The new Telltale site is up complete with much sexier looking everything, and the previously mentioned updated back catalog. Most importantly, Sam & Max Season 1 is now available for preorder for $34.95. They say this is a limited offer, but none of you need to be told to buy it right now.

You might also notice that there are a few new games available from Telltale Now. Indie adventures Ankh, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine, and Samorost have found homes there, as has Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Sweet!

Dave Grossman has documented this year's example of his annual pumpkin abuse for the world to gawk at. Don't forget to check out and enjoy his other shameless monstrosities from years past if you haven't been keeping up.

The Autumn Moon blog has received its first update. Head writer Dave Harris reveals all about moving into new offices, conceptual art design, and oversized CMI standees. It's still so great to hear that this game is actually on track. Run, don't walk to the AME blog now.

So Emily tells us in this forum thread:
We will be releasing a new version of Out from Boneville in a week or so, that includes all the improvements made to the engine in the past year.

Watch for a big redesign on our website - once that is up, new versions of our Bone games and Texas Hold'em will be available for download as well.
This presumably means that we'll get resolution options and shadows, and probably lots of more subtle improvements. The question is, are these updated versions of Bone related to It?

... kind of. See, FTP is still not running on Mojo's ailing server, and we need FTP to post reviews. The stop-gap solution? Post the review right here, after the cut!<:MORENEWS:>

It was the solution worthy of an adventure game; the aging laptop I use for my limited PC gaming was overheating every twenty minutes, making it nigh on impossible to get any enjoyment out of the latest Sam & Max romp. The solution? Freeze a wet towel, wrap it in a dry blanket, and keep it under the computer while playing. Shockingly enough it worked, the laptop did not overheat.

As for Culture Shock, it's good. Very good. It's difficult to compare it to the ten hour long original Sam & Max game, but at this first step of season one I'd say it looks like the episodic treatment of the franchise might make up a better experience.

I'm not going to waste anybody's time with inconsequential fluff about the story, etc., seeing that most Mojo readers already knows what that is all about. In stead, I present the theory that there are three "obstacles" you will have to overcome to enjoy Culture Shock. They are...

One! The episodic format.

Yes, Sam & Max is even more extreme than Bone when it comes to short (though this time around more frequently released) episodes. This first installment will for most people take no longer than two hours to complete, largely because the puzzles are very simple, although you can certainly prolong the experience by interacting with everything multiple times, as well as driving around hitting stuff with the DeSoto. Some might label the latter an "action sequence" but I call it fun.

Anyhow, if owning a two hour game is something you consider a major problem, then fair enough; this might not be the game for you. For me it wasn't a big deal at all, as those two hours are full of humor and wacky characters. While I had some issues with lines in the Bone games falling flat, I really did not notice such a problem in Culture Shock where almost every punch-line delivers at least a chuckle or a grin. This is easily the funniest game I've played since Psychonauts.

I guess playing a game that is constantly entertaining for two hours is better for me than one that's fifteen hour without any entertainment value. And hey, the thing will obviously be out on hard media some day.

Two! The voices.

This is a rather subjective point, but Sam and Max's new voices grew on me quickly. Heck, Max is probably voiced better than he was in the original game. The supporting cast is, like in Bone, more of a mixed bag, but without ever detracting too much from the game play. Odds are that you will be too busy digging the fantastic soundtrack to notice the shortcomings anyway.

Three! Don't look now, but it's the 21st century.

Yes, it's 3d. Are anybody actually afraid of that anymore? I will admit that the screenshots looked a bit plastic-y to me, but everything seems to have been cleaned up nicely for the final game. Actually, "cleaned up" might be the exact opposite of what happened; "grunged up" might be a better expression. The engine seems to have undergone some improvements also, and moving around the environments feels more cinematic than it did in the earlier TTG games.

I'm fairly certain most anybody who can live with these three points will end up having a great time with Culture Shock, particularly if you are a fan of the slightly edgier tone of the comic-books. (I can only assume that LucasArts wanted a more family friendly game; Culture Shock seems to be more akin to the original material.)

This is really quite a good game, easily TTG's best. I have a feeling it will go down well with the thousands of people who lamented the cancelation of Freelance Police.

(Four skulls out of five.)


So now that Mojo's back up from one of its world famous and highly predictable server catastrophes, here's a quick rundown of what's happened this past week:
  • As you all know, Sam & Max: Culture Shock was released on Tuesday to the Gametap-subscribing public. It has met with rave reviews - check some out here and here (Some of those not recommended until after playing the game). Most of you are probably waiting for the worldwide release on November 1st, but should any of you subscribe to Gametap at some point in the future, do so through this link - Telltale receives a royalty.

  • A bunch of other Sam & Max related stuff has been unleashed onto the web to coincide with the release. As foreshadowed, Telltale has made the sketchbook and Max bones shirt available in their store. Gametap has launched its proper Sam & Max page complete with the release schedule. (Add 15 days to each of those for the Telltale launch.) There also exists some contests, an interim theater, and lots of other wacky things that you should find out about for yourself.

  • Bill Tiller updated the Autumn Moon site to say that production on A Vampyre Story is going well, and that a company blog will be appearing soonish. Also, their main page has been totally Halloweenafied.

  • Rumors have surfaced that LucasArts plans on publishing a Star Wars game.
That covers just about everything, probably. Leave your stories of near-suicide over Mojo's absence in the comments.

In classic Mojo tradition, the day before Sam & Max came out, the server decided it was time to crash the hard drive. Fortunately, Matt and others from LFNetwork were able to recover 99% of the data after only a few days downtime! (Not bad compared to the previous record of six months downtime) Anyway, welcome back! Things seem back to normal for now.

Nice! The port was the work of Vanbrio. Hopefully for Mac users this is only the first of Telltale games that is made available to them.

Tim Schafer has updated the Double Fine Action News to remind everyone that Psychonauts is now available for purchase from Steam for just $19.95.

For those who don't know, Steam is the downloadable games service built by Valve Software to distribute their popular Half-Life series of first person shooters. Valve has slowly been expanding out the service to include other interesting PC titles, including great games like Defcon, Rag Doll Kung Fu, X3 Reunion, and of course things like Counter-Strike.

In celebration of Psychonauts being available through digital distribution, Double Fine artist Scott Campbell drew an awesome special edition of his Action Comic featuring Raz, the Two-Headed Baby, and Half-Life's Gordon Freeman and the G-Man exchanging gifts. It's available right here.

If you don't yet own the Excellent Game Psychonauts you have no excuses left. Go get it on Steam right now.

It seems that, as they've done with Bone, Telltale is releasing Jared Emerson-Johnson's soundtrack to the upcoming Sam & Max: Season 1 online. The first three tracks (including The Office theme, which is playing on the MySpace page) are up now for your listening delight. They're offensively awesome.

A big congratulations from Mixnmojo to Tim Schafer, Erik Wolpaw and the whole team at Double Fine for Psychonauts' bringing home the BAFTA for best screenplay in a video game. Awesome!

Sure, we all know we can get the games by subscribing to Gametap, but how much are the individual episodes going to be when sold on Telltale's web site? Well, that question has been answered:
Without further ado, here is the pricing for Sam & Max: Season 1:

Individual episodes: $8.95
The entire season: $34.95

Buying the entire season gets you access to each episode as soon as it comes out on Telltale's site (we'll send you an email to let you know it's available), and next spring you can get a CD version of Season 1 for the price of shipping. Remember, there will be six episodes in Season 1, which means buying the whole season up front will save you almost $20. We'll start taking preorders for Season 1 in a couple of weeks.
So there ya go. The pay-one-price thing has been hinted at for awhile, and it seems like a sweet deal for those getting the boxed version down the line. $8.95 per episode sounds darn reasonable too, for the reluctant pansies afraid to take the plunge. Oh, and here's the press release for those of you who are too good for the blog version.