I love adventure games. I especially love old-school adventure games from the likes of Sierra and Lucas Arts. Playing Monkey Island or Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis bring a surge of nostalgia to my now cold adult heart that is not to be believed. The problem is that the golden age of adventure games ended in the early 90’s and it has become increasingly difficult to get these old jewels to run on modern operating systems. Hence, there was much rejoicing when I originally found the Scumm VM emulator for Windows. It let me run my old favorites without the hassle of Windows XP compatibility mode or Dosbox (which was a pain to use at the time). Since picking up my awesome Eken M001 Android tablet, or “APad” as it is affectionately referred to by some (me), I have jumped head first into the sweet land of Android OS and found an impressive variety of apps available for it including my beloved Scumm VM.
Scumm VM has not been officially ported to Android so let me get that out of the way. The port that does exist is best described as Alpha stage and is not supported by the Scumm VM Gods. However, I have found it to work very well for what it is and I have not run in to any serious compatibility issues with the games themselves. It seems to be very stable and should run everything as effectively as the desktop versions of Scumm VM.
To install the emulator first you have to find it! If you’re on an official device or a cell phone that is easy to do since it’s supposed to be located in the Android Market. A simple search should do the trick. But if you’re using an Android tablet like I am it becomes a little trickier. You’ll have to locate the .APK files for the installation outside of the Android market (here). Fortunately, the files are located in the Developer’s portion of the Scumm VM for Android website (which is here). ***Please kindly note that this website works like crap for me and is terribly slow. I have much better luck loading a cached version from Google so give that a shot if needed!*** If you want to install the new version you’ll have to locate the main .APK and install it first, followed by the various “engine” files for each of the games you’ll want to run. Not sure which ones you’ll need? My advice is to download them all and save yourself the trouble. Or, you can opt for a previous release which is just a single .APK file and contains all of the engines already.
Once installed via the .APK manager it is just a matter of copying the games you want to your device or its SD card and loading them in to Scumm VM via the “Add Game” command. It can be a little tricky navigating the device’s file system with a touchpad but patience and persistence will pay off. Once they are added you can start them easily enough and off you go!
One major caveat of the current Scumm VM for Android release is the lack of mappable keys. While most functions can be accomplished via the touch screen easily enough some commands don’t translate over well. Right-clicking, for example, is not functional. It would be great to be able to map a button on the device to that. For example, if I could hold down the Volume UP button and tap the screen it would register as a right-click. However, this functionality is lacking and renders some games (such as The Curse of Monkey Island, a particular favorite of mine) unplayable since the right-click is used to open the inventory screen. The default button for this command is apparently the Camera button so if you’re using an Android phone with a camera it should work for you. Alas, us tablet enthusiasts are out of luck.
Overall, it is still great fun having Scumm VM on your tablet or phone! As they say, the classics never get old and I’ll relive them any day. Bejeweled and Tower Defense get boring quickly but Day of the Tentacle lasts forever!
Some Sweet Links:
Scumm VM for Android Main Site (sites.google.com/site/scummvmandroid/)
Developer Section (http://sites.google.com/site/scummvmandroid/dev)
Scumm VM Home Page (http://www.scummvm.org/)
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
Time: 5 minutes (not including download and installation time)
Want to run a second OS on your computer but don't want to go through the hassle of dual booting? What if you could theoretically run as many operating systems as you like on your machine, while still having access to your native desktop and files when you want them? This is the concept behind virtual machines.