ScummVM on RISC OS: A quick guide

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Continuing on from our look at running retro DOS games on RISC OS through DOSBox, it’s only right that we take a look at playing classic point-and-click adventure games with ScummVM.

A point-and-click adventure if you’re unfamiliar with the term, follows the same principle as text adventure games but instead of a written description of where you character is or what he/she is seeing, there’s a static image in it’s place – where you can click on certain parts of the image to inspect things further and to navigate your character.

What is ScummVM?

Short for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion Virtual Machine (rolls of the tongue doesn’t it), ScummVM is a set of game engine recreations originally designed to play LucasArts adventure games that use the SCUMM system, it now also supports a variety of non-SCUMM games developed by companies like Revolution Software and Adventure Soft. Released under the GNU General Public License, ScummVM is free software.

ScummVM is a reimplementation of the part of the software used to interpret the scripting languages such games used to describe the game world rather than emulating the hardware the games ran on.

The latest major release of ScummVM, version 2.00 was also released for RISC OS at the end of last year, so we have the latest version at our disposal. The developers say that this release adds support for 23 games that weren’t compatible with ScummVM previously.

Setup on RISC OS 

Once you’ve downloaded ScummVM from here and placed it on a location on your RISC OS system, the next step is to download some games (keep reading for where to game some from). Once you have some downloaded, it’s relatively easy to get it running in ScummVM.

The game files need to be located in a suitable directory, and from ScummVM’s main window, click the ‘Add Game’ button and navigate to the directory where the game you wish to run is played.. Select that directory by clicking once (don’t double-click!) and then select the Choose button. The game(s) in that directory will then be listed in a nice list that you can then select to play.

Supported Games

The legal status of a good chunk of these games is now quite questionable, a lot of them are now considered abandonware and can be downloaded free of charge. There are some however that, while they can be sourced for free online, they are still copyrighted and thus you’ll need to purchase a copy legally in order to get the game files to point ScummVM to.

There’s a good deal of info on ScummVM’s wiki about this, and there’s a big list of supported titles too.

There’s also a fair amount of free games that you can play, a lot of which are classics that you really don’t want to miss out on.

Recommended Games

Beneath a Steel Sky – Released in 1994, Beneath a Steel Sky is cyberpunk science-fiction game developed by Revolution Software and published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment for MS-DOS and Amiga home computers. The game was made available as freeware in 2003.

Set in a dystopian future, the player assumes the role of Robert Foster, who was stranded in a wasteland known as ‘the Gap’ as a child and adopted by a group of local Aboriginals, gradually adjusting to his life in the wilderness. After many years, armed security officers arrive, killing the locals and taking Robert back to Union City. He escapes and soon uncovers the corruption which lies at the heart of society.

At the time of its release, the game received extremely positive reviews and is retrospectively viewed as a cult classic.

You can download Beneath a Steel Sky legally and for free from here.

DreamWeb – Launched for MS-DOS and Amiga in 1994, DreamWeb is another cyberpunk point-and-click adventure, but with a difference.

The game’s plot is very dark and depressing, and is filled with violence and even full frontal nudity at one point – which really ruffled some feathers back in 1994. Dreamweb was re-released as freeware in October 2012.

The game follows a down-on-his-luck ex-bartender called Ryan, it’s your duty to hunt through the bleak streets of the city and brutally murder seven different people.

Ryan knows this because he’s constantly haunted by visions of the ‘DreamWeb’, a place inhabited by monks who instruct him that these seven souls are going to cause an imbalance and doom the world.

You can download DreamWeb legally and for free from here.

Flight of the Amazon Queen – Developed by Binary Illusions and released for Amiga and MS-DOS in 1995, Flight of the Amazon Queen is a graphical point-and-click adventure game where you play as Joe King, the pilot of the Amazon Queen.

What began as a piece of cake job – flying a movie star her next shooting location, turns out to be a dangerous challenge, as you must outwit your unscrupulous rival the flying Dutchman and foil the plans of the evil genius Doctor Frank Ironstein.

The game was re-released as freeware in 2004 and can downloaded for free from here.

Broken Sword – Developed by Revolution Software and released in 1996, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is the first game in the now hugely popular Broken Sword series of games.

You control the character of George Stobbart, an American tourist in Paris, as he attempts to unravel a conspiracy.

The game takes place in both real and fictional locations in Europe and the Middle East. Broken Sword was considered revolutionary at the time, with its writing and voice acting receiving a lot of praise.

The game received numerous award nominations and wins. You can download DreamWeb legally and for free from here.


RISC OS Games Month 2018

August is Games Month on the RISC OS Blog, where we focus exclusively on gaming, be it reviewing new games or taking a trip down memory lane with a look at a classic title. Stay tuned for more games articles throughout August!

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