The Best Adventure SCUMM Games to Emulate

The atmosphere of some of the 90's adventure games is truly amazing.

The atmosphere of some of the 90’s LucasArt’s adventure games is truly amazing.

Something the early video games only flirted with was a really immersive atmosphere. Metroid’s ambience only hinted at what could be done with graphics and sound in the future.

For me, SCUMM or point and click adventure games were the first games to make me feel completely absorbed in another world. It was here that the PC first started to outperform the consoles in graphic and sound capability and the combination of classic text games and modern graphics and sound created a memorable sense of escapism. It’s the first time I encountered professional voice acting In a game too, something we take for granted today.

For a few years now, There has been a great SCUMM emulator available to let you relive some of these excellent masterpieces from the early 90s, here’s a list of ones worth checking out.

LucasArts was primarily responsible for many of these games. There are WAY more than these four but these are the ones that resonated most with me. Feel free to add your own to the comments.

The Dig (PC)

With cartoon cutscenes and well known actors like Robert Patrick, The Dig set the cinematic bar to a new high.

With cartoon cutscenes and well known actors like Robert Patrick, The Dig set the cinematic bar to a new high.

As one of the first games to feature real actors voicing characters and a soundtrack by the legendary John Williams, Lucasarts The Dig set the bar very high. Robert Patrick (from numerous sci-fi and action films of the 80’s and 90’s) voices the main character and the hand-drawn backgrounds really draw you into the amazing alien world that the three astronauts find themselves on.

Exploring the abandoned alien world light years from earth is one of the most memorable experiences from my childhood. The game’s sense of isolation is incredible. It’s also a fairly relaxing game. The puzzles stump you but you can’t die. It’s a game you can play while drinking a coffee with your feet up on the table.

Kings Quest (PC and NES)

Here's the upgraded VGA version.

Here’s the upgraded VGA version.

The kings quest series is one of the most prolific in the early adventure game genre. Lots of the content had to do with finding the right items and using them in the right places. This is one of the earliest games I can remember that had things in the “foreground” to create a bit of 3d In a limited way.

Maniac mansion (PC and NES)

04 Rusted Shut

When the aliens took over the mansion, they didn’t know about the ill-thought-out human custom of hiding a key under the doormat.

Probably one of the strangest games ever made, maniac mansion is a sort of b-movie camp sci-fi affair about a sentient meteor controlling a local scientist in his mansion. Only a group of teenagers seems to be awAre that something is amiss in the neighborhood and has to rescue their friend from the mansion.

This is one of the earliest games I can think of that had multiple endings, various solutions to problems and fairly non-linear gameplay. I literally had entire sections of the game bypassed simply by using another character who found himself in new situations. It must have been a nightmare to plan all possible scenarios and combinations of teens and abilities. It’s said you can finish the game with any combination of the teens. This game even spawned a short lived TV show.

Nightshade (NES)

Nightshades dark film noir graphics stand in stark contrast to the games humorous delivery.

Nightshades dark film noir graphics stand in stark contrast to the games humorous delivery.

Nightshade came out a few years too late for it’s own good. This genre crossing game is mostly a SCUMM but occasionally you have to fight bad guys in a side view ninja-gaiden style mini-level. The film noir atmosphere juxtaposed with cheesy humor is great. I just love the opening, nightshade strikes a
Dramatic pose and speaks about how he’s going to right the wrongs in metro city..then the game cuts to a few hours later..he’s already tied up and captured in the bad guys fortress, off to a great start, there .it’s also cool that instead of a simple game over/continue system, when you are defeated you Are put in a bond-villainesque death trap that is easily escapable. Get out, and the game goes on!

You can of course emulate the Nes games a variety of ways, look here for help. And you can get the DOS SCUMM emulator here.

Exalt releases Fruit Slinger with Beatscribe music

IMG_4175.PNG
I love ski ball, although I was never particularly good At it. Fruit Slinger accurately captures the feeling of ski ball on a mobile device. It’s a fun casual game that keeps you coming back for more.

For the music, Exalt wanted something that sounds modern but also iconic western. It was a odd combination but I think it worked out nicely. Get it today!

[android]. [iOs]

Wick Studios and Cheerful Ghost to Release Starship Rubicon with Beatscribe OST

I’m really excited to share some news about Rubicon, a game I worked more than two years ago.
The creator Wick is back with plans for an all-new version and partnering with Cheerful Ghost to get the game to a wider audience than ever before.

What started as a small kickstarter campaign to let Wick spend a summer making a game instead of working during college has blown up into a life-changing project.

The Rubicon sound track was an important career stepping stone for me too. Although I split duties with another composer, it was one of the coolest genres Id had the privilege to work on. It helped me solidify “my sound” and lead me to many more jobs.

Since I’ve learned a ton since then, I’ll be remaking the original soundtrack from scratch and also creating a variety of brand new tracks. In the end I’ll be releasing an entire OST album based on what we make plus some remixes and other treats.

Runicon has always been about the juxtaposition of classic gaming and modern game design, it’s fitting the soundtrack would merge Chiptunes and EDM into each other in a similar  way.

Please support this project, if it goes well enough we could get the much desired multiplayer version! I’ll keep you posted on how. In the meantime check out the original tracks I created years ago. You can also get the latest free builds of the original Rubicon here.

Chess.Com Now Loaded With Beatscribe Sounds

chesscomChess.com recently revamped their website and had me do some all new sounds for their site.

We wanted the sounds to be realistic and also give you a sense of accomplishment when you take a piece or put your opponent in check. I’ve been a member on chess.com for years so I was honored to work with them on their project. They have a great mobile app to play online with your friends from your devices and even different themes (complete with unique sounds).

Try out chess.com today.

Gambit.Com Now Loaded With Beatscribe Sounds

gambitGambit.com has just loaded up a their games with a whole bunch of beatscribe sounds. Gambit is a great place to play online games, especially some of your classic favorites. The best thing is, you can transact with bitCoins (and even win them) on Gambit. Additionally, there is no flash, java or applets, meaning these games work just about everywhere! Check out these great games today.

Fill your MP3 Player With Sega Genesis Sounds

This should provide adequate audio sustenance for the next 8 hours of programming!

This should provide adequate audio sustenance for the next 8 hours of programming!

Last week we looked at some awesome Sega Genesis soundtracks. As a programmer, I spend at least 8 hours a day firmly ensconced in headphones. I’m one of those few people who probably actually uses the iPod classic to it’s full capacity (I’m one of the few who even has a iPod classic). You can listen to these online but I like to “own” my music, not be dependent on wifi or anything.

You could try your hand at those annoying fileshare websites to get these mp3s but most likely you’ll spend hours downloading one track at a time and maybe get a virus too.

Instead, project2612.org is the place to go for Sega Genesis soundtracks. However getting them into mp3 format isn’t the easiest thing around. They are in vgz format, which of course your phone or MP3 player can’t run. I saw some frustrated posts about this so i came up with my own solution. Here’s the steps to convert them.

  1. Download all the soundtracks from project2612.org that you want and unzip them to the same directory.
  2. Download Winamp and the out_lame plug-in that goes with it.
  3. Create a new playlist in Winamp and drag all the VGZ’s into them.
  4. Click Ctl+P to open preferences, and under output pick “Lame Mp3 writer”.
  5. You may want to adjust some of the settings by clicking “Configure”. Assign the path that the mp3s will be written to.
  6. Click Play, you won’t hear anything but the mp3s will be created.
  7. Drag them into iTunes or whatever you use. Assign cool pixel art, enjoy.

For Nintendo and Super Nintendo soundtracks, I recommend flyingomelette.com. There are probably more comprehensive collections out there but this one had everything i was looking for. Check out their video game shrines too!

Day Off at Wormhole

Wormhole Coffee

Index for the 13 Part ‘Life As a Freelancer’ Series from VideoGameDJ.com

BcLYzU1CYAEiSheOver the last 2 years, I wrote a 13 part series of guest posts on videogamedj.com on how my life as a freelancer developed. It was tons of fun writing it and really helped me reaffirm what I was doing and how things developed. It’s interesting to look back at it now. Anyways, there was a few requests for a nice organized index. Here it is! Enjoy!

I also wrote some other technical tutorials, I’ll post an index for those later. I haven’t had much free time to write for videogamedj.com right now, nor pursue any chiptune fun, but hey, part of life as a freelancer is paying the bills. Hope you enjoy these and if you have any questions feel free to post here. I’m more likely to respond here than to a comment on here, just because it’s more visible to me.

Part I: What It Takes

Part 2: Get The Gear

Part 3: One Year’s Timeline

Part 4: The First Game

Part 5: Losing and How Not To Get Ripped Off

Part 6: The Business

Part 7: Pros and Cons of Freelance Lifestyle

Part 8: When Is a Song Done

Part 9: Making Music For Other People

Part 10: My Biggest Mistakes as a New Freelancer

Part 11: The Art Of Composing Melodies

Part 12: Backup Plans and Perseverance

Part 13: Accounting and Other Boring Stuff

Flowspark Studios Releases Danger Rabbit with BeatScribe Sounds

drabbitYou can’t go wrong making an iOS game with killer physics, great graphics and a simple yet functional game mechanic. In Danger Rabbit you guide a secret agent bunny and his sentient plank freind (you read it right, a talking piece of wood) though various locations in search of a stolen treasure. Danger Rabbit moves on his own and you draw planks in places that will propel him to the next area. It’s addicting and fun gameplay.

Some times you also get to fire him from a cannon or take out a fleet of attacking birds with a little gun turret. The levels start off easy but get tough very fast! This is the kind of game you’ll be playing for a while! [iOS]

Best Sega Genesis Soundtracks You’ve Never Heard

Growing up I never had a Sega Genesis. We always had Nintendo products. I think it mostly had to do with the family friendly image Nintendo produced compared to Sega’s more edgy arcade style marketing. A while back we looked at some of the chiptune artists using the Genesis over at videogamedj.com, check out the post here. But for actual game music, here’s some great Sega Genesis soundtracks you probably never heard of.

Battle Mania Daiginjou

Making rock music in FM synthesis is not easy. Things are either too distorted or not enough. This game gets it right. You know those are guitars rocking out as soon as the notes hit. The game itself is sort of like a space shooter meets Contra with anime themes tossed in. The soundtrack is a blistering onslaught of guitar and drums hat doesn’t let up for a second!

Herzog Zwei

The game that started the real time strategy genre sports a very good soundtrack as well. Lots of variety and some excellent fm synth tones that would sound great even in a modern electro album. The slow tunes especially stand out (Be His Soul Rest).

Revenge of Shinobi

I must admit I never played this game. Love the 80s sounding bass and smooth tones on this soundtrack. It never gets hissy or squealy. It really sounds like an NES Soundtrack just for the drums and composition style.

Batman

The original Genesis Batman has some of my favorite Genesis music. It reminds me a lot if Journey to Sillius and later MegaMan X. The Axis Chemical plant stage is up there in my top tracks of all time. Love the intros the stage tracks have.

Zero Wing

You only heard of this game thanks to All Your Base, but it happens to have some of the most killer rock music on the Genesis. It’s really hard to mimic the crunch of a palm muted distorted guitar using synthesizer. But Zero Wing does it perfectly. They also do the harmonizing guitar solos that are the staple on 80s rock an Dragonforce type groups.

Next week we will look at how to get these soundtracks into your mp3 player without downloading one track at a time.

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