As anyone who has ever taken on the role of Guybrush Threepwood, the swashbuckling wannabe pirate from the Monkey Island series, will tell you – 2D point and click games are engaging and funny. For anyone late to the party or simply still stuck in the 90s there’s SCUMMVM.
SCUMM stands for Script Creation Utility for Manic Mansion. It was brought to life by Lucas Arts as a platform for 2D point-and-click adventures and used for many highly acclaimed titles such as the aforementioned The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Sam & Max Hit the Road. SCUMMVM is a video game emulator which provides a platform on which to play these classics – on nearly any system you can name.
The virtual machine (which makes up the VM in SCUMMVM) comes in over 40 different flavours including the obvious modern Windows, Linux and Mac versions. For gamers on the go there’s an iPhone package as well as Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, Symbian OS and Windows CE editions.
It doesn’t stop there however, and the developers have gone to great lengths to get the platform working on a homebrewed Nintendo Wii, GameCube and N64 as well as the Dreamcast and Amiga OS. Put it this way – if you own a fancy Samsung TV then there’s even a version for that. I’m serious.
I’m using SCUMMVM on Windows, but the process involved in getting your 2D adventures working is the same on any platform. You can download and install any of the versions from the official downloads page. Once you’ve fired up the video game emulator you will be presented with a list of games you have available and a couple of options. As you’ve not installed any games, the list will at first be empty.
Within the Options panel you can tweak graphics and audio settings, as well as MIDI emulation and theme settings. SCUMMVM can be run in full-screen or windowed mode (if you’re trying to work), and has a handy “Aspect Ratio Correction“ option for widescreen users.
There are eight titles available for download from the SCUMMVM website which have been made available as freeware by their respective publishers. Quality free titles include Flight of the Amazon Queen which sees you stranded in the Amazon rainforest and the devilish Beneath a Steel Sky in which your character can die in the very first room.
All are available from the downloads page here.
SCUMMVM also includes support for many more adventure games, though in order to play these you are going to need an official copy of the game. eBay is a great place to find old games at bargain prices and once you’ve got your hands on a copy head over to the SCUMMVM game data file list to see what files you need to extract and play. MS-DOS and unsupported Windows versions make perfect candidates, simply copy and paste the relevant files to a new directory and point SCUMMVM to it.
Playing games is quick and easy once you’ve added them to the list of installed titles. Folders containing game data files must be added one by one, using the Add Game button.
Navigate your way to the folder containing your game data files and click Choose. If everything’s in order, SCUMM will pop-up a window like this:
Settings for your particular version will be automatically detected and added to the fields above, click OK to add the game to the list. Once a game has been added it will remain in the list until you remove it. You can now select a game and click Start to begin exploring some surprisingly engrossing 2D worlds.
SCUMMVM sits alongside DOSBox as one of those well-intended freeware applications everyone loves. The simple interface means you’ll be up and running in no time – even on your mobile device. The free games alone will keep you busy for hours, and it’s easy to copy the files you need from game CDs or floppies. The developers have provided everything you need to get started on some funny adventure games.
Have you tried a version of the SCUMMVM video game emulator? If you have any tips or favourite games, let us know in the comments.