bedroom as my wife couldn’t get any sleep with me constantly giggling through the wee hours. Continue reading

Review: Pirate Medallion

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Celtic Jackalope
www.celticjackalope.com

The devil is in the details – and nothing completes the details of a fine pirate ensemble like a piece or two of choice pirate jewelry.

Celtic Jackalope’s Pirate Medallion is a lovely sterling coin a slight bit larger than a quarter. A la Pirates of the Caribbean, an empty-eyed skull stares outward from an Aztec-compass pattern, warning friend and foe alike that you’re not to be trifled with. Identical and fully-detailed on both sides, the surface is a wonderful mix between polished and roughed (shinier than the picture implies), which makes the imagery all the more striking. The coin itself is thick enough to remain solid, yet thin and lightweight enough that you could easily make it a part of your daily-wear without feeling like you have a coaster hanging from your neck. The bale, imprinted on one side with a skull & crossed swords image, is sturdy and appears to be welded. I’ve owned jewelry in the past where the bale would bend open, resulting in the whole affair falling off its chain. There’s no such danger with this piece – it will surely cling to your throat like grim death.

If you’ve been searching for a cursed Aztec coin to call your own, then Celtic Jackalope’s Pirate Medallion is a fine choice, indeed. It’s shiny, solid, and oh-so-piratey.