By ending a wait that lasted almost two years, the developers of ScummVM announced the arrival of a new version for the virtual machine preferred by graphic adventure fans: also known as “Lost with Sherlock”, ScummVM 1.8.0 is hailed as one of the most hefty releases ever prepared by the team with the addition of many games and game engines, the substantial update of graphics and sound sub-systems and the availability of new conversions for minor platforms.
2015 started well for fans of old-school graphic adventures, thanks to a new official release of ResidualVM and the addition of a couple new titles to the always-growing list of games supported by ScummVM. The two gaming virtual machines are related, seeing that ResidualVM was created by the same developers of ScummVM, and they both are projects defined by a steady advancement process devouring new games like a Grue devours players lost in the Zork underground world.
Good news are coming for ResidualVM and PCSX2, two virtual machines that in the near future should improve considerably (in the PCSX2 case) and add support for new games beyond the software’s original mission (ResidualVM). Both cases are a useful reminder for the fact that, unlike someone’s opinion, emulation is a world that doesn’t stop moving forward and it’s far from having reached saturation as for ideas, techniques and new old things to replicate on modern PCs.
Even though it has partially overcome its original mission to be the cornerstone of legal retrogaming on PC, GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) continues to delight old gamers’ taste (and even the new ones tired of the usual FPSes or the dumb casual games for smartphones) by releasing true gems of the past equipped with compatibility fixes for the latest Windows OSes. During the last days the digital store has practically ran wild in that regard delivering the first two chapters of the Thief series and announcing the coming of the historical Full Motion Video horrors made by Trilobyte.
More than two months after version 1.4.0 came out, ScummVM is now updated with release 1.4.1 (code name “Subwoofer”). The new version of the virtual machine for adventurers and retrogaming lovers is depicted by developers as a “maintenance only” one and it is mostly designed to fix several bugs found in the previous release, even though ScummVM 1.4.1 does bring some of the new features introduced afterward.
What follows is a report for a long series of news occurred in the emulation world during the last period, and by “last period” I mean the latest months before the beginning of the new year at least. For this reason, in some cases I can’t exactly talk about “news”, but it felt right to me to emphasize them considering that these are already established advancements that will be the foundations on which to build the future ones. After all emulation is an ever-evolving world, and I want to start over to tell its progressing without losing too much important things along the way
After having reached its “full maturity” with version 1.0.0, celebrating the occasion with a significant amount of improvements, the old-times adventurers beloved virtual machine updates itself once more. ScummVM release 1.1.0 (code name “Beta quadrant”) brings some new features, squashed bugs, support to seven new games within the compatibility list. And some annoying regression defects too that should anyway be worked out “in about four weeks” with an upcoming release.
LucasArts is the historic software house constantly praised for its past full of pixellated pirates, purebred graphic adventures and more generally for a particular skill in shaping stories, creating characters and forging game worlds in which it was worth diving into for a while. In a manner that is nearly unbelievable for who is accustomed to see the company bringing out the usual, boring and useless series of Star Wars sequels, LucasArts is now faintly reconciliating with the development of original titles thanks to a game with little ambitions that could say something about the forthcoming future of the respected developer of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango.
A year after the official presentation during Penny Arcade Expo, Canadian developer Hothead Games and Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert have took the occasion of the new PAX edition to show the work done on their new title: DeathSpank, the legitimate but grumpy child of adventure and action RPG genres, leaves behind the mere shadows of the first trailers to put his face and his deeds in front of gamers.
It isn’t exactly the end of the world as we knew it, but the dynamism of adventure games publishers and developers in the summer of 2009 seems to have a weight in the great order of things anyway. The fact is that years after their (alleged) commercial and creative death graphic adventures continue to come out, and in some kind of reboot effort the genre noble fathers try to suggest the way for a possible new renaissance of “point and click” games through the marketplace of digital stores already projected into the future.
Summer of 2009 could be much hotter than usual for adventure games fans, because other than the exhumation of the classic of classics The Secret of Monkey Island someone suggested the chance, the idea, the hope to meet again on nowadays LCDs the odd characters belonging to the most noble past of the genre and videogames on the whole. To go straight to the facts, if the new games featuring Guybrush Fruptwood will sell the right amount of copies LucasArts is more than well disposed to pull out of the freezer of memories the rest of its historical series.
Guybrush Threepwood wanted to be a pirate, but probably he would have never predicted that 20 years after his unsuccessful efforts to scrape up a decent crew, his many holes in the ground with no chest on the bottom and his merciless tendency to tell the same story about some ghost pirates again and again and again he would have always been in the same place, namely at about 3 meters under the ocean level or otherwise in some improbable swordfights where the tongue hurts, literally, much more than the sword.
In an industry inclined to release an even excessive amount of contents on the upcoming videogames, the next, awaited creation of mythological game designer Ron Gilbert continues to be a mystery as for gameplay, visual style, interface and everything. Despite this chronic lack of material to admire (or to criticize to death), the information currently available on DeathSpank are at least more than those followed to the official game presentation during 2008 edition of Penny Arcade Expo.
Apparently spring affected the ScummVM coders in a positive manner, because after a waiting of six months between release 0.12.0 and the 0.13.0 one only two months more were enough to see a new version coming, namely the 0.13.1 one available on the official servers since a few days. The short period intervened since the previous release justifies the lack of new supported games, as this time the focus is bugs correction and the improvement of consoles and portable platforms versions.
Yeah I know, it’s an old new, but considering that we are talking about a text adventure dating back to 28 years ago a few months more or less aren’t of so much difference. Moreover Zork isn’t only ready to return on the web with a permanent on-line multiplayer adventure but also on ScummVM, adventurers’ preferred virtual machine that recently grew rich with part of the videogaming universe ascribable to the mythologic adventure created in the mists of time by four MIT hackers.
The classics, by definition, never go out of fashion, let alone if they are the graphic adventures of past decades. And the preferred tool of true adventurers is ScummVM, a software that works as an interpreter between data files of such adventures and modern operating systems. After 6 months since the release of version 0.12.0, in these days developers have delivered a new main release of the virtual machine, which includes novelties both for the interface and supported games.
Though they belong to a genre already considered defunct and inadequate for the mainstream videogames market years by now, adventure games have a glorious past, a past that deserves to be remembered and of course replayed. At the center of a good part of this effort of collective memory there is ScummVM, the already quoted virtual machine which acts like an interface between the feelings and the puzzles from the good old times and the modern operating systems.
Waiting for the Architect of adventure games Ron Gilbert to unveil the (certainly) moronic face of the DeathSpank hero to the world, if one was in withdrawal from “point & click” games he could always practice with ScummVM, the virtual machine designed for the preservation of the good old adventures from Lucasfilm/Lucasarts (and much more) released in these days in its new, sparkling version 0.12.0.
Only a few months left, and the offspring of the return of Ron Gilbert on the videogaming stage that matters should make its appearance on the Internet. No absurd puzzles flavoured by wannabe pirates and three-headed monkeys this time, but a new formula that would like to merge the opposed gameplay of the adventures and the wilder hack and slash videogames.