I know I'm not helluva popular around here.
Anyway, I was thinking yesterday while making some lunch why I never bought the rest of the SAM & MAX SEASON 1 episodes. I didn't give it much thought, and thought about something else. Then I thought I should try and figure out WHY exactly I didn't buy the rest of the season, because Telltale would probably like to know. I do this out of my former love of Sam & Max. (Love the first game and the comics, but not this season. Instead of saying 'because it sucks' I tried to put my finger on it. It's the story. I didn't buy it. The premise is that these wackos are small-time criminals trying to take over the world. I get that. But...they're just not believable enough, and don't plug into any existing archetypal baddies to make we even WANT to know what happens in subsequent episodes. Then I watched a little clip of Max in the White House, and I bought that (I didn't buy the game, I just thought it was cool that I could transfer all my pre-existing ideas of the White House onto this little movie clip where Max is sitting in the president's chair.)
So, it was the lackluster story that prevented me from buying any more episodes. I played through EPISODE 1, but I kind of knew in future episodes I'd be doing the same thing - clicking on stuff, driving the cop car, busting wacko's, and only really playing through to hear Sam & Max's quips. If the story were more BELIEVABLE and more was at risk, I might be prone to thinking a bit more about it and liking it a bit more. But, any cops could be doing Sam & Max's work, and the thing could just as well be an animated show without my help. It plays like that. Sam & Max's lives are never REALLY at risk, and the criminals don't have any human traits that I can relate to. Normally the story's a bit more complex where the villain has something admirable, or used to be mates with the good guys. The baddies in the first episode were merely IRRITATING. You get the sense that all the characters in the game are kind of relaxed and not really too concerned with what's happening. All a bit introspective, although I know that's a part of S&M's personalities...I think it works in the comics and the first game because the art was so great. It was a nice juxtaposition. But in the new series, the graphics aren't enough of a pulling point for me to tip the scales.
Without trying to sound too much like a whining granny, some more things that put me off were the lack of things to draw me in. In fact, I felt as though I was merely an insider looking in to this game that could live without me. The color palette was a bit wishy-washy...a bit sickly. I understand 3D's a bit tricky, but everything had this permanent omni-light thing...like Grim Fandango was better than this. The characters were a bit blocky. I understand the need for the game to run on slower machines, but I tried to see past the rough edges into the story, which there was nothing gripping.
Animation was good.
The graphics, animation and sound are all secondary. What I really am trying to get at here, is how about something a bit more EPIC? Where more is at stake, where Sam & Max are put in totally unfamiliar circumstances and surroundings, where they're really put to the test, and where the baddies are a bit cooler than dime-store thieves with harebrained schemes that end up sounding like they were cooked up by a pre-schooler taking the pi$$. It's alright if they try and take over the world, but make it GRANDER, more epic, cleverer.
(only paper I had was from my New York diary)
A back-story of how Sam & Max got to become friends and cops would also help me identify with these guys. For all I know, it's a rabbit and a dog dressed up as cops, thrown into some 3D world to fight crime. I don't get it. How did baby Max and baby Sam meet? I need to believe more in these guys.
That's why you didn't get my money the first time, Telltale. I considered just shutting up, but then you get the SILENT MAJORITY thing where you just hear the few who pat you on the back and tell you what a great job you're doing. I didn't like SEASON 1, even though I only played EPISODE 1, I didn't want to play more. In my mind, SEASON 1 was rushed and half-baked.
Make the story more epic and have Sam & Max have some personal thing they need to go up against to make there more at stake, and I might be able to look past the rough graphics and compressed sound into something much much deeper than some bratty kids using hypnosis to take over the world (Dave Grossman, c'mon bruski!)