It bears stressing that Uncharted Waters was a VERY open-ended game world
, one of the largest game worlds of its time and filled with the most and varied opportunities. Its voluntary mission-based game play foretells games such as the Grand Theft Auto
series. It is a direct bridge between 1st generation videogames and the current.
Its heritage is certainly text-based commerce games. UC didn't break 100% new ground, but it did meld the text-based trading commerce econo-puzzle (which lives on in incarnations like Drug Dealer) with graphical exploration and naval combat (a la Broadsides), plus the completely voluntary actions-based choice of different roles/personas through which to amass your wealth.
What differentiates this game from other world exploration and adventure games of its time (such as the Ultima series) is that the only overarching quest as such was to get rich, and thereby marry the Princess. No demons to destroy, no worlds to save. You weren't 'punished' for not getting rich, you just didn't retire as wealthy as you could have, and without the company of the Princess. The game put faith in the player to find his/her own path through game life; the journey became the reward.
Revised on 03/14/03