Episode 2 of Season 2 of Sam and Max continues the fresh trends we saw in Ice Station Santa. The pacing is brisk, the filler is minimal, and each location is compact. This is a good thing, because without these elements this episode might have been painful. The puzzles this time around are dastardly and obfuscated, harkening back to the old days of the adventure genre while not quite reaching the level of absurdity of a Gabriel Knight game. Just as striking as the spike in difficulty is the shift towards humor that is even more obscure and older in taste. Whether or not these are two trends for the future, or a sign of Telltale mixing it up as they see fit, remains to be seen. Whatever the case, this is a stumbling block for the series. → Read the rest
One thing I have noticed since I was young is that every new season of television shows creates a new trend or two. In the last 15 years it seems we have seen everything, from a flood of cartoons, themed sitcoms, non-themed sitcoms (thanks, Seinfeld), sci-fi shows, crime dramas, and more. There are two common patterns; either a network hits gold and cranks out dozens of similar shows to cash in (see how The Learning Channel nearly destroyed itself thanks to Trading Spaces), or two networks create almost identical pieces of shit in hopes that theirs will stick.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, we have seen both of these trends as the games industry has tried to tackle episodic gaming. On one hand, we had Telltale Games working on episodes for Bone and Sam and Max, while Valve and Ritual made their own serialized installments of Half Life and Sin via Steam and the Source engine. → Read the rest