Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006 - PC

For the seen-it-all...Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock (read our review)

Like we mentioned on the first page, PC games tend to fall into a few diehard categories - mostly shooting, role-playing and strategizing. So how do you get the mouse-and-keyboard jockey to try something different and new? Just tell them it's downloadable and costs less than $10.

The return of comic crime fighting duo Sam and Max may be cheap, but it's also quality. The bizarre plot, with its conversational rodents, psychoanalytical tattoo artists, mind-control devices and illegal madcap police chases, squeezes manic energy out of every penny. And the detective dog and rabbit themselves are as bizarre and lovable as ever. You haven't played something this silly and fun since the early heyday of PC gaming.

Give Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock to the long-time gamer who can appreciate its retro vibe... or to the new gamer who could use a break from the norm.

Runner-up: DEFCON

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