Pixel Boost: Sid Meier's Pirates!

Wes Fenlon at

Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: Yarr!.

First, there were pirates, the sea dogs of the the 17th century Caribbean. Then there were Pirates!, who were very similar, except they lived inside computers like the Commodore 64 and Apple II and were created by Sid Meier in 1987. Finally, there are 2004's Pirates!, who sail the Caribbean as salty 3D scalawags instead of tiny blocky pixel sprites. Pirates, Pirates! and 3D Pirates! all do mostly the same things--plunder booty, trade stolen goods, and swordfight with Spanish sailors. 2013's Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag may have the more exciting swordfighting, but the greatest piracy simulation of them all is still 2004's Sid Meier's Pirates!. Meier's classic blend of fun minigames and strategy hasn't been replicated in a pirate game since, but that's okay—Pirates! still runs just fine on modern Windows, and at high resolution, too.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag's Freedom Cry DLC trailer promotes liberty and violence

Phil Savage at

There's something eerily fitting about the first few moments of this AC4 DLC trailer, as ex-slave Adewale talks about freedom while a YouTube annotation informs you of the "#AC4blackflag" Twitter hashtag. It speaks to the dichotomy at the heart of the series, in which well-researched recreations of history clash against past-future wizards, technomagic video games, and Nolan North. Oh, and there's stabbing too.

Pirate-based YARRRPG Raven's Cry gets May 7th release date

Tom Sykes at

Raven's Cry is not a game about a sulky goth. I know this because I hoped it might be a game about a sulky goth, and then it turned out it was about pirates instead. Still! Pirates are pretty great, as you may have realised if you've shivered your timbers into Assassin's Creed 4. But wouldn't they be even greater if they levelled up and had actual hooks for hands? TopWare seem to think so, and after months with nary a glimpse of their piratey revenge story, they've returned with some new screenshots and a release date. Raven's Cry will set sail on May 7th 2014.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag lead writer doubts series will take place in present day

Perry Vandell at

Following the release of their tribute to the pirate life, a handful of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag developers took to Reddit and addressed a few burning questions from fans. They avoided touching on where Ubisoft would take the series post Black Flag, but that didn’t stop them from sharing where they thought the series wasn’t going.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag trailer shows us heavy piracy, a smattering of assassination

Phil Savage at

Here's a new trailer for Pirates! An Assassin's Creed Story (Not Affiliated with Sid Meier), or Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag as Ubisoft still insist on calling it. This is the reason why you shouldn't be too concerned about their plan to only make games which can be turned into a franchise. Because they can always pull a bait-and-switch and turn their 'brooding assassins and magic time wizards' series into something about pirates.

Anyway, the trailer. It's even got a sea shanty, albeit an unrealistically mild one, because - again - this is basically just a game about pirates.

Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag trailer reminds us that pirates are cool, claims to tell "true stories"

Tyler Wilde at

As much as I'd love to Eternal Sunshine my memories of the recent pirate craze (Arr! Avast! Topmast! Do ye want me to stop talking like this, ye scurvy dogs!?), I still love pirates. Pirates are great. Time has romanticized them (we tend to leave out the more horrible bits) into ruthless and cunning adventurers, profiteers free to live by their own code. The latest trailer for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag seeks to remind us of that.

Assassin's Creed 4: 40% of missions to be ship shaped

Phil Savage at

It seems that Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag players will have plenty of chance to get their sea legs. In a Q&A released by Ubisoft, the developer reveals that around 40% of the game's missions will be naval-based. Not only that, but a "Horizon" system will create additional opportunities for potential pillagers. Seriously, Ubisoft? You're creating a dynamic pirate mission generator, and you don't call it the Yo-Ho-Horizon system?

Windward is a piratical action game without the naval-gazing

Tom Sykes at

The life of a pirate is supposed to be a thrilling one. Non-stop debauchery, murder and plunder, topped off with a bout of syphilis, and an inglorious death as your body is hurled into a canal. By contrast, you spend most of your time in pirate sims shifting corn and tobacco, haggling with merchants for a 10% reduction in the cost of yarn. That can be fascinating in its own right, of course, but sometimes you just want to load up a ship with cannonballs and blast another vessel to smithereens. Enter Windward, a team-based multiplayer action game that's just washed up on Desura.

The Witcher 2 devs claim 100% accuracy in identifying pirates, demand money from thousands

Graham Smith at

CD Projekt RED have sent legal notices demanding money from thousands of alleged pirates in Germany, with a threat of court action for anyone refusing to pay.

When The Witcher 2 was released earlier this year, its developers CD Projekt RED offered the game DRM-free via sister-company GOG.com. It was a smart move, and including retail copies with DRM included, The Witcher 2 sold over a million copies worldwide. When the DRM free version was announced, the other part of the story was that CDP RED would monitor torrent sites and pursue the pirates. TorrentFreak reported that they're now doing exactly that, using the same deeply unpopular tactic used in the past by music companies and games publishers.

We spoke to CD Projekt RED to find out why they've decided to pursue pirates in this way, and why they think they've found a way to successfully identify pirates with 100% accuracy and "are not worried about tracking the wrong people."

Minecraft update 1.6 will include maps. Live out cartographer fantasies

Owen Hill at

As specified on Notch's blog, Minecraft update 1.6 will mostly be about bug fixes. It will however include a very special addition - mapping. It's going to be fun. Honest. Read on to find out why.

Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean preview

Rich McCormick at

Remember the middle ages, where lopping off your enemy's head was a good way to spend an afternoon? Lego: Pirates of the Carribbean makes decapitation fun again. When little Lego Jack Sparrow has his little Lego head sliced from his little Lego body by a little Lego sword, his little Lego hands go straight to his little Lego neck-hole. It's the cutest example of horrible murder I've ever seen.