Last month we posted about Sarien.net, Martin Kool's home built tribute to a wide array of classic Sierra Adventure games ranging from Space Quest to Leisure Suit Larry. Currently, all of these games are completely playable via any modern web browser just by navigating around the site. Since we last spoke with him, Martin has been hard at work customizing and tweaking Space Quest to run on the iPad. We were given a hands-on preview of the game, and it didn't take long to come to the strange realization that they really feel like how the games were meant to be played... nearly 25 years later, on a device that the original developers likely couldn't even imagine.

Playing the game on the iPad is effortless. Installing it is as simple as navigating to a (secret) URL, at which point the game tells you to go through the sequence to add the URL as a home screen icon. From there, you tap the home screen icon and the game loads completely seamlessly without any additional work. It's crazy just how fast and easy the whole process is. The first time you load it up, there's a small load time, but as soon as mobile Safari starts caching parts of the game it's just like playing the actual computer game. There's even multiple save slots, and accessing them is as simple as rotating the iPad in to portrait mode.

The version of the game we were given access to seems complete, and playing it is simple. You tap in the game world to move there, and text commands are entered via a menu tree of sorts represented by buttons on the bottom of the screen. Instead of typing, every command is only a few taps away. It works really well, and I suspect will make the games much more approachable to people who haven't experienced them before as the available commands usually at least nudge you in the right direction by hinting at what you're capable of doing.

What makes this all that much more impressive is the technical wizardry taking place behind the scenes making this all possible. Space Quest is built entirely with HTML, CSS, and Javascript and once they've been cached on the iPad you can play them in their entirety offline. Also, to preserve the classic retro blocky graphics, Kool had to jump through quite a few hoops since modern browsers love to scale things with bicubic filters. This makes photos and other images look good, but turn these ancient pixels in to a blocky mess. Due to this, each of the games on Sarien.net will need to be hand-tweaked to run on the iPad. Space Quest should be finished within a week if everything goes according to plan, and after that Martin has his sights set on The Black Cauldron, King's Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.

As huge fans of retro adventure gaming, we're following this very closely. As soon as Space Quest is ready to be made public, we'll let you guys know.

  • http://twitter.com/alienmeatsack alienmeatsack

    Sounds cool! I was trying to find my old install discs to add it to iDOS to play. But this will work too. Just have to wait I guess for it to be out officially. :D

  • Mister Mumbles

    I wonder how long it'll take for this project to get a cease-and-desist letter. While I commend the effort of making these old games more user-friendly, iDevice or not, the legality of providing these games freely is questionable at best.

  • Noah

    How will that not get pulled for copyright infringement?

    • Bryan

      These games have been running on Sarien.net for years. This isn't an app for the Appstore, just a modified version of the games found on Sarien.net.

      • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

        That doesn't make it any less illegal.

      • Mgs2ss

        No, but it means that Apple can't pull it for copyright infringement, which was the question he was answering. He never said anything at all about the legality of it.

  • Bryan

    I will give you my first born for that secret URL.

  • http://twitter.com/sidetwo Peter Papadopoulos

    I wonder if it'll run on an iPhone. Let me rephrase that... I HOPE it'll run on an iPhone ;)

  • thewiirocks

    Those of us with iDOS are already playing Space Quest on our iPad... ;)

    (Purchased legally from Steam, I might add.)

    • http://twitter.com/alienmeatsack alienmeatsack

      Really? Sweet. I dont have Steam. Wonder if GOG has it.

      • http://twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott Colbert

        Gog has all 6 games available.

      • thewiirocks

        Steam is free and now works on Macs too. So don't let that discourage you. I got the entire 6 series collection in a virtual fire-sale. GOG has the same titles, but they break them up into twp set. Depending on how the deals fall, you might pay more to get it from GOG.

      • thewiirocks

        *into two sets

      • Jim

        GOG offers the EGA version and Steam, VGA. That is another consideration.

  • Guest

    I never knew you guys were such big fans of piracy. Can you write an article on how to jailbreak and get free copies of angry birds next please

    • Pyromuffin

      lol.

    • PARRANOYA

      Sure its quite easy actually...get this program called SPIRIT.....ok wait .... I will post a full reply for you with a step by step guide. Or in the meantime just take iDOS and your copy of any awesome old SIERRA game and play that while you wait...baby!

    • HawkEyeTS

      I do hope you realize that those games are quite literally, almost 20 years old, if not more. They're all but abandonware at this point, and if the current license holder hadn't figured they could get a couple bucks for the collections on Steam by dumping in DOSBox to run the old files, they wouldn't be for sale at all right now. I've bought the games three times (twice in a box!) at this point, but even I can't be incensed at a web site rework, technically "illegal" or not.

      • Anonymous

        Playing Devils Advocate... Who cares if it's 20 years old? In that case I'll take the Mario Collection up to SMB:World for free. Most Super Mario games are 20 years old and not available on the iDevices... That doesn't mean I have the right to pirate them. You can still buy the Space Quest series on it's intended platform just like you can buy Mario games on their intended platform.

  • Sfjsdhfjdsgjfds

    dsfdsfsdf

  • Sfjsdhfjdsgjfds

    dsf

  • Sfjsdhfjdsgjfds
  • E_Domina

    yea, the gui is seriously great on this. they should make a scummvm emulator allowed in the appstore so some more point-and-click games can come in

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N3ZZDGYS2FW2DOFMPXV3SGSGY4 k88dad

      Mmm... Full throttle