21 November 2007

Geekery Reunited

I've come full circle with regards to geekery and tech, in recent years. I spent most of my mis-spent youth playing computer games (and writing too but using the oh-so-advanced Creative Writer word processor) and then puberty happened and I discovered boys.

I was never into shoot-'em-ups but preferred walk-through adventure type games, such as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Day of the Tentacle and strategy games like Sim City 2000, Colonization and Civilization II (I was probably the biggest pacifist ever to win Civ II). I guess my perfectionism got the better of me in the latter category and I would get cross when things didn't go to plan, though getting to name your settlements (Bexity, Little Beck, QBec, Becton by the Sea anyone?) was a bonus.

Really, though, my favourite game was Sam and Max Hit the Road, an awesome SCUMM game based on a comic starring a very anthropomorphic dog (Sam) and rabbit (Max) detective team. The format was the same as the other Lucas Arts games: move through the universe of the game, solving mysteries and puzzles along the way, with a good deal of trial and error thrown in. What set Sam and Max apart, though, was the droll humour of Sam's dialogue combined with Max's hyperactive eccentricity. Not to mention the randomness of the places they visit along the way (the world's biggest ball of twine and a weird as hell carnival) and the freakshow range of characters.

The game was released when I was 10 and it was a sad day when we upgraded our home computer such that Sam and Max no longer worked. Being a) geeky and b) sweet, The Ex managed to get hold of a copy for me for my 21st (I know...) along with the software I could use to fool my computer thinking it was retro (an emulator, I think). Somehow, the game wasn't quite as fun as I remembered, though scored highly for nostalgia; it was also a lot easier although I'm not sure whether this is because I still remembered how to solve the problems or because I am now cleverer!

Wired Magazine made my day for the second time today (the first being here) with the news that the continued interest in the computer game Sam and Max has led to the revival of the comic books and TV shows (on DVD). I hadn't realised that the game was being remade in a new "episodic" format by Telltale Games:

California-based developer Telltale Games produces the point-and-click graphic adventures, in which action takes a back seat to funny dialogue and quirky puzzles. The company's embrace of an unusual new business model -- "episodic" game content -- has proven to be the perfect platform for re-igniting interest in Sam & Max.

If typical videogames are like a Hollywood movie, Telltale's are like television series. The company releases one three-hour game every month, with six episodes making a "season." Season two of the Sam & Max games kicked off earlier this month.

I guess my geek radar just isn't quite as well-tuned as I thought. Either way, the relaunch of Sam and Max brings back a wave of nostalgia for my days of ΓΌber-geekdom where I could quite happily spend an entire day building my own empire or helping Indy save the world.

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