You might not remember it dear and vaguely aged reader, but there was a time when adventure games reigned supreme. A time when the latest Lucasarts or Sierra release was anticipated the same way the next, uhm, Halo I suppose, is eagerly awaited by today's less than elegant gaming mainstream. And before that, there was a time of wild experimentation, fresh ideas and technological leaps on a variety of platforms ranging from the Commodore 64 to the PC, with the later being the adventure gamers' true platform of choice.
Those two eras were eventually followed by the dark days of the graphics adventure when only a handful of quality offerings were released and when MS-DOS became a forgotten relic of an OS. Sadly most of the genre's classic were MS-DOS programs, which finally brings us to the point of this post: the excellent adventure game focused emulator ScummVM. The ultimate tool in the exploration of the world of classic and, well, aged adventures. An incredibly powerful emulator that lets you run an amazing variety of classic point-and-clickers without fiddling with Dosbox or trying to install Win 3.1 games on your Win 7 machine. With ScummVM, all you have to do is copy the game files directly from their CD or disk(s) to a folder, select said folder and play them on a variety of mostly modern platforms ranging from the PC and the Dreamcast to the PSP and Nintendo's Wii.
|That's what the German version of Day of the Tentacle looks like in ScummVM.|
Each game, and I'm mainly referring to the PC version of the thing, can be played with full sounds in a variety of resolutions, either full-screen or windowed and can even have its graphics enhanced via some particularly smart and ever-evolving filters. As for the games you can emulate, well, prepare to be impressed... Every classic Lucasarts/Lucasfilm game from Maniac Mansion up to The Curse of Monkey Island, most of Sierra's AGI and SCI offerings spanning the period from King's Quest I to Leisure Suit Larry 6, Revolution's classics including the first two Broken Swords, Coktel Vision's Gobliiins trilogy and more, Elvira, Simon the Sorcerer and the rest of the major Adventuresoft / Horrorsoft games, the few Activision adventures, the back catalogue of Humongous Entertainment and many of those Living Book games for kids can seamlessly be enjoyed. What's more, a selection of other classic adventures such Discworld, The 7th Guest, Cruise for a Corpse and Future Wars is supported, with the list growing stronger by the month.
To download ScummVM -and you should really do so- for the machine of your preference simply click yourself over to the official, rich and very lovely indeed ScummVM site. The emulator is happily freeware and you'll also get the chance to grab some retro demos and even a few complete games for free, among which you'll find the excellent Beneath a Steel Sky and the vastly underrated Flight of the Amazon Queen. I, of course, trust you to navigate the site yourself cunning reader.
|And you can even point-and-click in Hercules mode!|
Oh, and I almost forgot; the latest ScummVM release (1.3.0 Runner) has just been made available. It now supports more platforms, a new set of games (including Toonstruck and the Hugo series), adds compatibility with the Amiga and Mac versions of more than a few Sierra games and, as usually, introduces a selection of subtle enhancements and bug-fixes.
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