September 19th is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” and I like to celebrate it by publishing one of my favorite articles that I have ever written. I wrote it for the Examiner back when I was the Hartford Gaming Lifestyle Examiner.
Below is my list of the top 5 pirates in video game history!
Let’s get started shall we?
5. Jack Sparrow – Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
I know that this sounds like an obvious plant, but hear me out. Jack Sparrow is going to go down as one of the most iconic pirate characters of all time. He’s just been waiting to appear in something other than a poorly designed movie tie-in game to be worthy of a list like LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.
Jack Sparrow embodies everything that people like about fictional pirates. He’s wild, free spirited, and ultimately willing to put his life on the line for his friends (as long as it benefits him in the end). It’s fitting that the first video game to feature the character and do him justice is one of the LEGO branded games.
4. Guybrush Threepwood – Monkey Island Series
Threepwillow Sheepgood. Gorbush Peepwood. Fancy Pants. No one ever seems to get this “mighty pirate’s” name right and it’s a shame.
The Monkey Island series has been making gamers laugh for over a decade with their shameless pop culture references and Easter eggs. At the heart of it all is the sharp witted Guybrush Threepwood. If you haven’t born witness to his neverending struggle with the evil pirate LeChuck… get to it.
3. Tron Bonne – Mega Man Legends series
Mega Man is well known for his platforming games. But, those of us who gamed during the PS1 era should have fond memories of the Action RPG Mega Man Legends. The game was by far the furthest departure from standard Mega Man game play that we have seen, but it was a blast to play and brought a very colorful character to life in the tenacious Tron Bonne.
Tron Bonne was the sole daughter in the Bonne family of sky pirates. She is a genius mechanic and ultimately falls in love with the hero trying to stop her! I‘ll admit it. That particular plot device is sort of played out, but Tron Bonne is far more entertaining than that brief description can express. Somehow she even finds a way to be charming while physically abusing her Servbots.
She even managed an appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and was a fan favorite.
2. Ridley – Metroid
Yup. I said it. Ridley. Ridley isn’t the mindless dragon you are looking for. Metroid canon tells us that Ridley is a space pirate leader who led the assault on Samus’s home planet. This means that pirate fans get to claim the Metroid antagonist as one of their own.
Ridley is one of the strongest villains in Nintendo’s arsenal. He keeps coming back to the party despite numerous defeats by Samus’s hand. That level of persistence in spite of failure is only topped by Bowser.
1. Balthier – Final Fantasy XII
We’ve finally come to the top of the list to find the greatest of them all. Balthier is best described in two words, “the Man.” Balthier is the end result of mixing Han Solo’s attitude, James Bond’s confidence and Jack Sparrow’s sarcasm. He is easily one of the strongest characters in the modern Final Fantasy era and his place at the top of the pile for video game pirates is unquestionable.
Balthier is a man who came into FFXII and took the over the entire show. His strong personality and witty responses (to just about everything) dominated the weaker Vaan. He also managed to defy the standard JRPG stereotype by establishing himself as a masculine character without going over the top with machismo (I’m look at you Snow…)