Dave Grossman speaks to the French (in English)

Posted on July 2008 by TelltaleGames

Our heroic design director Dave Grossman recently did an interview with French gaming site JeuxVideo.com. The interview has been translated into French for their readers, but they gave us permission to toss the English version up on our blog for the rest of you. So here you go!




JeuxVideo: Games like Sam & Max or Runaway prove that adventure games with a touch of humour a la LucasArts can still be major sellers, appealing to both core and casual gamers. So, how do you feel now towards Lucas still saying that the adventure genre is dead?



Dave Grossman: Perhaps "dead" is a more relative and subjective kind of term than we thought? It has long been my opinion that any lack of success adventure games have had as a genre stems mostly from there not being enough good ones, rather than from any inherent limitation of the form. That is, I blame the designers, not the tastes of the audience. Furthermore, I think that adventures' tools for the melding of story with game design are the kind of thing that will prove interesting to a more casual crowd.



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JV: Online distribution is growing fast and is a great opportunity for indies. Even if you eventually shipped the game in a box, do you think digital distribution is the key for some gaming genres such as adventure. A way for it to reach a broader audience?



DG: Digital distribution allows you to reach your audience quickly and directly, without having to go through the trouble and expense of manufacturing a disc and shipping it to a store a thousand miles away. It has its own complications, but it's still great for indie developers of all types. It isn't necessarily the case that you'll reach a broader audience by going digital, but you can reach a narrow one more effectively once you stop thinking about distribution in terms of geography and start thinking about it in terms of what kinds of online spaces your audience might inhabit.




JV: And in a more global perspective, do you think it allows more creativity and a greater freedom for minimalist concept games that one may not dare to publish in a classic way? Let's say, like Portal or even your own WiiWare title, Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People.



DG: Neither Portal nor SBCG4AP is a title I would have been afraid to publish conventionally; they both seem like obvious winners to me. But yes, distributing digitally lets you experiment on a smaller scale, which means greater latitude with less risk, so I expect we'll see plenty more creatively interesting work in the days to come.



JV: What do you think of Mark Rein's recent statement about big publishers eventually running the digital distribution and getting it back under their control? (You can read the statement here.)



DG: What Rein said (or at least what was published in the article I read) is astute and basically true, though incomplete. What was once a battle for shelf space will now be a battle for consumers' attention, and the big publishers have a huge advantage there in terms of financial resources, manpower, experience, and the ability to make deals to occupy the choice real estate on major download portals. Which, if you're supporting a large-scale development effort, will be essential. What's not mentioned, though, is that there are other options for smaller operations. The principal hurdle is to generate interest in your game, and there are plenty of places to do that besides the front page of a big portal. If you've got a website and you can convince people to go there, you're in business, and while you won't see the same kind of numbers that EA will, you might be able to comfortably support a small development studio. The essentially limitless space of the internet store shelves creates a lot more opportunity for smaller publishers to carve out niches for themselves.



JV: As a matter of fact, it seems you're getting involved in console development as you recently announced a Wiiware title, again, a downloadable software. What do you think of the software size limitation on WiiWare or Xbox Live (about 150MB on this one)?



DG: Size limits keep you focused on the most important elements, sort of like writing poetry or short stories. But actually, 150M seems perfectly comfortable to me; Telltale's games don't tend to be any bigger than that anyway. Or at least, individual episodes aren't. The downloadable channels on the consoles are perfect for our episodic approach, where the games are small but there are new ones in the series coming out all the time.



JV: Couldn't that be an obstacle for more ambitious or risky projects? These are harder to publish on consoles and would maybe not be able to use the online channel to reach gamers anymore.



DG: It would only be an obstacle if by "ambitious or risky" you actually mean "large." For me, if I'm doing something innovative or strange or risky or otherwise interesting, I try to do it on the smallest scale possible.



JV: You've chosen to use episodic distribution, a trendy new way to publish a game. You're doing well with it, so does Valve, but we've seen some less fortunate attempts. How do you explain your own success?



DG: Five factors: Organization, professionalism, experience, a solid engine, and organization. And realistic expectations. Also, did I mention organization? Overlapping development of a bunch of titles with a small staff is not for the faint of heart, so we made a point of getting in the right people and doing a couple of test runs to work the kinks out of the engine and production processes before jumping into the real deal with Sam & Max. It's probably best to make sure you can make ONE small game in a few months time before trying to do six at once.




JV: Is creating episodic content that different from developing a whole one shot game? How do you manage to give enough stuff to the player on a first, short, episode to be sure that he will be eager to get the next ones? Knowing that this is probably what killed a game like SiN Episode 1.



DG: Episodic development is very different from building a single, larger game. You can't just treat it like slicing something up into pieces, you have to deliver a complete and satisfying experience with every episode. At the end of an episode I want the player thinking "That was great, I want another!" rather than "Where's the rest of it?" And that goes for all the episodes, not just the first one.



JV: I guess, in this matter; working with Steve Purcell, comic author, was pretty helpful?



DG: Having Steve involved is great for a lot of reasons. He comes up with many strange and interesting ideas and generally helps keep things feeling Sam & Max-y. And the Chapman brothers are amazingly useful with Strong Bad, I frankly don't know where they find the time. We also have an unusually large creative staff for a small game studio. The fact that we have more writers than programmers tends to surprise people, but it's really important for the kind of development we're doing.




JV: And at least, one last really important question: could you send me a Max's stuffed bunny? Seriously, not kidding,I need it!!



DG: Have you been good?



JV:
By the way, how come there's no such thing on the Telltale Store?



DG: That must mean there isn't such a thing anywhere. If it existed, we'd have it. I'd have it.


Google Reveals SBCG4AP Secrets

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

Despite our best efforts to maintain secrecy, Google has caught ahold of our top-secret plans for Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People. Or maybe there's been an hilarious page crawling blooper involving Strong Bad's developer blog. Only you can decide which.



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Strong Bad "Make a Mii" contest winners!

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

After many long hours of deliberation, four winners have been chosen for the "Make a Mii" contest. We had over a hundred entries, and believe me, narrowing them down was tough!



The entries were judged by Telltale staff and the Brothers Chaps. (Oh, and Strong Bad, too. Sort of.) And the winners are...









Boxing Strong Bad

by Jared D. Weiss



We saw many a Strong Bad Mii in this competition, but the clever addition of boxing gloves up this one over the top.



Random fact: Apparently you can't give Miis green glasses. What's up with that?


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Teen Girl Squad

by Erwin Dunbar


Cheerleader! So-and-so! What's her face! The ugly one!!!



(Click the picture for a side-by-side comparison.)

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Senor Cardgage

by Ari Zilnik



What's up with this guy? Is he Strong Bad in the future? Is he Strong Bad's real dad? We may never know...





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The Poopsmith

by Matthew Cowan


This one is a personal favorite of mine. Great work on the eyes. Now if only he had a shovel...

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These lucky winners will be receiving a WiiWare version of Homestar Ruiner when it comes out. As for the rest of you, hold onto those Miis, since you'll probably be able to use them in other contests during the season. Oh, and if you're curious, here are some random statistics for you...



Most popular character entry: Strong Sad, with 22 entries

Most random character entry: Strong Sad's left leg

Brothers Chaps at Heroes Con this weekend

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

If you happen to be in the Charlotte, NC area this weekend, you should swing by the Heroes Convention, where Matt and Mike Chapman of Homestarrunner.com fame will be exhibiting, engaging people in conversation, and selling HSR schwag. Their booth number is 532, and the convention runs from tomorrow through Sunday.



If you go, make sure to pick up this exclusive game advertisement, and get the Chapmans to sign it for you...

Homestar Ruiner screens, video, and super secret "tech demo"

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

Hot on the heels of last week's On the Spot appearance (okay, maybe lukewarm), today we bring you a new batch of screenshots and a gameplay video that shows off some new SBCG4AP locations. Now you can finally hear what Strong Bad has to say, without Brett and the interviewer talking over it! (And without me lurking in the side of the frame like an unaware moron!)





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Click any of the thumbnails above to see the screenshot gallery, and head over to the Strong Bad page to check out the gameplay video. And if you're looking for more details about the game, like when it's coming out and what you'll get to do in it, make sure to read last week's rundown of the state of things.



Oh, one last goodie... make sure to check out Strong Bad's latest dev blog, in which he leaks an early tech demo we never intended to let you guys see...

Surfin' the Highway hardcovers are here!

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

Update June 13: The hardcovers are now shipping! If you preordered, watch your email for a shipping notification.




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Freakin finally! The hardcover edition of Surfin the Highway has finally started arriving in the office (and should be shipping out to you extremely soon!). The printer ended up printing two extra books (bringing the total to 2,502), and one of those two extra rare unnumbered babies spent the day floating around the office.

More pictures after the jump...[readmore]



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We still have copies, so, um, don't forget to buy one right now!

Top-secret SBCG4AP news!

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

Okay okay, not so top-secret, because we just spilled some of it on On the Spot, but news all the same.



First things first, now that the calendar has turned to June, we know you're eager to find out when you get to play Homestar Ruiner, the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. To that we say... in July. We're taking a little extra time to make the game as awesome as humanly possible. (We know you wouldn't want it any other way!) Homestar Ruiner is in the early stages of Nintendo's submission process and it's going well, and based on what we showed on GameSpot's broadcast, we hope you'll agree that it's looking great. The work we're doing now is the polish that's going to put it over the top.


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Above: Polishing the game.


Now for some good news: We're officially announcing that the Wii and PC versions of the game will launch simultaneously! This means that Wii owners and PC owners will be able to get their mitts on Homestar Ruiner at the very same time (Wii owners through WiiWare, and PC owners through Telltale's store). We know there are a lot more details surrounding the release that you're dying to hear, (like the actual release date and pricing, maybe), and I promise we'll let you know about that stuff as soon as we can.



On the gameplay front, we're finally ready to share some nuggets about what exactly you'll be doing in this cool game of ours Strong Bad's. In addition to the stuff you've grown to expect from a story-driven, point and click game (talking to people, looking at stuff, using inventory items, etc.), SBCG4AP has a lot of side activities that will keep you plenty busy. There are hidden items that give you access to, for example, a special Snake Boxer cheat code or trophies from Coach Z. Some of these are easy to find, while others are pretty devious. (Even after playing the game twice, I've still only found about half of them...)



SBCG4AP also has achievements that you can complete to boost your awesomeness ranking. There are costume items sprinkled around and a photo booth where you can flex and strut your stuff. And in the WiiWare version, you'll be able to email your Wii friends and send picture attachments using the Lappy. All of this is in addition to the main story thread, which in the case of Homestar Ruiner involves destroying Homestar's life and then gathering up the pieces of his shattered psyche and putting them back together.



So, never fear, gentle citizens, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is shaping up to be one hell of a good time. We'll have a new gameplay video and screenshots for you next week. Until then, make sure to check out On the Spot for today's interview, and don't forget about Strong Bad's dev blog and our Make a Mii, Win a Game contest!



In other tangentially-related news, we recorded commentary for the Sam & Max Season Two bonus DVD yesterday. Since production of SBCG4AP and the mystery franchise are in full swing, watching the cutscenes from Season Two and reminiscing about the games was a nice break for the team. Of course, you can't listen to and fully enjoy said commentary until you've played the games -- and they are excellent games -- so why not check them out while you're waiting for Strong Bad's Cool Game? Remember, downloadable games provide instant gratification!



PS: We really do know who Stinkoman is. Honest!

SBCG4AP on GameSpot's live broadcast!

Posted on June 2008 by TelltaleGames

Just a heads-up, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People producer Brett Tosti and I are going to be on GameSpot's On the Spot broadcast on Thursday, talking about (and showing off!) some stuff from the game that none of you know about yet. Definitely watch it!



The show is at 4:00 Pacific time, and they'll probably post a video of it on their site afterwards for those who don't catch it live.

What's up with the Surfin' the Highway hardcover?

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

Overnight we received six emails from people asking when the Surfin' the Highway limited edition hardcover is shipping. That's a new record for one night, so I'm guessing there are probably a lot of you out there wondering the same question!



We haven't wanted to give a ship date up until now because we ran into some absolutely ridiculous hold-ups getting this thing done, but as of late last week the issues have been resolved and the books are being printed RIGHT NOW! We've been told they'll be ready to ship in early June.



So if you're one of those who has been waiting patiently for your order, the wait is almost over. And the best news of all is that within a week or two, we'll be able to post pictures of this beauty, because it will be a real live book. I can't wait.

Dave G. speaks, you listen

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

GameCyte has posted a nice video interview with our design director, Dave Grossman. Your life will not be complete until you've watched it.







This is the second interview of three that GameCyte conducted during a visit to our office a few weeks ago. The first (viewable here), was with executive producer Brett Tosti, talking about Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. The last video will be with veteran designer Mike Stemmle, talking about Strong Bad and... some other stuff.



Enjoy!

Strong Bad Contest: Make a Mii, win a game!

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

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Hey Wii owners, listen up! Since Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People will be coming out on WiiWare as well as PC, we thought the time was right for a little make-a-Mii contest. Just pick your favorite Homestarrunner.com character, fire up your Wii, and do your best (or worst) to make a Mii that looks like that character. You can pick from any of the main characters (HR Wiki has a nice list here). Three lucky winners will get a copy of the first SBCG4AP episode, Homestar Ruiner, when it launches on WiiWare. Woo!



To enter: Send a picture of your Mii to contest@telltalegames.com. Put "Strong Bad Mii contest" in the subject line and keep your attachment under 1MB, please. In your email, include the character your Mii is of (just in case we can't tell...) and your Wii friend code so we can get you your prize if you win. One entry per person, so send in your best Mii!



The contest closes Sunday, June 14 15 at 11:59 pm Pacific time and we'll post the winning Miis on the blog the following week.



(Not sure how to make a Mii? Nintendo's site has the answers.)

May Interloper: The last month (or so) in review

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

If you've been under a rock for the past month, you may have missed some of the stuff documented in this newsletter, in which case you should definitely read it. And even if you're more or less on top of all things Telltale, you should still check it out for the deviled egg recipe courtesy of Chuck Jordan's mom Satan.



Remember, if you want to get a newsletter just like this one delivered into your inbox once a month (it sure is handy!), you can set this up in your My Telltale account.



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Published monthly from the offices of Telltale Games in beautiful California. Visit us: www.telltalegames.com!

Vol IV, # 4 May. 2008
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SBCG4AP EPISODE 1 REVEALED
Homestar crashes Strong Bad's pad in Homestar Ruiner

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People (SBCG4AP for short) will be showing up on WiiWare and PC soon, and we've got the scoop on the premiere episode, Homestar Ruiner.

It starts as a typical day for our animated hero, who gets busy checking his email, playing some Snake Boxer 5, and bugging his friends. But the tables turn when a scheme to win the tri-annual Race to the End of the Race sticks Strong Bad with an unwanted house guest: Homestar Runner, disgraced athlete and all-around downer. With a depressed Homestar mucking up the masked man's plans, Strong Bad must find a way to get his dimwitted adversary back on the Free Country, USA A-list and out of the House of Strong, once and for all.

Head to our Strong Bad page to check out a gameplay video from the episode (awkward, lispy conversations for the win!) and the latest screenshots. While you're there, make sure to check out the dev blog, which is updated regularly by Strong Bad himself (with a modicum of help from Mike and Matt Chapman).

» Watch the Homestar Ruiner gameplay video
» Read Strong Bad's dev blog
» Talk about the game in our SBCG4AP forum

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BIG SUCCESS FOR SAM & MAX
Great reviews; 500,000 episodes and going strong

Last month's Season Two finale earned some pretty impressive reviews. In fact, we beat the record previously set by episode 204, and episode 205 (the season finale) is now the highest rated Sam & Max episode yet, with an average score of 86% on GameRankings.

We also recently revealed to Forbes that we have sold over 500,000 Sam & Max episodes to date. That's a lot! The series is on a short hiatus until we return for Season Three, which means that if you still have Sam & Max episodes to play, now's the time to get caught up!

» Play Sam & Max Season Two!

imageimageimageSTRONG BAD CONTEST ALERT
Make a Mii, win a game!

To celebrate Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People's upcoming release on WiiWare, we're holding a little contest for all you Wii owners out there.

All you have to do is create a Mii based on one of the cool characters from Homestarrunner.com (or even a lame one) and you could win a free copy of the first episode when it hits WiiWare.

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To enter, send a picture of your Mii to contest@telltalegames.com. Put "Strong Bad Mii contest" in the subject line and keep your attachment under 1MB, please.

In your email, include the character your Mii is of (just in case we can't tell...) and your Wii friend code so we can get you your prize if you win. One entry per person, so send in your best Mii!

The contest closes Sunday, June 14 at 11:59 pm Pacific time. Good luck!

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STUFF TO BUY
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Sam & Max Season Two
The complete season of games now available! Now is the time to dive into the story.
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Sam & Max Season Two Upgrade
Already bought an episode? Get the rest of Season Two and save some money!
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Sam & Max Season One Upgrade
The upgrade deal applies to Season One, too! Use your single episode to get a discount.
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Sam & Max Surfin' the Highway
After a decade selling for way too much on eBay, it's back! Available in paperback or hardcover.
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-- A D V E R T I S E M E N T --
image Have you bought a Season Two episode already? Now's the time to upgrade! Get the rest of the season for just $26 by entering your order number from any Season Two episode here.

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When you upgrade, you get immediate access to all five episodes of Sam & Max Season Two, plus you can get the free bonus DVD when it comes out, for just the cost of shipping.

Still playing Season One? There's an upgrade for you, too! If you bought a Season One episode already, get the rest of the season by entering your order number here.

Not sure which upgrade you're eligible for? Contact us and we'll be happy to help. (Please mention your Telltale username or the email address on your account when you write to us.)

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image Stuck in a game? We can help! Official walkthroughs for Sam & Max episodes 202 through 205 are available now.

Just visit the Sam & Max page, select the episode you want, and click Walkthrough. Episode 201 and Season One walkthroughs coming soon!
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Greetings, future employees. During a recent unfortunate episode of under-employment, I discovered this sinfully easy recipe for the creation of so-called "deviled" eggs. With these, your next backyard cookout can be almost as popular as one of my own!

6 eggs
1 1/2 tsp mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
Salt & pepper to taste
Paprika

1. Condemn six large, innocent eggs to a seething cauldron of boiling water for 10 agonizing minutes. (I find that eggs from free range chickens work best, as the premature interruption of a carefree life adds a delightfully bittersweet tang to the final product.)

2. Place the eggs in a saucepan and subject them to cold water for one minute. This makes them easier to handle and also lets them know one last moment of relief before snatching it away in step 3.

3. Flay the eggs under warm running water.

4. Requisition a blade from the Ministry of Cutlery (form 2468A/32). Test its sharpness by stabbing a minion. Use the blade to slice the eggs lengthwise.

5. Using a spoon or talon, scoop the yolks into a bowl. Add salt, pepper, pickle relish, and salad dressing, then beat the mixture into submission.

6. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the soulless egg white halves.

7. Sprinkle with paprika to give them that appetizing blood-stained color. I recommend serving with pear and apple slices, but then I'm always encouraging people to eat more fruit.
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MORE STUFF TO BUY
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Strong Bad Emails DVD Set
3-disc set containing the first 100 Strong Bad emails.
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Homestar Runner Figurines Series #1
The whole crew from SBCG4AP, in three awesome dimensions.
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Strong Bad T-Shirt
The star of SBCG4AP on a sexy, charcoal gray shirt. Check him out. No, seriously, check him out!
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image$15.00
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Strong Bad Sings CD
Contains extended versions of your favorite Strong Bad hits. 20 tracks total.
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New SBCG4AP details - Homestar Ruiner!

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

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With the premiere of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People fast approaching and the official launch of WiiWare this week, it seemed like a good time to spill some more beans about the series -- just the news you've been waiting for!



The first episode, Homestar Ruiner, kicks off a typical day in the House of Strong, with our hero answering emails, dominating in video games, and setting out to pummel his enemies. Then Strong Bad's scheme to win the tri-annual Race to the End of the Race lands him with an unwanted guest: his dimwitted adversary, Homestar Runner. Now Strong Bad must find a way to get the disgraced athlete back on the Free Country, USA A-list (and out of his house).



Homestar Ruiner is the first of five SBCG4AP episodes, and will be available for WiiWare and PC. We'll dish out some more details before the launch, but until then, the new gameplay video and screenshots on the Strong Bad page should tide you over. And don't forget about the dev blog, which is updated by Strong Bad himself (almost) every week!

Quickie Weekend Contest: Get your name in the game!

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

Hey hey, this contest is for those of you who bother to check our blog on a Friday. Way to go!



You have the chance to get your name (or screen name, if you prefer) into the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. Where will your name show up? We're not telling... it'll be a surprise... but it'll be awesome, promise.



What do you have to do? Simply come up with a tagline for Snake Boxer 5, the arcade game that plays a pivotal role in the episode. (Okay, maybe not pivotal. But it's fun.) The images below will help give you an idea of what Snake Boxer 5 is all about. The rest is up to you.












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To enter, send your proposed tagline to contest@telltalegames.com with "Snake Boxer 5 contest" in the subject line. Also include the name you want used in the game if you win (either your real name, or your screen name of choice). You can enter as many taglines as you want, but only one can win and spamming us will be considered annoying, so use your best judgment. The contest will close on Tuesday at 9:00am Pacific time and winners will be notified that evening. Contest is closed, and winners will be notified shortly. Thanks to all who entered!



Special note from our lawyers: If we select you as a winner, you will be required to sign a release permitting us to use your name (or screen name) in the game. If the winner is a minor, then the winner's parents will need to sign the release on behalf of the winner. (We'll need your signed release back by Wednesday to include your name in the game, so keep this in mind if you don't have easy access to a scanner or fax machine...)



We have the best fans

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

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A few people wanted to smash the pinata to pieces, so I hid it up on the trophy case where it blends right in...



I'm sorry it's taken such a long time to get this blogged up, because it kind of spoils the awesomeness. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, all these gifts started showing up at the office. For about a week, we had new goodies to enjoy every day. They were sent to us by a group of diligent fans who took up a collection and then came up with the coolest Sam & Max Season Two-related stuff to send to us.


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Left to right: Coffee cup from the Office Space pack holding pens; Moai-head lamp interfering with electronics; motivational sign watching over us.



The gifts included a tub of fake snow (just add water!), a Moai head lamp the sparks like those balls at the science museum that make your hair stand on end (but this lamp doesn't do that), a zombie survival guide book, a pinata, a Bosco-style security camera (fake... we hope so, at least!), and an Office Space pack containing all sorts of kitchy junk, including Jake's coveted jump to conclusions mat. There was also FOOD. It disappeared too quickly to get pictures, but we had a nice gift basket with cheese and stuff, and a few things of chocolate. Very classy.



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The security camera has been installed right over my desk. T-H-E-Y are watching. I'm trying not to let it get to me.




As you can see from the pictures, the fun has spread across the entire office now, and every time someone stumbles across one of the gifts or uses it for a paperweight or something, we think of our fans and how awesome they are. So, thanks! We love you all. (Even if we don't always get our blogs up in a timely manner.)

Videlectrix on Wii game development

Posted on May 2008 by TelltaleGames

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Telltale has partnered with a studio named Videlectrix to develop Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. This type of collaboration is new to us, but these guys came highly recommended by The Brothers Chaps so we thought we'd give it a try. (The experience has been.... interesting so far. Lead designer Mark Darin posted some of his impressions of Videlectrix here.)



Yesterday's update at Homestarrunner.com gives a unique glimpse into the minds of the guys we're working with. You should watch it, if only for reassurance that the game is in very capable hands.

Sign up to be a SBCG4AP playtester!

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

imageWe are looking for playtesters for our upcoming new game, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. (So YOU can play, too!)



Playtests are in our office in San Rafael, so to participate you need to either live nearby or have access to a private jet. (If you have access to a private jet, we expect a ride in it at some point.) We're looking for a wide range of people -- gamers and non-gamers, guys and girls, young and old, Homestar Runner fans and non-fans, attractive and regular-looking -- so don't be shy, just sign up already!



Sign up to be a playtester!

Surfin' the Highway hardcover update

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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It's been a while now since we first started taking orders for the limited edition hardcover of Sam & Max Surfin' the Highway*, and I'm sure many of you are wondering what's going on. Truthfully, for a while there, the answer to that would have been "not a whole lot." After some (assuredly hilarious) hijinks, however, things are now moving forward at a freakishly rapid rate.

The entirety of the hardcover is off at the printers, being pored over like some newly unearthed holy text -- by a group of pressmen whose knowledge of how ink, paper, and glue work would probably kill you -- to make sure that we put it together right. And, as you can see pictured above, Steve Purcell has been diligently signing and numbering all 2,500 book plates to be slapped (very delicately) onto the first page of each hardcover. (He said he could go through about 500 in the span of a 2-hour film. A fun weekend in, for sure.)

Stay tuned for some more details (like, what the finished product will look like!**) in the coming week or so, as everyone signs off on the book and printing begins. Once everything is approved and we can see some guy actually carrying it over to the printing press, we'll let you know that it's time to start watching your mailbox.



* We've still got 'em in stock, too. Do it!
** Hint: It will look awesome.

Brothers Chaps at ROFLcon this weekend; Strong Bad's dev blog updated

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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If you're in the Boston area, you should check out ROFLcon, which is happening today and tomorrow at MIT. Matt and Mike Chapman are among the distinguished guests and they'll be participating in a panel tomorrow morning called "Making It Big," during which they'll probably drop some details about this little episodic game series they're making with us. If you're not in the Boston area, the event will be broadcast through a live video feed and immortalized on the ROFLcon forums, Twitter, and Flickr.



In other news, the third installment of Strong Bad's dev blog has appeared, with a bunch of new screenshots that even those of us at Telltale have never seen before...

The Effigy Mound soon to be gone for good

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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We're starting to run low on copies of Steve Purcell's 2007 sketchbook, The Effigy Mound, and won't be reprinting them when they sell out. Consider this your official warning!



If you preordered the hardcover version of Surfin' the Highway and have an Effigy Mound on the same order, don't worry, one has been set aside for you.



Also, if you were planning to wait until the Season Two DVD comes out to order your Effigy Mound, don't. They probably won't last that long.



That's all!



Update 4/24/08: Yikes! Once we said they were selling out, they sold out even faster. Alas, the Effigy Mound is now gone for good. Remember, if you had a copy in a back ordered shipment, you're safe. We have enough to cover those.

Sam & Max interviewed by JeuxVideo

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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To celebrate the end of Season Two, French gaming site JeuxVideo checked in with the dog and rabbity thing themselves to get their take on our Sam & Max games, the Freelance Police legacy, and important details such as who chooses Sam's tie in the morning. Many thanks to Steve Purcell for channeling Sam & Max for this interview!



Head over to JeuxVideo to read the interview in French, or just keep reading for the English version.




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Since the beginning of Season One back in 2006, it seems that you're continuously coming out with new episodes, videos or demos to present. Isn't this pace exhausting for you guys, after your 15-year break?









imageNah, it's just about right. It's not like we actually have to DO anything.


imageWe're depicted by patented, computer-generated simulacrums called "sythespians". They act up a storm for just pennies and except for the dead, soulless looks on their pasty, inhuman mugs I actually prefer them to our real selves!



[readmore]

What have you done during this break to keep yourselves busy and to avoid going completely nuts?














imageI've been working on a toothpick sculpture of Saint Philips Cathedral as seen from my small room on the ground floor of London Hospital. Oh wait, that was Elephant Man.


imageI cloned a parrot man from instructions on the internet and common items found in the home! We're hip deep in parrot DNA back at the flat if you want me to make you one!

imageSorry, Sam. My folks were in town and I used up all the parrot DNA.


imageCrude monster!


Your career started in comic books and eventually reached the video game world in 1993 with Sam & Max Hit the Road. You also had your own little animated series on TV in the late 90's only to finally come back to the game world with a series of new games. Except for the big screen, it seems that you have tried almost every popular media. What's the next step? A movie? A musical? A collection of Sam and Max poems?









See? Never let him go second.


imageSam & Max Bunraku! That's exactly what I hear all the crazy kids yammering for down at the rock and roll sock hop ball.


imageI'd like to be a nine-story Macys Thanksgiving Day balloon. I want to kick the gassey rubberized asses of all the other cartoon character balloons and then spend the day gaping into the high windows of expensive Manhattan hotel rooms hoping to catch a chilling glimpse of some kind of high class perversion.


Comics, game and TV. Which one of them gives you all the freedom you need to express yourselves?








On TV you can become famous for having interesting hair!
image In comics you get to utter dynamic phrase like "GAAAAAH" and "Gasp, Choke, AIIIEEEEEE!" You can be killed and come back again at the fleeting whim of the marketplace, and if you murder people and then feel sad in the next panel you're thought to be "complicated". In a PC game, the otherwise simple act of lighting a car on fire becomes a fairly involved series of rewarding tasks.


How and where did you both meet?










Really? Cause I thought we met in third grade when I stole back your sack lunch from that kindergartener that beat the snot out of you.








image In the 12th Century I was a club-footed nomadic stone mason and Max was a bog person. Our colorful misadventures are the stuff of many a strolling medieval troubadour.


image Oh yeah. I forgot.


Who came up with the Freelance Police idea? Could you tell us a little bit more about this job? What does it mean to be a freelance police officer? And what does it take to be in that field?























image MY idea! We memorized the United States Constitution–


image –Not that old wrinkly brown one, the new, much scarier one that WE thought up!


image They still talk about our spectacular blood oath down at Emergency Medical Services!


image Not any lunatic is suited for this line of work. You have to be committed. And when I say committed, I actually mean committed.


What other jobs did you consider before opening your own office?








I wanted to be a Teminator but they require you have an armored hyperalloy skeleton and mine's mostly recycled truck tires.
image I dabbled in jelly-donut jelly manufacture and insertion. Our society rests on the shoulders of those giants.


Sam, is there really a commissioner on the phone each time you pick it up? I've always suspected you to do ventriloquism.

















image Shhhh! Why would you question the existence of the Commissioner? Don't you know he's everywhere? He knows we're talking about him right now!


image He's knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!


image We believe in you Commissioner! Smite this doubting whatever-his-name-is!


Who chooses Sam's tie every morning? Is that person aware that he or she always picks the same tie?










image It's just the one. Made of indestructible ballistic nylon – a high school graduation gift from my sweet Granny.


image Bless her brittle, coagulated ventricles.


The association of your two names is now closely linked to adventure games. What kind of other games would you consider staring in?















imageI think our wildly colorful personas are suited for any kind of game, especially full contact Yahtzee!


imageWhat? How does that work?


image I don't know. I just like saying Yahtzee in normal conversation.


Now that you're stars, isn't there something you could possibly do to give a hand your former friends still at Lucasarts and get them started on new games of their own? I'm thinking about Bernard, Guybrush, Zak and Ben.








imageI hear somebody plugged those guys into a semi-permanent cryogenic stasis.


image And then forgot to pay the utility bill.


Any news from Bruno the bigfoot and Trixie the Giraffe-Necked Girl? Do they have kids? What do they look like??








image Ecchh! Why'd you say that? I was about to go to lunch. Now I have to think about delicious things for ten minutes to get myself back in the mood for a foot-long meatball sub.


image They've started some kind of hippie commune catering to abused circus performers. Sounds like a million laughs.


What's Sam and Max's future looking like? Ready to sign on for a third season?












image What the hell! Bring it on!


image That could require a lot of slogging, thankless toil that we won't personally need to be any part of. Excellent idea!


Last question, what are you going to do in the next five minutes, now that the interview is over?









image Watering the porcelain hobbyhorse! Thanks for asking!


image I'm going to rehabilitate a troubled, misguided street urchin, over and over again until my knuckles are raw.

Telltale Texas Hold'em -- a game you should play (Here's why!)

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

The year was 2005. Telltale was a young company staffed by a handful of eager designers and programmers who were just setting out to revolutionize the gaming world. The first step toward world domination: Create a casual game with engaging characters to showcase just what Telltale could do, and learn something about making funny games in the process. Telltale Texas Hold'em was that game.



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I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't play Hold'em until a few months ago when I was asked to write copy for a casual game portal that would be adding it to their line-up. I dutifully loaded up the game during my lunch break, thinking I could breeze through before everyone staggered back in from their hamburger and Starbucks runs and noticed what I was doing. Three hours later, I was still at it. And yeah, everyone noticed, but I didn't care. This game is addictive. And wicked funny.[readmore]



It doesn't matter if you know nothing about poker. (I didn't!) Hold'em has a great tutorial that will teach you everything you need to know to compete with expert Harvey Weinhead, cheater Boris Krinkle, stoner Ted Dudebrough, and crazy old Grandma Shaky through hand after hand and heaps of banter. This was the first game to be made with the now legendary Telltale Tool, and it's hands down the funniest poker game you'll ever play. Why does a poker game have to be funny, you ask? Well... to keep it from being boring, I guess. To make it feel like you're playing cards with friends in your kitchen, rather than huddling in front of your computer all by yourself. Anyone who's ever wished the mini-games in Sam & Max could be played over and over again, this is your game. Hours into it, you'll still be hearing new jokes.



Okay, so it's been out for three years. Why am I pontificating about Hold'em now?



It's because the game just got a major update. It's now Vista compatible. (Finally!) Some bugs have been fixed. (No more split pot crash!). And it uses our new activation system, which means it can finally sit pretty in your Telltale account along with everything else you've bought. (Awesome!) If you're already a customer, you'll find it there already, just waiting for you to redownload and fire it up.* And if you're not a Hold'em customer yet, have we got a deal for you!



To celebrate the release of the new version -- and to celebrate the game itself, since it still holds a special place in our hearts and in the annals of Telltale history -- we've dropped the price to $8.95. Which means, you know, you should really check it out. (There's a free trial, too, if you want to play first and pay later.)



It's kind of amazing to play Hold'em and think about how far we've come... and also where we came from. Telltale was founded and built up by a group of enormously talented and enthusiastic people. We've grown to over fifty employees, and most of us who are here now weren't in that cruddy (so I hear) little office at the beginning, but we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those who were. And if you've ever played and enjoyed a Sam & Max game, so do you.




*If you bought Hold'em in early 2005 when it was first released, your order might not be in our system. Send our support team an email with your first/last name and the email address you think you used for the purchase, and we'll add it manually.

Sam & Max on the cover of PiQ magazine

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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Sam & Max fans won't want to miss this. PiQ is a new pop/geek/anime/culture magazine, and Sam & Max is the cover story in issue #2, which just hit newsstands this week. We got copies today and we're really excited about the article. It's a six-page story that talks about the games, Surfin' the Highway, and the animated series DVD, plus there's a nice interview with Steve Purcell. This is our first cover story with game art on the cover (we've done a few others, but the covers have been paintings by Steve), and it came out looking really nice!



PiQ is available now from your classy magazine retailer of choice. (If you can't find it on the newsstand, try a book store.) It will be on sale through May 21. Rabid Sam & Max collectors (you know who you are) -- don't miss out!



Okay, so here's a question... if we were to carry a small quantity of these in the store for people who can't find the magazine at retail, how many of you would buy it from us?



This just in! Here are some of the stores that carry PiQ: Barnes and Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Blockbuster, Blockbuster Franchise, Transworld, and Wal-Mart.

SBCG4AP: New screens and press

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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Wow, last week was a big week.



Thursday's announcement was greeted with wild enthusiasm all over the internet, and then on Friday, we showed the game at Nintendo's media summit in San Francisco, where press got to sit around with us and talk about the game and, best of all, play it!



Their impressions are starting to hit the web, and I've linked to some below. I'll keep updating it as new coverage of the media summit hits, so check back often. Also, head over to the Strong Bad page, where some new screenshots have been posted!



[readmore]
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Woo, check out all this press!

If you want your experience playing the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People to be absolutely virgin clean, with zero spoilers (and if you have enough willpower to avoid the press until June), don't click these links. Otherwise, keep in mind that a few things about the game will be revealed to you. Hopefully, you'll find those things awesome.




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GameSpot interview - Brett and GameSpot's editor Ricardo Torres shoot the breeze



GameTrailers interview - Exec producer Brett Tosti talks about SBCG4AP, with gameplay in the background.



GameSpy's WiiWare Software Roundup - They have this to say: "Of the WiiWare titles slated to release Stateside, this looks like one of the best." Aw, shucks.



Joystiq's take on the game - Plus some insights gleaned from a conversation with me. (Thankfully they cut out the parts where I sounded dumb.)




A write-up on Wired's Game|Life Blog - SBCG4AP is tagged "the surprise hit of the show". Strong Bad would be blushing under that mask. (Okay, maybe not.)



Interview with The Brothers Chaps - IGN chatted with the guys behind Homestarrunner.com to get their take on important issues like whether they think Telltale's the right company to be making a game based on their license. (Good news: they do!) Also check out IGN's
hands-on preview of what we showed at the summit.



Kotaku write-up of SBCG4AP demo - A nice summary of the demo we gave to press at Friday's media summit.



1UP "behind the scenes" video - Last week, before most of the world even knew what we were up to, 1UP came by the office to chat with some of the people involved. This is the fruit of their labor.


"What's New, Beelzebub?" is here!

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

Hopefully by now you've already downloading it and won't see this until its totally irrelevant, but just in case: The Sam & Max Season Finale, "What's New, Beelzebub?" is totally released, and waiting for you to play! Enjoy!

The episode's been getting some great reviews from both the press and the fans, but if you haven't played the episodes yet, be careful: they may contain some serious spoilers!
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Sam & Max season finale is almost here!

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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Just a reminder that What's New, Beelzebub? will be launching in a few short hours on GameTap. Not long after that (also known as Friday), you'll be able to get it here on Telltale's site. If you've been waiting for the whole season to come out before you started playing, you've run out of excuses!



Should you happen to get stuck in this epic episode, the official Sam & Max 205: What's New, Beelzebub walkthrough can guide you through it.



See you in hell...

Announcing Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

imageOur new WiiWare series has been announced.



We'll have a site up at 1:00 Pacific time that includes a trailer, screenshots, and a FAQ addressing all your burning questions, so make sure to come by then.
Update: The SBCG4AP site is up!



On this page you'll find a gameplay trailer, screenshots, a FAQ that answers every question you could possibly have about the game, and the inaugural entry of Strong Bad's dev blog, which is where he'll be recording his opinions about the production of the game.



We've also added some Strong Bad merch to the store...



Woo!




Sam & Max MP3 download overload!

Posted on April 2008 by TelltaleGames

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With the Sam & Max season finale days away, it can only be time for one thing: a slew of soundtrack MP3 downloads for you guys. Because we missed last month, this time around we're dispensing a double-dose of downloads, featuring a mind-numbing five MP3s.

The always excellent Jared Emerson-Johnson has provided us with tracks reaching from all the way back to February's "Night of the Raving Dead," to this week's impending release, "What's New, Beelzebub?" Download them below, and don't forget to leave a comment! Enjoy.




MP3s from Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead
Jürgen's Lair Suite



MP3s from Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs
Oscuridad Eterna | Radical! | El Molcajete de Almas



MP3s from Episode 205: What's New, Beelzebub?
4:59



There will be a few more tracks released after you've had a chance to check out the season finale, so, get ready for those.

Also, if you missed the free MP3s from the other episodes, click the link below for a complete download list![readmore]





MP3s from Episode 201: Ice Station Santa
The Big Stinker | T.H.E.M. | TKO
Arctic Hush | The Creature Was Stirring




MP3s from Episode 202: Moai Better Blues
Woo! | Hangin' 8 | Rapa Nui Choo Choo






MP3s from Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead
Sturm und Drang | New Location Unlocked (Midtown Remix)
Jürgen's Lair Suite



MP3s from Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs
Oscuridad Eterna | Radical! | El Molcajete de Almas



MP3s from Episode 205: What's New, Beelzebub?
4:59

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