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Telltale’s ‘Puzzle Agent’: A Disquieting Trip Up North



Before Telltale were known for taking existing IPs and giving them the “cinematic game” treatment, they would take existing IPs and use them for the basis of more standard point n’ click adventure games. This is far from a bad thing, and though they would go on to find a more unique voice in the world of gaming with titles that utilized their trademark “interactive film” style (beginning with The Walking Dead), these point ‘n’ clicks were often bursting with personality and telling some great stories of their own. This is where Puzzle Agent comes in — a two-entry series that made its debut in 2010, and to this day remains Telltale’s only unique IP. It’s time to give this ominous, under-the-radar classic series a look, and see what made the trip to Scoggins such a worthwhile endeavor.

Puzzle Agent

The most immediately interesting part about this series is its uniquity. While other Telltale games added on to an already existing universe, the world of Puzzle Agent was something built from the ground up, conceptualized by Mark Darin and Canadian cartoonist/animator Graham Annabelle (Of Grickle fame). It follows the story of Nelson Tethers, the only member of the Puzzle Research Division of the FBI. He is contacted about an eraser factory that has suddenly stopped production, and it’s his job to find out why. This means he must travel to the factory’s fictional location of Scoggins, Minnesota to unravel this mystery for himself.

This plot takes a number of surprising turns and remains interesting throughout both games. Agent Tethers is an excellent protagonist, and he fills his role as the endearing straight man in a strange town very well. It also helps that the voice cast nails each of their respective roles. The story definitely has echoes of the murder mystery of Twin Peaks and the genre-bending of the Coen Brothers, particularly Fargo. These are great influences to have, and the game works with them perfectly. It’s safe to say that if you’re a Fargo or Peaks fan, you will certainly find something to like with Puzzle Agent. While the games may be thematically similar to these existing works, they effectively utilizes these influences to create their own mysterious world for players to exist in.

Puzzle Agent

 If you’ve heard of Puzzle Agent before, you’ve also probably heard it compared to the Professor Layton series at some point. The reason for this is that from a gameplay standpoint, they’re fundamentally similar. Both are point-n-click adventures in which players navigate a world where puzzles are plentiful, and both can be completed simply by talking to residents in the campaign. There’s even a hint system reminiscent of the hint coins in Layton, as Agent Tethers collects already-been-chewed gum (it helps him think) in order to uncover different hints about his own puzzles. Unfortunately, there are some puzzles that may cause frustration due to a lack of proper explanation, though most of them do their job quite well. True, the main gameplay of the series was technically “borrowed,” but it’s such a rare, entertaining gameplay style that it never feels tired. Not to mention that just about every other aspect of the series is much, much different than the beloved DS franchise.

One of the strongest aspects of Puzzle Agent is definitely the strange, oppressive atmosphere. As far as the overall tone and themes go, these games are dark. Scoggins really feels like a foreign land where Agent Tethers isn’t welcome. There always seems to be something off with the various residents that you meet, while the soundtrack and cutscenes will often utilize the eerie silence of the wind blowing. There are ever-present gnomes that seem to come out of nowhere provide some surprisingly creepy encounters and a constant sense that things can take a turn for the worse at the drop of a hat pervades. No doubt about it, there are some genuinely unsettling scenes to be found throughout.

Of course, Puzzle Agent isn’t shrouded in complete darkness — there is definitely humor to be found here, particularly with the entire oddity of the world around you, as well as Annabelle’s expressive artwork. However, the laughter almost always comes with a certain level of discomfort, keeping the player from feeling completely relaxed. It’s thanks to this that the series is so difficult to simply define. Is it a comedy? Not exactly. Is it a straight mystery? Well, sort of. It’s this droning, uncomfortable atmosphere and mix of emotions Puzzle Agent establishes that makes the series so memorable.

puzzle agent game

The other place where the games really shine is the presentation. The music brings every bit of mystery that one could ask for. It’s varied and introduces some very charming themes to solve puzzles and experience the town of Scoggins to. Where this game really shines, however, is in its hand-drawn aesthetics. Annabelle’s frenzied and sharp illustrations permeate, and they look fantastic. In fact, the games really do look like actual drawings that happen to be interactive. Even the animation itself is reminiscent of a comic strip, with the characters lacking actual “animations,” instead opting for a style that is more akin to a series of separate drawings that convey movement. This style of animation might seem odd at first glance, but it soon becomes just another personality trait of a series that already has plenty of it. It ends up giving the series a unique visual flair that has yet to be replicated elsewhere.

Puzzle Agent is an overlooked gem of a point n’ click adventure that has many influences, all while crafting something great on its own. If you do decide to give it a look, be sure to play them in order, because entry 2 picks up directly from where 1 left off. They’re each about 4 hours long, give or take. The biggest reason to play this series is for the story, and it’s not one that you want to spoil for yourself. There are plenty of memorable moments to be found in each, and at the end of the day, Puzzle Agent is a rather hard series to accurately summarize. Perhaps it’s best to go with the series’ tagline: “A Dark and Twisted Puzzler.” It’s certainly one of Telltale’s most unique offerings, and perhaps one of their best.

Thanks to a gripping atmosphere, perplexing puzzles, memorable characters, and an endlessly-winding plot full of suspense that never lets up on the intrigue, there’s a long list of reasons as to why Puzzle Agent is worth a look. It’s yet another example of the creative wonders that Telltale was able to give to the gaming universe.

A fan of good sandwiches and good video games. Hopefully you like at least one of those things.


Be Excellent to Each Other with these Awesome ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Figures

“History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can’t spell.”




Since its release in 1989, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure inspired a sequel (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), a Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series, and launched actor Keanu Reeves into movie stardom. And now, three-plus decades later, Bill and Ted are getting their own scale collectible set courtesy Sideshow and Blitzway.

This is your chance to own the friendly duo in one go! The work put into creating these high-end figures is truly astounding as the figures capture the look of a young Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves just as we remember them. If you have $399 to spend, they can be all yours.

Check out the photos below along with the official press release.

Bill and Ted are two high school buddies who dream of becoming international rock stars. Their hilarious time travel adventure is depicted in the amazingly audacious comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

It’s like having them pop up right in front of you, with their iconic fashion and elaborate accessories. Besides, the iconic props are designed to let you reproduce a variety of wonderful scenes from the movie.

Be excellent to each other and travel to the past through the exciting story of Bill and Ted!

The Bill & Ted Sixth Scale Collectible Set specially features:

Highly detailed likeness of Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston Esq.
Highly detailed likeness of Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan
Newly designed and developed male body with over 30 points of articulations and flexible soft arms
Two (2) Newly designed and developed figure stands
Twelve (12) interchangeable hands (total for both) including:
Two (2) pairs of guitar hands
Two (2) right blow fist hands
Two (2) pairs of open hands
Two (2) right good fortune hands

Costume for Bill:

One (1) purple pattern shirt
One (1) graphic t-shirts
One (1) pair of blue jeans
One (1) pair of pattern underpants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

Costume for Ted:

One (1) blue jacket
One (1) black vest
One (1) graphic t-shirt
One (1) pair of graphic shorts
One (1) pair of inner training pants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

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Watch the Creepy Trailer for ‘Little Nightmares 2’: Six is Back and She has Help.




One of the biggest surprises to come out of Gamescom 2019 so far is the announcement of Little Nightmares 2, the sequel to the puzzle-platformer hit horror game developed by Tarsier Studios.

While the first Little Nightmares has you take control a character named Six while avoiding instant death as she traverses alone amongst the depths of a dungeon, the sequel will give her a companion named Mono, who must accompany Six throughout her terrifying new journey.  

Little Nightmares was one of our favorite games of 2017 and so we can’t wait to get our hands on the sequel. In our review, James Baker wrote, “Tarsier Studios have created a wholly original concept to a horror genre that has leaned more towards thriller before anything else, bringing its roots back without relying on jump-scares and needlessly-gory shocks. Just like hide-and-seek, Little Nightmares captures the fear of being caught, albeit in a creepy, macabre style.”

Little Nightmares 2 will be released sometime in 2020 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Watch the trailer below and if you are a fan of the first game, we recommend reading this article that dives deep into the meaning behind Little Nightmares.

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NBA 2K20’s Story Mode Gets a Stunning Trailer




NBA 2K19 features to date, its strongest MyCareer mode with the aptly titled, “The Way Back”, a fascinating look at the culture behind college basketball recruiting. The story mode was well received by critics and fans everywhere and in our review, we called it, “an incredible achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length”.

NBA 2K20 which will be released in less than a month, promises to include an even better story mode, and while we haven’t played the game yet, we have plenty of reasons to think it might be. Not only does it feature an all-star cast with top-tier talents such as Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson, but the story mode – entitled “When the Lights Are Brightest” – is being produced by LeBron James’ Springhill Productions, the same company behind the upcoming Space Jam 2.

NBA 2K20’s latest trailer, which debuted Monday during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox show live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, give us a good idea of what to expect. We get a glimpse at Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson in action as well as the rest of the supporting cast which includes Thomas Middleditch, Mark Cuban, Ernie Hudson, Lamorne Morris, Scottie Pippen, and Jaleel White!

The NBA 2K20 demo will go live on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and will allow players to create a character and get a head start on MyCareer. Any progress made will carry over to the full game, which will be released Sept. 6 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

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The Transformers: Lessons in Warfare, Scale, and Childhood



The Transformers are an enduring part of American pop culture. Starting with the introduction of the first toy lines in the early 1980s, the animated series went on to define a large part of ‘80s culture, reaching its apex with the release of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. After a disappointing performance in theaters, however, the brand reached a nadir in the post-movie era, receding from the front of American pop culture until the late 1990s, when Transformers: Beast Wars brought the franchise to the forefront again.

It was into this climate that I was born. By the time I was old enough to watch TV and get toys courtesy of the North Pole and my parents, I began to take an interest in the series. After all, what five-year-old boy doesn’t like the idea of giant robots fighting each other for control of the earth and the universe?

My local video store (yes, those used to exist) had a copy of the first three episodes of the original Transformers series, Generation 1, on VHS. I remember renting this one particular copy from the store and watching it at least three times, sun-faded front cover and all. Even then, I loved the series, though I only had a few generic dollar-store “transformers,” an Armada Megatron that I had received for my fifth birthday, and a couple of hand-me-down G1 figures from my Dad.

Some of my earliest memories of Transformers came from a trip my parents and I took to visit my Dad’s former college roommate, a professed 80s culture geek. I remember watching a ton of G1 episodes, like “Dinobot Island,” as well as The Transformers: The Movie on his large projection-screen TV, an experience which inculcated within me an intense love of the series.

Optimus Prime The Transformers The Movie

Optimus Prime, bastion of bravery and an excellent role model for a maturing boy.

The first real episodic Transformers show that I watched with any sort of consistency, however, was Transformers: Armada. Now, I don’t remember much about this show — for good reason, as it’s derided by many Transformers fans for its poor animation, bad dubbing, and terrible story — but what I do remember is one particular toy that I really enjoyed: Armada Unicron.

I think it was the Christmas of 2002 when I first got Unicron. I remember having seen him in the store and (probably) telling my parents something or another about it, but I was utterly shocked when Santa brought it to me as a present. As a kid, Unicron was an impressive toy that towered over all of my other Transformers. He was such a hefty toy that I had trouble just picking him up from the ground. After having seen The Transformers: The Movie, I was just impressed by having the planet-eating destroyer of worlds himself in toy form. It was good to be a kid.

My consumption of Transformers-related content stayed relatively the same for a couple of years. Since my family didn’t get any of the channels that the shows came on, I was often left to make up what stories I could from my own memory, but we had Netflix (back when it was a DVD mail-in service), so I was able to watch some of the old series, including Beast Wars, Beast Machines, and Transformers: Energon on DVD. As usual, however, I spent most of my time in school or playing on my GameCube.  

When Michael Bay’s Transformers released in theaters in 2007, it ushered in an entirely new era of Transformers fandom across the world. With the return of G1 originals Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively, the ‘80s were alive and well again. This transformation (pun fully intended), brought about the introduction of an entirely new show, Transformers Animated, which aired on Cartoon Network. Before the days of DVR, it was nearly impossible for someone like myself, who was usually involved in any myriad of school activities on any given day, to find the time to watch a show at its air time. 

Unicron Armada Transformers Toy

Just look at this toy! Even today, it’s impressive.

However, luckily enough for me, Cartoon Network aired reruns of two episodes of Animated every day at 6:30 AM. As someone who lived literally two minutes away from school, I usually didn’t leave my house until around 7:45 or 8:00, so I had plenty of time to watch the show. I remember getting up every morning, fixing myself a big bowl of cereal, and sitting down to watch Animated before anyone in the house was up. Just me, Transformers, cereal, and a lot of fun. 

Soon, as I aged and Animated was replaced by Transformers Prime, I grew into a more nuanced appreciation for the shows’ storytelling. Prime, a dark tonal contrast with Animated, found me at the perfect time in my life. I appreciated its reverence for Optimus Prime and its overarching themes of sacrifice and leadership. While some would say it was boring or over-wrought, for a burgeoning pre-teen it was an engaging combination of cool and edgy that I thoroughly enjoyed.

When I sit down to think about the impact the Transformers series has had on my life, there’s one point in particular that sticks out to me: the imagination that playing with Transformers encouraged. While the brand was doubtlessly born of a commercial desire to sell as many pieces of plastic as possible, it nonetheless developed into a series capable of some interesting, if not always deep, storytelling. 

I copied this sense of storytelling when it came time to play with my toys. I remember incorporating various weather machines, weapons of ultimate power, and energy crystals into overarching narratives that could last a whole afternoon. Narratives in which Autobots died, lost limbs, or were otherwise in peril before the power of the Matrix of Leadership or Primus himself showed up to save them in the end. While this may not seem all that unique, I credit the series with instilling in me a sense of narrative detail. In fact, I remember not mixing my G.I. Joes and Transformers together, because in my internal head canon, they weren’t to scale (everyone knows that Transformers are at least three to four times taller than humans.) 

Megatron vs. Dinosaur G1 Transformers

I can safely say that I probably played out this exact scenario at least four or five times in my childhood.

However, Unicron himself created all sorts of problems for an internal narrative. For a being the size of a planet, he was rather puny in scale when compared to the other figures. So, I would always put Unicron to the side and pretend that the smaller Transformers were mere dots on him, tiny little specks that could barely be seen, the same as they had been in The Transformers: The Movie. I feel like the toys gave me an appreciation of the tropes of narrative fiction that I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated. 

Today, I still love the series and try to watch The Transformers: The Movie at least once a year. Newer entries, like Transformers: Rescue Bots and Rescue Bots Academy allow me to share my love of the series with my younger siblings without encountering the darker elements of some of the classic shows. It allows me to teach them all about the Cybertronians that I grew up with, and perhaps encourage them to craft stories of their own. Now, excuse me while I help the Rescue Bots put out a fire on Wayward Island…

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This John Wick Action Figure Even Comes with his Dog




They took his car, a classic 1969 Mustang, and then they killed his puppy. Ever since, John Wick has been on a mission to turn the criminal underworld upside down.

The John Wick series has been nothing short of stylish, thrilling, and downright action-packed— and as huge fans of both the franchise and the star, we just couldn’t resist sharing this info about the latest Keanu Reeves action figure.

Standing at 7-inches tall, the figure captures the modern action pose of the icon as he appears in his first film outing, dressed in a suit and accompanied by his faithful dog, Daisy. Designed by Yuri Tming and sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios, the action figure comes courtesy of Diamond Select Toys and retails at $24,99 USD.


Let us know if you plan on picking one up in the comments below.  

Product Features
7 inches (17.78cm)
Made of plastic
Featuring over 20 points of articulation
Display-ready Select action figure packaging
Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios!

Box Contents
John Wick figure
Weapon accessories

via BigBadToyStore

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