The Penal Zone

For the first time today, the world gets exposed to The Penal Zone, the first episode in the new Sam & Max series!

The first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse is out today for PC, Mac, and the PlayStation Network for PS3. Of course, if you were my real friend you would’ve already bought it by now, but as a special bonus offer, Telltale is still allowing you to buy it.

Plus there’s crazy cool extra stuff, like special stuff for your characters in Team Fortress 2 if you buy it from Steam, thanks to Jake and Robert and the fine folks at Valve Software. (You need to buy it from Telltale to get the collector’s disc at the end of the season, though). And also a Flaming Max Head shot glass and a Max Imp T-Shirt which I didn’t know the store was selling and I totally want now. It’s a madhouse! A madhouse of savings!

The first episode in the series is called The Penal Zone, and it’s about OH MY GOD I JUST GOT THAT JOKE. I wish somebody had warned me that it sounded kind of like a dirty word when we were coming up with the ideas for the episodes. As it is I had to find out from people who write blog comments.

Anyway, The Penal Zone is the most deeply personal game I’ve worked on. As you can imagine, growing up in the South in the late 70s and 80s, I saw first-hand the effects of hyper-intelligent alien gorilla invasions, and I recognized that this is a story that needs to be told. But the media always presents a one-sided picture, to let complacent middle Americans point the finger of blame at someone and then pat themselves on the back saying “We’ve solved the space gorilla problem.” It was important to me that The Penal Zone be not just a lecture, but a forum for open discourse and, yes, healing. I believe that videogames can make a difference — I have to believe that — and this game is my own humble way of showing all other game developers what’s possible with the medium.

PROTIP: My favorite gag in the game is when you look at the antenna on top of Bosco-Tech Labs.