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Sam & Max at Digital Life

posted by Anonymous on - last edited - Viewed by 676 users
So I'd like to share a little story with all of you guys at telltale. As one of the lead testers at GameTap, I was sent to Digital Life this past weekend in NYC with the job of demonstrating Sam & Max: Culture Shock to the happy convention-goers. Having spent many many MANY hours testing the game, I felt pretty confident that the public reactions would be nothing less than amazing. The game is just that good. Even expecting such a positive reaction, I was blown away by the public response. As expected, fans of the series came by in droves, but what I didn't expect was how many non-gamers became consumed by the game. People who had long ago written off video games as "not for me" ended up staying for up to an hour completely enthralled by the game, and considering we were right next to American Idol's karaoke competition, that is nothing short of amazing. Some people even saved their game and patiently waited while we gave the presentation to a new group. You guys have done an amazing job and I can't wait to see more.

Will Armstrong
Gametap: Lead Alpha Tester

p.s. After giving the presentation 8 hours a day for four straight days, I still laugh at the intro every time.
9 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Welcome to the forum, Will!

    Thanks for letting us know. That's a great story. :)
    After giving the presentation 8 hours a day for four straight days, I still laugh at the intro every time.
    I know the feeling. :))
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    That just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sam & Max could lead a revolution back to games that are funny..and dont involve shooting lots of people.
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    Thanks for posting Will, that was very heartwarming. :-)
  • I hope those who are finding the game a little easy are taking note - there is a large audience out there to be tapped. And the last thing Telltale need is for them to be scared off if they find the game too frustrating / hard.

    The trick is, of course, to balance the puzzles so that both beginners and seasoned adventurers feel they are getting maximum enjoyment from the game. Perhaps, like Bone, the episodes will increase in difficulty as the season goes on. That way you can hook the new Adventure players and they can learn as the season progresses.

    Anyway, this is a great bit of news!
  • On that topic, I think this is my favorite quote from the reviews that have come out so far:
    Culture Shock is the loving update we dreamed of. It's the kind of game you want to be playing when your friends and family walk in the room, if only to demonstrate that there are videogames out there that aren't just about killing things and smashing cars (even if, yes, you can actually do both in this, albeit in typically slapstick fashion). Even the jazz licks of the soundtrack make you want to turn up the volume in celebration. You want the whole world to know that people still make games like this - ones that not only make you laugh, but everyone else too.
    (From Eurogamer.)

    As a lifelong adventure gamer who has pretty much no friends or family who "get" adventure games (other than my coworkers!), I really like the idea that these games might break down whatever barrier it is that separates "us" from "them".
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    Hey, now THAT'S nice.

    Will, you da man.
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    Great story. I can't quite understand how people can complain about the game being too easy. On a personal level, a game being good isn't about it being difficult or easy, it's about it being fun - and this is a fun game. It's got all of the best elements of the adventure genre being done right. The fact that it's the first game in 3D to fully retain all of the charm and playability of classic point-and-click 2D adventures is just icing on the cake. The fact that gameplay is improved due to the new and elegant interface (proof that we never really needed all those verbs in the first place) is icing on the icing. Diabetes never tasted so good.

    On a more pragmatic level, let's look at a few simple facts:
    1.) The adventure genre is a niche market so, by definition, adventure games currently appeal to a small percentage of the game-buying public. (Hopefully that is changing even as we speak, though.)
    2.) Extremely difficult adventure games appeal to a niche of the adventure niche. In other words, if one were to release such a title, it would appeal only to a small percentage of an already small percentage.

    If I had a pie chart, this might be more effective...especially if it was a really tasty pie. Who wants to gaze longlingly upon a delicious chocolate creme pie only to be served the tiniest sliver of an already depressingly small slice? That person would walk away hungry and, removing the metaphor, that game company walk away out of money and out of business.

    Let them increase the difficulty as the episodes progress, but let us hope that the puzzles never reach the bizarre levels that so many current adventure games have devolved to. Fill the game with more content and more things to see and do and laugh at, not simply more and more obscure puzzles with increasingly nonsensical solutions that do nothing more to add value to the game than providing a very few people the fleeting and smug satisfaction of having endured clicking on enough combinations of enough items until they stumble upon the correct solution. Everyone else will just skip that frustration, go to Gamefaqs, then complain about how the game was too short.

    My philosophy is to keep the player always progressing. You can slow the progression here and there if it serves the best interests of the game, but never grind things to a halt with frustratingly difficult puzzles. At best, they add nothing to a game for the overwhelming majority of players and, at worst, they hurt the game by producing the opposite effect of what's intended (extending playtime) because a FAQ is only a web browser away.

    In conclusion, this first episode of Sam and Max is absolutely perfect. More, please.
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    I think all gamers like a challenge.. I'm not sure anyone's asking for mind numbingly difficult puzzles that make no sense..but there is a happy medium.
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    The complaints about the difficulty of the game do not stem from a desire to seem smug or superior nor do they come from some absurd desire to see the game fail economically. Rather, the fans of the genre who have stuck by it and supported it for decades have such a passion for it that they desperately want the genre to be revived with the memories the oh so loved and cherished. They understand that to do this there is a need to bring in a stronger market and one way to do this is to create a non-intimidating environment for which to get them interested in it.

    I still believe, however, that the people who will pick this up and get interested in the genre are the people who have an untapped passion for this and they will desire the same things the people that have been playing for a long time desire. After all, everyone started out with their first adventure game, not quite understanding what to do but still felt a great feeling when they solved their first puzzle, sometimes without even realizing it. I honestly don't believe the gaming culture (and the people who have subscribed to game-tap) has changed so much that they desire to have challenging game-play has all but gone away.

    As for the nonsensical puzzles, the great thing about adventure games is that they have an internal logic that makes perfect sense within the world, much like the nonsensical world which a 6-foot anthropomorphic dog in detective's clothing and a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" reside. If let's say a rubber-chicken shoots lasers out of its eyes when it is squeezed it is perfectly logical to assume you can squeeze the chicken to shoot at a bad guy as a poorly conceived example. This is the kind of thing that really gets fans of the genre going. What's a drag is when your hand is being held throughout the whole game where a puzzle consists of someone telling you what to get, you simply picking it up and giving it to them. I hope that this will eventually get to the point where the people just getting into the genre desire this as well then we can all hold hands and carry candles as we stand in the shape of Max's head which can be viewed from space.
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