Culture Shock review round-up #3

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Okay, I know, it's been a long time since I posted one of these. As a result, this is a huge list. Sorry. We were busy putting together a new website!



I've included a bunch of non-English reviews this time, since the international release is nearing. Less than 48 hours 'til world domination! [readmore] Not in English Whew! My fingers are tired.

It's alive! (More or less.)

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Those who have been watching us a little too closely in the last couple of months may have noticed the occasional dropped reference to upgrading the forum, bumping the Bone games up to take advantage of the the latest version of the Telltale Tool, or maybe even the occasional flat-out declaration that we're redoing everything about our website. If so, it probably comes as no surprise to you to discover that we redid everything about our website.




Though Emily, or a press release (or more likely, both Emily and a press release) will officially fill you in on the details on Monday, we've put up the site up now to let everyone take a look around, and so we can get more public (and therefore more humiliating) look at what parts of it are going to break and fall off the moment more than 3 people are checking the site at once.




So what's new? Let's see...[readmore]
  • Sam & Max Season One pre-orders have begun! A quick stop by the store or the new Sam & Max page can fill you in on the details, and, of course, let you place your order for the full six-episode run.



  • Telltale is now carrying an assortment of third-party games! A quick glance at the front page of the site will show you that we've expanded our lineup to include four new game series, all of which we think compliment Telltale's own titles. We've got Ankh from Deck13 Interactive, both Samorost games from Amanita Design, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine from Himilaya Studios, and the first case from Law & Order: Criminal Intent by Legacy Interactive. It's like you died and went to... an online store that's got lots of story-based games!



  • We totally replaced the forum! We ditched the mysterious world of MVN Forum for the standard, more recognizable and easy-to-use vBulletin. As an added bonus, we took advantage of the switch to integrate user accounts across the site. You no longer need separate account for both the forums and the main Telltale site. Now you can log into the main page to post comments in the blog, edit any newsletter subscription settings you have, or check your purchase history, and then you can jump right over to the forums and already be logged in. Woo!



  • Out From Boneville and The Great Cow Race have both been updated to use the latest version of the Telltale Tool! What does this mean? Most importantly, the new versions are compatible with more systems, so if you were having trouble playing the Bone games in the past you might want to give them another go. There are two other side benefits of the upgrade: you can now run both games in multiple resolutions (up to 1600x1200), and if you need extra help suppressing the walkthrough-urge, you can now turn off the games' hint systems in the main menu. Check them out on the new Bone site.



  • There are a bunch of other little things too, but it's the middle of the night and my eyes and brain are beginning to melt together, so you get to discover them for yourself!
Also, as is the case with such things, with every new feature comes a part of the site that isn't quite done yet. If you come across a page that doesn't quite look polished, or is flat out missing, with only a "coming soon" sign hanging in its place, there's a good chance that will be remedied by the next time you're here.



Well, we're all off to bed now. Hopefully nothing violently implodes overnight.

The story behind Our Bewildering Universe

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

The week before Culture Shock was released, we added the following Flash movie to our site as part of the Interim Theater. Since the game is now out, we've moved it here to the blog in all its glory. You may be wondering just where this odd little Flash movie came from. Wonder no more! Steve Purcell tells all below.







How did you get hooked up with the people at Lightsource Studios?




Lightsource Studios is a commercial art production company south of San Francisco run by two old friends of mine. Gary Winnick hired me at LucasArts when he was the Art Director there many years ago and I've known Frank Cirocco since we were both doing comics. Back in 2001 my older brother Lee who has written many books on various technical subjects, while somehow managing to make complicated content entertaining to read, was working on a book about Flash animation. He asked if I'd be up for doing a piece to include in the book that could be dissected to show the process. I immediately called Lightsource and asked if they would be interested in working on a little short.[readmore]



What was the process for making this? What parts did you work on and what parts did Lightsource do?



Storyboard graphic, from The Age of S&M.
I wrote an outline for the short and fully storyboarded it. Then I went in and started drawing the keyframes on paper. I broke the figures into layers that could be vectorized which was all handled by the Lightsource crew. I gave them color guides since I wanted it to look muted like faded 16mm film. As they began to assemble the pieces and start moving them around Gary and Frank were supervising the animation. I was working at ILM at the time but managed to come down to the Lightsource office and offer some additional Direction (The three of us share the Director's credit). It was fun going online with Gary and Frank looking for the sound effects. It was amazing how many various fart sounds we had to sift through to get the right brain-popping effect. There was a whole section listing "human" farts and I had the urge to call up the sound effect company and demand that they guarantee that the farts were indeed human.



How come you never made any more of these?



I'd love to do it but it's actually very time-consuming. Fortunately, Lightsource had a crew that they could devote to this project at the time. I certainly don't know how to do Flash and am not likely to learn soon.



The music in the short is credited to Lee Purcell. Is that your brother?




Yeah, my brother put together the weird minimalist sort of X-files background theme. We would always talk about doing some kind of creative project together. This is as close as we've gotten so far.
He has a hilariously dry sense of humor and has a lot to do with influencing what I think is funny.



Thanks Steve and Lightsource Studios for letting us host this short!

Do random stuff, win Sam & Max!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

As we announced in our newsletter earlier this week, we're holding a contest in honor of Halloween and Culture Shock's November 1 release on our site. The original idea was to get people to send in pictures of themselves dressed like the Freelance Police (or anyone Freelance Police-related) for Halloween. We're dying for someone to carve a pumpkin that looks like Max, so we decided to throw that into the mix. Then we figured what the hell, let's open it to ANYTHING you can come up with that's fun and creative. Some of the examples I mentioned in the newsletter were creating a user-generated comic or a Freelance Police haiku, but those were just meant as ideas. All we really want is for you to do something sort of Sam & Max related (or even not), send us some sort of proof that what you did exists (whether it's a picture, a description in email, a link, a short movie...) and we'll toss your entry into the hat.



Okay, so we sent that newsletter out on Tuesday. We've already received some entries, and that makes me happy, but what makes me sad is that they're mostly user generated comics and haiku. Sure, I know creativity takes time (and sometimes a little beer). You can't force it. But I'm still hoping we'll get some really imaginative entries before the contest is over. Get out the construction paper and paste. Color outside the lines. Start thinking like a lagamorph.




What's it worth to you? How about Season 1 completely free (including the CD at the end of the run) AND a Sam & Max E3 poster signed by Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell and game designers Dave Grossman and Brendan Ferguson? We might even feature your entry on our website or as an episode of Interim Theater.*



Entries should be sent to contest@telltalegames.com and must be received by 9:00 a.m. Pacific time on October 31. (Include your full name and address so we can mail you the stuff if you win.) All entries will be evaluated by an elite panel of judges, including Steve, Dave, Brendan, and anyone else around the office we can rope into it. We'll announce the three winners on November 1, the same day Culture Shock shows up on the site.



*What's that? Not familiar with Interim Theater? Clearly you aren't visiting our Sam & Max page often enough...

Culture Shock review round-up #2

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Great reviews keep pouring in! Here are some from the past two days: We're really happy with the press so far, but there isn't a review in the world that can live up to this excellent feedback we just got from some guy named Mike Stemmle: "Sam & Max is precisely the kind of roughage the bound-up computer game industry needs to get it off its constipated butt. Thank goodness for the questionably-credentialed dieticians at Telltale!" Enough said.

New Sam & Max merchandise for you to buy!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

So, you're one of those who's waiting out the next two weeks until Sam & Max's worldwide release? Or maybe you've checked out Culture Shock on GameTap and you're itching for more Sam & Max-ness? Lucky you, because we've just added two new goodies to our store that should make you very happy indeed!














The first is a really classy black and white sketchbook entitled The Age of S&M. This is Steve's first Sam & Max book in about 10 years, and it's full of never before seen concepts, doodles, and other Freelance Police-related works of art. Some of our favorite parts are the inside-cover sketches of Sam & Max, along with notations, that Steve made as guidelines for the people doing the animated series, and the list of lines and scenarios that the censors cut from the episodes. (Example: "Please do NOT show Max biting down on a battery while standing in water.") Supplies are limited, so get one now or lose out forever.






We've also added the Max skull & crossbones t-shirt that Steve had at Comic-Con this summer, in M, L, and XL. (No girl shirts, I'm sorry to say. If you are a girl who wants a shirt -- or a guy who wants to buy a shirt for a girl -- please post a comment and let us know! We want to get an idea of how popular these would be if we introduced them into the store.) The same design will be featured on baseball caps in the somewhat near future.




This merchandise and more is available right here in our online store. Buy it, and be happy!

Culture Shock review round-up #1

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Sam & Max reviews were under embargo until today, which not surprisingly meant that a TON of reviews came out today! The excellent news is that the reviews are extremely positive. The even more excellent news is that the majority of people who have played the game so far are seeing it as a worthy successor to Hit the Road and the Sam & Max franchise in general. We know how important Sam & Max is to the fans, and it means a lot to us to hear back from the fans that we're doing this right.



Here are many of the reviews that ran today, in no particular order. I'm sure I'm missing some, so I apolgize if yours isn't on the list! There have also been a few non-English reviews that I didn't include here. Most international reviews will probably come out a little closer to the worldwide launch on November 1.



Public service announcement: some of these reviews (or the screenshots with them) contain mild spoilers, so if you haven't played yet, you might not want to click those links. Whew! Needless to say, today was a pretty good day around Telltale HQ. We even had a bit of champagne mid-afternoon to celebrate. (Thanks, Bay Area Sound!)



More links tomorrow? There just may be...

Extra! Extra! Sam & Max released!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Our October newsletter was mailed out today. It's short this month, but only because we're working on a ton of great stuff for you guys. But definitely check it out for the contest - a chance to win a free Season 1 package AND a signed E3 poster!

[readmore]
















































































The Sam & Max: Culture Shock countdown is on!
Get the game in two weeks from Telltale's site, or right now on GameTap!































More Sam & Max excitement:
























































(MOSTLY) NEW MERCHANDISE FOR YOU!










Sam & Max Sketchbook

Chock full of sketches, guaranteed!





$17.99













Max & Crossbones T-Shirt

For Halloween, or any special event of your choosing.





$18.99











Sam & Max
Poster Prints

Set of two 18 x 24" limited prints, signed by Steve Purcell.





$29.99












Out from Boneville...

Out for Macintosh!
















It's a Honkin' Big Contest!

Anything goes, and creativity counts big time...




















































Jeff Smith all over Europe

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

I popped over to Boneville.com today to see if there was any reaction to yesterday's Out from Boneville Mac announcement, and although that hasn't been posted yet, I was pleased to find a bunch of pictures of Jeff's European tour. It looks like he's having a great time (in spite of a sore arm)... and there's still a month to go!



Hmm. I wonder if Telltale management could be convinced to send the marketing department on a European tour?


Mac users can now play Out from Boneville!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

I used to be a Mac user. In fact, the only reason I got a PC was because fewer and fewer games were being made for the Mac. It's always made me feel like a turncoat, which is why I'm very happy to announce that the first Mac port of a Telltale game has just been released!



Out from Boneville was ported over to Mac by a company called Vanbrio. It's a download, with a free trial period and the opportunity to unlock the full version for $12.99 (same as the PC version). You can find the game here.



There's also a big honking feature on the game over at Apple.com.



Happy Friday, Mac users!

Hope you're in the mood to do some humming...

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

...because here are three never before-heard-tracks from the new Sam & Max game that will allow you to do just that!



Well, okay, they're not exactly never-before-heard. If you've been to our MySpace page, you've already heard the office theme. And if you're one of the lucky people who's tested the game in our office or over at GameTap, you've probably heard the other two as well. And of course, if you're Jared Emerson-Johnson, the composer, or one of the fine folks who work with him at Bay Area Sound, or you're somehow involved with studio.jory.org where the tracks were recorded, or you're one of the jazz musicians who played on the tracks, then yeah, you've heard them already. But for everyone else in the world, these are brand spanking new. Woo!






UPDATE: Interested in some more Sam & Max music? Click away...

Sam & Max cartoons... and it's not even a Saturday morning in 1997!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

still from Sam & Max animated series
God, people on the internet are fast. I got an email at about 5:00 this afternoon from one of GameTap's PR folks letting us know that a formal announcement had been made about the Sam & Max cartoons coming to GameTap, which meant we could finally tell you guys the good news. I finished what I was working on and came home and ate some dinner. (I'm tempted to tell you exactly what I had for dinner, but this isn't that kind of blog.) Then I sat down to write it up, and lo and behold, Joystiq and Kotaku had already beaten me to it!



Anyway, after a few rumors and a little confusion over whether or not the Sam & Max cartoons will be coming to GameTap, the word on the street today is that they definitely will, and that the first one will be in the service on October 12. October 12! That's a mere day away!
[readmore]



For those unfamiliar with the Sam & Max legacy, the cartoon debuted in 1997 on Fox Kids. It was produced by a Canadian company called Nelvana, and (brace yourself) the voice actors are NOT the same guys from Sam & Max Hit the Road. (How dare they replace Farmer and Jameson? Cheeky bastards...) I have only seen a few episodes of the cartoon here and there, so I'm not really qualified to comment, but my unqualified opinion is that while they're not quite in the same vein as Sam & Max Hit the Road or the comics, they're still pretty entertaining. And apparently they have a fairly high nostalgia factor for people just a little bit younger than I am, who were the right age to be watching Saturday morning cartoons when these aired. (Not that there's any wrong age for watching cartoons. I didn't own a TV in 1997... that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it!)



We actually encountered a few of those nostalgia-ridden people at Comic-Con. One guy literally walked by Steve's booth, did a double-take, grabbed a Season 1 postcard from the table, and shouted, "Oh my god, they're bringing back the cartoon?!" We quickly explained that Season 1 is in fact a video game series, thinking he'd be even more excited by the prospect. The passer-by's eyes narrowed, his nostrils flared, and he tossed the postcard down and walked off in disgust. He didn't even shake Steve's hand.



I may not have had a snappy comeback then, but now I say to that guy (and every guy/girl out there like him who's this passionate about the Sam & Max cartoon show) – go sign up for GameTap! You'll get to watch Sam & Max episodes starting Thursday! And not only that... you'll get to PLAY Sam & Max episodes starting next Tuesday! It's so exciting I can hardly stand it!




To learn more about the Sam & Max animated series, go here.

Big Sam & Max pricing announcement!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Max has money to burnWhat's that? You have money burning a hole in your pocket, and you really want to go out and get a Frappucino / model airplane / Danielle Steele novel / pack of baseball cards / [insert your personal passion here] – but you don't know how much to set aside for Sam & Max? Well, you're in luck, because we're about to tell you just that!



Without further ado, here is the pricing for Sam & Max: Season 1:



Individual episodes: $8.95


The entire season: $34.95



Buying the entire season gets you access to each episode as soon as it comes out on Telltale's site (we'll send you an email to let you know it's available), and next spring you can get a CD version of Season 1 for the price of shipping. Remember, there will be six episodes in Season 1, which means buying the whole season up front will save you almost $20. We'll start taking preorders for Season 1 in a couple of weeks.



Of course, there's a third option – get the episodes as part of a $9.95/month GameTap subscription (if you're in the US). As I mentioned last week, GameTap has set up an affiliate program for us. If you're going to check out GameTap, please do so by clicking one of the links on our site (like this one!).



UPDATE: I've seen a few questions around the web regarding international prices. The prices above apply to everyone! No matter where you are, you'll be able to buy the games from our online store for $8.95 per episode, or $34.95 for the full season. (Prices are in US dollars, of course!) The only thing that may vary by region will be the shipping cost if you opt to receive the CD version of Season 1.

Sam & Max do MySpace

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

If I had a nickel for every person who's asked me "Have you ever considered making a MySpace page for Sam & Max?", I would be a rich woman.



Unfortunately I'm not a rich woman, but with a little help from Jake and Phil our summer intern and a lot of help from some guy who goes by the name of HieroHero, it's now a reality! See for yourself!



In the five days since the page went live, we've collected almost 300 friends. Not bad, but MySpace is at its best when it spreads like a virus. Won't you help the cause? Add Sam & Max as a friend, and tell all your friends about us, and stuff. Max would really appreciate it. He sees this as just one more step toward world domination.


Sam & Max on MySpace

Playing around with GameTap

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

So, you're counting the days until Sam & Max comes out. Crossing them off on the calendar with a big red Sharpie. Maybe even drooling a little. The new Sam & Max game is closer now than ever, but what's a gamer to do while waiting out these last few weeks until Culture Shock's premiere? I have an idea... why not check out GameTap?



I know what you're thinking. "She has to say that, she's the PR person." Well, yeah, maybe I do. But I was interested in GameTap long before they had anything to do with Sam & Max. About a year ago, someone on Adventure Gamers linked to an article about this new service from Turner Broadcasting that would make old games available to today's gamers through a cable-like subscription and on-demand model. I remember thinking then that it seemed like a really cool idea, especially for gamers such as myself who never really grew out of the 90s, and I hoped it would catch on. And catch on it did. A scant year later, GameTap has over 600 games in its vault, original game-related animation shows and other programming are being broadcast through the service, and GameTap has hooked up with two of the year's biggest PC releases, Sam & Max and URU Live. So if you're looking to kill some time until Culture Shock comes out, here are some reasons to check out GameTap.[readmore]



Shadow of DestinyShadow of Destiny is easily one of my favorite games of all time. Never heard of it? It originally came out for consoles, which is rare for a story-driven game like this one, and it got next to no promotion when it was ported to PC a few years ago, causing stores to keep it in the back instead of putting it out on the shelves. (Not a great strategy if you actually want to, I don't know, sell the game.) This lack of marketing was a real shame, because Shadow of Destiny is a truly unique experience. You play as a guy named Eike who's stabbed to death in the street in the opening cutscene. Short game, eh? But you're not dead yet. A disembodied voice offers Eike the opportunity to go back in time and try to prevent his murder. Being the crafty fellow you are, you manage to do this--only to have it happen again. Each time you think you've outsmarted whoever it is behind the killings, the elusive killer finds another way to do you in. Eike's quest to prevent his own death takes him further and further back in time, and gets him mixed up in a dangerous alchemical experiment, the disappearance of a local girl, and a search for a mysterious red gem. Is Eike really fighting for his own survival, or is he being used as a puppet to achieve someone else's ulterior motive?



Aside from its unusual storyline, this game's stand-out feature is that it has seven or eight different endings. You can have a perfectly satisfying experience by playing the game only once, but the more times you play, the more you learn more about the larger story and who Eike really is. The story raises a lot of interesting, even existential, questions and I found myself thinking about it long after I'd finished playing. Shadow of Destiny is one of those games you'll dream about at night, it's that good.



The Last ExpressWhat Shadow of Destiny is to me, The Last Express is to apparently everyone who's played it (which I unfortunately haven't yet). Just yesterday at lunch, Brendan was saying The Last Express had such an impact on him, he sometimes misremembers things that happened in the game as happening to him in real life. It's set on a train and takes place in real time, meaning that rather than standing around and waiting for you to come over and interact with them, the non-player characters go about their own business as if they were real people on a real train. What you see and who you interact with depends on you being in a certain place at a certain time, so you could play this game twice and have two very different experiences. It's a game that makes it onto many adventure fans' "top ten" lists, and has become hard to find, which makes it a great addition to GameTap's library.



GameTap just added The Last Express to their vault as part of "adventure week," along with some puzzle-game classics like The Crystal Key, Beyond Atlantis, and Dark Fall: The Journal. Another new addition is Zork: Grand Inquisitor, the last (and generally considered the best) of the Zork graphical adventures. Some of the older story- and puzzle-driven series you'll find on GameTap are King's Quest and Space Quest, the Myst games, and the Zork text adventures. If you like a little action mixed in with your story, you'll probably enjoy Beyond Good and Evil (another game with far too short of a shelf life) and Heather's absolute favorites, the Quest for Glory games. One really nice thing about playing these older games on GameTap is that the service's emulator runs them smooth as butter on your PC, no mucking around or DosBox required.



My tastes tend to run to story-heavy games (and the Sims, but that's a topic for another blog!), but GameTap has plenty for people with more diverse gaming preferences than mine, from classic arcade and card games, to fighting, racing, and strategy. Some games have multi-player and "head to head" functionality, so you can play against someone else, and of course this winter the MMO URU Live, set in the Myst universe, will make its long-awaited debut.



GameTap"If all this hasn't been enough to suck you into the vortex of gaming goodness that is GameTap, there's one more reason you should check them out: they've been really good to us. Frankly put, if not for GameTap, you wouldn't be seeing a new Sam & Max game this year, let alone six. Another of the ways GameTap has shown their support for Telltale is by setting us up with a sweet affiliate program. If you click through to GameTap from any link on our site (including this one right here!!!!) and sign up for GameTap's free trial, they'll give us a nice chunk of change. Torn between your loyal devotion to Telltale and your unbridled curiosity about GameTap? This is the best of both worlds! So why not head on over, mess around with what they have, and check out the first Sam & Max episode, Culture Shock, on October 17. I bet once you get started over there, you won't want to leave...

Production on Sam & Max Episode 1 halted... because it's done!

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Yes, you read that right. After a lot of careful thought on the matter, we've decided to stop working on Sam & Max Episode 1, Culture Shock.



This surprise move came a few days ago, when intrepid game designer Brendan Q. Ferguson climbed onto his chair, pointed a finger toward the ceiling, and shouted, "Eureka!" This wouldn't have been so unusual by itself, as Brendan is known for climbing on chairs and shouting things, but this time the exclamation was followed by an emphatic, "By god, I think we're finished!" Cautious optimism erupted into wild applause around the office as the impact of these words sunk in. Champagne flowed, baked goods were laid out, confetti was thrown. Brendan was hoisted up onto the shoulders of Randy Tudor and Dave Grossman and paraded around the office in a lopsided fashion. "Three cheers for Culture Shock!" we shouted, and "Ding dong, the witch is dead!" and other nonsense, as sleep-deprived geniuses are wont to do.[readmore]



In all the commotion, this guy named Pete Tsacle sneaked in and made himself comfortable in Brendan's chair. He's been sitting there ever since, doodling character concepts on scraps of paper. It looks like he plans to stick around, so we put him to work making this Culture Shock promo video just for you.






(Want to download this video? Click here!)

Once the team stops gorging on brownies and sobers up from all the champagne toasts and picks the confetti out of our eyes, it's back to work on episode 2... and 3, and 4, and so on. But for now, allow us this brief moment of revelry. Episode 1 is done, and in just a few short weeks, you will be playing a brand new Sam & Max game. No joke.



Culture Shock comes out October 17 on GameTap, and November 1 right here on our site. Get ready.



















Fans play with comic generator, hilarity ensues

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Something pretty cool happened last weekend, and it had nothing to do with the Wii. In the midst of all the news coverage and flying rumors, some people stumbled upon the Telltale Comic Generator for the first time. Since Friday morning, over 200 comics have been added to our gallery. And some of them are actually pretty funny!



To celebrate, we've just added six brand new panels for your comic generating enjoyment, featuring Sybil Pandemik, resident licensed psychotherapist and tattoo queen. So go say something funny! And don't forget to vote for the comics you like best.



[readmore]
Here are some of our favorites from the last few days...























Wii? Wii who? (Updated!)

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

You may have noticed something of an explosion on the internet last Friday or so, stemming back to an unassuming little blog I wrote about the Wii. I think everyone involved is a bit shocked by the way it took on a life of its own.



Yesterday we got an email from Daemon "Peg Leg" Hatfield over at IGN requesting a Q&A, and Dan took the opportunity to set the record straight. Get the news directly from the horse's mouth here.



Not that I'm calling Dan a horse.



Wednesday update: It just so happened that Chris Remo from Shacknews came in yesterday to get a look at Sam & Max, so he pulled Dan aside for a few minutes to chat about the fan Wiiaction to last week's hubbub. (Sorry, had to do it.) Also, PC Gameworld has posted a nice piece on episodic gaming with a focus on Bone and Sam & Max. It has nothing to do with the Wii, but you should read it anyway.

Do you know what today is?

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

ARRRRR!!!



Ahoy ye landlubbers! It be Talk Like a Pirate Day an I be here ta do just that! Er... an', of course, sing to all ye scummy scalliwags th' praises of that most scurrilous pair a' scurvy dogs, Sam and Max! (Of course Max be not a dog at all but rather some sort o' rabbity-thing but that be hardly th' point now, matey.) As ye all know, ye'll be able ta play yer Sam & Max interactive experience on GameTap come October 17th, from th' comfort of yer own PCs.



Here be some lovely links ta be sailin yer web-browser to on this most fine September day.



Just a week or so ago, Dan an' Emily found themselves holed up in some dingy inn or some such with some a' our best hearties from GameTap an' some mates from th' crew of URU Live. They were there ta show off th' booty to th' greenhands that be wanderin' through with their little notebooks an' pencils an' heavy jugs o' pricey sparklin' water. (It makes me weep ta mention it, but I hear tell there were nary a drop a' rum ta be had.) Luck were with Emily an' Dan however, an' we were able ta rescue 'em from that dingy place afore quite all th' rum had left their bodies or they had answered quite too many perilous questions. Over at 1UP.com th' folks be divvyin' up th' details. Some swabbie o'er there gives all ye mates that be slaverin' at th' jawbones a right full preview of th' first episode of th' Sam & Max season. Which, mind ye, will be comin to ye from GameTap on October 17th. To yer PCs.



Once ye've filled up yer hold with glitterin' jewels o' intelligence from 1UP.com, set yer course fer this quite intriguin' column on Slate Magazine. Seems that even th' salts a' gamin be keepin' their eyes on Telltale to deliver 'em a gamin' experience quite like that a' watchin' th' ol' telly-vision. Seems reasonable ta me, since some a' us in this persuasion have little time fer gamin' these days, what with oceans ta sail, booty ta plunder, an' forum members ta make walk th' plank. So in case ye lot has th' memory of a dried trout, let th' warm winds of GameTap stir yer soul an' bring yer vessel 'round fer some episodic action startin' October 17th right to yer own PCs.

Sam & Max vs. the Wii

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Mega-update, April 4, 2008: Sam & Max Wii is now a reality! Look here for the details.








News flash, Friday afternoon: They took notice! We got a phone call from Nintendo this afternoon. We'll take it from here - please don't email them anymore!



A funny thing happened last Tuesday at around lunchtime. An email landed in my inbox titled "Sam & Max for the Wii/Mac?" That's not the funny part. I (along with about ten other people in the company) get the email sent to Telltale's feedback account forwarded to me, and now and then someone writes in asking about certain platforms or proclaiming their undying love and devotion to Telltale's episodic model. The funny part was when, less than a minute later, I got another email with the subject "Sam & Max & Wii?" The first was from someone in Detroit; the second was from Sweden. Coincidence? I think not.[readmore]



In spite of the uncanny timing, it took two more emails before I put aside the very important marketing work I was doing to go in search of the source. Several days earlier, Mixnmojo (the best place to get Telltale-related news other than Telltale's own blog!) picked up on a comment Dan made during one of his PAX appointments about the fact that Sam & Max would be a good fit for the Wii. That had been on Mojo a few days already, and we hadn't received any mail about it, so it seemed odd that it would only now be generating a bunch of responses. Then a quick query on Blogger turned up this post on GoNintendo, which highlights the same quote from PAX that Mojo picked up on, and takes it one step further by inviting readers to email Telltale and encourage us to bring Sam & Max to the Wii.



In just a few hours, we received over a dozen enthusiastic emails to the feedback address about bringing Sam & Max to the Wii -- not bad considering that address usually only gets about one or two emails a week, and those are usually spam. (And I don't know how many other emails may have been sent to various Telltale addresses for which I am not on the recipient list.) I meant to write back to each and every one of the people who emailed the feedback address, but that aforementioned marketing work got the better of me. So, in one fell swoop, here's Telltale's official stance on the Wii issue:



We'd love to bring Sam & Max to the Wii. We already think it's a good fit (as evidenced by Dan's comment at PAX). In fact, Heather brought up way back in January how great the Wii controller would be for an adventure game (of course, back then it was called the Revolution... what kind of a dumb name is that?), and we're great fans of Adventure Gamers' recent article on the subject. Thing is, us thinking it's a great idea isn't enough. We need the guys at Nintendo to agree. And with a company as big as Nintendo, getting noticed by the right people can be tricky.







If you want to keep emailing us about how great Sam & Max would be on the Wii, please do. It's great to see how many people are interested in this sort of thing (and we know that for every mail we get, there are a bunch more of you out there who didn't write). But it would be even better if you'd contact Nintendo and tell them what a great idea it is. Maybe if enough fans write in, they'll take notice?



Don't bother with an online petition though. We all know those don't do any good.


Sam & Max Taking Over the World!

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Our September newsletter has been mailed out, with release info, a PAX round-up, a brand new Dear Max, and more!

[readmore]























































Vol II, #9ish Sept. 2006


































Sam & Max: Episode 1 gets title, release date
First stop: GameTap. Next stop: the world!






























More info about Sam & Max's premiere:
















































Telltale bigwigs at the Penny Arcade Expo























































Other Stuff to Buy










CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder

Crawl inside the mind of a crime scene investigator.





$29.99











Sam & Max
Poster Prints

Set of two 18 x 24" limited prints, signed by Steve Purcell.





$29.99











Sam & Max
T-Shirt

Be the belle of the ball in our quality black tee. M/L/XL available.





$17.99

































Bone Episodes Galore!






















Bone Act 2:
The Great Cow Race



































Download Version:

now only $12.99

Packaged Version:

now only $17.99

























Bone Acts 1 and 2
Combo Pack!


































Download Version:

now only $24.99

Packaged Version:

now only $29.99













Telltale's Halloween Contest

It's better than a sackful of candy! (Okay, close.)



















Sam & Max comic updated!





















Dear Max: Advice from the maw of madness



































Max: It turns out getting run over by a car is very lucrative, right Sam?
Sam: That's absolutely right little buddy! Pick a small car to get flattened by, preferably one made of soft materials. When it plows into you, fold yourself up into its pillow-like surfaces to absorb the impact. If you're alive you'll get a call from a friendly insurance investigator who'll be nice enough to place a reasonable value on your various parts and cut a check based on the number of them lying in the street. Sounds easy, huh?
Max: You bet, Sam! I was going to suggest leaping out of a hotel window and then suing the corporation for negligence in not stopping me from leaping out the hotel window.
Sam: Ooh, simple and elegant, Max.
























































Meet the Neighbors - Sybil Pandemik

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Welcome back to Meet the Neighbors, a semi-regular feature in which we wander around Sam & Max's world, meet people, and look at stuff.



Today we're talking to Sybil Pandemik, a jill-of-all-trades who hangs her shingle not too far from Freelance Police headquarters.




Thanks for agreeing to answer some questions, Sybil.



Of course! It's what a psychotherapist does, after all. Answer questions, I mean, not agree. Not necessarily, anyway. Ha. Are you recording this?



Interesting office you've got here. The sign out front says tattoo artist and psychotherapist. Who is the real Sybil?



It's true, I was working in body art recently, but psychotherapy is my true calling. It's taken weeks of dedicated study, but I'm fully accredited now and ready to help the public at large. Perhaps you could use a little gear adjustment yourself? Tell me about your mother.



*Ahem*. You know, that guy Bosco down the street seems like he could use some therapy. Has he ever been in to see you?



The inconvenience store guy? No. I don't think he ever leaves that store. I'm not sure I could work with him, anyway. I mean, he's clearly got some major issues. Woo woo woo, you know what I mean? He's definitely a wacko. Although I probably could get a paper out of him, maybe even a whole book. Hm. Maybe I could make a housecall. I wonder if that's against the rules?
[readmore]



Why did you decide to make the move from tattooing into psychotherapy?



Oh, I love tattooing, don't get me wrong, but then somebody left a pamphlet in here one day and I knew I'd found my calling. And I don't mean like the taxidermy or the crop dusting or the plant kennel -- psychotherapy is really it this time. I'm home.



You were a crop duster?



Well, sort of. Let's just say there was a little misunderstanding about what was actually involved.



Do you get many patients in this location?



You'd be amazed at how many of the people I tattooed now need therapy. Then again, who doesn't?



Of all the tattoos you've given people, what's your favorite?



I did this one on a guy's back that was a picture of the whole solar system, and all the planets were represented by fruits and vegetables. Then when the astronomers decided the grape wasn't a planet after all I had to turn it into a space ship with a little green guy flying it. I thought it came out pretty good, but the guy's girlfriend said the alien looked like her and she got all mad.

I notice you've had some ink done yourself. Any hidden tattoos you want to tell us about?



God no! Well... OK. I've got one over here, near my heart. It's a zipper!



Have you always lived around here? If not, where are you from?



I don't consider myself to be from anywhere in particular -- I mean, I did grow up not far from here, out in the suburbs if you want to know the truth, but then I think I grew up a lot more later on, after I left home. Philadelphia, Muncie, Fairbanks -- I've lived a lot of places. Citizen of Earth, right? Except now I've got a three-year lease on this storefront, so I guess I'll be staying a while.



Do you run into Sam and Max often? Any professional observations you'd like to make about their psyches?



Oh, I could go on for days. One of them seems to think he's a dog, and the tall one has a few wrinkles in the fabric as well, you know? Also, they clearly have repressed Jungian memory-angst displacement. Textbook case. I should know, I've got the textbook.



What do you like to do for fun? Other than analyze people and stick them with tiny motorized needles, I mean.



These days I mostly like to curl up in a big chair with a glass of wine and a Barbara Kingsolver novel. Is that weird? I feel like I'm becoming my parents, but somehow dressing up and waltzing in a cemetery all night just doesn't do it for me any more.



Have you had any vivid dreams lately that you'd like to share?



I can't tell you about my dreams, that would violate doctor-patient privilege. I think.



Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?



I think you may be a little unclear about how this relationship works. I'M the therapist. So let's hear about YOU. Here, lie down on this couch, take a look at this abstract Celtic tattoo design, and tell me what you see....



We regret that the remainder of this interview, while fascinating, cannot be released as it would constitute a violation of doctor-patient privilege.




Thanks for spending the afternoon with us, Sybil. Your answers were illuminating and the therapy was... err... also illuminating. Meet the Neighbors is a regular feature of the Telltale Blog, aiming to enlighten our community to the businesses around us. If you'd like to see your business or other semi-legitimate establishment in this section, please contact our sales and advertising department.



Sybil's is located on on the corner of the dead end, right next to the former home of Lefty's Tool Emporium.

Sam & Max gameplay videos surface

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Along with yesterday's announcement of the release date for the first Sam & Max episode, "Culture Shock," some gameplay videos have started popping up. Gamespot's got a couple on their site - videos of Sam & Max and Bosco in the corner store - which you can check out in their preview. (Spoiler warning: their preview contains a handful of puzzle solutions! To skip the preview and just watch the spoiler-free videos, go here.)



We've also got three short clips of our own below, featuring Sam & Max clicking on random objects in the office, Sam & Max out on the street bugging someone, and some driving around in the DeSoto. [readmore]Take a look:

















Note that Emily took these videos and is really terrible at driving the car around, missing all the jumps and stuff. Also these videos are already pretty old, so they're missing some final graphic tweaks and a lot of sound effects.



Update Monday afternoon: You can now download higher quality versions of these videos, and the ones from Gamespot, at the following links: Bosco | Driving | Office | Store | Specs (You'll probably have to right-click and save them to your desktop.) Note that this is a new and improved driving video!

Sam & Max take over the world -- availability details, game tidbits, and more!

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

"Are we there yet?"



We've been hearing this question from fans a lot lately, in one form or another. I bet a good number of you out there are starting to feel like kids on a road trip, dying for the car to roll to a stop, not just for an ice cream or bathroom break, but at the awesome Disneyland-type destination you've been waiting for forever. Sam & Max: Season 1 has only been in full production for about five months, yet the wait must seem unbearably long for those who have been waiting since that sequel-that-shall-not-be-named was canned back in 2004. And even longer for those of you who have been waiting since the day you first shot your way through the closing credits of Sam & Max Hit the Road in 1993. Some of you have been waiting so long, it hurts.



Today we can definitively tell you that the wait is... well, not over, but, you know almost over. In a little over a month, on October 17, people in the United States can sign up for GameTap and play the pilot episode of Sam & Max: Season 1 in all its glory. And as of November 1, the episode will be available for purchase from Telltale's site for anyone and everyone who wants it. That's right, folks. Sam & Max are on the verge of taking over the world.



There are a lot more questions we're dying to answer -- how much will each episode cost? What will they be about? What is the secret of life? We aren't quite ready to dish the dirt on all of this just yet. We're still working out the details on pricing (which will be announced very soon), and we're keeping the plots of future episodes under wraps for the time being. But we can tell you a few new things about the pilot episode, Culture Shock.[readmore]



Those little red-and-white clad guys who have been creeping into the new screenshots? They're the Soda Poppers -- former child stars who have been out of the TV scene since the seventies, and in and out of trouble almost as long. They're on the loose in Sam & Max's neighborhood, and it's up to our unscrupulous crime-fighters to figure out why. And we do mean unscrupulous. To get to the bottom of the ever-thickening plot, you'll have to throw heavy objects, hit people over the head, shoot stuff (in point & click style, of course!), and drive around like a maniac. Oh, and don't forget about faking mental illness and outsmarting a deviously clever bell-bottom-wearing foe. That's right, kids, we've got it all in Culture Shock. And this only the first episode!



System requirements will be about the same as they were for Bone and CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder. If you have a 32 MB video card with hardware texture and lighting and a processor that's about 1.5 GHz or faster, you'll be all set. Of course, the better your video card and faster your processor, the better the game will look and run, but we've worked hard to keep the specs very modest. The download from Telltale's site will be about 75 MB, so even if you're on dial-up, it's still manageable. (IS anyone still on dial-up?) And the techies out there will probably be glad to see some of the graphical enhancements we've made over our earlier games, including scalable resolutions, environment mapping, and bump mapping. As for the music, if you liked the tunes in Bone, you're going to love what you hear in Sam & Max. The soundtrack features a live jazz combo (and includes some really cool riffs!). We'll be releasing a few tracks to whet your appetite in the near future.



So, to wrap things up, no we're not there yet. But we're so close we can see Disneyland up on the horizon. Just sit back, take a deep breath, and get ready. Sam & Max are taking over the world... and they're doing it in style.



See GameTap's official announcement about the release here. Also check out these brand spanking new gameplay videos!


Download this image as gigantic awesome wallpaper:
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More PAX coverage!

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Another round of Sam & Max write-ups based on the demos given at PAX have gone up. They are:

  • AZMD.net - "One of the best games we saw at the Con."

  • Digital Entertainment News - "From what I got to see and play, Sam & Max is not only ready to make a triumphant return, but could very well help to spearhead a shift in the industry that is very much necessary."

  • Games First - "The voice acting, the animations, and the humor that you expect from Sam & Max was all there."

  • Game Addict Hotline podcast - an interview with Kevin. I'm too lazy to transcribe a quote, but it's worth a listen. His part starts a little more than midway through the podcast.

If you haven't seen yet, the earlier PAX coverage we got is here.

PAX - Kevin's perspective

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

Last weekend, I was invited to speak at the "What's wrong with the games industry" panel at PAX, and you don't really need to twist my arm too hard to get me to rant about the industry. So I was all full of my cynical, jaded and generally curmudgeon views of the industry I love so much as I walked into PAX. Let me tell you, PAX has renewed my faith that gaming is not entirely in the control the big publishers. I was also there to show the almost finished Sam & Max Episode 1 to a few people from the press and anyone else who was interested.


Image borrowed from Gamasutra.

The panel was awesome. Besides myself, there was Steve Bocska who's making the new Penny Arcade Episodic game at his new studio, Hothead, and John Baez from the Behemoth (creators of "Alien Hominid"). Coincidentally, Steve also was a designer on the previous CSI games that were made before Telltale's CSI games. Small world, eh? In general it was agreed that the one of the biggest problem with the industry is the broken retail model, and how online is reshaping all of this, though the Q&A with the audience was probably the best part. It was great to share the spotlight with other independent game studios. Safety in numbers, you know. (To see more about the panel, check out the write-up at Gamasutra.)



To demo Sam & Max, I grabbed a bit of table space at the HUGE gamer lounge on the fourth floor. This was the biggest LAN party I've ever seen (not that I get out that much). Everyone who saw Sam & Max really seemed to "get it". They laughed at all the good jokes, cringed at the lame jokes, solved the easy puzzles quickly and got really jazzed about the hard puzzles. But the coolest part were the people who'd see us playing and say "Dude! Where'd you get that, is that out yet?!" I tried to give everyone who came by a free copy of "The Great Cow Race", but I quickly ran out.



But by far the coolest part of PAX was the crowd. These people love games. They are not producers, distributors, publishers, marketers or the myriad other people who fill the industry without actually ever playing a game. They are gamers. And believe it or not, when you're in the games industry, you don't see enough actual gamers. So, from an official panelist on "what's wrong with the games industry," I can tell you one thing for sure -- PAX is one thing that is definitely right.


PAX - Dan's perspective

Posted on September 2006 by TelltaleGames

"By compartmentalizing the production process, Telltale optimizes its capacity and, as a result, is capable of generating a steady stream of content tailored for the emerging digital marketplace."



These are the words that were up on my computer screen at the end of the day on Thursday. I typed them, and then all I could do was stare at them, blankly. Good god, I thought to myself, what language is that? To make matters worse, during meetings that day I had said "take it offline" twice and even said "think outside the box." What was happening to me? Had the sweet succubus of commerce removed my soul and implanted a jargon-generating microchip into my head?


Image borrowed from the PAX website.
It was with this on my mind that I packed up and got ready to head out for PAX, the annual Penny Arcade Expo. The Penny Arcade guys had invited Telltale up to speak about what's wrong with the game industry and what's being done to fix it. Kevin is a better ranter than me, so he seemed like the right one to do the panel, but I still wanted to check out the show so I headed up on Friday to meet with some folks and show off Sam & Max. This would be my first trip to PAX, and even though I'd heard it was cool, I was feeling burned out and wasn't sure to expect.



If you're not familiar with them, Penny Arcade is a great site, with a comic any gamer or game industry person can love. Their reach keeps getting bigger and bigger -- they've donated a lot of money and toys (including games, of course) to Children's Hospital through their Child's Play charity, and this year they announced a scholarship for aspiring game designers -- but they've stayed true to their roots as gamers by continuing their webcomic and blogging about things going on in the industry that they find interesting. (Recently they wrote about Sam & Max, which was pretty exciting.) A few years ago they started PAX as a kind of counterpart to big trade shows like E3, for the fans instead of the media. To kick off this year's show, the Penny Arcade guys announced that they're going to make an episodic adventure-style game based on Tycho and Gabe from the comic. This was great news to hear and we're glad to have Penny Arcade helping to lead the charge for episodic content. [readmore]



Well, I landed in Seattle with my wife and 20-month-old son, who traveled with me to visit some friends and hang out in beautiful Washington after PAX. Up until this point things had been going pretty well, but unfortunately when the luggage carousel came to a stop our bags were nowhere to be seen. It took about an hour to deal with the lost luggage, finally exhausting the patience of our baby and sending him into a full-on meltdown. We rushed him into the rental car for a 90-mile ride to Bellingham, where I dropped off the family. Then I drove another 90 miles back to Bellevue for six consecutive hours of meetings to demo the game. (Just as a note for non-Seattle folks: the midday traffic sucks.)



So I was stuck in traffic on the way to the show, with a mix of northwest caffeine, road rage, and stress pumping through my veins. All I needed was a 16 oz Bawls Guarana drink and I would have been transformed into a modern-day Hunter S. Thompson. I was not looking forward to this show. My expectation was that I would end up in a packed convention hall surrounded by hardcore gamers with handles like spl00gehead, killr, and MonkeyPants.



Sure enough, the first person I met upon arrival was a mohawked guy in an old army jacket. "Here we go," I thought. "Is this where the expo is?" I asked him.



"Right over there," he said. "I'm about to head down." We walked over together. It turned out he was a programming student and was in town checking out the scene. We had a pleasant conversation walking to the show and he seemed to tolerate my old guy-ness. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.



To my surprise the show was not a giant deathmatch orgy, but one of the coolest, most diverse celebrations of gaming as an art form that I have ever seen. I hung out in the wireless lounge and watched people playing a lot of DS and really having a great time, only interrupted by loud roars of the crowd based on whatever was tickling their fancy. It really felt like a festival, not a gaming trade show, especially in comparison to E3.



My first conversation was with Cory Banks from Gamers with Jobs. I loved the name of the site and found Cory to be really knowledgeable and thoughtful about all types of games and the state of the industry. He had fond memories of Sam & Max from the days of his youth and I was psyched when he said it felt like we've really captured the Sam & Max of old. The afternoon and evening continued this way as I jumped from meeting to meeting. I also had a few minutes to stop in on David Reid of GameTap, who was at PAX speaking about digital distribution.



As I continued to speak with people, a few things kept coming up. One, gamers at PAX love new ideas. Two, it would be awesome to play Sam & Max with a bunch of friends the same way those guys playing DS in the lounge were, hooting and hollering with your favorite beverage in hand. And three, there is a new generation of gamers who want more from their games than wanton violence, be it drama, humor, or romance. As I went through my day, I could see the passion for games that each individual had and slowly remembered what I was doing in this business in the first place. It was a really good opportunity to meet with the fans, which is something we don't get to do too often when we're closed up in the office making games. I left PAX feeling inspired and excited about the potential for games, and about how open gamers are to new ideas.


PAX coverage

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Later this week we hope to bring you Dan and Kevin's first-hand impressions from the front lines at PAX, but in the meantime, here's some of the coverage that's come out of the show: Update: More PAX coverage here!

Look here! It's a Sam & Max gallery!

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Production of Sam & Max Episode 1 is nearing completion, and we know our fans are itching for any new info we can give about the game, so now seemed like a good time to collect the images we have so far and put them together in a gallery for your viewing enjoyment. Some of these are renders made outside of the game engine, and others are in-engine screen grabs.




























If you haven't read them yet (what are you waiting for?!), check out the previews at GameSpy and Wired, where some of these images appeared for the first time over the weekend.



And for more Sam & Max goodies, visit the official page.

Sam & Max spill out onto the internet

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Try as we may, we just can't keep these guys contained much longer. Sam's hungry for his close-up, and Max is literally climbing the walls of our office (and in some instances busting right through them). Sam & Max are ready to get out into the world, and truthfully, so are we.



That's why two new Sam & Max previews have just gone up, the first on GameSpy, and the second on Wired's blog. And if the promise of lots of words about Sam & Max isn't enough to make you to click those links, each article has three new Sam & Max renders to go with it!



For those who shun both pictures and the written word, how about a live interview with Dan Connors, courtesy of XBL Radio? Hmm?



If you're not satisfied with any of these avenues for Sam & Max news, you'll just have to head out to Poland and hunt down this preview in GameRanking magazine.



Continue to keep an eye out for the dog and the bunny, because I have the feeling that now that they're out, you'll be seeing them more and more until the first Sam & Max episode's release in October.