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LucasArts' Secret History #9: Sam & Max Hit the Road Trivia and Secrets

Trivia

This game is widely regarded as a classic of the graphic adventure genre, but in recent years it's become notorious as a game with several failed attempts at a sequel. One attempt to make a second Sam & Max game was by Infinite Machine (founded by Justin Chin and the home of several other ex-LEC employees) sometime in 2001. It was to be an action/adventure game for the Xbox set in space, but the company went bankrupt while it was still in its conceptual stages. The second and more well-known failed game was Sam & Max: Freelance Police, a direct, graphic adventure sequel to Hit the Road for PCs developed by LucasArts itself after Infinite Machine console title went kaboom. A 3D point 'n click game, Freelance Police was headed by Mike Stemmle (co-project leader of Hit the Road), heavily involved Steve Purcell, and featured the original voice actors. After its announcement in 2002 (with a slated Spring '04 release), not much was heard about the game until its sudden cancellation in 2004, which occurred due to LEC's struggling financial position at the time. The game itself, unfortunately, was progressing well and was anywhere between two thirds and three fourths percent completed. These dark years for Sam & Max fans ended when Telltale Games (which now includes many people who used to work at LEC and Infinite Machine) announced its episodic Sam & Max adventure games, which it continues to produce to this day.

Mike Stemmle and Sean Clark were offered to head a new Indiana Jones adventure game, but given the intimidating timeframe (the game had to be shipped in under a year), they opted to make this instead.

This is the first LEC adventure game to feature a screensaver.

In addition to comics and games, Sam & Max appeared in a slightly toned-down, more kid oriented Saturday morning kids show in 1997, with Harvey Atkin and Robert Tinkler voicing the crime fighting duo. "The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police" aired on FOX Kids for a single season and won a Saturn award before its cancellation. While the general consensus is that the series is not quite on the level of the comics or Hit the Road, it's worth picking up the DVD for some rather excellent episodes.

A rare marketing item for the game was a floaty pen designed around one of the game's locations, the World of Fish. When Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge was being released, Tim Schafer lobbied hard for the marketing department to make a floaty pen depicting Guybrush's voyage in a coffin to the International House of Mojo, but the idea was nixed. When the Sam & Max team later had their pen approved, Schafer was annoyed, and he's humorously documented his feelings on the subject on the Double Fine web site.

Steve Purcell married fellow artist Collette McCloud during the production of this game.

Like most LEC games, there are references to Star Wars abound. Among many include Shuv-oohl's line, "It's like several voices screaming out in terror, and then suddenly silenced." Also, when looking at the shelves in a Snuckey's, Sam may say "It's full of Star Wars crap" (a chillingly accurate omen).

A reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark that hopefully doesn't need to be pointed out occurs when Sam and Max attempt to steal the toupee from Conroy's mansion.

After completing the virtual reality game and retrieving the key to the menagerie, Sam declares "I am the Key Master," a reference to the movie Ghostbusters.

Bill Farmer, the voice of Sam, also voices a number of the side characters in the game. He was also at the time and remains Disney's current voice for Goofy. The game's demo, which is a non-interactive preview of the game, features Bill Farmer as the narrator. Another member of the voice cast is Denny Delk, who would become something of a regular in future LEC games.

Try checking out what's going on at Bosco's on Sam and Max' street.

Try tossing some money into the well in Bumpusville outside of Conroy's mansion.

Try having Sam repeatedly pick up an object that can't be picked up.

Try listening to all of Sam and Max's answering machine messages. (You may have to repeatedly exit and reenter the office.)

The Snuckey's soda jerks all seem to resemble (whether intentionally or not) Bernard Bernoulli. In another possible kinship with Day of the Tentacle, one of the possible tunes that can play when inside a Snuckey's establishment is the music from Day of the Tentacle in Dwanye's room Additionally, two MIDIs from this game's soundtrack are mysteriously present in the resource files of Star Wars: Dark Forces.

The name "Snuckey's" is clearly a fake version of "Stuckey's," a real American roadside convenience store chain. The name change was likely for legal reasons, and in fact in Purcell's comic the stores are still called Stuckey's.

For the CD-ROM version of the game, four pieces of music from the game's soundtrack were offered as Redbook audio tracks, meaning they could actually be played in a CD player.

As part of a promotion for the cancelled sequel Sam & Max: Freelance Police, LucasArts included a fully updated, Windows XP compatible version of Hit the Road on the "preview disc" for Armed & Dangerous (a pre-order bonus item) in late 2003. Due to a mastering error, the sound would cut out once the player reached the Carnival. The updated version of the game (along with a few others) was also available in the UK exclusive Entertainment Pack, a compilation of some LEC adventures published by Activision. Updated version of Hit the Road (or any of the older adventures, for that matter) have never been made of available in the US (where LucasArts itself distributes) outside of this botched bonus disc.

The official hint book features a flipbook animation of Sam regurgitating Max.

The floppy disk version (in which only the intro scene is fully voiced) featured the last instance of old school copy-protection in an LEC adventure game, involving dressing up the characters.

Having painted the box covers for previous LEC adventure games, Steve Purcell naturally did the cover art for this game as well.

There's some lovely concept art scattered throughout the game's hint book.

Links/Resources

The Unofficial Sam & Max Website - It's a shell of it's former self, but we still love it.

Spudivison - The blog of artist and Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell,

Telltale Games - The website of Telltale Games, current developer of Sam & Max games and home to many old LEC developers. They also host a Sam & Max webcomic and are your Sam & Max one stop shop as they sell the Surfin' the Highway comic collection, the animated series DVD, Sam & Max sketchbooks and Sam & Max prints.

Fan art and music - courtsey of the gorgoeus Mojo Art. The song by Neil Cicierega ("Harry Potter Puppet Pals") is particularly [s]annoying[/s] good!

The Sam & Max Homepage - Another Sam & Max fanpage. Hasn't updates in five years and may have pissed off Jake at some point for stealing images, but it's a useful resource.

The complete soundtrack - from the always excellent Soundtrack Island.

Illictly gotten scans - A lovely four page magazine retrospective feature on Hit the Road.

The Hit the Road playing manual - Courtesy of replacementdocs.com. According to Mike Stemmle there's a dirty joke hidden in there. Can you spot it?

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