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Season 3 may have been the last

posted by FrankT on - last edited - Viewed by 2.7K users

Well correct me if I'm wrong... but I fear that Season 3 may well have been the last Sam & Max season, and a Season 4 isn't being planned. :( Well how else can we explain the sudden appearance of all the living characters in the finale?! And I'm taking into account the fact that it was made a few years after S2 - maybe it was a comeback special or something! Your thoughts?

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  • @Tora Newton Y. said: :/
    EASIER puzzles maybe, but still puzzles. They were just as much puzzles as the ones in other Telltale games I've played.
    Look, I wasn't raised with Sierra or LucasArts's moon logic bullcrap. To me, "get cat hair to make a fake mustache to impersonate a guy who doesn't even have a mustache" isn't a puzzle, it's a brain aneurysm.
    I'll stick to Sam & Max and Back to the Future with their "non-puzzles" according to you then, thanks very much.


    Sam & Max was for me much better when it came to puzzles compared to back to the future.

  • @Woodsyblue said:
    Now, I could spend a lot of time explaining why the puzzles in BttF are a broken, player insulting mess, but why would I when Rather Dashing has already done it for me. Now, if you still like the game then all the power to you, but please, don't go around saying that the game has many puzzles and that they are really good. That's just wrong, completely and truly wrong.


    Even though I knew this game was flawed, i found this to be a very interesting read. Do you know if Rather Dashing did analysis of the other episodes? Did a quick search but could not find anything.

  • @Woodsyblue said: Have you tried the games in-built hint systems? In season 1 you can talk to Max and he gives you clues, albeit obscure clues, for solving puzzles. In season 2 by turning hints on you get Sam & Max saying hints when you haven't made progress in a while. I remember I was really stuck in Night of the Raving Dead, the holy water puzzle. I turned on hints and Max said to go back to the office. Once I knew where I was supposed to be looking it helped a great deal in solving a puzzle that had me well and truly stumped, without ruining it for me.

    Yes, I've had the hints on. While they've helped on maybe one or two occasions, they usually almost always only tell me what I already know and aren't helpful at all. Or they'll tell you nothing at all or something really vague that there's little chance will click. Example, in the 3rd act of 303, one of the hints Sam will give you if you're stuck trying to get the Gift-Giving Pendent is "I'd give the Pharaoh an aglet, but he had them all destroyed." Unless you remember the VERY brief bit about the aglets from the beginning of that segment, you'll probably have no idea what he's on about. By then I'd completely forgotten what an aglet WAS. Though to be fair, Act 3 of 303 was in general kind of badly designed as far as puzzles, and it's really the only BIG stain one the otherwise incredibly impressive third season, I just can't think of another example right now.

    @Woodsyblue said: TDP wasn't as bad as any of those games, gameplay-wise, but it was a step back from season 2 and even season 1, and I found that disappointing. Also, there was a lot less interactivity in TDP compared to the other two seasons. However it did have a stronger and more well told story than the others and there was definitely a lot to love. I personally rank the seasons: 1) Season 2 2) The Devil's Playhouse 3) Season 1.

    Wait, LESS interactivity? Seriously?
    My only even vague guess as to why you'd think that is due the fact The Devil's Playhouse lacked any mini-games... which the series doesn't need and never needed anyway. It's a point and click adventure game, it doesn't need boxing and driving and shooting mini-games. In Seasons 1&2 the mini-games were almost ALWAYS excessive and entirely pointless, they could have (and honestly probably should have) been cut out completely. They just... weren't and aren't necessary. Yet another compliment I can give The Devil's Playhouse was getting rid of them.

    Just asking, do you just personally LIKE Season 2 better, or do you actually think Season 2 is actually a better game than The Devil's Playhouse? Because the former is a perfectly acceptable opinion, that's fine if Season 2 is just more your taste! But the latter? ... No, I'm sorry, no. It's... not. It's really, REALLY not.

  • @Tora Newton Y. said: Wait, LESS interactivity? Seriously?
    My only even vague guess as to why you'd think that is due the fact The Devil's Playhouse lacked any mini-games... which the series doesn't need and never needed anyway. It's a point and click adventure game, it doesn't need boxing and driving and shooting mini-games. In Seasons 1&2 the mini-games were almost ALWAYS excessive and entirely pointless, they could have (and honestly probably should have) been cut out completely. They just... weren't and aren't necessary. Yet another compliment I can give The Devil's Playhouse was getting rid of them.

    When I say less interactivity I don't mean less puzzle games, I mean that there is less in the world to explore. When you walk into a room in TDP there isn't nearly as much to do or interact with. They limit your options, as well as potential jokes, by reducing hotspots and inventory items. This also makes the game far easier. And, contrary to your opinion, I don't believe simplifying an adventure game and reducing challenge and thinking should be considered fixing them. These games aren't just about keeping up a pace and moving the story forward, the good ones also stimulate your mind.

    The pulse of the storytelling isn't even that important in Sam & Max, it's all about the journey. Even Chuck Jordan, a former Telltale writer who worked on every Sam & Max season to date, says in the comments section of this blog post that, 'Sam & Max is built on non-sequiturs, which is why I think they actually work better as loosely-connected episodes than long, overarching storylines.' (Eighth comment, second-last paragraph.)

    Now, you obviously have a bias against getting stuck in adventure games but have you ever considered that it's not an entirely bad thing? You learn from the times you get stuck and that makes you a better player. As they repeatedly say in the new Batman films, 'Why do we fall down? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.' When a game is designed for players to never get stuck then what's the point of playing it? What do we learn? Why not forsake the interactive element altogether and just go watch a movie or tv show? Dumbing down the interactive element kills the immersion, and rather than being players in the events we become spectators.

    Now, TDP isn't as bad as all that. There are some puzzles and there is some thinking involved and I don't need to mention the story because that is great, but it is a noticeable step back from previous seasons in terms of challenge and how much you can interact with, and I, personally, found that to be quite disappointing. And this isn't just a bias against one big story format compared to self-contained episodes because I still think TDP is better than season 1 in every way except puzzle design and interactivity.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: Just asking, do you just personally LIKE Season 2 better, or do you actually think Season 2 is actually a better game than The Devil's Playhouse? Because the former is a perfectly acceptable opinion, that's fine if Season 2 is just more your taste! But the latter? ... No, I'm sorry, no. It's... not. It's really, REALLY not.

    Both. And to be honest, I think your bias and hatred of getting stuck is blinding you from some of TDP's weaknesses. I know season 2 is not perfect. It is too hard and obscure at times. The plot doesn't always make sense (though does it really have to in Sam & Max?) and Moai Better Blues is a weak episode, but there is so much it does right.

    The Devil's Playhouse is good, it's just not as rewarding.

  • @Tora Newton Y. said: I will agree TDP is a bit easier. ... But I say this is good thing, because I feel like Seasons 1&2 were often maybe a little too difficult for the average person. They're not ABSURDLY hard, but people who perhaps aren't as experienced or good at adventure games may struggle much more with them.
    And that's another thing - TDP is a more accessible game. It's something that even someone who's NOT a hardcore adventure gamer can get into and enjoy and probably not have a huge amount of difficulty with.

    You'd like to think that most people who played though TDP had played Season's 1 and 2 before. I know not everyone did but I think it is safe to assume that one of TDP biggest consumer bases is people who played the past games. So why is the third season being made for the average person rather than the Sam & Max fan that has been following the games since Hit the Road or one of the first two seasons? It's a bit of a downer for the long-time fans and is a good example of Telltale's new sell-out philosophies.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: You SURE you're not just messing with me? 'Cause I've found more optional dialogues, secret hotspots, and easter eggs in TDP than either Season 1 OR 2. If you couldn't find them I just don't think you were really looking. And OF COURSE there's less inventory items because inventory items aren't the focus of the game, or at least not as much as the focus as they'd been previously, the PSYCHIC POWERS are the entire hook. TDP just gives you DIFFERENT options, it doesn't limit them.

    I decided to put this to the test to make sure I wasn't going insane. I counted all hotspots present in Stinky's Diner in both episode 201 and episode 304. In episode 201 I found 30 unique hotspots in the diner (I counted the two tiki torches on either side of the jukebox as one hotspot). In episode 304 I found 14 unique hotspots (including the additional hand that pops out after you try to use the toaster). Now, I'm not going to bother doing this for a whole episode but I think you can start to see what I mean when I say TDP contains less hotspots. Less than half is a bit pathetic in my opinion.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: A player can't always be expected to read the game designer's minds.

    This is a bit of an exaggeration considering that these games aren't even considered overly hard by adventure game standards.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: While sometimes you can definitely get more and more used to how thinks work the more you play, sadly "practice makes perfect" doesn't always apply to adventure games because they're based around logic, and logic can be a very personal and mental process type of thing. There's being taught to think outside the box, and then there's being presented with something you JUST cannot fathom or would've realized on your own by any stretch.

    It is the job of the game designer to make sure the puzzles are challanging without being illogical, and their success is usually judged on a subjective basis. I don't think the first two seasons ever got too hard, you do. I don't think we are going to change each other's minds on this. To each his own, I suppose.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: Easier puzzles doesn't constitute "dumbing down interactive elements." LESS puzzles would maybe, but not EASIER puzzles. (btw, TDP didn't have less puzzles than 1&2 either)

    I went through and counted the hotspots in an area. I can go through a couple of episodes and count all the puzzles but I'm not sure I can be bothered. At least not right now. I will say this with certainty, though, there are far less good puzzles in TDP, and that's the important thing.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: You keep saying I'm biased but I've been fully able explain factually and give examples to support myself, so that's not a bias, since I can back it up by looking at it from a design perspective and not just a personal one. I've honestly been looking at this as objectively as I possibly can.

    I'll be honest, I don't think you have. I think you are enjoying these games on a base level, and I have nothing against that and people who just enjoy these games for what they are, but you are making all these claims about the content and execution of the gameplay without the critical thinking or factual evidence to back them up.

    I mean before you were saying that BttF had lots of very good puzzles for crying out loud so I really don't think you are looking at these game with a strong critical eye. Like I said before, I have nothing against that, but I find it's good to really know what you're talking about and have your facts straight before making bold, declarative claims.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: 302 also maybe could've introduced it's gameplay a little better. It's an absolutely BRILLIANT mechanic but it might be a confusing at first to pick up exactly how it works, what with the playing out of order and skipping between reels.

    Agreed.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: Also in 303, the Noir Sam Interrogation mechanic is introduced and then taken away MUCH too soon. By the time you get the hang of it, you NEVER use it again, which is a huge waste.

    If my memory serves me correctly I believe you do use it at least once more after that segment. I can't off the top of my head remember when, though.

  • @Woodsyblue said: You'd like to think that most people who played though TDP had played Season's 1 and 2 before. I know not everyone did but I think it is safe to assume that one of TDP biggest consumer bases is people who played the past games. So why is the third season being made for the average person rather than the Sam & Max fan that has been following the games since Hit the Road or one of the first two seasons? It's a bit of a downer for the long-time fans and is a good example of Telltale's new sell-out philosophies.

    Because appealing ONLY to the customers you already have is an absolutely idiotic business decision. Whether you like it or not, Telltale is going more mainstream. That isn't "selling out" (also if you THINK they've "sold out" why don't you just leave or stop buying their games?), they're just trying to broaden their audience.
    What a smart company does is try to pull in as many new customers as they possibly can, and the fact you dislike this simply because it's not EXACTLY how YOU want it to be, is honestly an extremely selfish and entitled viewpoint. Telltale shouldn't have to cater to you specifically just because you've played the older games. It's not "selling out", it's being smart.
    That's why it's good that TDP is more accessible to everyone besides "hardcore fans." It may technically be the third installment, but it even says on TDP's page right here on Telltale's site, "Even if you've never played a Sam & Max game before, this is a perfectly fine place to start!"
    Dropping the season numbers from the titles even was also part of adding this new accessibility; TDP is not officially titled Sam & Max Season 3. It's just Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse. And then the retroactive re-titling of the first two seasons; Sam & Max Season 1 into Sam & Max Save the World and Sam & Max Season 2 into Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space.
    Telltale broadening their audience will lead to them being more successful, and thus being able to create more and better games. To say you don't want them bringing in as many new players to their games as they can is to say you don't want Telltale to be successful.

    @Woodsyblue said: I decided to put this to the test to make sure I wasn't going insane. I counted all hotspots present in Stinky's Diner in both episode 201 and episode 304. In episode 201 I found 30 unique hotspots in the diner (I counted the two tiki torches on either side of the jukebox as one hotspot). In episode 304 I found 14 unique hotspots (including the additional hand that pops out after you try to use the toaster). Now, I'm not going to bother doing this for a whole episode but I think you can start to see what I mean when I say TDP contains less hotspots. Less than half is a bit pathetic in my opinion.

    The Stinky's Diners in 201 and 304 are NOT FAIR COMPARISONS. AT ALL.
    Think about this for a second: in 201, that's the very first time you're in Stinky's Diner. So obviously there's going to be A LOT of unique hotspots, since it's a new location that's never been visited before.
    Now, in 304, you've already been to Stinky's Diner SEVERAL times. And look at the situation; you're trying to escape the Samulacra/Dogglegangers. You're NOT exploring the area for the first time so there doesn't NEED to be as many extra hotspots, since the object of the current situation is to find a way to ESCAPE the diner. Of COURSE there's going to be less.
    Now, the Stinky's Diners in 201 and 301 MIGHT be better to compare, because they're both when you're in the diner for the first time that season. And in 301, the Diner's been changed more to reflect Grandpa Stinky rather than Girl Stinky, so there's new elements to it, making it different from its Season 2 incarnation.
    Also, are you counting unique hotspots in the location throughout the ENTIRE episode, or just the first time you're in that location? Because hotspots are often added/removed throughout different points of the episode (i.e. Flint's lunch isn't there when he's not at the Diner), so the only fair way to compare them would be to count the unique hotspots in the area throughout the entire episode, at every possible point in the episode where something may be different.

    @Woodsyblue said: This is a bit of an exaggeration considering that these games aren't even considered overly hard by adventure game standards.
    It is the job of the game designer to make sure the puzzles are challanging without being illogical, and their success is usually judged on a subjective basis. I don't think the first two seasons ever got too hard, you do. I don't think we are going to change each other's minds on this. To each his own, I suppose.

    It still applies, no matter how difficult you may judge the game to be.
    Exactly. I don't assume everyone thinks sometimes the puzzles got a bit too difficult in first two seasons, so you shouldn't assume everyone thinks the puzzles in TDP are too easy.
    Because as you said, a designer's success in that aspect is usually judged subjectively.

    @Woodsyblue said: I went through and counted the hotspots in an area. I can go through a couple of episodes and count all the puzzles but I'm not sure I can be bothered. At least not right now. I will say this with certainty, though, there are far less good puzzles in TDP, and that's the important thing.

    As stated before, you did not count them fairly.
    Also, as stated before, you can't say they are "far less good puzzles in TDP", because that's far too subjective, and goes against what you said about what kind of basis a puzzle's success is typically judged on.

    @Woodsyblue said: I'll be honest, I don't think you have. I think you are enjoying these games on a base level, and I have nothing against that and people who just enjoy these games for what they are, but you are making all these claims about the content and execution of the gameplay without the critical thinking or factual evidence to back them up.
    I mean before you were saying that BttF had lots of very good puzzles for crying out loud so I really don't think you are looking at these game with a strong critical eye. Like I said before, I have nothing against that, but I find it's good to really know what you're talking about and have your facts straight before making bold, declarative claims.

    Okay now you're just trolling.
    I have provided as much factual evidence as I POSSIBLY could have, far more than you have. What the else do you possibly want me to provide?
    And for damn's sake, I WAS UNINFORMED ABOUT BACK TO THE FUTURE. I'VE ONLY PLAYED THE FIRST EPISODE. WE DROPPED THAT SUBJECT BECAUSE I WAS NOT IN THE PROPER POSITION TO SPEAK ABOUT IT. OF COURSE I WASN'T RIGHT, I WAS STUPIDLY TALKING ABOUT A GAME I HAVEN'T PLAYED. I MADE THAT VERY CLEAR. The fact you're bringing that up in an attempt to discredit me is obviously showing you're losing the argument.
    But Sam & Max is something I CAN speak with a strong critical sense about, and no offense, but I really think you're just pulling bullcrap now.

    @Woodsyblue said: If my memory serves me correctly I believe you do use it at least once more after that segment. I can't off the top of my head remember when, though.

    You don't use it again after you arrive at the Museum in 303. It's REFERENCED again, several times, but never actually USED again.

  • @Tora Newton Y. said: The Stinky's Diners in 201 and 304 are NOT FAIR COMPARISONS. AT ALL.
    Think about this for a second: in 201, that's the very first time you're in Stinky's Diner. So obviously there's going to be A LOT of unique hotspots, since it's a new location that's never been visited before.
    Now, in 304, you've already been to Stinky's Diner SEVERAL times. And look at the situation; you're trying to escape the Samulacra/Dogglegangers. You're NOT exploring the area for the first time so there doesn't NEED to be as many extra hotspots, since the object of the current situation is to find a way to ESCAPE the diner. Of COURSE there's going to be less.
    Also, are you counting unique hotspots in the location throughout the ENTIRE episode, or just the first time you're in that location? Because hotspots are often added/removed throughout different points of the episode (i.e. Flint's lunch isn't there when he's not at the Diner), so the only fair way to compare them would be to count the unique hotspots in the area throughout the entire episode, at every possible point in the episode where something may be different.

    I'm going to ignore the rest of what you said for a moment because you are running off the assumption that my statistics are somehow skewed and misrepresentative of the whole picture when I can assure you they are not. I'll do better than assure you, I'll prove it using factual evidence.

    I went through episode 304 and episode 201 from start to finish and counted all the unique hotspots in each. I didn't count characters* or exits. When additional hotspots were triggered by actions I added them too. The results were pretty much what I expected. By my count Episode 304 had 71 unique hotspots and 201 had 139. As you can see, 304 has just a tiny bit over half. Even factoring in human error (of which I'm sure there was plenty) you can't possibly still say that TDP had as many hotspots as previous seasons. The difference is glaring!

    @Tora Newton Y. said: Now, the Stinky's Diners in 201 and 301 MIGHT be better to compare, because they're both when you're in the diner for the first time that season.

    I went though Stinky's Diner in 301 and would you like to know how many unique hotspots I found? 14 again. You can come back to the diner later and press the button behind the counter, but that's not going to make up 16 hotspots.

    @Tora Newton Y. said: And for damn's sake, I WAS UNINFORMED ABOUT BACK TO THE FUTURE. I'VE ONLY PLAYED THE FIRST EPISODE. WE DROPPED THAT SUBJECT BECAUSE I WAS NOT IN THE PROPER POSITION TO SPEAK ABOUT IT. OF COURSE I WASN'T RIGHT, I WAS STUPIDLY TALKING ABOUT A GAME I HAVEN'T PLAYED. I MADE THAT VERY CLEAR. The fact you're bringing that up in an attempt to discredit me is obviously showing you're losing the argument.

    The reason why I bought up the BttF thing is because it was another example of a baseless claim you made without insight of evidence, just like when you said TDP had just as many hotspots as previous seasons. I can see why you took it the wrong way and I apologise for any offence taken.

    I didn't really want this to become this heated. I come off as blunt sometimes, I don't really mean to.

    *I did count the dogglegangers because you cant really interact them more than hotspots anyway.

  • @Woodysblue said: I went through episode 304 and episode 201 from start to finish and counted all the unique hotspots in each. I didn't count characters* or exits. When additional hotspots were triggered by actions I added them too. The results were pretty much what I expected. By my count Episode 304 had 71 unique hotspots and 201 had 139. As you can see, 304 has just a tiny bit over half. Even factoring in human error (of which I'm sure there was plenty) you can't possibly still say that TDP had as many hotspots as previous seasons. The difference is glaring!
    I went though Stinky's Diner in 301 and would you like to know how many unique hotspots I found? 14 again. You can come back to the diner later and press the button behind the counter, but that's not going to make up 16 hotspots.

    It still isn't a fair comparison because comparing an Episode 1 and an Episode 4 doesn't make sense. 204 PROBABLY has less hotspots than 201 also, though I cannot say for absolute certain since I can't go replay/recount them all right now.
    Hotspots that do become available later or are only available at certain times DO COUNT, so it is 16, not 14. It still counts as a hotspot even if it's easily missed.
    So from your experiment, all we actually know is 201 has more hotspots than 304. But if you think about this is completely expected; 201 is, again, an introductory episode where you're exploring all areas for the first time, while in 304, you're already deep into the story and been exploring for several episodes. So, again, this isn't really a fair comparison.
    I would still say if you REALLY want to attempt to compare properly, count every unique hotspot in the entire episodes of 201 and 301. Or if you're honestly THAT determined to prove this to me, actually count EVERY hotspot in the entirety of Season 2 and TDP. I'm honestly curious to see the results.

    @Woodysblue said: The reason why I bought up the BttF thing is because it was another example of a baseless claim you made without insight of evidence, just like when you said TDP had just as many hotspots as previous seasons. I can see why you took it the wrong way and I apologise for any offence taken.

    It was the ONLY example you could give of a "baseless claim" that I made, and it wasn't even related to what I was actually talking about, which is Sam & Max.
    What I said in regards to the hotspots is when I played Season 2 and TDP, I found more hotspots/easter eggs/optional dialogues in TDP than I did in Season 2. I never said there definitely IS more in TDP, I don't actually know if there is since neither of us have counted all of them in either (yet), just that I found more. There could be tons in Season 2 I missed, and I never denied that possibility.

    But everything else I've claimed that's been backed up with factual evidence and logic, you haven't been able to refute, such as...
    -Getting stuck in an adventure game is frustrating. Nobody wants to get stuck too often in adventure games, it is like dying in to other video games. It hinders your progress until you overcome it. Saying I "have a bias against getting stuck" is literally the same as saying I "have a bias against dying in every video game that involves dying."
    -The hints from the hint system aren't always helpful. I gave the example of the Sam's "hint" referencing the aglets in 303, which was utterly useless in solving that particular puzzle because it calls back a very brief moment that's difficult to remember, and then realize how it's relevant to the current situation. Like I said, by the time I'd gotten to the part of Act 3 where you need to give Sammun-Mak a unique gift, I'd forgotten what an aglet was.
    -The mini-games in Season 1 and 2 are pointless. They contribute nothing to the story or much to the game at all, and could be removed or replaced with regular puzzles with essentially no difference. This is proved by the 201 commentary, where there originally wasn't supposed to be a Boxing Betty mini-game. It was noted by the designers "Here is where we'd have a boxing mini-game if we had time to put one in." They didn't expect they'd have time, they didn't expect to actually have one in there. There is also no reason to do mini-games past the very first time. Examples; the COPS driving challenges after the first time and you get whatever item you need from them, and playing Wack-Da-Ratz in the Office AT ALL during Season 2 never has any point. Decals aren't a reason because they're purely vanity and serve no actual purpose.
    -Whether or not a puzzle is illogical can often be a very subjective thing, based on the mental process of the player. Some players will not be able to comprehend certain puzzles, others will. Therefore, some players may see Seasons 1&2 as having balanced difficulty while thinking TDP is too easy (you), while another player may see Seasons 1&2 as sometimes being rather difficult but find TDP to be much more balanced (me).
    -Telltale expanding their audience by making their games more accessible is the smart business decision because it brings in more customers, thus leading to the company being more successful. It's a bad idea to cater only to the customers you already have, because then you'll never bring in anyone new to buy your games. The more people buying your games, the more money you make and the more successful company you are. That's common sense.

    @Woodysblue said: I didn't really want this to become this heated. I come off as blunt sometimes, I don't really mean to.

    Don't worry about it, we've been debating civilly. I'm blunt too, and I very much have been throughout this. I may think you have a selfish and entitled opinion, but that doesn't mean I intend to be rude or hostile towards you or think anything negative of you personally.

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