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Scumm, All Ye Faithful

Have we written about the august ScummVM before? I rather believe we haven’t. What cads we are- it’s the lash for us tonight, lads. As the tireless folk behind it have just released version 0.13.0, now seems as good a time as any to mention this wonderful application. It’s more than likely you’re already familiar with this indispensable (and free) tool of retro PC gaming, but just in case not I’ll bang out a quick summary before talking about the new version.

ScummVM, y’see, is a freeware project designed predominantly to make the classic LucasArts adventure games run all slick’n’nice on modern PCs’ new-fangled hardware and operating systems. That’s Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Full Throttle et al. Woo!

That initial goal was pretty much achieved some time ago, so since then the project’s expanded to encompass other games of the time and genre from other studios, such as Beneath A Steel Sky, Broken Sword, Gobliiins and Simon The Sorcerer. It also has some fancy-doodle rendering to run the games at high resolutions, and add some interface gubbins we’ve grown accustomed to most games having in the last few years. It’s not an emulator for DOS games – it’s an engine designed to run specific games as flawlessly as possible. You’ll need to provide those games’ files yourself, of course.

V0.13.0 includes some GUI rethinks, the much-needed option to pop back to ScummVM’s main menu from a running game, and also support for, er, Blue’s 123 Time Activities and Blue’s ABC Time Activities. Rather more notably, ancient horror adventure (and CD-ROM gaming landmark) The Seventh Guest. It’ll certainly be fascinating to see how that old frightener stands up after all these years.

Grab ScummVM from here, and if you like it bung the good chaps behind it a donation. There are also various lovely ports for PDAs, phones and, if you’ve no stranger to the world of jailbreaking closed systems, the PSP, DS and iPhone. I’m especially fond of the latter version. Also, thanks to kindly developers/publishers, a few of the supported games are available for free, legal download – notably Beneath A Steel Sky (illustrated by Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, donchaknow) and Flight of the Amazon Queen. INTERNET, YOU ARE SO KIND.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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