Bulletin: Telltale is not LucasArts

Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
edited November 2006 in Sam & Max
Just for those of you on these boards who don't seem to get it, Telltale wants to do things differently from LucasArts, hence the absence of insanely abstract puzzles and longer games that only come out once every few years.

Also, when they announce a project, it actually comes out.

So for those of you who are bashing the difficulty of Culture Shock, or are griping about its length, or are saying it's not as good as Hit the Road, stop letting your nostalgia get in the way of your opinion. Culture Shock is every bit a Sam and Max game as Hit the Road, but it will never live up to the latter's legacy because it's not trying to. It's a different kind of game, and will never be just like an old LucasArts game. Ever.

Telltale still has a few kinks to iron out of its games, true, but they're doing that, going so far as to update their old games (Bone, for example) to accomodate some of our suggestions and comments.

What other company on earth does that? LucasFarts? How much gameplay do you want for $7-$9 an episode? If you take your time, enjoying all of the dialogue, easter eggs and other shenanigans Telltale incorporated into Culture Shock, you're getting more than your money's worth. Way more.

As far as I'm concerned it's a monumental achievment that this game even exists, not even accounting for how freaking good it is.

So shut up. (This goes for me, too; I've said things elsewhere on these boards that may make it seem like I don't believe any of this, but the more I think about it the more I love some of the changes Telltale made, and I'm tired of comparing it to something it's not trying to be.)

Okay, I'm done.

Telltale, you rock my world, babies.

Comments

  • edited November 2006
    Regarding puzzles, please dont equate abstractness or obscurity with the quality of being challenging or clever. When people say they want more challenge, that doesn't automatically mean they want obscure and illogical combinations.
  • edited November 2006
    Vesh wrote: »
    Regarding puzzles, please dont equate abstractness or obscurity with the quality of being challenging or clever. When people say they want more challenge, that doesn't automatically mean they want obscure and illogical combinations.

    Exactly. QFT
  • edited November 2006
    Here we go again... the thing is that the terms abstract, obscure, challenging, and clever are all in the eye of the beholder (or gamer).

    As I said before, if I need to spend two hours to figure out how to find what comes down to the equivalent of a key (solution) to a door (puzzle), I find that pretty abstract and obscure. I personally would probably take an hour or two to figure out that combining a cup with a golf ball retriever, while cutting a piece of twine from a gigantic ball of twine to use as a bungee rope to then use to bungee jump for a cup of tar, is pretty obscure and abstract. Some other people find that same thing to be challenging and clever and not obscure at all.

    I made a comment that I don't have hours to spend to get a key to open a door (again an analogy to a puzzle), and that hey, 4 hours spent solving Culture Shock seemed about right, (all along with my premise that I do expect it to be a bit more difficult in the future) and somebody basically said "Then adventures aren't your genre. It sounds hard but it seems to be so. If you aren't willing to spend hours to solve a game, then go watch a televisionseries. There you get your experience without any effort on your side."

    I found that to be awfully elitist, but others didn't think so, saying that "Its not the slightest bit elitist, its simple logic."
  • edited November 2006
    How many threads are going to cover this subject? Thing is, there are people who love the game the way it is, people who love it but want some changes, people that don't like it much and want changes, and people who completely hate it and want a Hit the Road remake and nothing less. Each is entitled to their own opinion. My opinion is that the game could use more difficulty, but just saying that does nothing. What I would like to see is what someone requested in one of the OTHER threads about this subject... that those that want more challenge should give examples of how to make the puzzles more challenging, instead of a blind argument.
  • edited November 2006
    I agree with you Derwin, one of the only reasons I post to these long-tired-out threads is to make it known that there is no overwhelming opinion, when many are presenting their arguments as if there is one absolute path for the games to progress with.
  • edited November 2006
    Ah, yes, as states the first sentence in the post before mine. Although I must say, I liked the bungie jumping in Hit the Road... maybe just because it was funny to me at the time.
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    Vesh wrote: »
    Regarding puzzles, please dont equate abstractness or obscurity with the quality of being challenging or clever. When people say they want more challenge, that doesn't automatically mean they want obscure and illogical combinations.

    I didn't say it did. What I said was that people are using the idea of abstract combination puzzles as examples of difficulty on the boards, and I don't miss them. My point is that Telltale is obviously trying to make a game you can play in a few hours, and lengthening the game with "challenging" puzzles which are essentially just "fetch this and use it in location x" is not something I can see anybody wanting to do.

    Can anyone honestly tell me what they enjoyed about Hit the Road was getting stuck on puzzles for hours on end? I mean, go back and play one of those games now, just finishing the puzzles as quickly as possible, and you can finish the game in less than two hours.

    The way to lengthen the game I want, and one that I think Telltale is trying to give us, is more Sam and Max, which, after all, is the main reason to play these games.

    Again, Telltell is not LucasArts. That's my other point. They want to do things differently, so pining for the halcyon days is not going to get you anywhere but angry. As great as those LucasArts games were, they were flawed. I'm already happy with Telltale for eliminating the "take" command; it was just another step you would've taken anyway, no pun intended, so why not cut it out? I've got enough to do with my life without needlessly cycling through verbage.

    I felt reasonably challenged by Culture Shock, meaning that it took me 5-20 minutes to figure out most of the puzzles. That's fine with me, because usually it meant something funny would happen, and that's why I bought the game in the first place.
  • edited November 2006
    Telltale isn't Lucas arts but they are an adventure game company
  • edited November 2006
    xChri5x wrote: »
    Telltale isn't Lucas arts but they are an adventure game company
    Dave Grossman, co-designer of Day of the Tentacle, The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge and head game designer of Sam & Max: Culture Shock:
    You may be a little off the mark in having us aimed at adventure games. We're not really trying to do that exactly, we just have a lot of experience making adventure games, and are bringing the things that we learned about storytelling in games from that to bear on the kinds of things we're doing. So we're actually willing to bend away from that and do other kinds of gameplay, as long as we keep the story stuff in focus.

    For context.
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    numble wrote: »
    For context.

    Thank you, numble. That's exactly what I'm talking about.
  • edited November 2006
    The aims and sentiments are good, both of you, but the issue that brings me to the thread is the painting of those here who would want further games' gameplay to be more challenging as sad, misguided, out-of-touch, nostalgia-blinded fools.

    They're likely none of those. They simply want more of a challenge.
  • edited November 2006
    Vesh wrote: »
    ...is the painting of those here who would want further games' gameplay to be more challenging as sad, misguided, out-of-touch, nostalgia-blinded fools.

    They're likely none of those. They simply want more of a challenge.

    Like Incognito, I think you're reading too much into what people such as numble, Johnny Walker and myself are saying. Or at least reading what you think we're trying to say rather than what we are actually saying.
  • edited November 2006
    Seems like there's plenty of that goin' around. Funny bit is, we're probably all wanting the same product, it's just a matter of describing it in adequate language.
  • edited November 2006
    jp-30: Its quite hard to read it any other way, when people always seem to associate "a bit harder puzzles" with the worst examples from past games. I have tried to name good examples of past and recent games that had well built-challenges that relied on logic, but every past games seems to be dismissed as "old school-crap with stupid puzzles that took hours or days to complete".
  • edited November 2006
    Incognito wrote: »
    but every past games seems to be dismissed as "old school-crap with stupid puzzles that took hours or days to complete".

    Can you please quote where people are actually saying that?
  • edited November 2006
    Ah shaddup
  • edited November 2006
    Heaven forbid people actually discussing things on a discussion board.
  • edited November 2006
    I agree entirely with Shoemonkey. Such as the case in many situations involving new installments to a long-running series, there are going to be several people who have allowed nostalgia to make older material much better than it truly is. Am I saying that "Hit the Road" wasn't a great game? Certainly not! It was terrific! But so was Culture Shock!

    Remember, gang, Telltale IS an adventure game company, but they have to try very hard to entertain hardcore enthusiasts as well as newcomers to the market. It's very difficult to do! It's a lot like Insomniac Games and their Ratchet & Clank series. Extremely hard series for them to work on as they have to please both platformer and shooter fans all the time. They've had their share of pros and cons, but they're still having fun making games and we should give them and ourselves the chance to have some fun playing them!

    For those of you concerned about the game's length, Telltale DID tell us all that the games would be short. They're supposed to have the feel of an interactive comic book or cartoon series, fitting as Sam & Max started as a comic book. What makes a game like this fun is getting to enjoy the generally zany ambiance of the characters and the world they live in. What fun is rushing through a game compared to sitting back and getting a good laugh out of Sam & Max's quirky long-winded dialogue and exploring their demented world?

    As for game difficulty, there are new gamers as well as old involved here... Not to mention the fact that a lot of us old-school gamers still had difficulty with those brain-teasers in the old days. I, for one, enjoyed that the puzzles weren't as maddeningly torturous! Besides, this was the pilot episode! Has it occurred to anyone that maybe Telltale's just trying to warm up our brains to get us all used to thinking like Sam & Max before they give us the REALLY weird puzzles?

    Speaking of thinking like Sam & Max... The sorts of Sam & Max fans who take offense to the little differences in the Freelance Police's various incarnations (comics, games, cartoons) make me laugh. Honestly, has anyone else considered that people like this are the very type of people that Sam & Max would love to senselessly brutalize for being nit-picking, whiny geeks? It's like we've got a whole community of Lornes here, for crying out loud!

    Seriously, folks. Stop taking Sam & Max's new adventure so seriously and just relax! The Freelance Police are finally back and can anyone really imagine them whining that things are slightly different than they used to be? I think they'd be thrilled just to know that they can once again legally assault psychologically-stunted malcontents for the enjoyment of all!
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    Vesh wrote: »
    The aims and sentiments are good, both of you, but the issue that brings me to the thread is the painting of those here who would want further games' gameplay to be more challenging as sad, misguided, out-of-touch, nostalgia-blinded fools.

    They're likely none of those. They simply want more of a challenge.

    I think calling anyone a fool is taking what we're saying way out of context. I'm not saying anyone is sad, either, just that people may be looking for something Telltale has never offered to provide.

    Alot of the criticism this game is getting is comparison criticism, and this thread was meant as a way to illuminate that comparing Culture Shock to an old-school adventure game--especially a LucasArts one--may be like trying to compare monkeys and sea otters. Telltale isn't out to make old-school adventure games, and it isn't out to make old-school adventure gamers change the way they feel about things. They're just trying to make good, not-too-difficult story-driven games, and that's what they've done.

    I'm just sick of hearing Hit the Road comparisons. That's all. I'm not out to crap on anybody's parade, and if I was I wouldn't be doing it here. Obviously we're all passionate Sam and Max fans; I just want them to continue being the reason we play the games, and I don't necessarily need harder, "brain-taxing" puzzles to buy them. (I use quotes because, looking at old adventure games in general, some of the harder puzzles were not really brain-taxing, just taxing.)

    So let's say this, by way of truce: if Telltale can come up with a way to implement higher difficulty without stooping to use-the-previously-unusable-ridiculous-thingamabob-with-other, totally-unrelated-thingamabob puzzles, I'm fine with it. Otherwise, I'd rather they spend their time writing more good jokes.
  • edited November 2006
    Incognito wrote: »
    jp-30: Its quite hard to read it any other way, when people always seem to associate "a bit harder puzzles" with the worst examples from past games. I have tried to name good examples of past and recent games that had well built-challenges that relied on logic, but every past games seems to be dismissed as "old school-crap with stupid puzzles that took hours or days to complete".
    I don't think of them as crap at all! I loved the deranged puzzles! I'm just saying it's nice to get a game once in a while that I only need to get hints for roughly 2 or 3 times as compared to needing a walkthrough for the entire second half of the game.
  • edited November 2006
    just relax!

    Too damn true. The most sensible thing said here. =]
  • edited November 2006
    jp-30: Just look at the thread I created myself - http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1232

    I mention Broken Sword 4. I mention Monkey Island 1&2. I mention Bladerunner. I Mention Shenmue. No response about those games at all other than that people haven´t played them, and then the discussion goes on about how there is no room for adventuregames with challenges, and how absurd some puzzles supposedly were.

    I recommend people to read my first post in that thread again. I do think that Culture Shock is a good game. I have since that post finished the game, and I still think that it is a good game. Its just not perfect.
  • edited November 2006
    HMM. Even if this game was completely utterly new, even if HtR had never been invented, I would still make an argument for the game being too easy and too short. Hecks, my sister just played it and finished it in two hours or so. The fact is, the MAIN GAMEPLAY of CS is not that long, and some people are hella not interested in persuing the extra thingies in there!

    Therefore I am not sure how much the LucasArts/Telltale comparisons affect people's opinions of the game.

    It was good though! I liked the game muchly! I just sort of disagree with most of your initial points.
  • edited November 2006
    But that's really the whole point of it being episodic. Sure, it's in shorter chunks, but they come much more often.
  • edited November 2006
    Shoemonkey wrote: »
    Just for those of you on these boards who don't seem to get it, Telltale wants to do things differently from LucasArts, hence the absence of insanely abstract puzzles and longer games that only come out once every few years.

    Also, when they announce a project, it actually comes out.

    So for those of you who are bashing the difficulty of Culture Shock, or are griping about its length, or are saying it's not as good as Hit the Road, stop letting your nostalgia get in the way of your opinion. Culture Shock is every bit a Sam and Max game as Hit the Road, but it will never live up to the latter's legacy because it's not trying to. It's a different kind of game, and will never be just like an old LucasArts game. Ever.

    Telltale still has a few kinks to iron out of its games, true, but they're doing that, going so far as to update their old games (Bone, for example) to accomodate some of our suggestions and comments.

    What other company on earth does that? LucasFarts? How much gameplay do you want for $7-$9 an episode? If you take your time, enjoying all of the dialogue, easter eggs and other shenanigans Telltale incorporated into Culture Shock, you're getting more than your money's worth. Way more.

    As far as I'm concerned it's a monumental achievment that this game even exists, not even accounting for how freaking good it is.

    So shut up. (This goes for me, too; I've said things elsewhere on these boards that may make it seem like I don't believe any of this, but the more I think about it the more I love some of the changes Telltale made, and I'm tired of comparing it to something it's not trying to be.)

    Okay, I'm done.

    Telltale, you rock my world, babies.

    That's an easy out isn't it? Considering The Lucas Arts games remain the best of the Genre, until another company can capture that feel again, they will pale in comparison.
  • edited November 2006
    Can't we just merge these threads with the other ones on difficulty? *sigh

    What does everyone think of the challenge level of monkey 2?
    I think it is about right for an adventure game.... though I was much younger then so maybe it wasn't as challenging as I thought.
  • edited November 2006
    Alucard wrote: »
    Can't we just merge these threads with the other ones on difficulty? *sigh

    What does everyone think of the challenge level of monkey 2?
    I think it is about right for an adventure game.... though I was much younger then so maybe it wasn't as challenging as I thought.

    I'm done with these threads for now anyway. TellTale has plenty of material to work with, and I think we've all given them some great Ideas. It's up to them now to decide whether to do anything with it.
  • EmilyEmily Telltale Alumni
    edited November 2006
    I'm just glad people have stopped complaining about the voices. :D
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    Jokieman wrote: »
    That's an easy out isn't it? Considering The Lucas Arts games remain the best of the Genre, until another company can capture that feel again, they will pale in comparison.

    So you're saying Culture Shock pales? In comparison?

    Interesting, considering this whole thread is a plea to stop comparing them and follow Telltale wherever it is they're taking us.
  • edited November 2006
    Emily wrote: »
    I'm just glad people have stopped complaining about the voices. :D

    And another thing, the voices in TT's games aren't nearly as good as LucasArts!





    Jokes! Jokes! (I'm one of the few who has had little to no problem with the voices in any of the games so far :) )
  • edited November 2006
    shoemonkey if you dont like the threads..dont read em! telltale have shown they respond to customer feedback(look at improvement from bone 1 to bone 2) so people are going to express how they feel about the game. I agree with incognito too, everytime someone says they want more of a challenge, someone else says we dont want ridiculous puzzles no 1 can solve.. No one's even asking for that!
  • edited November 2006
    If you don't want to solve puzzles, why play an adventure game? Gametap has lots of Sam & Max cartoons you can watch...
  • edited November 2006
    I play adventuregames for the story, characters and (in cases like this) the humour.

    Puzzles are wonderful, granted, but they're not the reason I play these games.
  • Sean ASean A Telltale Staff
    edited November 2006
    jp-30 wrote: »
    I play adventuregames for the story, characters and (in cases like this) the humour.

    Puzzles are wonderful, granted, but they're not the reason I play these games.

    I'm totally in agreement here.

    Once again: The point of this thread is not to say there should not be difficult puzzles (especially not ones that no one can solve, ye who won't spell "one"), it is to say that these episodic Sam & Max games should not necessarily be looked at as "Adventure Games". Telltale has stated many times it's not going for the tried-and-true system, it's trying to mix things up a bit.

    That's all I'm saying. The only reason we even got into a difficulty discussion on this thread is because I used difficulty as an example of what might remain different in a Telltale game, okay?

    I honestly could give a crap if I had to solve another illogical puzzle if it means I get to laugh. Really. All that's important to me is more Sam & Max. Period.
  • edited November 2006
    Wow. I just wrote a tremendously long post with my opinions on the matter and it got lost somewhere in the Internet. Maybe I should take that as a sign. Oh well.

    Here goes. I think the whole controversy about the difficulty of Culture Shock comes down to what we expect from it. To some of us it was a shock, if you will. Here's my story.

    I learned about Culture Shock today. I downloaded it today. I finished it... today. Never before have I done that with any game. Yes, I know, It's episodic. So it HL2 episode 1 and it is episodic, but I digress. I have no problem with the length of the game.

    I am a nostalgic gamer. Lucasarts adventure games were some of the first games that I played and I loved them. Still do. The Monkey Island franchise, S&M HtR, DoTT, Indiana Jones, Grim Fandango. All spectacular games. I enjoyed having to figure out that I need gunpowder and flint to blow up a damn to float a log to make a dead guy fall out of a tree. The puzzle is the fun part for me. I realize that we don't all feel the same way.

    Here are 2 common examples of puzzles from Culture Shock and my take on them. First, the psycho-therapist. I had a form that told me I needed certain dependencies, I had various options to choose from. I had to figure out what would make me seem violent toward dentists. Brilliant stuff. Not hard at all, but not a given. It was a puzzle.

    On the other hand, I was given a diagram with a big hanger on it so I knew immediately that I would need the hanger from the TV. Not necessarily a bad thing. What disappointed me was that instead of building the helmet, I had to give the diagram to someone I already knew could build it and was told I needed an antenna, which is exactly what the hanger was already being used for.
    That isn't a puzzle to me. That's being told what to do. In my head that was drawing a line from A to B, which is much less gratifying than figuring out where A and B are located. To me, that made it like, to steal someones line, an interactive movie. I'd rather just watch a Sam & Max cartoon than go through the monotony of clicking on things they tell me to click on. To me, the fun is in figuring it out.

    Others have said they don't like the monotony of finding a cup, a golf ball retriever and twin to get a bit a tar. I don't find that monotonous, I find drawing that line to be the monotonous thing.
    jp-30 wrote: »
    I play adventuregames for the story, characters and (in cases like this) the humour.

    Puzzles are wonderful, granted, but they're not the reason I play these games.
    I'm the opposite. I like this type of game for the puzzles. The story, characters and humor, while also very important, come after that. And this is why we get the current controversy on the forums. Some like the puzzles, some like the story.

    Now I'm not bashing the game, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't an adventure game like I expected. It was a different, fun, type of game. I just hope Telltale continues to take these games somewhere that makes them more popular. Granted I'd be much happier with more puzzles. But if that happened others would be less interested. Ideally there would be a happy medium somewhere that pleases everyone. Let's hope they find that (not that I wasn't pleased.) Going back to monkey island, which is and probably always will be my favorite game franchise, I like the 2 difficulty method. "The easy version" vs "The hard version" Not only does it give you the option to play the game a second time without doing the same things, but it makes the hard version easier if you play the easy one first. Or don't. The option is yours. But some people don't like playing easy vs hard. Okay, let's change the names and see if it works any better: "The storyline version" and "The puzzle version" Some sort of implementation of this is what I would like. The best of both worlds.

    And who knows, maybe the future episodes of Sam and Max will be "harder". Maybe not. Either way I'm looking forward to them.

    To sum up:

    I'm a nostalgic adventure gamer that found Sam and Max and was thrilled. However I was a little disappointed when it turned out a little different from a classic adventure game. But we all have our different opinions and the puzzles and that is what kindled these discussions.
    I like complex puzzles. I mean for crying out loud, I like the torturous puzzles at http://weffriddles.com/ I find that fun. A lot of the people that would want to play a game like this would think that's a waste of time. My opinion is, if it's possible, which I do believe it is, build both ways into the game. 2 versions with different emphasises. Storyline and Puzzles.

    Now I hope I made sense with what I wanted to say. I'm running on no sleep and incredibly tired, but wanted to contribute while I had just finished the game.
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