I don’t have a good reason to write this post outside of wanting to bring one of my favorite video games of all time to your attention.
The game is a weird little point and click adventure game called Sam and Max: Hit the Road. It’s based off a series of goofy comic books written and drawn by a dude who used to work at LucasArts (the video game division of George Lucas’ Star Wars empire) who also happens to work with Pixar and is responsible for really cool things like the screenplay for Brave.
The year was 1995 (or maybe 1996? 97? This is really unimportant) and I was at Best Buy looking through the PC games section, and I came across this little CD case on sale for $9.99 with a silly cartoon picture on the front and a warning label saying “Warning: Naked Bunny with Attitude” on the front. I’ll be honest, I was probably more taken with the fact that this game was in my price range more than anything else. But lucky me, I had hit the jackpot with this random uninformed purchase, because with this one random act of chance, I found a game that would occupy a space in my brain for years to come, and, obviously, gave me something to talk to you about today.
If I’m being honest, the gameplay isn’t really all that great. Point and click adventure games tend to get rather tedious as you try to go back through all of the places you’ve already been in order to find the one thing that you can click on that will open up the next part of the story. The same thing happens here. I remember during my first play through, I spent hours going from one location to the next trying to figure out what I was missing. And actually, it’s probably that exact piece which stuck with me, because these locations are one of the things I love most about this game. Well, that and the spectacular dialogue which I find myself still quoting to this day.
It’s an adventure story about an anthropomorphic dog and rabbit who call themselves the Freelance Police. They get a case where a local carnival’s bigfoot has gone missing. This leads them on a chase across the country to solve the mystery of the missing bigfoot, taking them to such great locales such as The Largest Ball of Twine, or Gator Golf (a flooded mini-golf course infested with alligators), or the World of Fish (which looks an awful lot like the World’s Largest Musky in Hayward, WI).
It’s quirky in all of the best ways, and led to this odd couple getting their own Saturday morning cartoon, as well as a series of new similar games released about a decade ago and a new VR game coming out this fall.
Sam and Max have this fanatical cult following which has allowed them to continue to exist for decades and, amusingly enough, I don’t know of a single other person who knows about them, except the people I have showed them to directly.
I picked up a copy of this original game again not too long ago and I’ve been slowly reworking through it with my youngest kid, and the whole time I play it, I’m instantly brought back to sitting in my dusty room in front of my beige monitor, playing the game with several high school friends crowded around shouting ideas on what we need to do next. And…I kinda love it.
So, this is really just a long post telling you all about how much I’ll need to pick up a VR setup just so I can play the new game when it comes out. Or maybe that you should also consider playing it…I guess. I really don’t know how much this holds up outside of the nostalgia aspect for me. But that at least is keeping it fresh and fun all the same.