Of course! The only way to save the universe and stop Hitler is to go back in time and un-invent the coat hanger!
July 19, 2009 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Time Gentlemen, Please! is a point-n-click adventure game with a style that harks back to LucasArts/ScummVM games like Sam and Max and Maniac Mansion. The game follows two guys as they travel through time, making wise-cracks while trying to save the universe and rollback their contribution to Hitler's rise to power (which happened in Ben There, Dan That, a game that was the JayIsGames Best of 2008) by un-inventing the coat hanger. (note: you don't need to have played the first game - I didn't).

Ben There, Dan That is a free download.

Time Gentlemen, Please! has a demo, and the full version is a super-reasonable $5 USD. There's also a walkthrough if you need it.


Rock, Paper, Shotgun says:
"It’s a hugely funny game in its subversion, and it makes me laugh in a way I laughed at Monkey Island et al in the 1990s... this is the Sam & Max follow-up I’ve been waiting for. It might star two British blokes rather than a talking dog and rabbit, but it’s the classic comedy pairing of the competent one and the stupid one, both equally psychotic in their own ways, and it doesn’t express this simply by catchphrases and references to off-camera violence.

JayIsGames says:
"Despite the time mechanics, Time Gentlemen, Please! is a playground for just about every type of humor that is likely to get you ousted from civil society. This is not a game for the easily offended, the squeamish, people with a heart condition, or pregnant women. Ben and Dan break nearly every social taboo with crude abandon, and they are hilarious as they do it. The writing is simply wonderful, but what really delivers the punch are all the tiny little details... By far the best "5-ish" dollars I ever spent — amazing job, Dan and Ben!"
posted by tybeet (21 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
$5.30? Yeah, this is a fucking ad.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:15 PM on July 19, 2009

$5.30? Yeah, this is a fucking ad.

I can assure you I have no connection whatsoever to Zombie Cow Studios.
posted by tybeet at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2009

Not for Macs...
posted by schyler523 at 5:18 PM on July 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

So yea, tybeet went slightly overboard in linking to positive reviews of the game, but damn, it is fun. Check it out.
posted by America at 5:35 PM on July 19, 2009

The Rock Paper Shotgun link you posted has no connection whatsoever to the pull quote you have their, either. You probably meant to link this.
posted by empath at 5:43 PM on July 19, 2009

It runs perfectly on my Mac under Crossover Games. If you use a Mac (without Parallels or BootCamp or similar), and like games, you should definitely give it a whirl. Nearly every cool-looking indie Windows game I've tried has worked flawlessly with it, and it runs a lot of commercial games as well.
posted by rifflesby at 5:44 PM on July 19, 2009 [8 favorites]

The Rock Paper Shotgun link you posted has no connection whatsoever to the pull quote you have their, either. You probably meant to link this.

Oops! Yep that's the one. Looks like I c&p'd from the wrong tab's address.
posted by tybeet at 5:50 PM on July 19, 2009

Oh FFS. Act now, while supplies last! And by "supplies" I mean "this post".
posted by DU at 6:05 PM on July 19, 2009

Rifflesby, you are my goddamn hero. I have no idea that Crossover even existed, which means that my Mac laptop has no games on it at all, while my windows desktop has all the games. Sometimes I really want to just throw an adventure game on my Mac for plane rides or beach trips, etc, but have always been stymied by the fact that indie games would rather not acknowledge that Macs exist.

I love you, man.
posted by Concolora at 6:08 PM on July 19, 2009

:) Seriously. You should've seen my face when I discovered its existence. Such glee!

Also, if it's primarily adventure games you're into, there's an OS X version of ScummVM, which runs all the classic Lucasarts stuff (and some others, like Broken Sword) and is less fiddly to use than Crossover. (Not that Crossover is hard, but it took me a little getting used to. The user guide will be your friend.)
posted by rifflesby at 6:20 PM on July 19, 2009

Yes, kudos Riff. Maybe my friends of the Mac persuasion will give this a shot!

It seems like a weird transition, free to pay, but I will play both the first game and the second game demo. My bet is that I would have ended up donating more money to them then I would pay for the 2nd game, seeing as I absolutely love adventure games.
posted by Askiba at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2009

I don't care if it's a conventional choice: Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders is still my favourite computer game of all time, and I spent more time than advisable playing other LucasArts ones too (Maniac Mansion, sure -- but Labyrinth, anyone?).

So yeah, I'm really looking forward to playing this.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:26 PM on July 19, 2009

I've played both of the games and enjoyed them both. Unlike many of the recent free (and even some commercial) adventure games I've played, almost every action I tried received a custom (and often humorous) response, even those that really didn't need one. This makes being stuck quite a bit more pleasant. I found the humor coarse but effective. The sequence where the support character Dan is forced to do some "adventuring" himself and is nearly paralyzed for fear of screwing it up is particularly effective. The writers have completely bought into the ridiculous logic of the classic adventure game. I often get frustrated when I try to do something that, despite being perfectly reasonable, was not part of the authors' plans, but Ben and Dan turn each of those moments into an opportunity for humor.

I do have some reservations about recommending this to everyone. I said that the humor is coarse, but it bears repeating. Think South Park minus the satirical elements (that make its edginess acceptable to some) and keep in mind that most of Time Gentlemen, Please is set in Nazi-occupied England, and you'll have a rough idea of what you're in for. I found that there were a few scenes that were more uncomfortable than funny, but that line is in a different place for everyone, so your mileage may vary. The built-in hint system for Time Gentlemen, Please was essentially useless to me, doing little but tell you which puzzle you should be trying to solve at that moment (in some games, this is a huge help, but not so much here). Most, but not all, of the humor comes from one of four sources: violence, sex, old-school adventure games, or English stereotypes. If none of those sound even remotely amusing to you, you may find large stretches of this game tedious or obnoxious.

On the whole, I'd say that the two games combined are worth the $5 that they're charging for the second one (the first is still free). Maybe even $10. But I wouldn't pay much more than that.

Oh, and the pedant in me feels the need to point out that Ben and Dan's contribution to Hitler's rise to power was their attempt to un-invent the hanger and that this happened between the two games. The goal of Time Gentlemen, Please is to stop themselves from trying to uninvent the hanger. Seriously...throw a couple time travel paradoxes into a story and suddenly nobody can keep the plot straight anymore.
posted by ErWenn at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2009

You had me at LucasArts, tybeet! I love any game (or post) that answers my question.
posted by Lush at 2:10 AM on July 20, 2009

If you don't feel like shelling out cash for Crossover Games, be aware that it's a commercial version of the freely available WINE anyway. You can often get things to run just fine under WINE without resorting to CXG.
posted by majick at 7:19 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

You had me at LucasArts, tybeet! I love any game (or post) that answers my question.

Yahtzee Croshaw (of Zero Punctuation fame) did a series of four horror adventure games that I would recommend. They aren't funny like his game reviews, but they're well-written. Sort of noir, sort of Silent Hill.

In order, they're called "5 Days a Stranger", "7 Days a Skeptic", "Trilby's Notes", and "6 Days a Sacrifice", and you can get them here.
posted by rifflesby at 12:06 PM on July 20, 2009

Nice little game. I really did appreciate that almost every command resulted in a joke. Most adventure games today can't get away with this because they have vocals. Voice actors are expensive; text is cheap.

I went most of the game without using hints, but once or twice I resorted to a walkthrough just because going back and forth to try out various ideas was so slooooow. The game has a nice map that could teleport you from spot to spot, but bounce-walking from place to place within a location takes forever. Game designers, take note: make puzzles that are appropriate for your UI. If the puzzles are esoteric enough that there's going to be some trial and error or brute forcing, make sure that I can brute force quickly.

I was also a little disappointed with the time travel. There were some nice instances of your actions in the past influencing the future, but not as many as I had hoped, and none were as funny as the kind of stuff that was done in Day of the Tentacle. Most of the game could have been about an alternate dimension instead of time travel. (I'm still waiting on a movie or a game that does time travel well and entirely consistently. There's a wealth of plots out there just waiting to be mined.)
posted by painquale at 3:03 PM on July 20, 2009

Yahtzee's series is good on the whole, but man does it ever start to fall apart as the series goes on. The first two games are solid genre horror games --- 7 Days a Skeptic in particular is really excellent. In the third game Yahtzee starts getting a little overcome with the mythology he's invented, but the game has that real-world/demon-world swapping trick, which makes for some good puzzles and atmosphere.

The fourth game, however, is such a shambles that it actually makes the earlier games worse. It tried to explain too much and ended up incoherent. I liked it when the games were about some creepy welder and a noirish cat burglar, and didn't aspire to be epic.

The Trilby action game is fantastic, though.
posted by painquale at 3:14 PM on July 20, 2009

painquale: You want to go rent and watch Primer right now.

And if you like old-school-style super-hard puzzle-fest text-based adventure games games, you might want to play Finding Martin (free download here). It's not a perfect game, but it's got the best time-travel puzzles of any video game I've ever played. I may be biased because my mom wrote it, however.
posted by ErWenn at 9:48 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's always someone who recommends Primer whenever I complain about time travel movies! I really do need to see it. But I hear that although it's really complicated and neat, it's still incoherent at root. 12 Monkeys is the only movie I've seen that comes close.
posted by painquale at 10:22 PM on July 20, 2009

painquale: If you're the sort of person* who isn't normally confused by complex plotlines where the movie doesn't spell out all the details for you, then you may have an experience similar to mine: everything will be quite clear until the characters themselves start to get confused. That's definitely long enough to get that finally-time-travel-that-makes-sense feeling. After that, if you're the sort of person* who's brain doesn't shut down when some things are extremely confusing, enough of it makes sense to give the impression that everything will make sense if you can just figure it out. And once it's over, if you and your friends are the sort of people who enjoy trying to puzzle the details out afterwards, you actually can figure most of it out, with at least one niggling exception of that one plot point whose cause is deliberately unknowable.

*Of course the "sort of person" you are has as much to do with how much sleep you got the night before and how "into" the story you are as it does any inherent personality trait.

Uh, and to keep this at least somewhat on-topic: Nazi Robot Dinosaurs: Yeah!
posted by ErWenn at 10:44 PM on July 21, 2009

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