Glass pArticlesV:1 "Monkey Palming."
-By Chris "M3THR33" Glass-
-Not really GBA centered; but it does have to do with portables-
-We don't endorse emulators; but we will talk about them-
-Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge-
-Oh, we do endorse the Tapwave Zodiac; by the way-
-Posted Sunday April 11th, 2004-

Ahh, how times have changed. My first memory of immersive games were LucasArts games, specifically Monkey Island. It was our first Pentium computer and it ran Windows 3.1. It was amazing, it used CDs and had smaller floppies! Quite the contraption, not to mention one of the games it came with. In the bundle of crap cds, some kind soul in heaven above also bestowed us with The Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Loom. These were a far change from Midnight Rescue on our 286 in my closet. These adventure games were stellar. The graphics were amazing, plus the humor and story were all top notch. I can remember the days I spent discussing them with friends about what to do. It was like a secret club, going around school spouting off pirate insults or mimicking the voices of the DOTT guys.

That was 10 years ago. Things have changed. MS finally dropped DOS, and alas, the games aren't as good as they used to be, due to that. So what did these intrepid adventure fans do? They made a Virtual Machine of course! ScummVM is the name; Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion Virtual Machine. Not only was it able to allow me to relive my past, but it's opensource AND on many platforms. By taking the core files from the game, I can play nearly any Scumm-based game, play it on a mac, take the same files, go over to a PC, play it AND load it onto my PDA and play it there.

Yes, that's right, portable LucasArts, sort of like Yoda Stories, but without the suck. All you need is a fairly recent Pocket PC or a Palm device(Or even a GP32!) with a 320x240 or higher resolution, a memory card, and the program and games, of course. The PalmOS version(I have no PPC) began as an unstable program, frequently crashing, only reserved for proof-of-concept, but lately it's just become awesome-tastic! I have a Palm Zire71 with a 128MB SD card. On it, I put on Monkey Island 1,2, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, Loom and Sam & Max. I also own The Dig, but I believe the game is too large for my current set up.

The readme file is a bit sparse, but basically you load the game into a certain folder name(Given in the readme) and add that profile to the ScummVM program. You can also set it up to auto-load a certain slot and some other options. Once the game is started, it's smooth sailing. There still is some slowdown during heavy animation scenes (The dam on monkey island, the opening to DOTT), but in the actual game, everything runs 100% on the Zire71's processor. Although the games lack sound and music, if you have a Clie, you can try the experimental sound features, but alas, I am a Palm man.

So now you have the game running and you can save and load at any time in 10 slots, just like the original. All that's left is for you to complete the games, but this time it isn't limited to after-school play, now you can get your Monkey on while waiting for a train, between classes at school, during heavy traffic or even in the bathroom! While LucasArts arts is in a bit of a tiff over the legality of it (Pirating is super easy), other developers who used the engine have actually made their games freeware, so you can experience Beneath A Steel Sky and Talon of the Eagle for free! Unfortunately, those titles aren't supported in the Palm version yet, but who knows?

A version for the Tapwave Zodiac is already written (Before launch! God Bless the PalmOS) and if it can perform like I expect, I might consider giving my Zire71 up early.
The Palm version is under the Links section.

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