Years ago, a 6-foot tall dog in a suit and a hyperkinetic rabbity thing were the heroes of a dark, surreal, and funny comic book, a somewhat-less-dark-but-still-surreal-and-funny Saturday morning cartoon, and one of the most popular video games of the 90’s (which was back to being dark, surreal, etc). And now, despite LucasArts, they’re back.
Max: Good lord, he’s buck naked.
Sam: So are you.
Max: Yeah, but I’m cute and marketable.
It wasn’t easy. “Sam and Max Hit the Road” was a hilarious game that followed a missing sasquatch all over the country and every tourist trap along the way. The dialogue was funny, the solutions to puzzles were generally bizarre, and the unique graphical style and jazzy soundtrack made it fun to play. When LucasArts announced in 2003 that a new Sam and Max game was coming out, fans rejoiced. Those would be the same fans that flooded LucasArts with letters and petitions after it was announced, in 2004, that the game was cancelled because there wasn’t a market for it (although it was listed as one of the most anticipated games by a bunch of gaming magazines and Web sites that clearly didn’t know any better).
Sam (holding a bomb): Max, where should I put this so it doesn’t hurt anyone we know or care about?
Max: Out the window, Sam. There’s nothing but strangers out there.
Sam: I sure hope there was no one on that bus.
Max: No one we know, at least.
But fans didn’t despair of LucasArts long. There was… another. Namely, Telltale Games, founded by ex-LA people who saw a market and went for it. “Sam and Max” will be released as an episodic series — you purchase, download, and play each level as it comes out — starting November 1. In the first episode, “Culture Shock,” Sam and Max face off against former child stars from the 70’s who are committing crimes and selling hypnotic DVDs through convenience stores to benefit a mysterious leader. Torn from today’s headlines!
But if you live in the US or Canada you can start playing it now; episodes will debut 15 days earlier at www.gametap.com. I suggest you do so. It’s the only way to get the taste of decades of tedius, soulless, mindlessly violent games out of your cranium: with a funny, surreal, intelligent violent game!
Max: I don’t think the cute, little robot wants to accept its new programming, Sam.
Sam: I don’t recall giving it a cute, little choice.
And if you miss the cartoon, which has somehow evaded DVD release, you can start watching them on GameTap as well. The first episode was posted last week. It’s a Sam and Max extravaganza!
Max: I think that punk learned a valuable lesson today, Sam.
Sam: Me too. I never knew the lower lip could stretch completely over the head like that.