ScummVM Issues Call For Blade Runner Testers
Mike Sanders / 12 months ago
Over the years I have seen a number of people questioning why a franchise as fantastic as Blade Runner never got a video game adaptation and, the short answer is, it did. Released for PC in 1997, Blade Runner was an action based point and click adventure which, for the time it released, was absolutely remarkable.
Firstly, in terms of the game itself, it was exceptionally lofty in its ambitions. This looked to be, essentially, an open-ended game where (if I recall correctly) 6 unique endings were possible with each leading down differing paths in the game. It didn’t stop there, however, technically, this was a masterpiece. While I won’t bore you with the details, this was a game that was able to use a very clever workaround to ‘fake’ 3D rendering without the need for a graphics card (or 3D accelerator as they were known back then). My poor little 2mb Trident had to work hard to run this one though.
It does, however, suffer from a problem that many PC games from the 90s have. Namely, that they’re a bugger to run on modern systems. In an update to the ScummVM emulator, however, the team behind it are calling for owners of the PC game to try it out again and see if it’ll run!
Following an update to the engine, (beta) support has been added for Blade Runner that will hopefully prevent a number of crashes experienced when trying to play it on modern systems. It does, however, require 2 things. Firstly people willing to test it and, secondly, those who actually own a copy of the files (or more ideally, the original CDs – Of which there were 4).
Given that I happen to own 2 copies of this game (yes, 2 copies – I saw one in a charity shop last year for a pound) I will certainly give it a try. Testing it, however, could form an important first step!
Can I Play This Game?
Sadly, other than either owning an original copy (or grabbing the files from less than entirely legal sources) playing Blade Runner isn’t easy. It’s not on Steam, GoG or any other ‘downloadable’ platform. In addition, it isn’t necessarily helped that this game is in an IP nightmare situation.
How bad? Well, created by Westwood, who were purchased and dissolved by EA. Published by Virgin Interactive who have been out of the gaming scene for over 15 years now. Short story, this legal rabbit hole is DEEP!
If it can, however, be successfully tested, it may just jog enough interest in the industry to see this have a formal (and downloadable release). So retro PC gamers out there, head over to the ScummVM link here and do your bit!