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loyal fans betrayed, the graphics issue

posted by zaqary on - last edited - Viewed by 230 users

hi all, this is my first post.

Basically, I wanted to just put up a copy of a letter I recently wrote to tell-tale about the new sam and max season. Part of it includes a request to cancel my pc subscription for a PS-3 subscription. But the main point is that of two computers, neither is able to play Sam and Max at the lowest video setting. My basic point, the one I want to put out in the forums, is that the casual-gamers graphic-adventure enthusiasts (and nostalgics)--at least if they are like me--cannot play the new tell tale stuff. My feeling is that it is because they are making games for two types of fans/platforms: casual gamers who own shitty (from a gamer POV) PCs, and console owners looking for an alternative style game. I feel as a loyal lucasarts, sierra obsessie grown older, I fall into the former category, and I feel a bit betrayed. I was wondering if any other graphic adventure enthusiasts were feeling similar.

My letter:

My name is ____ I have been a long-term tell-tale subscriber, (and an even longer-term graphic-adventure-game enthusiast) and have loyally ordered all seasons of Sam and Max, Tales of Monkey Island as well as additional games. I also took the time to do a user-survey to help with the pre-release of the current Sam and Max season

I have two computers, a dell Inspiron D620 from September 2006, and an HP mini 110 from this september (both Windows 7 32 ed). The latter was able to play S&M seasons 1 &2 fine. TMI worked decently (at lowest graphics setting) on the mini, less so on the old inspiron. Neither of my computers can handle S&M on any graphics setting -- after the first 5 minutes, all the animation is running at a rate 6-10x slower than the sound to the point that gameplay--not to mention cutscenes--is unbarable.

MY problem: My current computer really cannot handle this season of Sam and Max, even at Graphics setting one. It just laggs too much. I had this problem (minimally) with TMI but it just meant restarting my computer after an hour of gameplay. Now, with the current season of S&M I simply cannot play the games at all.
--> I have a PS3 and would like to switch my computer order for the PS3 games. Now, I imagine such an easy switch is not easy. If this is true, i am requesting that you cancel my Season Three subscription, refund my money, and allow me to purchase the season on the PS-3. Under normal circumstances, I understand that this is asking alot--since the subsequent re-purchases would be handled through the playstation network. However, I am hoping that since I am such a long-term customer, you will be willing to assist me. In my fantasy, you can cancel my PC subscriptions and issue me playstation credit, or a cash-refund...

Without being rude, but just offering my feedback, I will also say that, as a long-term customer, I cannot help but feel that--perhaps in the haste to make everything console competitive-- you have alienated loyal casual-gamer fans by making games that cannot run on our kind of PC. And, since most other graphic adventure producers are producing stuff that works for the low-performance machines casual-gamers use. With all respect, there graphic adventure competition may not be great, but only TMI, I think, has come close to the kind of satisfying gameplay I felt with Ben there Dan That, or even Machinarium, and the system requirements those games had were practically xilch. It may be that the new Season of Sam and Max will outdue your previous work, and these competitor titles, but at the moment, I cant find out, because my computer suddenly cant handle the basic games you produce... On top of this fact, I am frustrated that you have no daytime customer support number, as a phone conversation would have made this much easier.

my telltale account is at this email, so you can verify all that I am saying. My phone number is _________. I would have contacted you earlier, after the first game was released, but I only just graduated from college this week and have not had the time to sit down and play till now. Please help me.

Again, I love the work you do, I just wish I could keep up with it on my PC...


P.S. I have written in such detail because many of my friends, lucas-arts style graphic adventure enthusiasts, have all expressed the same concerns (many of them could not play Sam and Max 1 when it came out!). I am proud to support the games you produce, especially at this risky time for producing graphic adventures, and--throughout college when I have had little cash to spare, have continued to shell out money to support your endeavors. If there are other departments of tell-tale--such as pr, marketing, etc.--who would find these comments useful, I give formal permission to pass them on.

62 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Telltale is in a bit of a quandary here when it comes to graphics. There are people like yourself who have older machines (or who have recent laptops with lousy graphics) that are left behind when technology improves.

    On the other hand, there are lots of people out there who will dismiss a game solely because the graphics aren't Crysis-quality.

    I don't think Telltale can grow unless it attracts newcomers to the adventure genre, and that means making the game visually appealing, sometimes at the cost of losing customers with older hardware. Advancing the graphics and lighting also permits Telltale to make its storytelling more compelling -- witness how shadows and enhanced facial expressions add to the experience of playing a game. If you play the PS3 version, I think you'll notice how the technological leaps help improve the game.

    Fortunately, Telltale is very generous in issuing refunds if your system isn't up to spec. You'll have to purchase the PS3 version directly from Sony -- Telltale doesn't have a way to transfer a season from PC to PS3.

  • Yeah, it's time to get a new computer man.

    that seems like a complaint of "The Graphics are too good to work on my computer." which kinda makes me laugh.

    But get the PS3 Version when you can, you will love it. When you can afford it get a new computer and go nuts.

    I think it's dumb that people will say a game sucks because it's graphics aren't the best in the world. Some games are supposed to be cartoony and dont look right like that. If it's a 2D game when it claims to be 3D, then I'm mad

  • You knew you have an old computer... why haven't you read the system requirements before buying?

    It's like you were saying "It doesn't work on my Playstation One! You betrayed me an all Playstation One users!"...

    I can understand you feel bad that you cannot play what you bought. Hope that TT does something, but it's mainly your fault IMHO.

    And I still hope TT continues to improve their graphics, I think that S&M3 is very good, and it has great effects, but the engine has still low polygon count compared to other products.

  • The new graphical touches add alot to the ambience and are very welcome in my eyes. It doesn't run perfectly on full on my system so I knock it down a few notches, but I can't begrudge them for enhancing their games

  • wapcaplet's answer is the best so far in terms of mixing helpfulness, truth, and not being rude.
    There are a lot of people nostalgic for the old style of adventure gaming, and those people would feel betrayed by improvements which, in aiming to keep abreast of hardware developments, render a typical home computer owned by a non-gamer, inadequate.
    In fact, having to upgrade your computer constantly in order to experience bigger and better graphics with each new game is one of the very things that turned away many of these people from modern gaming in the first place.
    Read the system requirements before buying? Seriously who does that? People that actually understand the system requirements will likely always have sufficient hardware.
    A computer from 3.5 years ago is fine. I bet it would run TMI fine with a bit of a cleanup. And that game is only a few months before Devil's Playhouse. It wouldn't seem unreasonable that Devil's Playhouse would come with an option to crank the graphics down to a level where such hardware would be able to play the game.
    I would just phone your local computer guy and ask for his opinion. It probably won't cost much to get the computer in a workable state.

  • I think I agree more with Bloody Eugene. It's just common sense to check the system requirements. Especially if you know you have an older computer. Then you'll be able to decide which platform is best to have the game run on and go for that.

  • I've been wanting some more advanced graphics from TellTale for a while. Just because I'd like to see such great games with great graphics for once. It's either one or the other usually. I'm glad TTG are upping their system requirements. And I have a fairly older card and a history of liking LucasArts and Sierra adventures.

  • A new graphics card might be all you need and shouldn't set you back too much.

    If you post your system specs here I'm sure someone could advise you.

  • This reminds me of how I felt when I found out that a particular real time strategy game, which normally don't require much in the way of graphics, wouldn't run on my computer. I was a bit upset, too, but I held on to the game for a few years until I could afford a better computer and overall enjoyed the game much much more because of the long wait. Also, since I bought the new computer with gaming in mind, it still runs new games even after six years.:D

  • It costs less than $100 to buy a decent video card these days, there is no reason you should expect modern games to run on ancient PCs without an upgrade every few years.

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