Keeping secrets isn’t easy

A Sam 'n' Max comic for my secret santaOne of my usual haunts on the Internet is the Ars Technica OpenForum, and around this time every year they run a Secret Santa where forum members buy geeky gifts for each other. I won’t make any pretence of modesty – I expect the gift value to be worth somewhere at or near the specified value (US$25 plus shipping), or to have had some thought or effort put into it, or preferably both, but not none of the above.

In past years, the gifts that I’ve received have usually been good, but unsatisfactory by the above “standard”. I’m sure this is in no small part due to the fact that I live in Australia, and Ars Technica is a US-based website.

This year, however, my expectations were not only met, but greatly exceeded. My secret santa bought for me the entire first season of the game Sam & Max, plus a poster signed by Steve Purcell, the creator of the comic. I photoshopped the dialogue from a Sam & Max comic to express my gratitude, which you can see by clicking on the thumbnail picture above (my forum username is zzyss and my santa’s is westyx). Unfortunately, despite my santa’s attempts to conceal his identity, which included registering a purpose-specific gmail account, the games store accidentally provided his details in an e-mail informing that the poster was out of stock and will be shipping as soon as it becomes available.

I loved the original Lucasarts game Sam & Max Hit the Road, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting reacquainted with the characters and their quirky humour in this new series.

On a side note, this game also represents a new trend in gaming, where instead of releasing a story-based game all in one go, the narrative is broken up into discrete chunks and presented episodically, similar to a TV series. See also: Half Life 2 goes episodic on Gamespot.