Small Games Portal, Sarien.net, Brings Back Classic Adventures

Leisure Suit LarryRemember the days of 8-bit graphics? How about adventure games where players gallivanted around a pixilated world interacting with virtual everyone and everything? A place called Sarien.net does. Sarien is a little place we happened across that has actually converted a number of classic Sierra adventure games from their original formats to a more web friendly version that allows users to log on and play together.

Unfortunately, the number of users playing on the site is exceedingly small, so playing socially was a bit hit or miss when we tried. Nevertheless, when there are other players around — and when you happen to find yourself in the same location in a game — you can interact and talk with each other. Granted, this isn’t all that social in the grand scheme of things (example: in-game events for one player are not shared with another in the same room), but remember that these games are from the 1980s… well before the prospect of social gaming was even a thought.

All the same, the games do bring a great deal of nostalgia as players walk around using arrow keys, right-clicking for options, and selecting from a myriad of interactive options (with the primary results being mere text responses). Frankly, the original feel of the games has been well preserved by creator Martin Kool, CTO and partner to a Dutch web applications company by the name of Q42 (queue forty two).

Sarien.net is based off an older creation of Kool, a similar portal called Good Old Adventures. Using images from Sierra games that had to be manually created using a copy and paste method within WinAGI Game Development Studio, it was created to bring back the games in the form of a glorified chat room; almost a mini-virtual world. Unfortunately, this meant there was no game play. After four years, however, the idea of reviving these classic titles evolved into Sarien.net where each of the Sierra games’ “GOTO” programming statements (statements are stand alone instructions given to the computer to carry out a simple task or when combined with others, a very complex one – for our non-developer readers) statements that could jump anywhere in the code, including what is called a nested “if“-statement – had to be reworked for a more modern environment. While it is a lot of programming jargon, the nested “if“-statements were removed using a decompilation method, and the rest of the code emulated by what is called “switch/case statements,” thus allowing the games to work as intended, but still play nice with modern JavaScript.

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While impressive, the endeavor begs the question as to how popular replaying such old games would be. Granted, there is a great deal of nostalgia, but the fact remains that these games are extremely dated, and that novelty might not last long. There doesn’t seem to be any monetization going on at the moment, so it is possibly intended to be just a fun side-project from a fan of classic games. To that end, it really is quite well done and certainly adds a little something extra to the games many of us grew up on.

Current Game Library:

  • Gold Rush!
  • King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown
  • King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne
  • King’s Quest III: To Heir is Human
  • Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards
  • Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel
  • Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter
  • Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge
  • The Black Cauldron