Sam and Max Hit the Road: Tall twine tales

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1993’s Sam and Max Hit the Road. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

Next up on the Sam & Max tour — the World’s Largest Ball of Twine! So large, in fact, that you have to take a lift chair up to see the top of it.

“It’s places like this that make me wish I was Canadian!” Sam grouses.

“They got one too, but half of it’s French,” the museum caretaker replies.

If you’re not exploring every dialogue and observation option, you’re missing out on so many great jokes. Trust me on this.

With Weird Al’s “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” playing in my head, Sam and Max take the tram to the ball’s summit, where a small restaurant resides. Sam makes mention of grabbing the loose end of the twine because, “you always need a large piece of string in games like this.” True dat.

As you can tell from even this post alone, Sam & Max doesn’t have any qualms against repeatedly breaking the fourth wall. It’s part of the charm, that it’s so self-aware, and one of the features of the goofier adventure games from the era (see Space Quest and Curse of Monkey Island for other good examples).

Getting the loose piece of string is, as is typical in adventure games, extremely roundabout. But it’s clever, too! Players who notice that the chef at the Ball of Twine restaurant is chopping off fish heads might remember the guy at World of Fish who was flinging fish into a net, which was then carried off by a helicopter.

Putting two and two together, Sam and Max stow away on a giant fiberglass trout, get fished up, take a choppa ride, and finally get their string.

Also, they fall OFF of the ball of twine, but they’re cartoons, so they’ll be OK.

By combining a long-distance grabber, Jesse James’ severed hand, and a World of Fish magnet, Sam is able to construct a device to reach into the ball and grab a mood ring lodged there. “That was wholesome,” he remarks. “And physically improbable!” Max adds.

Next stop for the duo is the Mystery Vortex in the Pacific Northwest. Gettin’ a real strong Gravity Falls vibe from this place! So what’s inside this place? I’m just as curious as you are!

This is everything I was hoping for and so much more. Lots of weird stuff doing weird things, all the while making Sam and Max grow and shrink.

“That’s a mirror!” Sam exclaims.

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