Telltale’s Great Adventure Bundle 2010

By John Walker on September 8th, 2010 at 9:39 pm.

Possibly not the greatest bundle this year.

Telltale has a little bundle on at the moment, collecting together six adventure games, and giving 25% of the price away to a series of charities. Which seems like a jolly decent sort of thing to do. It’s The Great Adventure Bundle 2010. The quality of the games in the deal are mixed. None is exceptional, and one is dreadful. However, it’s for a very reasonable price at $20. It contains: Penny Arcade Adventures, The Whispered World, Jack Keane, Puzzle Agent, King’s Quest Collection, and if they sell 5,000 bundles, Sam & Max Season 2. For two more days.

The Whispered World comes so close to being great, but sadly fall short in a few key ways, not least the puzzles. I reviewed it for Eurogamer, and gave it a 6. However, this is a great way to recommend it – at full price it was one for those feeling forgiving. Here in this collection, you absolutely should, because it has oodles of charm.

The King’s Quest Collection contains a mixture of absolutely classic Sierra adventures, along with some real turds. This pack doesn’t contain the eighth game, but heck – it’s seven games right there.

Penny Arcade Adventures of course never really took off, and with the second episode selling a third as many as the first, the third episode was canned and the series cancelled. However, they’re a novel twist on adventuring, bringing in aspects of RPG, and containing a great deal of Penny Arcade’s sense of humour.

Puzzle Agent was an experimental pilot project by Telltale, attempting to create a game in the style of the DS’s Professor Layton series. Unfortunately, while the presentation was lovely, the puzzles are mostly rubbish, as described in my review there. Very simplistic, very repetitive, and often better placed as distractions in a children’s wordsearch book rather than a game clearly aimed at adults.

And Jack Keane. Here’s my review of that. It’s a comedy puzzle game which isn’t funny and has terrible puzzles, surrounded by some really troubling xenophobia.

Sam & Max Season 2 clearly divides opinion. I would say that the enormous step up in quality shown by season 3 somewhat vindicates my hefty criticisms of the first two runs, obsessing on unlikeable characters, and stuck to a limited format. However, clearly a million billion people disagree, and the run proved very popular. All five episodes will be in here, if they only manage to sell a lot more copies.

So, well, it’s not the most inspiring collection. I’d say the flawed but adorable The Whispered World for $20 is a decent price on its own, and getting seven King’s Quest games in the deal isn’t half bad. My real concern though is that Sam & Max season 2, which makes the $20 a really good deal, isn’t looking likely to be included. The lot separately would cost you $120, so it’s economically rather impressive.

And of course $5 of that goes toward one of five charities, and you get to choose which. You could donate to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society, Child’s Play, the World Wildlife Fund, or Nyota e.V.

1,509 copies have sold so far, which doesn’t send a lot the charities’ way just yet, but there’s two days left on the offer. So if you fancy any of those five games (or arguably 11 games) for the price of one, it seems like the ideal way to get them. But I express a little concern at the site’s claim that it’s “6 games for $19.95″ when one of those games will actually be included should they suddenly sell another 3,500 copies in the next two days.

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40 Comments »

  1. Rootboy says:

    Shame about the Penny Arcade games – I rather enjoyed both of the episodes. Funny little JRPG-lite is an unusual genre.

  2. karry says:

    “containing a great deal of Penny Arcade’s sense of humour.”

    What you wanted to say was “containing things, which Penny Arcade people sometimes consider humorous for no good reason whatsoever”.

    • John Walker says:

      I was very self-controlled.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      This is in contrast to other sorts of humour, which contains things which other people sometimes consider humorous for no good reason whatsoever.

      Because it’s humour.

      There was a survey done in 2002 on different sorts of jokes that different sorts of people from around the world found funny. Obviously there was quite a lot of differing opinion on which jokes were funniest, but there was a vote and a winner was crowned:

      A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator, in a calm, soothing voice, says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: “Okay, now what?”

      So there you have it, the objectively funniest joke in the world.

  3. robrob says:

    Which one is dreadful, Jack Keane or Nelson Tethers? Also do you think people are starting to feel fatigue from these kinds of offers? The first time there was a pay-what-you-want deal it was pretty special but now there are so many going towards that model and similar bundles to this with the charity angle that they lose their attractiveness somewhat.

  4. Andy_Panthro says:

    Which of the King’s Quest collection is an absolute turd? I don’t much like KQ7, but the rest are pretty solid (although the graphics for the early ones might put people off, and the parser interface…).

    Mind you, since I already own the KQ collection there isn’t anything in this pack that I want… never mind.

    Good idea these sorts of things though.

    • stahlwerk says:

      here’s my totally subjective rule of thumb regarding the KQs:
      even numbers: okay game, good game and great game.
      odd numbers: ugly turd (original and remake), unfair turd, short/absurd turd and ugly turd again.

      They all suffer from “I hope you saved before doing this” bullshit death out of nowhere. KQ5 even allows you to consume a quest item you get near the beginning that is needed much later, and it doesn’t indicate its importance even when doing so. Also pixel walking of death in 1-4. But that’s the old-school Sierra we all learned to love.
      I would go as far and say that KQ6 was one of the best games Sierra ever made.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I never got the hate for the Sierra adventure games.

      Yes, they were unforgiving and often had odd puzzle solutions, but I grew up with them (and some brief attempts to play some of the old infocom text adventures).

      I think the difference might be those that started with the Lucasarts style of no-deaths. It’s quite a different style.

  5. goatmonkey says:

    hehe I was the one that twitterered you about this (though you may have already known)

  6. Alex F says:

    I’ll be That Nostalgia Guy and argue that King’s Quest 6 is, indeed, exceptional. I’d easily say it’s worth $20, though of course, you can get it from other sources much cheaper… so, you know, absolute rather than relative worth.

    (For those unfamiliar: Yes, it’s a normal Sierra point-and-click adventure, but the storytelling is really a cut above most of the other adventures of the time–possibly thanks to Jane Jensen of Gabriel Knight fame, who co-designed it. The 2d background art, as usual for late-period Sierra, is absolutely gorgeous, and takes full advantage of the weird fantasy setting. There are some problematic puzzles, but most are good fun. Plus, there’s a fantastic xylophone number.)

  7. Xercies says:

    To be honest I think sierra games are only good to those people that are nostalgic and played them in there youth I never did and i have played them today and they are absolutly horrible games. Yes! The stories maybe ok but the puzzles and the constant killing you becaus emaybe you never picked up that random item to get past that future puzzle you had no idea about.

    • Ozzie says:

      I’m nostalgic for LucasArts adventures, but started playing the Sierra adventures just in the last five years, and played KQ6 three years ago. I think it’s great, one of the ten best adventures, probably.

  8. Nikolaj says:

    I might consider buying this, but I can’t figure out how their store works. Will I be able to re-download and reactivate the games when I please (I assume that they won’t be shipping me physical copies, although it doesn’t really say so anywhere)? If I cared more about the games, I might go to their forums to investigate, but as it is I think I’ll just pass.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Telltale store is pretty much on-par with Steam/GG/GOG with that…. the downloads are unlimited, it should apply to this offer as well

  9. Carra says:

    I already have Sam & Max S2 which I really enjoyed playing. Haven’t played the newest season yet so I can’t compare it with that..

    For the rest of the package, nothing that really makes me want to push the “buy button” without further thinking.

  10. wiper says:

    Ehh, I threw some money their (and Nyota e.V.’s) way; I’ve been umming and ahhing over The Whispered World for long enough now, and the KQ and Penny Arcade sets add enough of a cherry on top for £13 to seem completely reasonable. Hell, I might even install the Keane game one day!

    And if Sam & Max Season 2 /does/ get unlocked, it’ll be a lovely little bonus; I never did give it a try after being burned by the first season, but I’ll happily give it a go if it’s thrown at me for nowt.

    Actually, in a very strange way, one of the best things about this is entirely thanks to it being largely a collection of flawed games: I actually have so far /avoided/ all the games in it, so I don’t find myself owning any multiples of titles (well, aside from a couple of the Kings Quests), so for once it’s a bundle which doesn’t make me feel like I’m throwing money at nothing.

    • sassy says:

      Who is Nyota e.V? I saw them listed and had no clue who they are, so i googled and didn’t find anything useful … not that it matters overly much to me, WWF will always be my charity of choice.

      S&M S1 burned you? It was quite a fantastic little season but telltale hadn’t hit their stride yet. Reality 2.0 was absolutely fantastic, especially when they gave you the text parser.

    • Subject 706 says:

      I can agree a little bit about S&M Season 1. I wouldn’t say I got burned by it, but the first few episodes were not especially funny in my opinion.

      I persevered though, and it really improved. Reality 2.0, just as you said was fantastic fun.

  11. Jimbo says:

    *Or* you could subscribe to Metaboli for a month and play some good games, and then by the time that runs out it’ll be release season anyway.

  12. drewski says:

    As I have no interest in any of those games except PAA and TWW, this bundle makes little sense for me. Unfortunately, I don’t like adventure games enough to buy them at that price. $5 for a season of episodic adventures is about my limit.

  13. Dean says:

    Think it might not be doing so well as so many of the games have been on offer lately. I recently picked up Sam and Max Season 2 for $5 from Telltale, and that was with the DVD version delivered. Puzzle Agent I got ‘full price’ but it was only $15 and you got anything else you wanted from the store for half-price, so that plus Sam and Max Season 3 was actually cheaper than just buying Season 3.

    Kings Quest and Jack Keane I got both cheap in the Steam sale ages ago. Ironically I was interested enough in The Whispered World that I was going to go for it anyway, as I wanted to try the Penny Arcade games. But then saw it was just the first one and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  14. Ricc says:

    I always thought Jack Keane was universally liked, because it’s so popular in Germany. Weird. Tastes must differ around the world. That makes me want to go play the game, actually.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Going by John’s review on Eurogamer the quality seems to have suffered a lot in internationalisation.

    • phlebas says:

      It certainly seems to have lacked post-translation playtesting. That’s hardly unusual (Runaway had similar issues and Keepsake had one complete game-breaker) but unlike either of those it never really threatens to be a great game in the first place. Lots of pretty animated sequences, but cripplingly linear, lots of places you can arbitrarily only do things in one order and so on. It’s possible the German version of the script is hilarious and it’d be enjoyable played in the original language with a walkthrough.

  15. JonFitt says:

    When I saw this the other day it looked like it was just the first PAA episode and only one episode from S&M?

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      First PAA episode only. S&M is the entire season 2, but there’s no way 5,000 are gonna be purchased by tomorrow. It will be interesting to see whether Telltale unlocks anyway because this sale has been somewhat of a fiasco for the following reasons:

      -Launches quietly on a holiday when no press is working to drum up fanfare
      -Unlock mechanism creates incentive to fence sit
      -Five charities dilutes the message a bit
      -Telltale employee originally tweets that PAA epsiode 2 is also included, later retracted, but confusion remains
      -Whispered World is missing video files at first, later corrected
      -Advertised as “6 games for $19.95″ though only 4 are guaranteed
      -Telltale’s games are not offered up front
      -Jack Keane is a bit crap apparently

    • Hulk Handsome says:

      It’s already more than six games, technically, since there are seven in the King’s Quest collection.

  16. J J says:

    Fellow, the third season is fantastic, and you owe it to yourself to play it.

  17. dingo says:

    King’s Quest VI also has the “Girl in the Tower” song which makes it automatically one of the best King’s Quests :)

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Never liked that song, despite being a big Sierra/Quest fan. The music in KQ5 is much more memorable imho.

    • Ozzie says:

      I thought the song was the only awful aspect of KQVI. Dislike it pretty strongly…

  18. suibhne says:

    Does the KQ pack still not work in Windows 7?

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I would assume that all the dosbox based ones would work fine… not sure though.

      That would cover KQ1-6 though, can’t remember if there was a dos version of KQ7…

  19. Oozo says:

    Always wondered about that, too… I mean, it IS very much liked in Germany, and even by a few guys who’s taste I usually trust in. Might really partly be a problem of taste, or something lost in translation.

    Then again, German media have a clear positive bias towards games coming from their parts. I remember the issue of “Gamestar” (Germany’s biggest PC game-mag) where they raved about Mass Effect 2 and wouldn’t stop listing points where the (otherwise pretty decent, I figure) Drakensang 2 fell short of its predecessor – and then gave them the same score.
    A bit weird, indeed.

    • Ozzie says:

      I agree. Neither Drakensang nor Jack Keane are very good. GameStar actually praised Jack Keane as the best adventure since Monkey Island 3! Which is just wrong…they’re definitely not in the same league, I’d say JK is three below…

  20. Oozo says:

    Ah, boggers. That was supposed to be a reply @Ricc

  21. DukeIsArts says:

    I will start playing Sam&Max adventures stuff again when they start looking as awesomely awesome as the Lucasarts adventure once more, and not this badly done low-poly 3D Studio Max 2.0 phon shader shite.
    I so abhor this terrible 3D-ification just so that it’s 3D for no purpose.

    In a similiar vein:
    How is Whispered World with it’s incredible artwork NOT a standout adventure compared all the infinite run of the mill prerendered, stale, boring background adventures thrust out these days?

    • phlebas says:

      Presumably it is a standout game for people who only care about the graphics. Walker’s review certainly had nothing bad to say about the visuals.

  22. Hulk Handsome says:

    The deal has been extended for a WEEK.

  23. Hulk Handsome says:

    They are unlocking Sam & Max TOMORROW, so get in while you can if that’s what you were waiting for!

    I’m really glad they decided to unlock it, but it’s also a bit sad they didn’t get close to what they were hoping to raise… but every little bit helps.