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!

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.

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


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!


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.


Sam & Max
Poster Prints

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


Sam & Max

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


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?

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.

Safety first! 6 days since last accident...

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

One of the great things we have in our company is a wiki. Its purpose? To provide any and all information that a Telltale employee could possibly need... from a listing of employee cell phone numbers to a rarely-updated shopping list to a company accident report. That's right, an accident report.

You wouldn't even notice it if you weren't looking for it. Down at the very bottom of the main wiki page, underneath Frequently Asked Questions (sample: "Why is Jon Sgro so grumpy? Because he doesn't have a basketball hoop."), is an unassuming bullet point that reads Safety First! 6 Days Since Last Accident. Clicking on the equally unassuming link pulls up a list that reads, in its entirety, as follows:

Workplace Accident Log

    Many accidents waiting to happen.
  • 3/4/2005 - J.Sgro's chair fails to support body resulting in head contacting ground - mild concussion.

  • 3/10/2005 - H.Logas touches J.Sgro resulting in electrocution in J.Sgro's left ear.

  • 3/21/2005 - J.Sgro's chair pins pinky against desk resulting in bloody and swollen finger

  • 4/5/2005 - B.Buddy sustains puncture wound by right clavicle - suffers shortage of air, unable to perform duties for 24 hours as patch cures.

  • 4/27/2005 - G.McDermott injures left arm while enjoying crystal-clear Whole Foods brand water. The resulting effect is water spillage on desk, carpet, and personal clothing.

  • 6/8/2005 - B.Buddy #2 appears to be suffering from bad posture and a lack of motivation. Upon exam it is determined that B.Buddy #2 has sustained a tear on the back of the neck. The victim will be prepped and bandaged.

  • 6/9/2005 - While walking by G.Annable's desk, J.Sgro is cut on the right index finger by a stack of papers. Mouse-clicking will be kept to a minimum as the wound heals.

  • 08/10/2005 - J.Sgro trying to throw a Mr. Goodbar J.Crouse, hit R.Tudor in the mouth with the candy bar, causing him to stagger back. R.Tudor seems to be fine and his work will not be interrupted by the injury.

  • 03/06/2006 - J.Sgro endures unknown injury. Only symptom is the exclamation of the word 'ow' and increased surliness. A full recovery is hoped for, but not expected.

  • 06/07/2006 - At least a dozen adorable sea monkeys (give or take a few) suffered a tragic fall into the depths of the stained aquamarine carpet near Heather's desk. Their absence will be felt dearly.

We were doing well there for a while. August 2005 through June 2006 were relatively accident-free. Of course, during this timeframe Telltale came out with three games, so it could be that everyone was too busy working to get hurt (or, at least, too busy working to write up the injury). In any case, there are a few things that stand out to me about this list:

1) The majority of these injuries are in some way related to Jon Sgro. Could it have something to do with his lack of a basketball hoop?

2) The last accident was not, in fact, 6 days ago. By my count, it's been more than 70. Or could it be that time moves slower in this office than everywhere else in the world? Is this the development secret that will allow Telltale to release 6 Sam & Max episodes in just 7 months starting this October? Is the portrait of Fone Bone on our wall gradually getting older, while everyone in the office gets younger? (No wonder he's bald!)

I have to say, looking back at the accident-prone spring of 2005, I'm a little bit envious of those carefree days. Back then, Telltale must have been a fun place to work. These days it seems like all we do is sit around and play through the pilot episode of Sam & Max over and over and over. Next thing you know we'll be dropping large pieces of office equipment out of the windows onto unsuspecting passers-by... and then we'll log onto the wiki and report it. 1 Day Until Next Accident!

Magazine Madness

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Okay, "madness" may be too strong a term, but Sam & Max articles are starting to pop up in various print magazines, which is pretty exciting. Hot on the heels of the CGW cover story (which has now been replaced on news stands by the Sam & Max-less September issue, alas), we have a preview in PC Gamer (the US edition), and a four-page story in PC Zone UK that includes an interview with Steve Purcell. The PC Gamer issue is October, and the PC Zone issue is September, and they're both available now, in August.* Go figure.

There's also supposed to be a story about Telltale in September's issue of Computer Games magazine. Has anyone seen it? The magazine wasn't available at Borders when I checked on Friday, so I'm not sure if it's out yet.

In other news, last week we received a copy of Level, a gaming magazine out of the Czech Republic, that has a Sam & Max preview/interview in it. If you want to Czech it out (har, har), it's the August issue.

We know of a few other interviews and previews that are going to be coming out in international magazines, but it's hard to keep track of them all. If you come across an article about Telltale or Sam & Max in a magazine, please let us know -- whatever the language!

*My mistake, the PC Zone UK issue is also October. So much for my cleverly worded sentence.

Kevin does PAX!

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

The Penny Arcade Expo (affectionately known as PAX) is next weekend in Seattle, and Kevin will be there speaking on a panel about what's wrong with the game industry and what Telltale's doing to help make it better. If you're going to be there, you should check it out!

The panel's called "How the Industry is Busted and What's Being Done to Fix It" and it's happening on Saturday 8/26 at 4:00 in the Satellite Theatre. The other panelists are Steve Bocska of Hothead Games and John Baez of The Behemoth, and the panel will be moderated by Christopher Erhardt of Digipen.

If you're too busy with the Mario Kart Double Dash tournament to make it to the panel, you might run into Kevin on the show floor. He'll be the guy who looks like this, probably wearing a Sam & Max shirt, and quite possibly playing with action figures.

The Green Glass Door

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Somewhere in the midst of all the crazy expansion and wall-tearing we've been doing around here, I found a mysterious green glass door in a far-off and as-of-yet unused corner of the Telltale office. Sadly, I can't be exactly sure what's behind this door, seeing as I'm not allowed past it.

However, from all the office gossip that's been going around, I'll let you know what I HAVE discovered:

There are no computers allowed behind the green glass door, nor are there any desks or chairs. That is to say, anyone who wishes to work in the mysterious area behind the door must sit on the floor and read a book.

There is plenty of coffee behind the green glass door. Unfortunately, there is no tea, nor is there any water. However, if you look closely, it is said that you might be able to find a can of Dr. Pepper.

Dan Connors is allowed behind the green glass door, but Kevin Bruner and Troy Molander have to wait outside. Also, Dave Grossman is allowed behind the door, whereas Dave Bogan and Dave Felton are not.

We are forbidden from bringing Sam and Max behind the green glass door, and we also can't allow Fone, Phoney, or Smiley Bone in there. We can, however, let Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows poke around the area all they want.
They've got a warrant.

Finally, and most disturbingly of all, I've been hearing rumours of a pair of assassins lurking behind the green glass door. Perhaps this means I should be happy about not being allowed inside.

Now, if you think you know the secret of the green glass door, comment in this post and inquire about what you think belongs behind it and what doesn't. The catch, however, is that you are not allowed under any circumstances to come right out and say what the secret is. Not only will it spoil the game for everyone else, but it'll also bring you loads of bad luck. Much like saying "good luck" instead of "break a leg", or "Macbeth"
instead of "the Scottish play".

Which reminds me, apparently, the Scottish are allowed behind the green glass door, but Macbeth, for some odd reason, isn't. Strange...

Game development shakedown!

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Here's August's newsletter, just for you! Lotsa Telltale news, plus Dear Max and Order Up with Dudebrough. How can you resist?


Vol II, #8ish August, 2006


First Sam & Max episode taking shape, fun to play

More Sam & Max gossip:

Comic-Con 2006 a dazzling success

Also check out this press coverage from the show:

Other Stuff to Buy

CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder

Crawl inside the mind of a crime scene investigator.


Sam & Max
Poster Prints

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


Sam & Max

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


Telltale Texas

Do you have what it takes to become a poker superstar?


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

Webcomic exclusive: Sam & Max #8 revealed!

"This stuff is sooo good, I had to ship some out to Vegas."

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

4 Tbsp butter

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

½ cup creamy peanut butter (you can leave it out, but the fudge will lack a certain peanutosity)

1. First you take a 9" x 9" pan and grease it up good. Next you wanna line the pan with two sheets of plastic wrap. Totally make a plastic wrap cross on the bottom of the pan.

2. This part is way cool... you take a double boiler, right, and you put some water in the bottom pan and put it on the stove till it boils. Then you put the butter, chocolate, and peanut butter inside the top pan. Stir it up and it will totally MELT!

3. Pour this melty stuff into that pan you fixed up earlier and stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

4. Take the fudge outta the pan and cut it into nice squares. Oh yeah, and if you want it softer just leave it lying out dude.

Dear Max: Advice from the maw of madness

Max: Navy, that's about water, right?
Sam: Yeah, I think so.
Max: In that case, don't bother to get in shape. Fat is more buoyant than muscle, so when you fall off the boat you can be your own rubber raft!
Sam: Plus, when sharks start to gnaw on you, they have to work through several layers of blubber before they get to the important bits. That extra gnawing time could mean the difference between life and your sinking naked skeleton!
Max: To start off right in boot camp, on day one make sure you bring pretty flowers to your drill instructor.
Sam: You can make an impression when you talk to him by grabbing his neck with both hands to show that you're passionate.
Max: There's no better way to gain his respect than with an unprovoked physical attack.
Sam: See you in the brig!

Meet the Neighbors - Bosco's Inconvenience

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

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

Today's special guest is Bosco, the proprietor of the Inconvenience Store down the street from the freelance police office. Thanks for joining us, Bosco!

Bosco's last known public appearance
outside his store, circa 1997.
So, tell us about yourself. Who is Bosco?

Who is Bosco? Who are YOU? WHO SENT YOU? You one of those Avon assassin ladies? Oh yeah, cosmetics, I'm sure. Try epidermal poison. That's how they get you. Seeps right in your pores, and boy, you're as dead as a dead man.

I understand that you run this fine establishment. What inspired you to become a shopkeeper?

For the sundries, obviously! When you got as many people after you as I do, you've got to build something to protect yourself. That means sundries, and lots of 'em. Fortunately, I got everything I need right here under one roof and a thick layer of reinforced steel.

Your set-up seems a little more... paranoid than the average convenience store's, what with the booby traps and all. Any particular reason?

Of course I got booby traps! You think I wanna bunch of boobies walkin' round my store? They'd be the death of us all![readmore]

I hear business has been slow for Sam and Max the past few years. How about your own business? Has it been rough for you, too?

Oh, it's been rough all right. Mainly 'cause I got so many people tryin' to steal me blind and deaf. But the steal-from-Bosco days are over! I just got the most advanced security system ever conceived by the human mind. I made it myself!

Now for something more intimate... what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Something more intimate? Do I look like I want intimacy? Do I have a sign on my chest that says "Feel free to ask intimate questions"�? No, I do not, so don't be asking any. But if you must know, I had some delicious Shredded Tax Documents cereal, currently on sale for $99.95.

What's your favorite color?

Why? What's your angle? What color do you represent? If you're another one of those green freaks, you can just leave now, 'cause I got no time for that.

When was the last time you took a vacation?

Which one of the 24 hours a day should I take for a vacation? I got a store to run, I can't be off in Jamaica cavortin' in the bulrushes!

What's your most vivid childhood memory?

I distinctly remember some nosy journalist asking me a bunch of questions I didn't ask for.

You know, Sybil down the street is dabbling in psychotherapy. Have you ever employed her services?

Oh, everyone thinks I'm crazy, just 'cause I try to warn people about the face-sucking aliens headed for Earth. Yeah, laugh now, have your face sucked off later. When the aliens come, I'll be the only left with a face, and I'll be using that face to laugh at all of you, even though I'll be sad.

Anything else you'd like to share with our faithful readers?

Yeah, shop at Bosco's Inconvenience, but don't try to pull nothing, or you'll get taken down faster than you can say, "Look at me, I'm a face sucking alien!"�

Thanks, Bosco, for taking the time to be interviewed for "Meet the Neighbors!"� 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.

Bosco's Inconvence is located on the corner, across the street from Stinky's Diner. Bosco's Inconvenience declined requests to list their full business address or phone number.

Do You Hear Those Voices?

Posted on August 2006 by TelltaleGames

Question: Have you ever written a blog about voice recording sessions? Yeah, me neither. Except wait, now I'm one up on you, 'cause THIS is a blog about voice recording sessions. Specifically, the Sam & Max voice recording sessions.

Pictured: voice actor ruining his line due to picture being taken.
Yes, it's true. We've been recording Sam & Max behind your backs, which brings up another interesting question: is it possible to record something in front of a person's back? I don't think it is, so don't feel bad that we had to be so underhanded about it. It was a physical necessity.

So there I am at the voice recording for the game that industry insiders are calling the greatest Sam & Max adventure of the decade. How can I convey the emotion, the excitement, the sheer thrill of being there? Well, I always say words speak louder than actions, so why don't I just share a few choice quotes from the sessions...

"That was great, that was great, but this time do it more like you're being strangled by a one-armed marmoset."�

"I said ONE-armed marmoset."�

"I'm not hearing the 'I secretly wish I were a dictator with a lisp' come through in your read."�

"Your character is in a tough place here because he just realized his wife is actually a volleyball dressed as a chimpanzee."�

"No, the emphasis should be on the 'THAT' in 'I can't politically undermine THAT.'"�

"That kind of performance might have cut it on the Knots Landing animated special, but this is Sam & Max."�

Well, that's it for the choice quotes. I do have some more pedestrian quotes, but those I'll save for the follow-up piece in the Wall Street Journal. In any case, get excited, because in only a few short months you too will be able to hear the voices in my head!

Adventures around Comic-Con '06 - Part Three

Posted on July 2006 by TelltaleGames

With the panel and press appointments out of the way, Saturday and Sunday gave Jake, Doug, and me an opportunity to kick back and enjoy some of the entertainment Comic-Con has to offer. Early on Saturday we made a surprising discovery: the Flight booth (where Jeff Smith, Bone colorist Steve Hamaker, and a number of other talented comics whose work we admire had been spending much of their time) was right around the corner from Steve Purcell's booth. For those who don't know, Flight is a collection of comics, sort of like a short story anthology. The third volume has just been published, and is receiving a lot of critical acclaim. I tried to get Flight at Barnes and Noble last weekend but they didn't carry it (their graphic novel section was overrun with manga), so I was psyched for the opportunity to buy it and have it signed by some of the authors included in the anthology.

Several of the Flight artists, including Jeff (whose work is featured in Flight volume 2) were going to be speaking on a panel at 12:30, so we decided to mosey on up. On our way we came across Top Shelf Productions, the publisher of Owly, which is a favorite of Heather's. Owly is a very sweet comic about a friendly owl and his best friend Wormy, who go around doing nice things for others. (That comes off sounding much more simplistic and Sesame Street than it really is.) The characters speak with icons instead of words, and although they're simply drawn the expressions on their faces are spot on. Heather was too busy making sure Sam & Max stays on schedule to join us at the convention, so we got her an Owly book she doesn't have yet, and the artist Andy Runton signed it. I read it cover to cover on Saturday night, and liked it so much that Sunday I went back to get one for myself.

The Flight panel was led by Kazu Kibuishi, Flight's Editor / Art Director, and included some big names in the comics industry (such as Jeff, Scott McCloud, and Bill Plympton), as well as several emerging artists whose participation in Flight marked the first publication of their work. Kazu started the talk by saying that the graphic novel is the only segment of the book industry that's really growing right now, and it's growing at an amazing rate, but most of the new graphic novels coming onto the market are manga. This statement is certainly supported by my experience at Barnes and Noble last week. Since manga has been popular in Japan for decades, it comes out of a well-established, big-budget industry where a whole team of artists could be working on just one title. This makes it very difficult for independent comics to compete in the graphic novel space. (Funny... sounds suspiciously like the game industry.) Flight offers a solution by giving new artists a way to get their work in print without having to complete a full-length graphic novel.[readmore]

Later in the afternoon, we went by the Flight booth again because Jeff was signing copies of The Dragonslayer, the latest of Scholastic's Bone reprints, which has only just become available. I bought one (all warm and fuzzy with the knowledge that the proceeds would go to support the Flight project) and got his signature, as well as Steve Hamaker's. I also took a better picture of the future Bone covers that I mentioned in the last blog. While we were waiting in line to see Jeff, a couple walked by and paused in front of the booth. "Hey, Bone," the girl said to the guy she was with. "My cousin's making the game version of that." I caught her eye and handed her a postcard: "You mean this game?" It turned out her cousin is Daniel Herrera, one of Telltale's artists. Small world! So, Daniel, your cousin Julia says "hi"...

Having satisfied our thirst for comics, we headed over to the game section of the show floor, which was considerably louder and more crowded than the rest of the convention. We checked out Capcom's booth in hopes of seeing the new Phoenix Wright game, but the people ahead of us spent about 15 minutes playing with it and by the time it was our turn we weren't really interested anymore. (The bit that we did see appeared to be more of the same spikey-haired goodness of the last game.) Then we happened across the booth of Alien Hominid developer The Behemoth, where they were handing out headbands sporting Alien Hominid antennae. Jake and I joined two other guys to play a demo of their new multi-player platformer, Castle Crashers, which was a lot of fun.

On our way out of the show, I got my picture taken in front of an Emily the Strange poster that I'd noticed as soon as we came in Thursday morning and had been meaning to get back to ever since. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep a straight face, but if you'd just spent the last four days of your life navigating through crowds of people dressed like Batman and Tingle from Zelda and Jedi knights with Jack in the Box heads, you probably wouldn't be able to, either.

So that's a wrap on Comic-Con '06. The first thing on my to-do list when I get in to the office on Monday (after posting this blog, of course): reserve a booth for next year!

Adventures in Comic-Con '06 - Part Two

Posted on July 2006 by TelltaleGames

With Thursday's panel out of the way, Friday promised to be a relaxing day of... running from press appointment to press appointment. Our interviews included IGN, GamesRadar, GameInformer, FanBoyPlanet, Gamasutra, and PC Gamer. (Okay, those last two were on Thursday afternoon, but who's counting?) Steve also filmed a segment for SpikeTV. As soon as the resulting interviews, podcasts, and previews are available, we'll let you know where to find them. Three cheers for coverage!

The (relative) downtime on Friday meant I got to spend a little time on the show floor. Jeff Smith did a signing at the Diamond Comics booth, where I met up with him to give him some Bone postcards to hand out. The postcard has a render of Fone Bone shaking Phoney by the neck upon their arrival in Barrelhaven. (The graphic from the Sam & Max GameTap poster is on the other side.) I can't tell you how cool it is when a Bone fan strolls by, notices the postcard, pauses, and goes, "Hey wait, there's a Bone game?!" Awareness of the Bone games is pretty high among gamers, but not as high as we'd like among comic fans, so the more people we can inform about them while we're here, the better.


I've seen a lot of costumes so far at Comic-Con, but none can top the Thorn / Fone Bone combo I ran into at Jeff's signing. Thorn even had Ted the Bug on her finger. Fone Bone was made with her height in mind, so he would be just the right proportion when they stand side by side. He's a marionette, and his handler (apparently Thorn's real-life boyfriend) made him do all sorts of cute things like wave and look up at Thorn adoringly. Very cool.

Jeff had the covers for Scholastic's next two Bone books on display behind him as he signed. I'll try to get a better picture, because they're gorgeous. Jeff's blog had mentioned he would have Bone One Volume posters, but he didn't bring any with him to the signing, so Steve Hamaker (the guy who colors all of Scholastic's Bone reprints) was nice enough to run back and get some. I picked up two -- one for me, and one for the office. With the demolition of The Wall and our subsequent migration to the other side (which is completely safe now that the blue "do not cross" tape has been removed), we have a lot more wall space than we once did.* Perfect for a Bone One Volume poster!

My next stop was Steve Purcell's booth, where I hung out for a few hours. Steve's selling two new pieces of merchandise: a Max skull-and-crossbones shirt (also available as girl shirts!), and a self-published Sam & Max sketchbook with lots of neat old drawings, concepts from the cancelled games and the cartoon series, lines from the cartoon that didn't make it past the censors, and more. As I flipped through, Steve explained what the various pictures were (a giant thumb wrestling machine, a spaceship in the shape of Max's head and the aliens who built it, Flint Paper, a drawing Steve did years ago to piss off his brother). I asked why he hadn't included this commentary in the book. "No one wants to read commentary," he said. "When I get a book like this, I only look at the pictures." Well, they're awesome pictures, and if you're a Sam & Max fan you'll be wise to hunt this book down. Steve said he printed 750 and he only has about 200 with him at the show, so even if you couldn't make it to Comic-Con, I'm sure there will be other opportunities to buy it.

Steve's sharing his booth with two friends, Michelle Harroll and Dan Scanlon. He knows Michelle from LucasArts, and works with Dan at Pixar. Michelle and Dan are selling a new book called The Unmentionables, about a little boy's first pair of "grown up" underwear who's tired of being dumped on, so he escapes from the laundry basket. Along with the book, Michelle and Dan have Unmentionables t-shirts and -- yes, it had to happen -- thong underwear.

Michelle mentioned to me, when Steve was away from the booth, that he'd been grousing about not selling enough girl shirts. Being a big fan of girl shirts, I tried to buy one when he came back, but he just gave it to me and wouldn't take my money, completely defeating the point. Then Michelle left the booth and someone came by to buy an Unmentionables book. I made change for a twenty, which meant Michelle would owe me $10 when she came back. Over the next few minutes I became very preoccupied with the Unmentionables thong hanging on the wall behind me. I am not a thong person. To be honest, I hate them with a passion. But this one has a cartoon thong on it that's sticking out its tongue. How could I resist? I bought one, giving Steve the great pleasure of reporting the sale to Michelle when she returned. (Apparently she'd also been grousing that she wasn't selling enough thongs.) So, day 3 of the show found me wearing my new shirt AND my new thong! (Sorry, a little too much information?)

Steve did some book signings while I was there. It was awesome to watch him work. In a matter of minutes, he went from a blank page to the dog and bunny duo we all know and love.

Oh, I almost forgot about the postal service. If you remember from yesterday's blog, there are an awful lot of postal service employees here, and we had no idea why. Friday afternoon, David Reid from GameTap stood in line to buy limited edition comic book stamps for his wife and kids. Turns out they were just released on Thursday, and there's a bevy of employees downstairs at the far end of the lobby selling certificates and envelopes with cancelled stamps on them. Dan and I admired David's stamps for a second, then looked at each other across the table and went, "Oh, the postal service." It was a true Seinfeld moment.

That's day 2 in a nutshell. Friday afternoon Dave G, Dave B, Dan, and Joel (our marketing guru) flew out, and in the wee hours of morning Jake and Doug showed up. Saturday and Sunday are all about enjoying the non-Telltale aspects of the show (all the while handing out more Bone and Sam & Max postcards to the unsuspecting masses). Enough with the work -- it's time to play!

UPDATE: You can now read part three of our Comic-Con diary here.

*Does anyone else find it ironic that the demolition of The Wall resulted in more wall space than we had before?

Adventures at Comic-Con '06 - Part One

Posted on July 2006 by TelltaleGames

You know that old saying "a day late and a dollar short"? I don't quite know what it means, but it might have something to do with why I'm posting Thursday's Comic-Con write-up at almost midnight on Friday. Except it's more like "eight dollars short," because the hotel we're staying in doesn't have wireless internet in the rooms and I had to purchase an ethernet cord out of the mini bar in order to come online.

The magic that is Comic-Con '06 started bright and early Thursday morning when, laden with a box of Bone and Sam & Max postcards, two boxes of Computer Gaming World's August issue, and a video camera and tripod, we left the hotel to hail a cab. Fortune smiled upon us, because right at that moment, a big white bus pulled up to the curb and people wearing Comic-Con badges started shuffling on in single file. Great, a shuttle to the convention center! We got in line, but as Dan tried to board, a sixty-something woman standing at the bus door (apparently in charge of the bus) put up her hand to stop him. "Postal service?" she asked, and gestured to the boxes we were carrying.

We didn't have our Comic-Con badges yet, so it's understandable that she would be confused. But even after Dan said, "We're going to Comic-Con," she shook her head. As we stepped out of line, another woman, who also looked to be about sixty, called, "There's a UPS truck back there you can ride on!" We looked sheepishly down at our packages. The woman at the door of the bus (which we now understood was not, in fact, a hotel shuttle) must have felt sorry for us, because she said we could ride with them after all. As we got on, another sixty-something lady called "Postal service!" and laughed out loud. We tried to look inconspicuous, which wasn't that easy with the boxes and camera and tripod, not to mention the fact that we were a good twenty-five years younger than everyone else on the bus. Not exactly the demographic I'd expect to see at Comic-Con, but hey, age is just a number.

On our way off the bus at the convention center, Dave G asked the woman at the door what group they were with. "Postal service," she said, with a blatant duh tone. We were utterly baffled. Then a guy walked by with a head like Jack from Jack in the Box and a robe and light saber like a Jedi, and the whole experience didn't seem quite as bizarre anymore.[readmore]

Check-in was relatively uneventful (with the exception of Dave B's badge proclaiming him the "guest of Dave Bogan" instead of just "Dave Bogan") and we headed to Steve's booth to drop off the magazines and postcards and to say hello. I'll cover his booth in more detail in the next blog, but suffice to say he had some brand new Sam & Max merchandise on display that fans are going to be fighting over on eBay five years from now.

We had about 90 minutes before our panel, so we went next door to the Marriott to get some breakfast. We got there just as the buffet was closing down. Dan convinced the hostess to let us in and we ran through the buffet, loading our plates with bacon and eggs and yogurt and granola and pineapple and cranberry muffins and all sorts of other foods we didn't need, frantic with the knowledge that it might not be available to us a few minutes later. (And it wasn't -- they took the trays away while we were eating.) Now, you're probably thinking, "Who cares what they had for breakfast?" Normally I wouldn't consider it very newsworthy myself, but then Dan went to open his chocolate milk carton and noticed Phoney Bone was printed on the back of it. It's almost as if the milk carton gods knew we were coming.

By the time we finished "breakfast" it was almost noon. Our panel was scheduled for 12:30, so we headed up there a bit early to set up. I had a grand plan to video tape the panel with the microphone plugged directly into the sound board, but the connector the convention center's A.V. guy told us to bring turned out to be the wrong kind. He was very apologetic and brought in some other equipment for me to try, but we couldn't make it work. Strike two was that with the lights down and a big bright projection screen to the side of the podium and not the best camera in the world, I wasn't able to get very good still pictures, either.

That's okay, because the panel itself was great. The large(ish) room was about half full, not bad considering that we were up against another panel about writing in games and that it was still early on the first day of the show. After a quick introduction by Dan, Dave Grossman led off, talking about the blank looks he gets when he tells people he designs games for a living, his process of getting to know characters, and design diagrams that look like the head and pigtails of Bubbles the PowerPuff Girl. Dave Bogan then showed how Bone and Sam and Max art evolves from the source material into fully-realized 3D worlds. Steve, looking dashing as always in his fedora, chimed in with several insights and sarcastic comments, then took the podium to talk a bit about his web comic. There was time for a brief Q&A before we were rushed out to make way for the next panel, which had an audience of five. As the door closed behind us, we heard the speaker's opening remark: "Gee, I sure know how to clear a room."

The panel revealed too much neat info about the game development process to cram it all into this blog (which is way too long already), but we hope to add some content derived from the panel to our website in the next few weeks.

Tune in tomorrow for a write-up of day 2, which will include the punch line to the postal service saga, the coolest Fone Bone puppet you've ever seen, and the story of how Steve Purcell sold me a thong.

UPDATE: Friday's blog is here!