Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pirates!: ThwARRRted

I had all kinds of great material ready for a one-shot (or maybe two-shot) review of Pirates! but I can't get the damned game to work. In part, I'm confused by the game history. The original release was in 1987 for the Commodore 64. MobyGames says there was a DOS release but lists it as 1994, which doesn't make any sense, because by 1994, Pirates! Gold had already been out for a year. Wikipedia lists no DOS release at all but says there was a PC booter version in 1987; apparently, DOSBox can emulate a PC booter but I can't find a download. Meanwhile, I did find a DOS version (from which the screen shot above comes), but the introductory text is different than I remember and the game doesn't work: it keeps freezing after the opening text and battles. I've messed around with the settings in DOSBox to no avail. The existence of this game is a bit mysterious given the insistence of both MobyGames and Wikipedia that it doesn't exist, and I only found it on one abandonware site. So...any ideas? (Other than playing a non-DOS/PC version; that ship has already sailed.) I'll keep trying to figure it out, but in the meantime I'll move on to The Seven Spirits of Ra. Worst case, I have to wait until Pirates! Gold in 1993. Later Edit: problem solved (see comments). I'm still a bit mystified as to the history and origins of this DOS version, but I won't trouble myself too much. Posting coming soon.


  1. I have to versions that claim to be bootable. Tried to make them into a disk image with WinImage so I could use DOSBox's BOOT command but neither one booted properly [I've used DOSBox's BOOT command to run the booter versions of King's Quest games so it does work], so I tried running both from just the disk. Same problem as you, freezes in the middle of the first battle.

  2. Try typing "loadfix" before you run the game.

    If that doesn't help, check out this thread:

    Maybe try some of the special DosBox builds they are linking to. I remember an SVN build helping me run an old interactive movie game I once tried.

    If THAT doesn't work, you can always play the online dos-port version found here:!/

  3. There's a video of someone playing the PC version with DOSBox, so there must be some secret handshake we're missing here.

  4. I completely forgot about LOADFIX, but that did it. I lost the battle, but it at least didn't freeze.. I'll stick to the C64 version.

  5. Just loaded up my own copy of Pirates! that I got off abandonia. Works fine throug dosbox, no need to boot off a disk or anything.


  6. I remember Pirates! for the PC. It was the second game i ever played, after Nethack. So many fond memories of both of those games You've finally worked your way up to my childhood, and I can't wait to see these games.

  7. LOADFIX was the answer. Thanks, Fartarget. I've never heard of this command before. I'm not 100% sure what it does, and I'm even more unsure why I've never had to use it before. But whatever--it works!

  8. I have no idea what loadfix does. I just know it's a part of DOSBOX and it has something to do with memory requirements of really old games.

  9. You will need LOADFIX for Might&Magic 2:Gates to another world as well.

  10. The DOS version is most likely a hacked booter version. This is actually true for many of the 80s DOS games floating around the net, warez-groups used to do that alot.

    The '94 version seems to have been released on Kixx, which was a budget label that re-released old games.

  11. Oh, and about loadfix, here's what the Dosbox documentation has to say:

    "Program to reduce the amount of available conventional memory. Useful for old programs which don't expect much memory to be free."

  12. Vilse the bootable game was a game release because I actually owned the game (and has been lost since forever) with the box and the manual. The best part of the manual was experts from the memoir of a pirate, who claimed to have captured a frigate with a pinnace once (and said that pirates nowadays are sissies).

    (sorry for bumping such an old thread)


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