Pirates vs. Ninjas: The Eternal Debate... Sorta
Editorial by Dave "Kawika" Bonnewell
Alright, settle down now. Stop with the yelling already! Do I have your attention? Yeah, I thought as much. Admittedly, the title of this little perspective piece is misleading. Well, partially so at any rate. I'll explain later. For now I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I'm not going to talk to you good gamers today about that great, undying debate which has plagued the minds of countless bona fide geeks ever since the subjects of that age old argument were forced at sword point to occupy the same forum thread eons ago. I'd risk my undisturbed, dust laden pre-paid 30-day Star Wars Galaxies game card that there is nary a one among you reading this who hasn't already chosen a side in the rampant Pirates versus Ninjas debate. Therefore, I shall not bother to persuade or dissuade either way. I'll leave that exercise in futility to someone who isn't using their valuable time trying to get their Tauren hunter to level 40. I need a sweet ride, man! I've hoofed it all I can and I can't hoof it no more! (pun intended).
As I said earlier, the title Pirates vs. Ninjas is a partially deceptive one and for that I apologize…partially. Hey, if you want a full apology, you’ll have to beat it out of me. Maybe someday I'll write about ninjas, but this time around it’s all about the pirates. Specifically, pirate themed video games. Oh yeah, they're out there and in full force my friends. From the original Sid Meier's Pirates! to…well, the newest Sid Meier's Pirates!, the grizzly, surly, peg-leg having, scruffy beard growing, eye patch wearing masters of the salty sea (yeah, I know they're stereotype clichés, but bear with me here) have been the endearing focus of countless video games. Some have been very good (nearly all but Sid Meier's Pirates!) and others have been very, very good (did I mention I'm a big fan of Sid Meier's Pirates!?). Let's face it, pirates ooze with personality and history. They are the source of unparalleled adventures, stories and romance. Love 'em or hate 'em, pirates have always made for some damn good gaming.
I know we plowed through the extensive history of pirate themed video games quicker than a Spanish galleon through a capsized dinghy, but I want to move on to a couple of questions which have been on my mind lately. Is there a future for pirate themed video games? If so, what is that future? The answer to the first question is Aye Capt’n! and to Davey Jones' locker with speculation to the contrary! If GIs, Nazis, Elves and dragons have saturated the gaming market, then by comparison pirates have barely skimmed the surface. To answer the second question just look at the fastest growing, most profitable and arguably most addictive trend of quality video games today, massively multiplayer online. What better way to truly experience and explore the complicated, yet infinitely entertaining role of a cutthroat corsair than in an MMO atmosphere where the seas are seamless and the isles are endless; where hundreds if not thousands of other player characters, each with their own unique personality and gameplay style either hinder or help you on a daily basis? Sure there are bound to be annoying onslaughts of "YARRR!!!'s" and lame sexual innuendo in the form of perverted "pyr8t speak" such as "Hey QT, wanna shiver me timbers?" and "Polish my canon, hawtness!", but such are the pitfalls of progress, eh?
Ok, so that last paragraph started hackneyed and then quickly degraded to long-winded. I've clearly lost some of you. Please, come back. I have interesting news followed by what promises to be a very controversial observation. First, let me tell you the interesting news. It seems that Flying Lab Studios is developing (and has been for quite some time, so I guess this is not news) a computer game called 'Pirates of the Burning Sea' which will soon be in general beta testing and is the first mainstream MMORPG ever to feature - you guessed it - pirates! Yeah, I know. I'm excited too! In fact, this strange rash on my chest gets worse every time I talk about the game. But let's come back down to earth for just a moment. Flying Lab Studios has an unproven track record, barring 'Rails Across America' which garnered many press awards and was undeniably a fun, first-rate train simulation game. Add to this the fact that they are sailing uncharted waters by attempting the untried breeding of pirates (and naval officers, adventurers, etc.) with the traditional MMORPG formula and the result is bound to be anything but traditional. But will entering this brave new world prove a treasure or a will it sink the undeveloped genre to the depths of the briny deep? Only time will tell, though I for one am hoping for the best. Now, about that very controversial observation I pledged to the more patient among you; Pirates > Ninjas! There, I said it. Now deal with it!
Thank you for your time valued readers. Feel free to shoot me a PM with any comments you may have. Or, if you scorn my very existence, just shoot me.
I’m Dave "Kawika" Bonnewell and that’s the way I see it.
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