What is the appeal of Sam & Max?

#1 Posted by UniquelyTerrific (12 posts) -

(I hope this is the right place to post this? I wasn't sure if General Discussion was mainly for GB stuff. Sorry, I'm new.)

I like adventure games. I liked Monkey Islands 1-3, The Longest Journey, Broken Sword and I consider Grim Fandango one of my favourite games of all time.

But I don't get what people like about Sam & Max. I played through Hit The Road (it's a favourite of Jeff Gerstmann's, isn't it?) a few years back, and I don't remember anything funny or interesting about it, just a "that was it?" moment at the end. The puzzles were just crazy random too.

I just finished playing through season 1 of the Telltale series and it's the same thing. Max is kinda funny and there's occasionally a decent line in there, but overall, it's not very charming nor hilarious, nor clever. And the puzzles are still nonsensical. (Adventure game or no, it could be more intuitive)

I enjoyed Telltale's BTTF for its plot, I enjoyed Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People for its Strong-Baddiness. But I just don't get it with Sam & Max.

And I plan on playing seasons 2 and 3 of the series, because I bought them...I'm just wondering if anyone can help me appreciate them?

#2 Posted by BeachThunder (13136 posts) -

I would personally say that the third season is by far the best. Although, if you didn't enjoy Hit the Road, I'm not sure that you should continue; Sam and Max is likely not your thing...

Anyway, Sam and Max is based on the common trope of the straight character/funny character comedy duo - Sam is the relatively serious one that will drop a dead-pan joke every now and then; Max is his foil, an excessively hyperactive sadist, consider him to be the id to Sam's superego. Essentially, the main appeal here is humour via contrasting characters.

There's also the generally surreal nature of the Sam and Max universe; including their off-kilter investigations and humour that is frequently derived from quirky word usage/over-the-top verbosity - for example: "Your ideas are effervescent pustules, Max. Sparkly and disgusting." Then, of course, there's the constant joke of no-one ever taking issue with them being two anthropomorphic animals walking amidst an otherwise human population.

tl;dr: the appeal of Sam and Max is its Sam-and-Maxiness.

#3 Edited by Abendlaender (2988 posts) -

I would personally say that the third season is by far the best. Although, if you didn't enjoy Hit the Road, I'm not sure that you should continue; Sam and Max is likely not your thing...

Really? Wow, I loved Season 1 and 2 but hated Season 3 so much I didn't even finish it, hehe.

tl;dr: the appeal of Sam and Max is its Sam-and-Maxiness.

Also, this

#4 Edited by ShaggE (7150 posts) -

The appeal of Sam & Max plays toward a very specific sense of humor. It's possible that it will grow on you after awhile, but in most cases it's a "either you find it funny or you're just left confused and slightly annoyed" type of deal.

#5 Posted by psylah (2273 posts) -

All the hot slash fiction.

#6 Edited by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

I like the writing, the characters are funny and they made some really weird and obscure references sometimes. Plus it helps that I like the comics and TV show for Sam and Max.

I guess it's an acquired taste. I have a weird sense of humor.

#7 Edited by Bell_End (1234 posts) -

its hard to say why some people like things and other do not.

i like chicken for instance and a man that lives 3 doors down from me near the old lady with the beard hates it.

#8 Posted by Kraznor (1609 posts) -

Yeah, never beat "Hit the Road" due to similar feelings of indifference. Yep, they're zany and random. Got it. That isn't enough to keep me going. With Telltale's, made it through one full episode (not season, episode) and similarly decided I wasn't going to get much more out of it. The brand of humor they strive for just isn't to my liking I guess.

#9 Edited by Humanity (11567 posts) -

@uniquelyterrific: It'a nostalgia for me. I plyed Hit the Road ages ago in the 90's and really loved the humor and everything about it. The puzzles were completely inane and I had to use a guide a lot but just like Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle it had a ton of charm.

I imagine if I were to play it now it wouldn't be nearly as endearing

#10 Posted by mtcantor (965 posts) -

Why do some people dislike Mel Brooks?

Why do some people prefer the Marx Brothers to the Stooges?

It's all a matter of personal taste.

Personally, I find Sam and Max hilarious. Loved Hit the Road, enjoyed seasons 1 and 2, and REALLY enjoyed Season 3.

#11 Posted by Bunnyman (216 posts) -

@uniquelyterrific: You are not alone. I have a lot of love for all the Lucasarts adventure games, except Sam @ Max. I don't consider it a bad game. But it doesn't work for me. Not now, not back when it was fresh. Always found the atmosphere to be really creepy.

#12 Edited by BBAlpert (1811 posts) -

Looking back, some of the humor was dumb "lol random" stuff, but I also recall at least a few moments of surprisingly clever (in my opinion, at least) writing. One joke that I only vaguely remember was a response to your trying to investigate a big wardrobe (the piece of furniture), and the other character says something along the lines of "Eh, you don't need to look in that wardrobe. I checked it out earlier, and all I found was a broom and some thinly veiled religious allegory."

My favorite joke/pun was when Sam and Max tried to come up with a name for an army of Sam (the dog) clones. They couldn't decide between "doggelgangers" and "Samulacra." But then, I'm a sucker for wordplay.

#13 Posted by Milkman (17893 posts) -

I mean, if you don't think it's funny, then you don't think it's funny. That's pretty much the whole appeal.

#14 Posted by Maginnovision (528 posts) -

I liked it when it had first come out on CD, but might not be great now.

#15 Posted by Gamer_152 (14282 posts) -

I've felt kind of the same way about the games. It feels like a lot of the appeal of the game is meant to come from the personality of Sam & Max, but they never felt that funny or interesting to me.

#16 Edited by ThunderSlash (2290 posts) -

It's like Strong Bad, you don't find it funny until you've been exposed to it for a good while.

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