Illusory Follies Andrew Flanagan's Blog

7Feb/112

Privateer

So I'm listening to a new Pandora station this morning (Thanks Robert for the suggestion -- good stuff). The music of the particular track that I'm listening to at the moment reminds me so much of an old MS-DOS game called Privateer by Origin Systems. I remember distinctly getting the game from my Dad in 1993 and loading all 7 or so diskettes into our ancient beast of a computer. After some tweaking to fix some memory issues, we finally got it up and running. The basic gameplay is as a pilot of [initially] a small ship, flying between planets, space stations, asteroids, and other bases while choosing to play as a trader, a mercenary, or whatever you chose.

This game was amazing. The graphics of course look awful now as I review the site. But the game play was incredible. The joystick took some skill to use effectively whether you chose life as a merchant or a gun for hire. Interaction and AI wasn't great, but for the time, it was pretty good. I spent many hours playing the game and really enjoyed it. The music was "futuristic" synthesized music, probably not the best quality, but it always felt so fitting for the game. The game created an incredibly immersive world that sucked you in despite the relative simplicity compared to modern games like EVE Online. It was a good balance. I was inspired, intrigued, and entertained but not to the point that I forgot about reality altogether. Newer games definitely provide more depth than this old-time game, but I can't afford to spend an average of 2.5 hours per day (which apparently is average for EVE Online players).

I did also play Freelancer (made by the same designer after Origin was acquired by Electronic Arts) but it just didn't feel the same.

Anyone out there know or or can recommend any games like this that can balance a high level of fascination with a certain restraint that still encourages reality?

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  1. Thanks for the hat tip. I *loved* Privateer, especially once I found what the hex address was for the amount of cash you had! Much, much better, however, was Star Control II. Hands down, the best. And the music lives on! http://www.medievalfuture.com/precursors/

  2. I think money hacks ruined it for me… when you could buy a ship and guns that would rip holes through a whole wing of Confeds, the thrill was gone. But of course, I did try it anyway. 🙂


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