ScummVM turns 20!

HEXdidnt

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13 Jun 2021
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...And I feel really old now.

I mean, I can still clearly remember playing The Secret of Monkey Island for the first time, on my trusty Amiga 600, marvelling at this new format of adventure game that substituted text descriptions and a clunky parser with gorgeous, animated graphics and an efficient, easy-to-grasp point-and-click interface... and then trying to run the sequel (which, to be fair, was slow but perfectly playable up until the climactic face-off with LeChuck). I can remember the Indiana Jones games, Sam & Max, and many other LucasArts classics as if I played them only yesterday... But, for some of them, it was in the region of 30 years ago. Those that appeared on the PC had to be run from DOS, and so would likely require third party utilities like DOSBox to get running these days.

Praise be, then, to the SCUMMVM team, who crafted a Virtual Machine for playing games created with the 'Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion' engine, unleashed upon an unsuspecting but deeply appreciative world back in 2001, allowing these classic games to be played on more modern hardware and under more modern operating systems, all accessed via a simple admin window.

And so, now, SCUMMVM can be considered retro...

Although not really, since it's been regularly updated and now accommodates a much vaster range of games, including Westwood's Kyrandia series, pretty much Sierra's entire back catalogue (including FMV 'classics' like Phantasmagoria), games from Delphine, Adventuresoft, Revolution, Coktel Vision, Origin Systems, Cyan, and more. It's now available across multiple platforms, too - I have it on the Wii!

It has become a retro gaming engine in and of itself, allowing people to play these games as they were originally presented, rather than waiting/hoping for yet another almost inevitably crass remake that muddies the graphics (or switches them for hideous CGI remakes) and replaces the original voice actors with crummy imitators.

Forget all these Pi-box, multi-format emulators. SCUMMVM is where it's at. Long may it continue to thrive.
 

chrisns

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14 Jun 2021
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Ironic that the ScummVM interpreter itself can be considered Retro (does that elevate the compatible games to 'Vintage' status?) and with their 20th anniversary v2.5 release supporting a slew of additional engines and titles, its popularity can only grow. Given the differences between the various supported engines, the team also do an excellent job of publishing the Compatibility of various titles.

Additional kudos to the team for also supporting such a wide variety of systems to run ScummVM on, including all the usual major current platform, but also the likes of Dreamcast, RISC OS and even Atari!

For my own experience, I've used various versions on Windows to varying degrees of motivation and success... but the Android port brought a whole new lease of life to these games which feel intuitive to play using the touch screen of an 8- or 10-inch tablet.

Now to get my old data files for Westwood's Blade Runner onto my de-Amazon'd Fire HD 10 for some portable Voight-Kampff action!
 
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