Did you know that you can play all the 90s DOS adventure game classics on your phone, like Sam & Max, Simon the Sorcerer, Full Throttle and Monkey Island? Sounds too good to be true? Luckily it isn’t! Those wonderful puzzle-solving games are created with SCUMM (“Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion”), and there is a virtual engine for it called ScummVM. The acclaimed, open-source application is available for many different platforms, including Android, Symbian, Maemo and Windows Mobile.
Many of the adventure games from the 90s are tremendously well-made, humorous, clever, have great dialogue, are challenging, charming and have delightful graphics and animations (at least that’s the way I remember them…). Since adventure games as a game genre basically has died, it’s good to see that these games now get a revival on today’s smartphones.
When I first tried ScummVM a couple of years ago, it was still in a beta stage and there were quite a few glitches, but ScummVM has now not only graduated from beta, but even reached version 1.1! This guide will focus on getting ScummVM to run on Symbian^1 (5th Edition), but I will probably add tutorials for other platforms later on. Until then, there is a great ScummVM forum with separate sections for each supported platform, for those who are interested.
Needles to say, the larger the screen on your phone is, the more enjoyable it is to play the games.
How to Set Up ScummVM on Symbian^1 / Nokia N97
- Head over to the ScummVM download page, and download the Symbian S60 version 3 binary (5.2M .sis) file. Ignore that is says “S60 version 3″ – the installation file is still compatible with 5th Edition devices. Since it’s a quite large file, I suggest you install it to either your memory card or mass storage.
- Next up is copying the game files to the location of your choice on your phone. If you don’t own the original games, some are available for free and I’m sure there are trial versions floating around as well – Google it. I have placed my games in a folder called AdventureGames on my memory card, and I have also made a folder for my savegames called SaveGames inside that folder. Each game should be stored in its own directory.
- For a list of the datafiles that are required for each particular game to run under ScummVM, check out this compilation. Over a 100 games are included in the list. When I prepared all my games when I first tried ScummVM, I compressed a lot of files to save space, but that is optional. For a guide to compressing the various files, you can read SirDave’s excellent manual. It’s mainly intended for devices running Windows Mobile, but the information on how to handle the datafiles is correct regardless of platform.
- When you’ve copied the datafiles, launch ScummVM, and you should be greeted by the main screen (see image below). To add games, tap the Add Game button, select the folder where your game is located (you have to double-tap to switch folders) and press the Choose button to add the game. This will result in a settings screen, and you can set individual options for each games here, but to use the default settings, simply tap OK.
- It might be a good idea to customize the general settings, so press the Options button on the main screen when you’ve added all your games. You can safely ignore most of these settings, but it’s important that you are aware of the keys that control the games. You can choose your own keys by pressing the Keys button on the Misc tab at the far right of the Options screen.
- If you want to use the keys I have chosen, you can download my personal configuration files and place scummvm.ini in the folder called scummvm on your phone memory. You can control some games by simply tapping on the screen, but left and right mouse-clicks are used a lot too, so keep those commands in mind. Below is a list of the keys that I use.
|Fast mode (recommended)||F|
Now you’re ready to rock! Select one of the games that you’ve added from ScummVM’s main screen, and tap the Start button in the lower right corner to launch the game. If you get stuck or if you simply want some more information, there is a FAQ, a manual, a Wiki and a documentation overview at the official website.