Cartoonist tony millionaire draws a strip called Maakies, in which characters Drinky Crow and Uncle Gobby frequently do battle with pirates on the high seas.
I met Mr. Millionaire once and asked him why he likes pirates so much, and he replied "What makes you think I like pirates? They're the rapists of the sea!"
That hasn't stopped it might even have helped Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, now in theatres, from inspiring predictable video game tie-ins.
With titles like Ubisoft's King Kong and the integrated worlds of The Matrix Online, tie-ins are becoming less brand extensions and more proper games in themselves.
Still, I'm skeptical about anything associated with Disney's entertainment juggernaut. This is probably why the marketer for the game rigged up an entire junket, offering the media a chance to "live the life of a pirate."
Arriving on the deck of the Kajama, the tall ship at Harbourfront Centre, we find a crew of stuntmen, re-enactors and promoters ready to transform us into salty sea dogs. We're given our choice of costumes, from pantaloons to puffy shirts to eye patches. Then we're sent back up on deck to meet a man wearing full captain's regalia, including two replica flintlock pistols. He's waiting to give us our elocution lessons.
"There are two letters in the pirate alphabet," he says behind a big beard and a bigger grin, "Aye! Arr! You're now pirate-literate."
The captain calls himself Calico Jack Rackham, who, he explains, was the real man who established the Jolly Roger as the pirates' flag once and for all. "How long have you been a pirate?" someone asks. "I've been a pirate for about 5 foot 11."
We move to the stern, where three tumbling buccaneers engage in a fight scene with wooden swords. They're from FAST, a Toronto-based stunt team who do gymnastics and fighting for films as well as motion-capture work for video games. Today they're turning journalists into swashbucklers. They're patient, funny and take their job as instructors seriously. Soon enough they've got results a fencing duel that ends with our sticks at each other's throats.
Buena Vista Games flak Michelle Liem welcomes us to try out the game on the Playstation Portable. She's professional but dressed like a wench, which makes her ideal to answer a few of my questions.
I ask if she learned any pirate phrases today.
"We did learn how to pick up a guy; it was something like, "Ahoy, matey, would you like to plunder my treasure chest!" she answers. "Jack was explaining that pirates don't like to be subtle. Which is why you have to talk about plundering your""
"Yeah, the word booty was used as well."
Which makes me wonder if there is any booty-plundering in this game, or is it strictly a family game?
"You do find treasure," says Liem. "But not the kind of booty you're talking about."
So far, the games themselves are only available on the handheld platforms: the Nintendo Gameboy Advance and DS as well as the Playstation Portable. In all three versions, Captain Jack Sparrow wobbles drunkenly on his feet, just like in the films.
The PSP version seems to be the best in terms of gameplay and graphics. It's mostly a fighting adventure game; you beat up zombies and cannibals while trying to solve various puzzles along the way.
The fighting system includes a few things they didn't teach us in our training; sneaky pirate moves from head-butts and groin kicks to smashing bottles of grog over opponents' heads. It's got the added bonus of being gleefully voiced by an actor who's reasonably close to the Johnny Depp original.
The DS and Gameboy Advanced games are also pretty fun, each with several modes of play, from sword-fighting to naval combat. The DS even has a number of clever little mini-games you can play using its touch-screen and stylus.
There's nothing revolutionary about any of these games, but that hardly matters. Along with the movie, they'll make bountiful treasure for Disney, and kids will enjoy playing them until, that is, the sequel comes out and the next round of tie-ins replaces these.