Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this pirate game is full of swagger | Games

Myour shit deck is on fire. I take water under the bridges and a guy screams that he’s going to kill me. I panic, randomly picking up wooden planks, cannonballs, accordions and coconuts, trying to avoid inevitable death in the middle of a thunderstorm. All this to bring me closer to my 17 year old son.

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Where once my boy Charlie cuddled me during the spooky moments of Toy Story, now he watches violent animes on his phone instead. He traded in our 2010s Call of Duty split-screen co-op adventures for some dashing Overwatch friends. Instead of sharing real life with me, he has spent the last three years in the virtual pirate world of Sea of ​​Thieves.

What do online hackers offer that I don’t? Grog? slums? Looting? I can’t loot at my age. Not with my knees.

Right now, my son’s hands are temporarily separated from the controller by a video game ban: where ’90s Dominik jumped on Right to Reply, Points of View, and Newsnight to say video games had a good influence on children, dad Dominik stops playing his son if his grades drop below 80%. So I take this opportunity to play the game myself. There is an 8.47gb upgrade before I can play, one of my modern games hate it. If the games continue to improve and expand like this, at some point they will trigger the thermal death of the universe. I’m also treated to the now mundane endless loading screen: I appreciate that we are mourning Sir Clive Sinclair, but making the games take as long to load as they did from a cassette in 1981 is an exaggerated tribute.

At least he’s using the Unreal Engine, eh? You know where you are with the Unreal Engine because it seems like every game in the world is using it. I opened a can of beans the other day that was using the Unreal Engine. I’m sure he’s responsible for Squid Game.

A lifetime later, an explosion of music and seagull sound effects herald the start of a real play. During the tutorial, a phantom pirate lord makes me eat a banana. As the first pirate actions go on, it’s a bit disappointing.

I am offered an autonomous adventure called A Pirate’s Life, which is a misleading title as you start out as a fully trained adult pirate. This is not a life. I want the birth of pirates, the pirate school, the pirate university. I want to live that moment where two eye patches collide for that first sweet pirate kiss. But the actual adventure is the exact same push / pull / jump repetitive thing I played in the original Tomb Raider. I grimly realize that if I wanted a real challenge, I should play… online.

My first mission was to sail to an island to fight skeletons, dig up treasure, and take it to Reaper Island. Except I didn’t, because a bunch of other players in a brigantine destroyed my swashbuckling solo in seconds. I reappeared and they were still there. And they killed me again. I reappeared. And they killed me again. Yes. It’s your classic take on the online game of Huis Clos de Sartre, the online game confirming its famous proclamation that hell is other people.

Illustration: Rare

“Charlie, do these guys have any gold or any extra experience for that?” I asked my son, having lifted his ban so he could play in the back for me.

“None at all,” he replies.

“So why do it?” “

“It’s like giving you tea in a CoD bag, Daddy.” “

I once encountered another player in the afterlife portal that you tediously and unnecessarily visit before you reappear. He stood in front of me, fished out his bucket and shoveled.

“What is this guy doing, son?” ” I asked.

“He collects your tears, daddy,” he smiles. I pulled the lead from the back of the Xbox. “Nice work, dad. Releasing the old Fifa special movements again? “

I kept looking for something rewarding, but the more I played the more I realized there were hidden shallows rather than hidden depths. Most of it is slowly sailing the sea, with no option of fast travel, as it strives to be realistic. OKAY. Maybe that was what the life of a pirate was like. Outbursts of uncontrollable violent excitement between long periods of boring boating.

Finally, I turn to my son and say, “Sorry. This game sucks.

“Oh, I know daddy. This is bad enough.

I am a little confused. “So why do you keep playing it?” “

“Because I have a ship with my friends. We laugh and do sailor songs and all that.

And then I realize. Sea of ​​Thieves isn’t about pirates or the thrilling action, it’s about engaging with other humans. And I realize that was what we had just done it: father and teenager, sharing stuff again. I felt slightly euphoric.

“My son,” I said, my eyes wet, “do you want to train a crew on a new ship? “

– Sorry, dad, he said. “I’m going to KFC to meet my friends. “

And there he left me, on Papa’s desert island.

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