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1.22.2010

Sid Meier’s Pirates – A Laptop Gaming Classic

I dusted off my copy of Sid Meier’s Pirates today to test with the new laptop.  It takes a couple of tweaks to get it up and running, but it does run.  Unfortunately, I have no screenshots for you, because it’s evaded capture by any of the programs I normally use. 

This is one of my perennial favorite games.  When I’m bored of the latest and greatest, I sometimes pull this one out to play for a few minutes.  It’s a sandbox style game, so it’s easy to pick it up for 5-min, plunder a couple of ships and then put it down again.  It’s also easy to get lost in it for 45 minutes trying to track down a rival pirate or locate a buried treasure.  It’s not very taxing graphically, so it makes a good title for playing on a low-end laptop.
To get it running under Win7, you need to install the game, then run the 1.02 patch.  Right click on the shortcut, select Properties, then the Compatibility tab.  I got it working under “Compatibility Mode for Windows XP SP3”.  
Using the integrated graphics on my laptop (Intel 4500MHD), I was able to get smooth gameplay with the following settings: 
Resolution: 1024x768 (no widescreen options available)
Water Detail – Low
Object Detail – High
World Detail – High
Shadows – On
Advanced Lighting – Off
Trilinear Filtering – Off
Disable Shaders – Off
You can probably turn Adv. Lighting and Tri. Filtering on for some graphics chipsets, but I found it made the sword fight sequences just a slight bit choppy for my taste.

Notes:
This game does require the CD to be in the drive. (sorry netbook people)
This game is easier to play with a dedicated number pad.  There are onscreen buttons available for playing with a mouse, but the experience is better if your keyboard has a 10-key.

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