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Playing Puzzle Pirates for the First Time

On the late afternoon or early evening of 9 March 2006, I was browsing Newgrounds when I saw a banner advertisement on that site promoting a game called Puzzle Pirates. As it looked pretty interesting, I actually bothered to click on the advertisement, which most likely directed me to the front page of the site, but I cannot remember this for sure. I then proceeded to explore the Web site a bit and read a page here or there, which convinced me rather quickly to give Puzzle Pirates a try, and so I downloaded and installed the game client.

Amazingly, the game's login screen looked very nearly the same back in March 2006 as it does today, though with the notable omission of the background music (it was absolutely silent back then). Although I am aware that you are able today to create your pirate on the Web site, in March 2006 such an option either did not exist or did not manage to catch my attention, meaning that I ended up creating my pirate within the game client after entering my account username and password. As I was still playing RuneScape regularly and incredibly obsessed with that game when I first discovered Puzzle Pirates, quite predictably I named my pirate Dharok, a fictional character in RuneScape who at the time I considered to be very cool. I ended up creating my pirate on the old Midnight Ocean (now Cerulean), but this was simply by chance, as the game client had already set it to Midnight; at the time I didn't know about oceans, and would not learn about them, or on which ocean my pirate had been created, until much later.

Back then, there was no in-game tutorial for newly created pirates; instead, after creation they were simply placed on whatever island the game had randomly decided was to be their home island. I can still remember my original home island, which was Beta Island; my original house (a shack, of course) was Mostly Homeless.

Unlike today, in those days there were no ambient sounds that played when your pirate was standing outside on an island, so my first moments in Puzzle Pirates (spent on Beta Island) were almost completely silent, besides occasionally hearing the rather quiet sound effect that plays when you click a menu button. As there was no tutorial back then, and I did not read any sort of game manual or documentation but preferred instead to jump right in and start playing, naturally I was very confused. I started clicking around, both in the game world and on the game's menus. There might have been a few other players also present on the island, but if there were, I certainly did not speak to them—I was far too nervous and confused. I might have walked around and even entered a building or two, but I didn't buy anything, nor did I play any of the carousing or crafting puzzles.

Instead, it was either through the little New Pirate Help message, or through opening the island's notice board, that I was eventually led to starting the Learn to Bilge mission. I was teleported to a navy ship, and soon I found a bilge station and began playing the puzzle.

It was undoubtedly the experience of playing the bilging puzzle during this first login session of mine that got me hooked on Puzzle Pirates. As I was a new player, the bilging puzzle for me started out with only five different pieces rather than the full seven, which meant that the random chains that could result from moving pieces were far more likely. I can very clearly recall the smile on my face when, after clearing some pieces from the board and thereby causing other pieces to move upwards, long, huge chains resulted purely by chance, boosting my score and giving me a sense of thrill.

I don't think I played for very long, as I can remember my mother calling us for dinner soon afterwards. I bilged for perhaps no more than 20 minutes, and I don't believe I tried any other puzzles during this first login session of mine. I may or may not have logged on again after dinner to play some more; regardless, the fun I had playing the bilging puzzle that day was enough for me to stick with the game.

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This page last modified on 29 March 2021.