The New World is waiting to be discovered, and it's all yours to explore, plunder, discover lost cities, kill and return to Spain to the acclaim of your countrymen. Of course, it's not all fun. You can get completely lost, your men can panic or mutiny, and you can starve to death. Nobody ever said discovering America was going to be easy.
Before you set sail, stop off at the outfitters to stock up on food, provisions and your crew. This decision is important, because once you hit the New World your food supply dwindles every day and the natives get very angry if you don't have any trinkets to leave them. If you're in the mood, you can just take their gold and mow them down Robotron-style, but that doesn't earn you any brownie points back home and word that you are a creep travels very quickly to other villages. They will act accordingly when you visit. If you're nice to the natives, they'll help you find gold and maybe even let you have a few native bearers.
As you explore the Americas, the computer constructs maps of where you've been. (Hint: find Florida first to get your bearings.) Watching the map take shape is a kick. Once you explore both continents, you can be a real pioneer and use the random continent generator. The entire game is controlled by the joystick. Seven Cities does demand some patience, but it is engrossing and even educational once you get into it. Warning: the documentation is very slick and professional, but doesn't say much about how to play, or even load the game. And in the Atari and C-64 versions, it takes nearly a half an hour to prepare the "map disk" used to play the game.