Play Classic Adventure Games on Linux With ScummVM

It’s fun to relive the glory days on your modern computer. For me, that period was with the classic adventure games of the early ’90s: the ones made by both Sierra and LucasArts.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to play these games again in Linux, even though they were never made for that platform.

Thanks to the miracle of emulation, you can install a piece of software that lets you play lots of adventure games from the ’80s and ’90s, including classics like the King’s Quest and Space Quest series, as well as The Secret of Monkey Island and Sam and Max Hit the Road.

Installing ScummVm

ScummVM is a cross-platform application that provides support for a number of major classic adventure games of the era. The games that have the most compatibility are the ones that were created under LucasArt’s SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion). The other major game engines supported included Sierra’s AGI and SCI engines. AGI was used on Sierra’s earlier adventures, including the first three installments of the King’s Quest series. SCI was used in the later games in the late ’80s and the ’90s. ScummVM’s site has a list of compatible games.

Installing it on Linux is easy enough. If you’re using Ubuntu, just type:

sudo apt-get install scummvm

Getting Games

ScummVM is no good by itself. You need games, of course. If you want to play these classic games, you’ll have to have them on your computer somehow. If you have copies of them, it’s a matter of simply copying the disks to your hard drive.


If you don’t have them, and you want to play them legally, you’ll have to buy them. One source for old games is, which has a large selection of classic adventure games compatible with ScummVM. Most of them are distributed as Windows executable files, so you’ll have to run WINE to extract them. You can also make a trip to your favorite online auction site to see if anyone has a copy of the games you want.

In the ScummVM menu, just click the “Add Game” button, then navigate to the directory where your game is stored, and if it’s a game that ScummVM recognizes, it will be added to the menu.

Fortunately, there are some free adventure games you can play if you don’t want to shell out any more for adventure games.

One of the best is Beneath A Steel Sky, a dystopian science fiction adventure that was released as freeware by its publisher, Revolution Software.

Another good one is Flight of the Amazon Queen, an irreverent take on adventure movies from the ’30s and ’40s.

These games and more are available from ScummVM’s download page, or as Ubuntu packages:

sudo apt-get install beneath-a-steel-sky
sudo apt-get install flight-of-the-amazon-queen

ScummVM is a must-have for anyone who wants to relive the heyday of adventure gaming in the late ’80s and early ’90s. It’s nice to know that there are still people out there who care about the genre, even if the mainstream game industry doesn’t.

Image credit: Wikipedia

David Delony

David Delony is a writer for Make Tech Easier

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