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Looking back: I have a box. It contains old PC games that are no longer playable, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. Games like the Gabriel Knight series, Evidence: The Last Ritual, and Blade Runner. These games are all obsolete, but I can’t seem to toss them in the dust bin. I’m glad I haven’t.
At least one of those classic titles is being revived. ScummVM announced this weekend that it is adding support for Westwood’s Blade Runner.
Released in 1997, Blade Runner put players in the shoes of… well, a Blade Runner named Ray McCoy. It was a point-and-click adventure that had you examining clues, administering Voight-Kampff tests, and my favorite — using the ESPER machine to examine photographic evidence.
Eurogamer notes that in 2003, Westwood lost the game’s source code, along with a terabyte of other data. So much for a reboot. Copies of the compiled game are still floating around, but getting them to run is another matter. I’ve tried. Between the game crashing and the FMV cutscenes (of which there are a lot) only playing audio, the game is pretty much unplayable on modern hardware, even in a Windows 98 virtual machine.
While ScummVM has gotten the game to work, it is not without a hitch or a dozen. The company is looking for people to help them test the BRVM and report bugs.
“Our ScummVM team is looking for Blade Runners who will help find, chase, and retire bugs which escaped from the off-world data colonies,” the team announced with its tongue in its cheek on Sunday. “Blade Runner is ready for testing. Find your copy of Blade Runner, grab the latest daily build of ScummVM, and copy the necessary files.”
As that last sentence suggests, you do need to have a copy of the original game. This requirement is not unusual. All ScummVM titles require the original files. The team is all about getting old games to work, not about pirating them.
If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend you give it a try. Westwood’s Blade Runner was one of my all-time favorite PC games of the 90s. I will definitely be blowing the dust off of mine.