A developer has got a bunch of old Sierra games working in modern web browsers, providing a multiplayer redux of Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Police Quest.
Immersive 3D graphics, mouse-driven gaming and massively multiplayer environments that stretch for hundreds of kilometres of virtual world are all very well, but do you still hanker for the blocky joy of old adventure games like Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Police Quest?
Well, now you can play them in your web browser, complete with arrow-key control and text based commands.
Developer Martin Kool has unveiled Sarien.net, as “a portal for reliving the classic Sierra On-Line adventure games,” and even better the game portal is totally browser based using Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari.
Above: a screenshot from Space Quest I
If you enjoyed playing games such as Police Quest: In pursuit of the Death Angel, Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter, or Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards then you can now enjoy them via the Sarien website.
The twist is that Kool has reinvented them as multiplayer games, so you can see other people steering their little block avatar around the game, and also the commands they are typing.
An unintended consequence of this is that the Sierra text parser can be used for public chat. For example, when we were playing Leisure Suit Larry and had got into the dumpster out the back of the pub (for a little R&R of course), another player walked past and typed into his text parser, "WTF are you doing here!?"
Above: the bar at the start of Leisure Suit Larry 1, running in Firefox.
Each room in a game is accessible using the address bar, so you can bookmark a scene to save your place. You can even run the games on the Apple iPhone and also the Nintendo Wii game console though Kool admits he needs to do more work on them to make them easy to use on those platforms (probably due to the text input requirements).
In the upcoming weeks the site promises to add more games.
The legality of the site is unclear, since Activision Blizzard owns the copyright to the Sierra games, and is in fact still making money from them by selling them in cheap CD-ROM compilations.
However, let's hope Activision Blizzard realises that these games are part of computing history and doesn't take the lame approach of suing Sarien.net into oblivion.
If you're a Sierra fan in general, also check out this Sierra Links page we came across recently, which has loads of interesting links and memorabilia about Sierra games.
GameSpot also interviewed Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe on their podcast just a couple of days ago, about what a travesty the latest Leisure Suit Larry games are -- the makers didn't even let Al know they were doing the followup games.