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International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Posted by THEPOGG on Sep 20, 2019

Ahoy me hearties! ‘N welcome t’ International Talk Like a Pirate Day. A jolly o’ day established in 1995 when a pair of scurvy scallywags called John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy) decided that we needed a day, or more precisely, an excuse to talk like a pirate.

Origins of Talk Like a Pirate Day

The concept was formed on June the 6th, when Summers uttered a land weary cry of “Arrgh” during a sports related injury. In a respectful observance with the Normandy Landings, another day was chosen to speak like a pirate. Summers chose his wife’s birthday so that he would either not forget when he needed to speak like a pirate or when to buy his wife a new cutlass. Either way, the 19th of September has become synonymous with bad Jack Sparrow impressions, which for the meta-minded amongst you means a bad impression of a bad impression.

Like many great moments in cultural history, International Talk Like a Pirate Day began life as an innocuous and seemingly trivial event, in this case no more than an in-joke between two friends. But by 2002 we were all sitting up and taking note as the two fathers of this great movement appeared in a popular column written by well-known Miami journalist Dave Barry.

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know (unless you’ve read the same Wikipedia page as me). International Speak like a Pirate Day has its own patron saint! Robert Newton, the man attributed to inventing the pirate accent starred in pirate themed movies in the 1950s, bring his West Country accent with him and forever cementing in our minds what all good pirates should sound like. Newton embodied the role of the pirate in Disney’s “Treasure Island”, the filmed based on our earliest portrayal of any pirate in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel.

Baur and Summers now host a website that promotes the day they are responsible for us all commemorating and dishes out some healthy portions of pirate related material. For example, last month the website informed us all that is was a pirate who discovered the avocado and not some topknot adorned barista called Ignatius.

According to Baur and Summers, William Dampier, a bonafide pirate, released a recipe for the avocado (something very similar to guacamole) in 1679, a full 3 and a half centuries before Tarquin ate it off a buckwheat cracker on his way to yoga. This tells us that pirates weren’t all bad. They weren’t all pillage and plunder. All hooks and dead men’s chests. Some pirates brought us the perfect accompaniment to the chilli, cheese and nachos.

So what else might there be for us to discover about pirates?

Useless Facts about Pirates

For starters, not all pirates were men. There were some very famous female pirates, something I learned reviewing a slot game last year. “Wild Seas” by Elk Studios is one of those rare slot games with a narrative and one of its central characters is renowned pirate Anne Bonny, who if you haven’t already guess was actually a lady pirate. Not only were pirates capable of mixing up a culinary masterpiece but they were miles ahead of the game when it came to gender equality too.

Who’s up for some eye-opening etymology? You’re getting it anyway. Pirate comes from the Latin word “pirata”, which means sailor or sea robber. It also derives from the Greek word “peirates”, which means “one who attacks ships.”

Mr Stevenson wrote a few things in his famous novel that we have established incorrectly as pirate facts, none so scandalous as a pirate’s canine inspired love for burying treasure. Sure, a few might have done this but the truth is that much of the “treasure” that was being hauled back to Europe was perishable, none more notable than the cocoa bean and the chocolatey joy that hid within.

I have some very bad news for fans of Jack Sparrow. The truth is that very few pirates had long careers. That is undoubtably down the high-risk nature of their work. A solid period of employment for a pirate would have been around 3 years, which by my reckoning would mean that we would only have been enough time for 1, maybe 2 “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. If only fiction had resembled fact, so much suffering could have been avoided.

The whole thing about the plank may have held some relevance but any pirates using this form of punishment were few and far between. A more common penalty would have been something known as the keel-haul, something that sounds a lot worse than walking into the sea off the edge of a long piece of wood. Keel-hauling was when a sailor was tied to a rope thread beneath a ship, before being thrown overboard and dragged under the keel, from one side of the ship to the other. This would normally not kill the sailor but it would be a grim enough experience to keep everyone in check. Add to this a keel slathered in barnacles and other sea-based crusties and you can guarantee that along with not being able to breath properly victims were likely to lose a layer or two of skin in the process.

This all sounds like pretty grim stuff, so why on earth would anyone want to be a pirate? The answer to that is quite simple. The thing is, times were pretty grim in general back then and the alternatives to live of crime on the high seas weren’t much better. Earning an honest living at sea was just as risky as earning a dishonest one at sea. The big difference being that sailors were very badly paid and badly treated, making the a pirate’s life for me seem a much more favourable option than that of a hard working navy sailor.

You know what they say about the size of your ship, right? It’s not the size that counts, but the motion in the ocean. Not just a euphemism but generally good advice for anyone looking to procure themselves an effective pirate ship. Light, quick and nimble was the order of the day for vessels that needed to be able to out-manoeuvre the more heavily endowed frigates that they would purge of precious bounty. Remember, was early guerrilla warfare at sea, and as such the quicker the better.

There’s a good chance that you might have heard of or even engaged in the debate about freedom fighters and terrorists. The argument always boils down to what side you sit on and essentially what you personally label good and bad. However, you might not have encountered the “is he a pirate or a hero?” debate before. Sir Francis Drake is a national hero in England because he was only the second captain ever to lead a ship that circumnavigated the globe. He was also second in command during the English battle against the Spanish Armada and became one of the single most irritating of annoyances to the Spanish and their monarchy. For this reason, and for the many sacked Spanish settlements in the new world that Sir Francis was responsible for he was called a pirate, or more precisely (perhaps a more precise word could have been used, one that acknowledge a distinct lack of precision when attempting to use Spanish): a pirata. A simple reverse of perspectives and England’s famous hero is scourge to society, one who ended his days rotting with dysentery in a Spanish cell in the far flung regions of what would become known as Panama.

Of course, these facts are merely a drop in the ocean when it comes to our preconceived notions of what makes a pirate. But, let’s face it, “Pirates of the Caribbean” aside, no one wants reality when swashbuckling entertainment is the alternative. We want the myth, the legend and that rum swilling (please drink responsibly) West Country accent. And when it comes to slots, that myth has been piled on with large spadefuls of “arrghs”, parrots, eye-patches, peg-legs and cannonballs.

This list of pirate themed slot games will be a top 10 and it will be placed in ascending order from the worst of the best to the best of the best. The list will be ordered according to previous reviews, although when needed a revision of those reviews may be called for.

Here it is then. On International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a list of the 10 best pirate themed slots available to play today, at the end of which will be crowned the best pirate themed slot in the world.

Piggy Pirates

This Red Tiger slot is just one of quite a few pirate themed games from the software developers. This one takes a less than serious look at the profession, combining the pirate way of life with, erm…pigs. This slot is played out over 6 reels and sees “The Three Little Pigs” do battle with a “Big Bad Wolf” from opposing pirate ships. You get Free Spins, Wilds and a Bonus feature and if all that wasn’t good enough the Free Spins are labelled as “unlimited”. What that actually means is there is no set amount and feature ends when “The Big Bad Wolf” appears on the reels. This essentially means there is a random number of Free Spins, which could be better or worse than a set amount.

Play the free demo slot here

Space Corsairs

That’s right, pirates in space. What could be better than melding the swashbuckling 18th century with a galaxy far far away? In this Net Entertainment slot we are taking a few liberties as it is highly unlikely that you will find a casino offering it today. However, if you are lucky enough to find it on your space travels then you will grab yourself a slot that looks great and has some cracking features to booty. You get Free Spins, Wilds and a Bonus feature. You also get something called “Black Hole Mode”. You will probably never have seen anything like this slot before so if you happen to stumble across it, why not give it a go?

Play the free demo slot here

Ghost Pirates

Take almost everything I have said about Space Corsairs, just replace the Space parts with Ghost parts you pretty much get where this game is. I don’t want to harp on too long about this Net Entertainment classic, but would like to point out that the aesthetic is somewhat similar to a certain pirate themed movie franchise and that like Space Corsairs you might struggle to find this one in operation.

Play the free demo slot here

A Pirate’s Quest

Pirates and a quest. Go on then, count me in. This Spinomenal game should be much more readily available than the last two slots on this list and like them it is a slot that very much looks the part. This slot is one of the newest on our list and comes with all the usual features that you might expect from a Spinomenal slot. There are Free Spins, Wilds and a Buy Now feature that lets you get stuck straight into the Free Spins for a price that may or may not prove to be worth it. The house edge is really the only thing letting this slot down and that is because as of now we do know what it is!

Play the free demo slot here

Pirate’s Plenty: Battle for Gold

Released just last month, I was very much looking forward to seeing what the second slot in this franchise had in store for us. It looks as good as the original but is lacking somewhat in the features that are available. This is still the 5th best pirate themed slot out there on the market today but it would require a significant upgrade if it was going to compete with its impressive older sibling.

Play the free demo slot here

Pirate Gold

This Pragmatic Play slot is another relatively new one, being released just this year and coming with the usual host of slot related goodies that you tend to get from these guys. The slot looks amazing, with the usual use of bright, vibrant colours and there is a load of features along with a very competitive house edge. Go’wan! You know you want to.

Play the free demo slot here

Pirate’s Charm

If Quickspin have a game out there that meets our brief then you can almost guarantee that they will make it onto our list. Why? Well, for a start it is going to look good and secondly you know it will come with a few excellent features. You get Free Spins, Respins and a couple of mystery symbol features. This slot also comes with a relatively low house edge, meaning it offers excellent value for money.

Play the free demo slot here

Hook’s Heroes

With the charge for top stop well and truly taking shape we will our first of the top three spaces with another old Net Entertainment slot. There was clearly a huge call for pirate themed slots a number of years ago, with the popularity of the genre now on the wain some of the larger developers have dropped out of the pirate running. However, when the going was good this would have been considered one of the best pirate themed slots out there. This slot looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie, with slightly deranged looking pirates and other sea-based characters set with a darkly drawn cartoon world. We loved how this slot looked, the features that came with it and the value it was offering, and quite frankly, we still do.

Play the free demo slot here

Treasure Island

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Robert Lewis Stevenson would have been proud of any slot game that used the title of his well-known novel but if one had to be made I reckon he would have settled quite happily for this Quickspin slot. We loved it so much when it was first released that we gave it the very rare accolade of a perfect score. That’s right, 10 out of 10 and it still hasn’t made its way onto our top spot. To summarise, this slot looks amazing, has incredible features and good house edge. In any other list it would be a worthy winner.

Play the free demo slot here

Pirate’s Plenty

There could only be one winner really. This slot is without any doubt the best pirate themed slot out there and it also happens to be the best Red Tiger slot out there. The software designers struck buried gold when they made this slot and it deserves all of the hype and the awards it was given last year. It looks great, offers value and has one of my favourite features in any slot game ever. If you haven’t played it, you should.

Play the free demo slot here

Conclusions

Compiling this list has taught me something about slots that I really should have known already. That trends come and go within any creative industry and that those trends are normally determined by something much bigger. In this instance we have to mention (as much as it pains me) “The Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and the influence it had on slot games being developed around the time it was hitting the big time. So many pirate themed slots are tricky to get a hold of now because they were created back then, when Captain Jack was the biggest thing since Darth Vader. In the last few years we have seen fewer pirate themed slots but it is the ones released recently that are the best ones, meaning that with the demise of that huge Disney franchise we have reverted back to quality pirate slots, not just lots of them.

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