The thing that's bugged me with Telltale's Sam & Max...

mremre
edited April 2008 in Sam & Max
Well, I guess I'm about to write a bit of a whine post, but I hope you'll bear with me.

You see, the one thing that's really bugged me ever since the start of Season One is that I get the impression that the world of Sam & Max is not as wacky as S&M's street and the other locations they visit. I mean, while the comics (as well as the Lucasarts game) are full of jabs at New Yorkers, the American way and all kinds of kitschy Americana, the Telltale game just fails to convince me that the outrageous characters and events that we get to meet and see in S&M's adventures is really the general way of life in this fictional representation of New York City and the rest of the world.

I understand that we can't have everything since it's obviously not possible to add more than a couple of new rooms each episode given the episodic format, but still I really hope that you'll choose to make Season 3 more "down-to-Earth" than previous installments. For instance, I'd love to explore more of the surrounding blocks of NYC, or maybe we could get to drive off to a more everyday location of the U.S.

I obviously don't want you to make a new HtR, but still I must say that I loved having a game where you just visit gas stations and various tourist attractions, and thus show off Steve Purcell's truly unique take on the USA.

Just some thoughts.

Comments

  • edited April 2008
    mre wrote: »
    and thus show off Steve Purcell's truly unique take on the USA.

    That's a very important point that is important to make.

    I'm guessing Steve thinks up a lot of ideas, but one of the things that made both the comics and the cartoon (and HTR) good was that it was a satire on USA. It was all a satire of one country, so it was much easier to follow the comic patterns.

    The current format Telltale's currently working in is really international, which steals a lot of the charm that was in the franchise's previous incarnations.
  • edited April 2008
    I do think it would be cool to visit a gas station or a bookstore or soemthing down-to-earth (Bosco's in season 1 was kinda close to that)
  • edited April 2008
    Well heck, if we're asking for ponies...I would totally love if they would release some sort of limited version of the tell tale tool, so we could do S&M mods/user content.

    I realize that as pony requests go, that's like asking for a unicorn, but still...it would be way cool. :)
  • edited April 2008
    For a whine post, this wasn't very whiney. :cool:
    mre wrote: »
    Well, I guess I'm about to write a bit of a whine post, but I hope you'll bear with me.
  • edited April 2008
    Winifred, keep dreaming. While you're at it, why don't you wish for an open-sourced version of the SCUMM tool, so we can make our own retro adventures.

    I actually wish for both of those things.

    Damon!
  • edited April 2008
    Winifred wrote: »
    Well heck, if we're asking for ponies...I would totally love if they would release some sort of limited version of the tell tale tool, so we could do S&M mods/user content.

    I realize that as pony requests go, that's like asking for a unicorn, but still...it would be way cool. :)

    I would PAY to get my paws on the Telltale Tool! I wish TT would atleast consider lisencing it out! I dont care if it cant edit already-compiled games like S+M, I'd just like to be able to use it to make my own games! (and I seem to remember somone saying it ties in directly to Maya, which I'm currently studying)

    But I think you're right, when wishing for ponies, you (and now even more I) asked for a unicorn... or maybe even a pegasus...
  • edited April 2008
    mish wrote: »
    Winifred, keep dreaming. While you're at it, why don't you wish for an open-sourced version of the SCUMM tool, so we can make our own retro adventures.

    I actually wish for both of those things.

    Damon!

    http://alban.dotsec.net/7.html
  • edited April 2008
    tabacco wrote: »

    Never doubt the open-source community. ;)
  • mremre
    edited April 2008
    Damon wrote: »
    For a whine post, this wasn't very whiney. :cool:

    I'll try to do better next time. :(
  • mremre
    edited April 2008
    mish wrote: »
    That's a very important point that is important to make.

    I'm guessing Steve thinks up a lot of ideas, but one of the things that made both the comics and the cartoon (and HTR) good was that it was a satire on USA. It was all a satire of one country, so it was much easier to follow the comic patterns.

    The current format Telltale's currently working in is really international, which steals a lot of the charm that was in the franchise's previous incarnations.

    Thanks for summing up my thoughts. Though it should be pointed out that classic S&M also made room for international settings, but always from a stereotypical american point of view.

    Like when S&M get to visit a Phillipines filled with every 'foreign' and 'exotic' cultural stuff imaginable. Come to think of it, I would have loved an in-game comment about how the Stuttgart setting obviously was created without reference material...
    Ashton wrote: »
    I do think it would be cool to visit a gas station or a bookstore or soemthing down-to-earth (Bosco's in season 1 was kinda close to that)

    Yeah, I loved Bosco's store for the first couple of episodes. However, I think it was a big production mistake to have S&M react to him as the lunatic he really is. I would have preferred a more laid-back approach, where they just treat him as though he doesn't at all stand out to them, thus giving the impression that this kind of character is quite representative for the kind of people they would expect to meet in any given store. It would certainly make the New York City of their world seem a lot less normal than it does now.





    (Are my whine posting skills picking up? ;))
  • edited April 2008
    tabacco wrote: »

    or you could try this. I highly, HIGHLY recommend the Life of D. Duck. ;)
  • JaiJai
    edited April 2008
    Well, how the heck do you think you can tangle with Santa, Moai heads, the fountain of youth, the moon, the German vampire scene, the White House, Hell and Satan without leaving New York?! Oh, wait, you actually didn't have to leave the street to tangle with Hell and Satan (Typical!).

    So, it seems like your complaint is either that the format is too strict (Which is has to be) or that the plot is too grandiose (Which... well, why shouldn't it be?). Mind you, it would also be great if they could whip up another full-length game with lots of new locations to visit, even if they were all locations in the USA (Or even all in New York). I think that prolly any direction they decide to take the series in will be similarly-if-not-equally as great, though. So I'm not really against what you're saying, and I'm enough of a brown-nosing fan to agree that it would be good if Telltale worked to appease your complaints (Because I will agree that Telltale doing ANYTHING is a good thing. I.e., I would also agree that it would be good if Telltale did NOT bother working to appease your complaints).
  • edited April 2008
    I miss the ball of twine... >,< and the vortex!
    there are a lot of "crazy" stuff that felt missing in the telltale seasons, like the burning tire mountain, and of course mnt rushmore (with bungee from the noses of the presidents). though I really like the clouds out of the office. XD
    hmm... actually I can't find anything as crazy as the original sam and max game locations.

    also I felt the missing of the hallway between the office and the street, though it's not so important. XD
    bosco's store is my favorite I guess. ^;^

    I think one of the problems is that the 3d makes the screens look smaller with less action...
    I dunno. take the fishworld from the original game for example. it had huge backgrounds, and the fisherman was fishing... I dunno, it felt more alive, big and colorful.
    whlie season's 1 locations cannot be compared to season's 2 (which were awesome), I dunno... it always feels like something is missing. maybe the characters and NPC's arn't using the enviroment enough.

    -edit-
    oh, jurgen talking in the phone and dancing jumped to mind. XD ya, the parts with jurgen felt alot more alive.
  • edited April 2008
    tabacco wrote: »

    Dude! thanks! I didn't know that existed!

    MRe: Still not whiny. As great as the games are, I don't think they 'break the fourth wall' nearly often enough. If ever. Sam & Max should be commenting dryly on their surroundings and ignorance of those who have created them, as they have in all their previous incarnations.
    Sarcasm, Sarcasm, Sarcasm.

    Jai, pick a side. Where's "The Vision", man?

    Amaterasu: i don't think we need to bring back HTR locations, but you bring up a good point about the environments seeming less vast than in HTR.
    I think Telltale should approach locations in a way that they make fun of it. Current locations are great though, I gotta admit you're doing a good good job at Stinky's, the office is pretty good (though could use cleanup) etc.
  • edited April 2008
    Me either til the other day when I saw it in a news post over at adventure gamers :)
  • mremre
    edited April 2008
    I'm not really complaining that the locations are too small or the plots too restricted or anything. What I'm aiming for is those over-the-top american stereotypes and ditto cultural ignorance that could be found in the comics and the Lucasarts game. Not necessarily in the spoken dialogue, mind you, but rather in the broader feel of the game and the setting.

    For instance, when S&M visit a location abroad it would be nice if you were given the impression that all the game designer knew of the place is something he/she saw on the TV the other night. In the very first published comic ("Monkeys violating the heavenly temple"), we got to see Steve Purcell's take on the Phillipines: a strange land containing everything from kangaroos to the Eiffel tower (iirc), and with lots of joke about the author's obvious cultural ignorance. There really is great potential in Telltale's take on both Easter Island and Stuttgart, but neither of them is exaggerated enough for any kind of self-mockery.

    The US locations we get to see in the games - like the establishments of Bosco and Stinky - are usually great, and are just as they should be filled with lots of background gags in the form of various products, posters, etc. The only thing I think is a big miss here is that our heroes far too often react to things as though they were out of the ordinary. I miss the kind of comedy that would arise whenever something completely weird happens, but S&M just disregards it as though they don't find it one bit out of the ordinary.
    mish wrote: »
    MRe: Still not whiny.

    Aw... :(
  • edited April 2008
    I do seem to recall at least /one/ joke in Season 2 where Sam comments on the scenery and Max says "drawn without reference material, apparently". Might be Stuttgart, could be Hell.
  • edited April 2008
    Yeah the new games don't have as much biting sarcasm as hit the road..but I'm sure Mike Stemmle will rectify that in season 3..
  • bai_ganyobai_ganyo Banned
    edited April 2008
    I have to say, that I LOVE this pomp, bringing down the American goverment, the Internet, Hell, travelling through time, though I don't know, what could happen next, that can be bigger, than season 2. I too would find it funny, if, after doing all this superhero work, in 301 S&M would have to find a missing bracelet or something trifle as that and come across funny ,down to earth' stuff on the way.

    But even if in season 3 S&M conquer the universe and several parellel universes, it's fin with me, if it stays as brilliant as the second season. I give you free hand on everything Telltale, you'll work it out.

    P.S. by the way, what's that green icon, I used supposed to be?
  • WillWill Banned
    edited April 2008
    It's a fingerprint icon for the CSI games.
  • edited April 2008
    I think Mre has hit upon a great idea for season 3. I too find the games too quick to get to exotic locations rather than laugh at the idiosyncrasies of the American culture.

    Mr Purcell's comic and ideology is one of arresting silence in comedy. The attention paid to dialog and setup with an unsuspected apex, as quoted from Bad Day on the Moon, "Sam: It's a giant moon roach coffee shop. It's uncanny, like some earth parallel development; Max: I never dreamed I'd live long enough to hear you say earth parallel development and mean it, Sam", contrasts the complex build up of description, to Max's simple outlook on the situation. This sort of thing happens all throughout the comic series and in the original HtR game.

    I remember reading about Purcell's outlook on Sam & Max, and how it is a spoof on the usual detective comic scenario. There's such a great buildup over the the detailing of the dialogue, not just to parody the situation at hand, but to cut it down and bring it to an arresting hault. Pair that ideology with the American culture, and have the Max quips reflect society's actual covering up of those ideologies. I quote from chapter 3 of On The Road: "Sam: I think he said to come back later. Let's go wander through the new mall for a while. Max: Oboy! We can look at everyone we're glad we aren't"

    In conclusion, I really think mRe's statement is completely right, but we shouldn't entirely focus on the local of the area being the underlying argument, it should be the reflection of the characters to the environment. In more of a Purcell-like fashion, trying to capture that, as well as bring something just as original and funny from the creators.

    Great suggestions!
  • edited April 2008
    *gives Edgy a gold star*
  • mremre
    edited April 2008
    I think Mre has hit upon a great idea for season 3. I too find the games too quick to get to exotic locations rather than laugh at the idiosyncrasies of the American culture.

    Mr Purcell's comic and ideology is one of arresting silence in comedy. The attention paid to dialog and setup with an unsuspected apex, as quoted from Bad Day on the Moon, "Sam: It's a giant moon roach coffee shop. It's uncanny, like some earth parallel development; Max: I never dreamed I'd live long enough to hear you say earth parallel development and mean it, Sam", contrasts the complex build up of description, to Max's simple outlook on the situation. This sort of thing happens all throughout the comic series and in the original HtR game.

    I remember reading about Purcell's outlook on Sam & Max, and how it is a spoof on the usual detective comic scenario. There's such a great buildup over the the detailing of the dialogue, not just to parody the situation at hand, but to cut it down and bring it to an arresting hault. Pair that ideology with the American culture, and have the Max quips reflect society's actual covering up of those ideologies. I quote from chapter 3 of On The Road: "Sam: I think he said to come back later. Let's go wander through the new mall for a while. Max: Oboy! We can look at everyone we're glad we aren't"

    In conclusion, I really think mRe's statement is completely right, but we shouldn't entirely focus on the local of the area being the underlying argument, it should be the reflection of the characters to the environment. In more of a Purcell-like fashion, trying to capture that, as well as bring something just as original and funny from the creators.

    Great suggestions!

    I'm simultaneously proud and freaked to have sparked something of an academic discussion on the good ol' forums. And yes, I fully agree that the location isn't as important as the ongoing dialogue between S&M and their approach to different social situations. Not sure if I follow your thoghts on Purcell's 'ideology' though.

    On a different note,
    mish wrote: »
    ... MRe ...
    ... Mre ...
    ... mRe ...

    Forum Contest: In how many wrong ways can you write my screen name? ;)
  • WillWill Banned
    edited April 2008
    oo oo! mrE, mRE, MrE, and MRE!
  • edited April 2008
    You forgot a few...

    /\/\RE /\/\re /\/\Re /\/\rE /\/\R3 /\/\r3
  • edited April 2008
    Another vote for absurd, taken-as-normality, gritty Americana satire.

    Besides, space is the extreme limit in one direction and Hell in the other (or so they told me in Bible class). They've been to both, now it's time to explore home!
  • mremre
    edited April 2008
    Ashton wrote: »
    You forgot a few...

    /\/\RE /\/\re /\/\Re /\/\rE /\/\R3 /\/\r3

    I guess I shouldn't participate in my own contest, but still... I have a European keyboard.

    mr€

    Beat that.
  • JaiJai
    edited April 2008
    Well, I think I get what mŗé is saying, now. My stance has shifted only slightly, however, to reflect the vague urge to urinate that I'm now feeling.
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