A Bit of Welcomed Scumm on Your Linux Machine

This might make me sound like an old fogey, but I really do miss the old games like Space Quest, The Curse of Monkey Island and Return to Zork. The problem isn't that I don't have the games anymore, but rather that they were designed for my 386 computer running DOS. Thankfully, I'm not alone in my fits of nostalgia. The developers over at www.scummvm.org have reproduced the “Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion” developed by Lucas Arts and packaged it into a virtual machine (thus, ScummVM). That virtual machine is open source and available for just about any platform you can imagine.

Figure 1. If you wonder what the mustached car could possibly be saying, you'll have to play Putt Putt Joins the Parade. Thankfully, it's installable on ScummVM.

It's important to note that ScummVM doesn't come with any actual games. You either need to purchase the old games it supports from eBay or look in your closet for those stacks of old game disks you used to play as a kid (or as an adult, for some of us). What ScummVM does provide is a platform for playing those old games and even introducing your kids to games they'll probably never have a chance to play otherwise. At OSCON in July 2009, ScummVM was announced as SourceForge's Community Award winner in the category of “Best Project for Gamers”. If you've never checked it out, now is a good time.

As for me? I think it's about time I introduced Putt Putt & Fatty Bear to my kids. Hopefully, they enjoy the games as much as my brother-in-law did when he was growing up. Monkey Island? Yeah, I think I'll play that one myself.


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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ScummVM is awesome and is

Anonymous's picture

ScummVM is awesome and is extending in every release its game database!
DOSBox (also open source and multiplatform) is a more complete solution, since nearly every DOS game can be played with.
DOS games can be found on many abandonware sites and trackers.
If someone has to play them on office and wants to be 100% sure, that the games are 100% legal (not abandonware licensed), gog.com has 3 free games, dosgames.com has only free games, and also only free games can be found at liberatedgames.com (although not only for DOS).

The bad news are, that at ubuntu karmic the dosbox package is broken (although it has a temporary workaround for its sound problem)!

Excellent article! I surprised when I saw that are people who didn't knew ScummVM!
Congrats for bringing it to the people!!!

ScummVM is awesome, i

Jonas's picture

ScummVM is awesome, i recently completed a few games on it, only 15 years after i started playing them on my Amiga 500 :D

Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen (both great games) should be available in Debian/Ubuntu repos and if they arent, just download them from the website as someone said above.


GF's picture

Actually the scummvm website includes full versions of Beneath a Steel Sky and Flight of the Amazon Queen for free, so no need to forage around ebay; see http://www.scummvm.org/downloads/#extras

Nostalgia from my childhood!

Jake's picture

Nostalgia from my childhood! I actually found the discs for Putt Putt, Pajama Sam, and Freddi Fish, so I am about to try them.