30 years ago, we played one of the best space games.  Starfield could learn a lot from Privateer
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February 10, 2024, 8:00 pm


Space simulators were once a popular game genre. In 1993, Privateer added the freedom of sandbox mode, trading, and an engaging plot to dynamic space battles. And he did it better than Starfield!




Space – the final frontier that computer gaming reached decades ago in many legendary titles, and then was long forgotten, at least in the mainstream. Until last year and the highly anticipated premiere starfield, Which once again allowed us to feel the atmosphere of space adventure. Excludes It was not an adventure that lived up to current capabilities and expectations, but in a better way Starfield I actually played it in 1993.


Then, in September, the game hit the market Wing Commander: Pfc From the famous Origin Systems studio – authors, among others, of the series Altima And later: Strike Commander, System Shock, BioForgeFor example but not limited to. private It borrowed a bit from a couple of other games, but it was a title ahead of its time. Today we would call it a space sandbox, an action-adventure game with an open world – but at that time, no one thought of sandboxes like that, and in one printed review it was called an “arcade-simulation-strategy-trading game” – an adventure-game “!

Same universe, completely different story

Hey privaterzee It's hard to talk without mentioning that first Wing Commander – A game that was an absolute hit with two titles on the market at the time. Chris Roberts' work – yes, of that work Star Cityza – Transferring the essence star Wars, that is, the battles of small, agile fighters in space, to the author's world, where people from Earth and other systems united and where the Terran Confederacy waged a long war with a cat-like alien race of Kilrathi. For immersive space photography Wing Commander It added an atmospheric plot and cinematic scenes – something that was not unusual in simulators of the time, not to mention stunning graphics.

Space adventure fans can also manage their careers in the sequel Frontier: Elite II – Current grandfather Dangerous elite. Published by Konami, the game offered freedom, the ability to play the role of a merchant, carrier, or military pilot, and endless gameplay – it lacked any plot. Aside from that, the initial graphics weren't that impressive.

Privateer, Origin Systems 1993 - 30 years ago we played one of the best space games.  Starfield could learn a lot from Privateer - Message - 2024-02-10

Pirates, Origin Systems 1993

And then Back privatewhich combined the best elements from both series and embellished them with stunning 3D bitmap graphics in an astounding 256 colors for a VGA card. – As long as you have a computer with sufficient power. For this reason, there was no attempt to port the game to the Amiga, unlike previous versions Wing Commander I elite. The game was doubly surprising, especially here in Poland, because based on the pirated version, without a description from the press, only after a few words of the introduction – or later, during the first encounter with the Kilrathi – was it revealed private It is incidental It will pass. This name appears as a small note on the original box.


Freedom as in a modern sandbox

Then Chris Robert's brother Erin Roberts delivered an absolute masterpiece. First, we were given our own pile of junk – a ship, 2,000 credits in our pockets, a huge amount of space, and absolute freedom in how to direct our career. And in space there was a feeling of war with the Kilrathi. We encountered Terran military patrols in space, and bartenders at the facilities we visited updated us on the progress of military operations and recent battles. Upon entering the new system, our ship was scanned for illegal contraband.

You can go to the Missionomat to do some quick quests, buy some goods and travel to another system to sell them for a profit, or hunt down a bandit as a bounty hunter. There was a merchant guild and a mercenary guild that you could join for a fee, and over time you could also join a secret pirate base. You had to either be wary of them as a merchant, or join them, rob others, and monitor military patrols.

The best part was that Only after some time did we reach the planet New Detroit, where the NPC we met managed to complete a certain quest related to a mysterious artifact, which began a story adventure that would last probably more than 30 quests.. This did not interfere with the freedom to play and pursue trade or a mercenary career. It was also possible to play after completing the story, which is what we usually expect from open world games.

Privateer, Origin Systems 1993 - 30 years ago we played one of the best space games.  Starfield could learn a lot from Privateer - Message - 2024-02-10

Pirates, Origin Systems 1993

Best space battles since X-Wing

Aside from all these extras and freedom, private It's still a very good space simulator. Especially after connecting the joystick, the battles gave a lot of satisfaction, because the opponents were very smart, had well-armored ships and they often had to think carefully whether attacking was worth it. We had the option to upgrade our equipment by purchasing more powerful guns, shields, shields, engines, or even replacing the entire unit.


There were not many ships, but they varied greatly. One was better suited for transporting large amounts of cargo, the other dominated as an agile fighter. There was a screen in the cockpit with a view of the axes, an option to manage the shields, and you could collect the cargo left by the victims and jettison your cargo in case of trouble. The most important purchase was the Jump Drive for jumps into hyperspace and new systems maps. Thanks to them, it was possible to venture into farther corners of the Gemini sector and feel that we are truly working in an open world without borders.

Technology from Starfield on 6 discs

Everything I've described so far should sound very familiar to anyone who's spent even the first few hours in… StarfieldTodd Howard's game copies a lot of elements from it privatera, Including, unfortunately, technical solutions. It's hard to believe, but the 2023 production simulates space travel in the same way as the game was released 30 years ago on six 1.44MB floppy disks.

Want to jump into hyperspace to another system? Just fly inside the blue ball, press the button and watch the space jump animation. Landing on a planet or on a space station? We move closer until the object fills the view from the cockpit and we watch another animation. The beginnings look the same – Everything is on autopilot in a cutscene. However, it was clear that the siege was the computer's power, memory, and game size. private It's still being crushed technically, aurally and visually.

Privateer, Origin Systems 1993 - 30 years ago we played one of the best space games.  Starfield could learn a lot from Privateer - Message - 2024-02-10

Pirates, Origin Systems 1993

Why starfield, Despite the long years of production and Microsoft's budget, Does it work exactly the same after 30 years? Only Todd Howard knows this, and it's no wonder the game received so much criticism. In 1993 private It set new standards, burning paths, it had no distractions typical of sandboxes, there was no map full of unnecessary checkmarks – it was huge, and at the same time completely compressed for the necessary content. She was intrigued by the plot and fascinated by its climatic world Wing Commander – That's why he still maintains it in a better way Starfield I've been playing for 30 years. His name was private.

And it continued

Wing Commander: Pfc There are two types of add-ons. The first was the then-technical and fashionable “speech package,” which added recorded lines of dialogue. A year later, an expansion of the story called The righteous fire, which included a continuation of the base game's story, new quests, and purchasable items. In 1994, a collective edition was also released on CD.

A sequel was released in 1996 Soldier 2: Blacknessbased on experience Wing Commander 3, that is, the obligatory full-motion video scenes with real actors. In “Two” they played, among others: Clive Owen and Christopher Walken, but this is a topic for another article. There were plans for a television series privatebut it never came to fruition.

How to play Privateer today?

Original Wing Commander: Privitera With speech pack and add-on The righteous fire We can buy it on the GOG platform for PLN 23.76.

The game has evolved wonderfully and even today it can provide dozens of hours of fun. However, such a strong retro atmosphere is not for everyone. For those who prefer more modern solutions, the new fan release titled Privateer: Gemini Gold will be an excellent choice.

The fan remake updates the graphics, but retains the atmosphere of the original.  Image source: Gemini Gold Team.  -For 30 years we have been playing one of the best space games.  Starfield could learn a lot from Privateer - Message - 2024-02-10

The fan remake updates the graphics, but retains the atmosphere of the original. Image source: Gemini Gold Team.

The project debuted in 2005 and was developed over the next four years. Everything is built on the engine Vega Strike, thanks to which ships and other space elements are manufactured in 3D technology. However, the 2D elements, such as the station screens, dialogue and cockpits, have been reworked, and in the remake we can admire them in high definition. At the same time, the project is working on improving the physics, artificial intelligence and interface.

Overall, fans updated all the old elements of the original, but at the same time kept what made it unique. That's why this free version is currently the best way to play priveraira.

  1. Pirates: Gemini Gold – Download the game

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