Cow Race in the Independent Games Festival

Posted on December 2006 by TelltaleGames

I don't know how many of you get to go to the Game Developers Conference each year, but I suspect that those who have had the pleasure will agree with me that one of the coolest parts of the event is the Independent Games Festival.

The Independent Games Festival (known by day as the IGF) is a sort of convention-within-a-convention at GDC, occuping a small but ever-growing corner of the show, wholly dedicated to games made by developers working on their own outside the traditional publisher system. The IGF features rows and rows of the current year's crop of independently developed games, all of which are demoed by their respective, eager-to-chat (or, in the later days of the conference, eager-to-feign-sleep) developers. Walking around the booths each year fills me with an infectious, unshakable, and slightly unsettling feeling of happiness, and, you know, reminds me why I like games.

I lost where I was going with this, but long story short, the finalists for the 2007 Independent Games Festival were announced, and our very own Bone: The Great Cow Race is a contender for the "Excellence in Audio" category. Woo![readmore] Also up for an award is fellow Telltale Now game, Amanita Design's Samorost 2, for best web browser game.

What does that mean for us? For you? Well, if you're at GDC this year and head by the IGF area, you'll be able to play a bit of The Great Cow Race, and chat it up with a randomly-selected (and possibly randomly-generated) Telltale staffer. Also, Cow Race will be going up against four other great looking independent games for the Excellence in Audio award at IGF's award ceremony, which is part of the conventions annual Game Developers' Choice Awards.

A big old congratulations is in order for the Cow Race team, and especially for Jared Emerson-Johnson and Julian Kwasneski at Bay Area Sound, who did the music and sound design for both Bone games (and for Sam & Max).

Also, if you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, we've posted Jared's entire musical scores to both Bone games right here. (Out From Boneville is on the left, The Great Cow Race is on the right.) Or, if you're in the mood to download, you can always check out the sound in the game itself, by downloading the free Great Cow Race demo.

Oodles of Sam & Max video

Posted on December 2006 by TelltaleGames

If you've blinked lately, you may have missed all the new Sam & Max-related video that went up on our website this week. You can see it all on the Sam & Max page. Here's the new video you'll find there: And hey, if a gameplay video, a trailer, and three whole machinima shorts aren't enough to tide you over, interim theater will be back later this month...

Welcome to the Bone Director's Cuts

Posted on December 2006 by TelltaleGames

This is Heather Logas, Telltale's resident curmudgeonly game designer/whatever else I happen to be doing that day and future ruler of everything important. Yes, I am still here. While you have been floating about in a Sam & Max induced haze, some of you may have been able to clear your heads from the fog just long enough to wonder what in heck ever happened to those charming Bone cousins and their mysterious valley. In fact, we have not abandoned Jeff Smith's curious world. In these past several months while some have been obsessing over certain canines and lagomorphs, others of the stalwart Telltale team have been re-visiting our treasured Bone games and gently massaging them with renewed care and affection.

"Hey Fone Bone, is it me, or is there something different about Thorn?"
You see, although Jeff holds our telling of his tale in high regard, in hindsight there were just a few things he wished had been included in the first two Bone games. There were some updates we wanted on our end as well, and so we decided to work together to produce new, shinier versions of Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race. Most of these changes are not too drastic, although you may find yourself enraptured by the new opening cutscene in Out from Boneville and startled by how much better our dear Thorn looks and sounds. The other little changes may be harder to catch, but definitely make an impact on how the story feels throughout both games.


Oh how silly of me! I almost forgot to mention that you can now play both games in multiple resolutions. Hoorah!

Storyboards for Out from Boneville's new opening cutscene.

The best part of course is that if you are already proud owners of Out from Boneville and The Great Cow Race (congratulations on your excellent taste), you are entitled to a perfectly free update to the Director's Cuts. (I attempted to convince Emily that you should at least have to mail in donuts or caffeinated beverages, but unfortunately she wasn't convinced.) So enjoy the Director's Cuts while they last. Which, actually, will be a very long time as they are replacing the previous versions of the game on our site.

Curse our endless generosity!

To mark this grand occasion, our own Emily M. (known in some circles as simply "E.M." or "EM" or possibly even "M") threw some questions by Jeff Smith (known in some circles as simply "Jeff" or "Mr. Smith" or "The creator of that wonderful and charming Bone comic"), and he threw some answers back.

EM: What was your reaction when the idea of a "director's cut" came up?

Jeff: I thought "Great, let's do it!"

EM: What sorts of changes did you suggest?

Jeff: Two basic types of changes. The first type was to clean up some places we were rushed in the story scenes back when we first launched. For example, I thought the ending of Out from Boneville was a little jumpy and confusing; so I carefully tracked the scenes and wrote new material to explain where everybody was going and why. The second type of change was to start setting up the larger BONE story that will take place over the course of all our games. To do that, we've created a very atmospheric beginning called "The Prophecy" that tells the story of MIm, Queen of the Dragons, and her battle with the Lord of the Locust, setting the stage for the Bone cousins' arrival. Things we see in the Prophecy will reverberate throughout the series. I didn't make any changes to the actual games or puzzles.

EM: Can you describe your process of working on the director's cut? How did you evaluate the original games and decide what changes to make in the new version?

Jeff: Heather had a "movie" version of the game made for me to watch straight through. I was able to watch the game as a film and figure out where the weak spots in the story are.

[EM's Note – to do this we had our summer intern play through both games and video capture the whole thing. The files were very big!]

EM: Of the changes that have been made for the director's cut, which is the one you felt most strongly about?

Jeff: I think cleaning up the ending of the first game was most important to me, but in the long run, I bet the new Prophecy beginning will be the favorite among players. It gives the story depth, and sets the stage for the newer installments and will tie them all together.

EM: Do you have a favorite part in either of the original of the original games, something you wouldn't change no matter what?

Jeff: Hands down, my favorite part of the first Bone game is early on, when Bone is lost in the mountains, inching through the dark standing stones and as he makes his way forward, the sun comes up, and we see the Valley for the first time. Not only is it a stunningly beautiful picture, it's a really clever piece of game programming. I think it's better than the same scene in the comics!

So there you have it. What are you waiting for? That download button won't click itself you know!

Bone is back!

Posted on December 2006 by TelltaleGames

You may have noticed that the Bone games were absent from our site for a little while in November. That's all behind us now, because the new Director's Cut versions of both Bone games are available and waiting for you to download them right now! To find out what we changed and why, check out this blog by Heather and Jeff Smith.

If you haven't played the Bone games yet, we're offering a special deal - download both for $19.99. This is an introductory price that's only good through January 7, so take advantage of it while you can! We're also offering the downloads separately for $12.99 each, and the CD versions* for $17.99 each. You can find all these goodies, plus the books our games are based on, in the online store.

If you're already a Bone customer, you can upgrade to the new versions for free by following these upgrade instructions. For various reasons, the method of filling in your order number and password won't work for 99% of the previous customers out there, and you might get an unsympathetic error message that says you need to pay again. Never fear! Just click Activation Support and follow the instructions, and we'll get you an activation key for the Director's Cut as quickly as humanly possible.

*The CD versions won't ship until mid-January. Be aware that if you order them now, your entire order, including any merchandise that's in stock, will be backordered until the CDs are ready.

Cue Situation: Comedy

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

If you haven't been poking around the site in the last 12 hours or so, you might not have noticed that we've released the first screenshots, and even a gameplay video from Sam & Max episode 2 (which, incidentally, is titled Situation: Comedy and takes place in a TV studio). What are you waiting for? Head over to the Sam & Max page and check them out!

Episode 2 will be out on December 21 on GameTap. That's just three weeks away! Like last time, the episode will arrive on Telltale's site 15 days later, on January 5. At that time you'll be able to buy the episode, or get your free access to it if you've already bought the season set.

In other Sam & Max news, the first machinima short debuts on GameTap today and will show up on this very site on Monday. Plus, we're now selling the world famous Max & Crossbones shirt in girl styles! Could this day get any better?

"You're a mad dog! Now, show me rabid." -The Director

A worthy cause -- Child's Play

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

Yesterday Heather and I went into Starbucks for a coffee break and within two seconds of entering the building we were standing in front of the pastry case, practically with our noses up against the glass, peering in at the incredibly-yummy-looking-yet-disgustingly-fattening winter-themed desserts. Apparently it's not enough to play Christmas music nonstop and sell those cute little barista bears dressed up for winter, but Starbucks has to rub in the fact that it's a time of good cheer by tempting us with holiday themed drinks (peppermint mocha... yum) and these incredibly-yummy-looking-yet-disgustingly-fattening desserts. Heather got a chocolate mint brownie that was so big she had to give half of it away back at the office. I got a chocolate snowball, which was a deceptively light-looking ball of coconut flakes hiding a core of gooey chocolate. We spent twice as much money as we had intended and complained for the rest of the afternoon about how gross we felt for eating all that sugar.

Here's a better way to spend your money this Christmas: donate some to the Child's Play Charity. Child's Play was born in 2003 in response to that sort of misinformed media hype I (and probably you) hate -- you know, blaming all the ills of society on video games. Penny Arcade started up the charity to prove that gamers can be good people, too. It's grown in scope every year since then, and last year Child's Play raised over $600,000 for children's hospitals around the US, Canada, and Europe. This year they've expanded into Africa and Australia. We're donating some Cow Race books and games to the cause, which I'm hoping will be fun for some kids who really deserve it.

So you could spend that $5 on a chocolate snowball, or you could put it toward a toy or game for a sick kid. As Gabe mentioned in today's Penny Arcade blog, something as simple as a container of Play-Doh can make a big difference for these kids. And you'll feel all warm and fuzzy inside -- much better than feeling gross and fat on the tail end of a sugar high.

Sam & Max music tracks -- enjoy!

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

Now that you've played Culture Shock so many times you're starting to talk in eight-syllable words, we figured it was time for some more musical enjoyment. So here you go, more music to enjoy!

What's that last one, you ask? Why, it's a brand new, awesome slice of episode 2 goodness. (And there's more episode 2 goodness to follow this week...)

Looking for the tracks we released already? Well, here they are...

Telltale participating in Adventure Europe online conference today!

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

Adventure Europe has been doing this online conference with adventure game developers for a few years now, and Telltale is participating once again. Our chat is today from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm California time (also known as 19:00 to 21:00 GMT). There are lots of other great developers participating too. Check out the schedule here.

If you're reading this from the future, you can always go check out the archived forum once the chat is over.

Telltale's forum for the chat is right here. You may need to register for an account with Adventure Europe in order to see it.

Update: It's over, but even if you missed it you can still check out what Dave, Heather and other Telltale staffers had to say to everyone's questions by clicking here.

Meet the Neighbors - Jimmy Two-Teeth

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

It's time for another installment of 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 Jimmy Two-Teeth, the lovable little hoodlum who makes his home in Sam & Max's office walls.

Thanks for joining us today, Jimmy. Tell us, how exactly did you come to take up residence in the Freelance Police office?

Hey, I didn't choose those clowns. I wake up one morning when a golf ball hits me in the head, and I come out and there they are, cardboard boxes everywhere and they’re playing some kinda weird game where they’re hitting stuff with a waffle iron and using my front door as a target. I complained to the landlord, but you know how that goes. You say the words "pest problem" and all of a sudden they remembered a sick aunt they gotta go look in on.

How many of you are there living in that little hole?

What are you, the census? I don't gotta tell you nothing. The membership roles of the Benevolent Brotherhood of Vermin are private. Just so's you know there's enough of us to kick your scrawny tail if you come sniffing around.

Did you always want to be a con-rat when you grew up? If not, what was your childhood dream?

Con-rat? You got Jimmy Two-Teeth all wrong. I'm in sales and marketing! Not that, you know, not that I always wanted to do that or anything... no, when I was a pinky I wanted to be a fireman! I was always playing with matches and kerosene and all that. While other kids chewed holes in the baseboards and scared housewives, I was lighting fires like they was candy! Yeah, but then later on when I applied to the Arson Academy, they said I was too small. The crumbs – I showed 'em what was what, but I still didn't get to be a fireman. But I'm happy where I am, and I ain’t done nothing you wouldn't do if you was in the same situation.

I understand you're a little acrophobic. Have you been over to visit Sybil? She could probably help you work through that.

You mean that psycho-lady down the block? I got a cousin lives in the walls of that building, and he tells me stories. Weird stories. You won’t catch Jimmy Two-Teeth near any kind of therapy, psycho, hypno, aroma or otherwise. Anyway, I ain't crazy: staying away from high places is just plain common sense.

Where did you get your hat?

I don't like what you're implying. I won this hat, fair and square. Did Robby the Vig tell you otherwise? 'Cause if he did, he's lying.

We hear Swiss cheese is a favorite of yours. Any Swiss cheese recipes you'd like to share with our readers?

I do like a good Swiss cheese. Emmenthaler is one of my favorites. And I recommend your readers try Jimmy Two-Teeth's Patented Fondue Spa recipe: you heat up a nice bottle of white wine in a pot, see, and then you melt in about three or four pounds of grated Swiss cheese. Get it to a comfortable temperature, then hop in with a few scraps of whatever you got lying around and a couple of friends, and enjoy.

Jimmy's rat hole is located in the west wall of Sam & Max's office, under the bulletin board.

Sam & Max are here! And some other stuff happened!

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

This month's edition of the Telltale Interloper delivers a lot of news you may already have been aware of. Like that we have a new website. And that we released our first Sam & Max game. It also brings some news you may not have been aware of, like what's happening with Bone. And there's a Dear Max written by Steve Purcell. And a user-generated comic we liked. And that's about it.

Read it. You have no excuse not to. And if you want to get quality newsletters like this one delivered straight to your inbox on a (mostly) monthly basis, head over to your account settings and make it so!

Vol II, # 11ish Nov, 2006

New Telltale website leaves crappy old one in the dust
New look! New games! New forums! New distractions! And lots more that's new!

Also on the new Telltale website:

Culture Shock launched to rave reviews

Read more in these blogs:



An adventure game set in ancient Egypt. And funny! Really!


Max and Crossbones Hat

Shield your eyes from the sun. And look cool, too!


Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine

Long name, fun game.



Episode 1:
Culture Shock

Season 1:
Complete Set

Bone goes gold... again!

Sam & Max webcomic #10

Dear Max: Letters from you, answers by Steve Purcell

Dear Must-Be-A-Million-Laughs-At-A-Party,

Sorry, I think I dozed off while reading your letter. If I actually knew what in the good God you were babbling about I could at least make a scintilla of an effort to appear to care, but all that said... thanks for writing, old friend!

Love, MAX

Telltale's nearly award-winning technology

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

On Tuesday, several members of Telltale's tech team went down to the south bay to receive an award for the Telltale tool. Getting details about the shindig from those guys was like pulling teeth (to his credit, Kevin lost his voice yesterday and all he could do was whisper, and Jon did chime in that the desserts at the banquet were good), so our marketing guru Joel stepped in with a first-hand account.

Tuesday night, Telltale attended a new awards ceremony, established by an esteemed Northern California business publication -- the Silicon Valley Business Journal -- to honor outstanding young companies.

Randy, Jon, and Kevin with their plaque.

Of the awards, Business Journal Publisher Vintage Foster said "We are excited to recognize the achievements of these emerging companies in technology-rich Silicon Valley. The companies we are celebrating have pioneered technologies with the potential to profoundly impact people and their businesses."

The ceremony was held right in the heart of Silicon Valley, in a swank banquet hall. After indulging in the extensive finger foods provided by the hosts, we were escorted into the hall for the ceremony. Telltale CEO Dan Connors represented the company at the event, along with CTO Kevin Bruner, technical leads Graham McDermott and Jon Sgro, financial advisor Andre Blanadet, Chairman Matthew Le Merle and myself.

Listening to the achievements of the other finalists -- in fields ranging from Bio-Tech to Medical Devices to Environmental solutions -- we felt proud to be recognized amongst such top talent.

Alas, Telltale didn't take home the top prize in the Entertainment category (that went to a new home entertainment company called Digital Deck). We left the evening feeling that this certainly won't be the last awards ceremony we'll attend, and we'll look forward to getting the main trophy next time around! More info here.

Of course, we're all very happy about the award. But we'd be happier about it if those guys had brought back some of that dessert for the rest of us.

Three dimensions of Sam & Max

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

If you're an old timey adventure gamer, you may be familiar with a game called The Neverhood, which was entirely modeled out of clay. A newer game (which hasn't been released in English yet) called Tanita: Plasticine Dream takes a similar approach. So, for all of you who shun the move from 2D to 3D (you know who you are), we present you with... Sam & Max: The Clay Experience!

Okay, not really. This is another one of our Halloween contest entries. The entrant, Jill, used air-hardening clay and painted the freelance police with acrylics. I love the wrinkles in Sam's pants!

Also, in a completely unrelated endeavor, one of our forumites was inspired to mold the everyone's favorite lagomorph out of plasticine after playing Culture Shock. See? Sam & Max inspire creativity! Video games are good for today's youth! Woo!

Arts & crafts, part deux

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

So, now that you've seen yesterday's art project, you're eager to make some Sam & Max art of your own? No problem! You don't even need construction paper or glue. As one of our Halloween contest entrants demonstrated so gracefully, all it takes is a couple of household objects and a few squirts of red pasty stuff that may or may not be ketchup.

Steve's opinion of these beauties: "I like the Marcel Duchampesque non-sculptures of the eerie visages of the Freelance Police."

I just want to know what that red stuff is...

Sam & Max activity center crawls back to life

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

Hey everyone! Just wanted to post a quick note to let you know that the Sam & Max activity center has finally made its triumphant return to the site. So, if you were seriously missing creating your own comics, brightening your day with some Sam & Max wallpaper, or reading made-up interviews with characters from the game, your life should now be returning to what you apparently consider normal.

Artsy craftsy bits of time-wasting nonsense

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

If you've been reading our forums lately, you may have seen Jake's reference yesterday to a paper bag puppet gallery that has taken up residence in the new conference room (a.k.a. the Romper Room). This reminded me that we made paper bag puppets over lunch three weeks ago and no one ever posted a blog about. So here you go!

We started with a package of construction paper, 100 brown paper bags, and a dog-eared copy of Surfin' the Highway. Oh, and lunch, but there was far more artsy-crafty time-wasting than lunch-eating.

It's funny how quickly construction paper causes you to regress. We ran short on white paper so some of us had to get creative.[readmore]

Lessons learned: ten adults are not good at sharing two pairs of scissors. Also, glue sticks have nowhere near the nostalgia quotent that flour paste would have had, but what can you do?

The finished puppets are now a fixture in our new conference room, which we have lovingly dubbed the Romper Room. This most excellent room came into existence when Dan moved out of his office into another office on the other side of The Wall. (It may have been knocked down but it's still with us in spirit.) It was supposed to have become somebody else's office, but before it could be claimed, comfy chairs started showing up in there, then a coffee table, then a mangled-up pinata (empty, unfortunately) that we scavenged when the American Cancer Society moved out downstairs, and then a weird retro standing hairdryer that Kevin claims he brought all the way from Florida when he moved here.

It is unquestionably cooler than the regular conference room, and there have already been a few scuffles regarding who gets to use it when. Dave and Brendan have a sneaky habit of slipping in while the rest of us are arguing over it and closing the door behind them, leaving us peering longingly at them through the window. They claim they're writing episode 5, but we know they're just using that room for the comfy chairs. In fact, they're in there right now, at this very moment, doing some of that so-called work and lounging around in the comfiest of comfy chairs. Not that I'm bitter.

Anyway, here's the gallery... it's like a little Max puppet army!

So, here are our Max puppets. Where's yours?

Halloween stragglers

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

Sadly, we received two entries to the Halloween contest after the deadline had passed. It was too late to consider them for the grand prize, but I wanted to share them with you, because they're still pretty cool. [readmore]

We'll be showing off some of the non-Halloween themed entries in the blog later this week.

Also, having nothing to do with Halloween but having everything to do with the blog, someone who will remain nameless accidentally erased all of the comments made since the new site went up last weekend. Oops.

Hey! We released a game! (Culture Shock activation instructions inside)

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

So, you may have noticed that a little game called Culture Shock showed up on our site on Wednesday. We hit a couple of snags, but overall it's been an awesome launch and all the reactions I've seen to the game have been postiive and really great. It's weird... for the past year or so, ever since Telltale announced we had the rights to Sam & Max, there has been this mounting anticipation about how the game would be, if it could possibly live up to fans' expectations, etc. This all reached a fevered pitch this summer, and to be honest there were days when some of us thought the fans would be impossible to please, no matter how good a job we did. And then the day came... Sam & Max have arrived. No one's talking about the Freelance Police in the past tense anymore. People are playing Culture Shock, and loving it, and looking forward to the next episode. It's been a pretty cool few days.

It seems that some people who preordered didn't receive notification emails when the game came out, and are languishing away thinking they'll never be able to play it. Not true! [readmore]We posted this info on the forum already, but just in case you missed it, here's how any existing customer can access Culture Shock:

  1. Download the game here, or by clicking any of the Culture Shock demo buttons you see on the site, or from any mirror site that's hosting the demo. (The "demo" is in reality a full version of the game, but only a short piece of it can be played until you pay to unlock the rest.)

  2. Install and run the game.

  3. On the first game screen, click "I've already purchased this" and enter your order number and the password you created when you placed the order. Voila! That's all there is to it. (If you don't know your order number or forgot your password, email us and we'll help you out.)

So what are you waiting for? Sam & Max are here, and it's quite possible that the world will never be the same.

EDIT: Also, we'd like to give a great big thank you to everyone who was so cool and patient with us as we got our activation snafu worked out on Wednesday.

And the winners are...

Posted on November 2006 by TelltaleGames

We thought long and hard, and reconsidered, and bickered a little bit, and thought some more, and finally settled on the winners for our Halloween contest. And here they are!

Sam & Max created in Legos

Judges' comments: "They spent time to build the Desoto and the clever casting of a Lego wolf in the role of Sam. Nicely staged."

Freelance Police Halloween Costume

Judges' comments: "Halloween + Costuming takes work and they turned out pretty good + someone suckered their little bro into dressing like a bunny and convinced him it was cool + the little bro is channeling Max in this photo, and is hilarious."

Max as a bar of soap

Judges' comments: "A lovingly realized portrait of Max in soap so that it can be slowly dissolved against the entrant's own body. Sweet and disturbing - like Max himself."

And, a bonus fourth winner... but they only get the prize if they swear on a copy of Surfin' the Highway that they NEVER do anything like this again:

Flaming Max Effigy

Judges' comments: "That was pretty fun. I'm not sure we should be encouraging this sort of behavior, but... fun."

(Note that this is the first and last time we will ever give someone a prize for setting something on fire. Don't try it again.)

Woo! These lucky folks will be getting an email in the near future with a coupon for the Season 1 set, and everyone else will be getting a coupon for Culture Shock. Thanks, all, for participating... this was fun. Let's do it again sometime!

Happy Halloween!

Posted on October 2006 by TelltaleGames

Our first ever "do random stuff" contest has come to a close and we received some really fun entries, many of which are Halloween-themed. And guess what, it's Halloween! So, while our judges are making their decisions, we decided to share some of the Halloweeniest (?) entries with you. (There were lots of great non-Halloween themed entries too, which we'll be showing off on the website later on.) [readmore]

Also, because we're in a giving mood and choosing just three winners was proving to be too damn hard, we decided this morning that everyone who entered will get a coupon for a free copy of Culture Shock when it comes out tomorrow. Woo!

Happy Halloween to all...

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 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!


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:


Sam & Max Sketchbook

Chock full of sketches, guaranteed!


Max & Crossbones T-Shirt

For Halloween, or any special event of your choosing.


Sam & Max
Poster Prints

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


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 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

Happy Friday, Mac users!