Sam & Max: Season One is an episodic series of adventure games by Telltale Games based around the characters of the Sam & Max comic series created by Steve Purcell. The first episode was released through GameTap on October 17, 2006. The second episode followed on December 21 on GameTap, and worldwide on January 5, 2007. Subsequent episodes followed on a monthly basis, and the season concluded on May 10, 2007.
As with Telltale's series of games based on the Bone comics, the games were created with close cooperation of the characters' creator. Each episode has its own plot, but there is an underlying plot throughout the season which culminates in Bright Side of the Moon.
The first season of Sam & Max games was co-financed by the game distribution company, GameTap. For this reason, each game was available via the GameTap service 15 days before the general release directly from Telltale's website. Telltale also expressed interest in bringing the title to Xbox 360 and Wii. Telltale officially announced a Wii version of Sam & Max Season One on April 4, 2008, with a projected release later that year.
Telltale Games, on May 23, 2008, expressed interest in porting the series for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
The overarching theme of this season is hypnosis. In Culture Shock, Brady Culture is hypnotizing the Soda Poppers. In Situation: Comedy, Myra has been hypnotized by the villains of episode 3, the Toy Mafia. And in episode 4, it seems that the Toy Mafia was merely one piece of an overarching plot by someone who has infiltrated the U.S. Government. This "person" is revealed in episode 5 to be The Internet itself who, it seems, was only a puppet of the true mastermind - Hugh Bliss, who has been attempting to hypnotize the entire world into becoming followers of the Prismatology cult. The cult itself is a parody of Scientology
, with Prismatology primary theology based on Emetics, a parody of Dianetics
. In episode 6, the last episode of Season One, Sam and Max confront Hugh Bliss himself, who turns out to actually be a colony of alien bacteria that feeds on the endorphins
produced by human happiness.
Sam: Sam is the leader of the duo, and tends to be the voice of reason. He is never seen without his trademark grey suit, fedora
(which was modified after episode 1 to protect against hypnotism), or gun.Max: Max is a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" (he himself prefers being called a "lagomorph
") who is rather hyper and violent in his approach to problem solving, tending to only look out for himself, but always loyal to Sam.Jimmy "Two-Teeth": The rat that lives and runs various shady businesses out of his hole in Sam and Max's office. He could not care less that Sam and Max don't like him living there; in fact, he considers them
to be the pest problem. He always avoids getting involved in their business and vice versa. Jimmy is married and has a child named Timmy, whose only issue is his "terminal Tourette's
."Bosco: Bosco owns and runs "Bosco's Inconvenience," a small store at the end of the Sam & Max's block. Bosco is extremely paranoid about everyone and everything, although he places a certain degree of trust in Sam and Max. He therefore takes great care to keep his store secure. He is also the inventor of a line of "Boscotech" products that he sells at extravagant prices, though these items are just useful applications of everyday items. (His million-dollar "voice modulator", for instance, consists of a helium
balloon on the end of an inhaler.) He regularly disguises himself to avoid detection from the many authorities he claims are "out to get him." These disguises are varied, though highly transparent (he even leaves his name tag on) and his unconvincing fake accents (which he often forgets to use) fool nobody. In the fourth episode of Season One, it is revealed that his paranoia has just cause; he is in fact targeted by the government.
- During the game the player can ask Bosco to supply Sam and Max with various items. These objects are inventory items in other games, including Hit the Road, The Secret of Monkey Island, and others.Sybil Pandemik: The owner of the store on the corner across from Sam and Max's office. A "short attention spanned careerist", Sybil changes professions with alarming frequency. Her more recent jobs include interior decorator, taxidermist, tattooist, psychotherapist, tabloid journalist, professional witness, dating service, carbon-dating service, beta tester, and Queen of Canada. She has changed occupation in each episode, though her parlor still retains obsolete mementos from previous months.The Soda Poppers: Three ex-child stars from the 1970s TV series "Soda Jerks", the vertically-challenged (Apparently from too much caffeine.) triplets Whizzer, Peepers, and Specs are still familiar icons in the modern world. In Abe Lincoln Must Die!, they were elected as the governors of West, North, and South Dakota respectively, and then declared civil war on each other. Hugh Bliss: An eerily cheerful magician who is trying to sell books on "Prismatology", his feel-good self-help system based on the colors of the rainbow. He can perform many astounding magic tricks, including changing his appearance, disappearing, and mind reading. Sam has an intense distrust of Hugh and considers him to be a quack, but Max adores him to the point of obsession and eventually becomes a fan of Prismatology. Hugh is revealed in Episode 6 to be the one that has been trying to hypnotize everyone for his own nefarious plans. He was also revealed to be a form of cosmic bacteria that feeds on peoples' endorphins, regardless of whether it is of their own free will or not. After his defeat in Episode 6, Hugh Bliss begins to work for Satan. He is put in charge of the FCC, making sure that he bleeps out anyone who swears.Agent Superball: Introduced as an agent of the U.S. Secret Service in episode 4, Superball earned his nickname for his proficiency as a bouncer, and can be found guarding various doors around the White House. Later in episode 6, he guards the entrance to the secret Prismatology compound. In season 2, he can be found guarding the white House War Room in 1963, during the Kennedy administration, which implies that the 2008 Superball is much older than he appears. (Many allusions to him having access to time travel are made.)Abraham Lincoln: The Statue of the Lincoln Memorial brought to life, his plans to become President of the United States were stopped by Max's election, and his body was then destroyed by a cruise missile. After his defeat, he became much more settled, and entered into a relationship with Sybil. Their relationship hits some snags during Season 2, however.
The one location which appears in all six episodes is Sam and Max's office and the surrounding buildings (Bosco's Inconvenience, Sybil's office, etc.) The office features several references to "Sam & Max Hit The Road
" (a Lucasarts game released in 1993), including "Human Enigma" and "Harry Moleman" posters, along with Jesse James's hand, which has been placed on a plaque above the closet door. The box on top of Sam & Max's filing cabinet bears the label "03-03-04", the date that the Lucasarts Sam & Max sequel
was officially canceled which explains Sam's comment when the box is examined, in the first four episodes. The date also appears as a post-it note on the desk and the back wall (only visible when the camera zooms in, such as when talking to Jimmy). The office also displays two framed pictures, which can be found hanging on the left side of the office. These are scenes from the Sam & Max comic book stories "Bad Day On The Moon" and "On The Road". The bulletin board displays one last reference to other Sam and Max multimedia, a Max paper bag hand puppet. A short segment in the animated series
, the comics and the Hit The Road
game manual originally explained how to construct one.
|| Release date|
| Release date|
| Overview |
||October 17 2006
||November 1 2006
||A group of former child stars who were up to no good started making trouble in Sam and Max's neighborhood. |
||December 20 2006
||January 5 2007
||Myra Stump — a television talkshow host — has taken her audience hostage. Sam and Max are called to defuse the situation. |
||"The Mole, the Mob, and the Meatball"
||January 25 2007
||February 8 2007
||The commissioner is looking into an underground operation at Ted E. Bear's Mafia-Free Playland and Casino, but the mole he sent in has suddenly gone quiet. To find the mole, Sam & Max must infiltrate the operation and become members of the Toy Mafia themselves. |
||"Abe Lincoln Must Die!"
||February 22 2007
||March 9 2007 (March 1 for Season 1 subscribers)
||Sam and Max must investigate the top man himself, the President of the United States, who has been passing inane mandates such as required hugs. Not only must the two take down the President, they may have to install their own man in his place, though Abe Lincoln may have a word or two about that. This episode was released for free on November 5 2007. |
||March 29 2007
||April 12 2007 (April 9 2007
for Season 1 subscribers)
||People are being hypnotized by the Internet craze, causing systems around the world to go haywire. Sam and Max must find a way to enter the virtual world and track down the heart of the Internet herself to pull the plug on her shenanigans. |
||"Bright Side of the Moon"
||April 26 2007
||May 10 2007 (May 7 2007 for Season 1 subscribers)
||Sam and Max must go to the moon in order to save the entire world from hypnotic enslavement. |
Following each episode, Telltale released three machinima
shorts for Sam & Max
, as a lead-up to the next episode.
There are currently two boxed releases of Season One. On May 10, 2007, Telltale announced that they would release a hybrid DVD for Season One subscribers in June; holding all six episodes of the game as well as hours of bonus material, including commentaries, behind-the-scenes info, and all of the machinima shorts. The disc is available to those who buy a Season One subscription, plus the price of shipping and handling. It was released July 28th.
Another version for the general consumer was published by JoWooD and has been available in stores since August 15, 2007. The boxed release contains a bonus printed poster featuring artwork by creator Steve Purcell, as well as "behind the scenes" videos, an interview with Steve Purcell and concept art on the disc.
The music for all six episodes was written by composer Jared Emerson-Johnson
and recorded at studio.jory.org. Telltale released a 2-disc album in late July which is only available through their website.
Reception for the episodes was generally positive, and individual episodes have won various awards. The first episode got very positive reviews; however, the two successive episodes got progressively lower review averages. The fourth episode was generally seen as a large step back on the right track; it was also the first episode in which Telltale had been able to make use of all the user feedback they had been getting on their forums. The fifth and sixth episodes got similarly high reviews.
The Boston Phoenix awarded the complete season compilation three out of four stars and declared, "The complete Season One package gives the stories a shape and a sense of cohesion the discrete pieces lacked."
The first episode has been favorably reviewed, generally commending the faithfulness of the game to its predecessor.
currently has 51 reviews averaging together as 81.7%.
- Received IGN's award for Best PC Adventure Game of 2006.
- Finalist for GameSpot's "Funniest Game of 2006".
- Editor's Choice Winner for GameSpot's "Funniest Game of 2006".
- Among the "Best Games of 2006" at the New York Times.
79.4% average among 39 reviews at Game Rankings
74.9% average among 29 reviews at Game Rankings
80.8% average among 24 reviews at Game Rankings
82.9% average among 21 reviews at Game Rankings
82.2% average among 15 reviews at Game Rankings
Radeon crash issue
According to a Telltale representative, random system reboots apparently caused by a video crash seem to occur with some Radeon
cards (specifically mentioned are 9- and X-series cards). Telltale's employee also suggests that the issue can be worked around by using the Omega drivers
instead of the official ATI Catalyst
drivers. However, the actual problem has not been identified and there have not been any announcements for a patch to fix the issue.