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Blade Runner is now easily playable in ScummVM

Westwood’s 1997 Blade Runner, still the best video game adaptation of a movie, is now a whole lot easier to play on a modern PC. Wonderful adventure game platform ScummVM has officially added support for Blade Runner after four months of public testing. Previously, the best hope was fan-made patches which worked for many but were crashy for me. Maybe now publishers will resolve the rights issues plaguing this game and arrange a digital re-release. I gave my CDs away a few years back after losing hope and damn it, I would buy it again now.

I’ve written plenty before about Blade Runner, and how glad I am it doesn’t retell the film.

“We don’t play Harrison Ford’s Deckard but Ray McCoy, a rookie blade runner created for the game. His story runs parallel to the movie, briefly refers to its happenings, and visits so very, very many of the same places and people, but never has us meet Deckard. At no point does an awkward Harrison Ford soundalike tell Ray ‘Well done, kid. Keep it up and I’ll be able to take retirement‘ while winking furiously at the camera.”

It’s an adventure game where I once got stuck and ended up wandering the streets for ages, not sure where to go next, but it felt perfectly fitting with the tone. I’d just been told my life was a lie and lost all sense of myself, after all, and wasn’t sure whether it was a conspiracy or real. Moping in the rain, wishing I could go home and see my dog and get a good night’s sleep, is what Ray should have been doing.

The ScummVM team are also planning an option for “restored content” in Blade Runner, scraping together and fixing up unfinished bits. I tend to skip such things because bits get cut for a reason, but I’ve played the game so many times I would look out of academic curiosity.

ScummVM started out focused on making ye olde LucasArts games easier to run on modern systems but has grown oh so much more since. Now it supports over 100 vintage adventure games and adventure-y games and can run games on many consoles and phones and things. This latest update on Friday adding Blade Runner and another 15 other games.

Friday’s update seems fairly big in general. It includes cloud support for saves, an overhauled GUI, improved Roland MT-32 sound emulation, a Nintendo Switch port, improvements for the iOS and Android ports… good stuff. They’ve fiddled with how a number of games run in ScummVM too, from fixing old Sierra script bugs to adding lip sync to newer LucasArts games. See the patch notes for everything.

You can download ScummVM over here. You will need to provide your own copy of Blade Runner. Please GOG, or Night Dive, or someone, anyone, get a downloadable re-release going.

One more kiss, dear. One more sigh.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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