Telltale Games is known best for developing games where players’ choices shape the story. They didn’t always make those sorts of games though. That formula is actually pretty recent, with the majority of their catalogue being linear adventure games with a focus on puzzle-solving, humor, or gauging players’ reaction times. That doesn’t mean those are ho-hum by comparison or anything. In fact, a lot of them are fantastic. For sport let’s sort ‘em all and figure out which ones are worth your time.
Here are all of Telltale’s games, both those developed and those published*, ranked from worst to best.
*All the games listed here are finished or, in the case of something like Bone, abandoned. Because Minecraft: Story Mode is an ongoing series, it’s not included in these rankings.
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20. Telltale Texas Hold'em: Telltale's first release actually isn't even an adventure game but instead a small poker title released back in 2005 featuring original characters. Not much to say about this one except that it would provide the sturdy framework for the much more enjoyable Poker Night series.
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19. The CSI Games: The worst thing that can be said about the CSI games that Telltale has put out over the years— Three Dimensions of Murder,Hard Evidence, Deadly Intent, Fatal Conspiracy--is that they're your standard tie-in games, enjoyable enough but lacking ingenuity or brilliance. They're not particularly bad but they're probably not remotely interesting to anyone who's not already invested in that universe. Even other games by Telltale that you could say are worse than this bunch on a number of levels still have things about them that make them distinctly Telltale works and not rote marketing products disguised as games.
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18. Law and Order: Legacies: Okay, all those things I just said about CSI? They go for this Law and Order tie-in too but hey there's only one of them so it's got that going for it.
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17. Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People is odd because it's a tie-in for a web cartoon, albeit an immensely popular web cartoon. Unfortunately, to enjoy much of the game you already have to be deeply familiar with Homestar Runner so it ultimately feels like an exercise in fan service rather than something that can be enjoyed on its own merits.
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16. Game of Thrones: Telltale's adaptation of Game of Thrones might be their only post-Walking Dead game that's close to being outright terrible. Instead of being a strong adaptation that takes risks like The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones plays it safe with its characters and overarching story, placing you in the role of the Forresters, a pale imitation of the Starks. Game of Thrones feels more like a weird-ass riverboat tour of that world rather than a game where your choices actually feel like they're affecting what happens around you.
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15. Bone: Out From Boneville and Bone: The Great Cow Race: Out From Boneville is Telltale's first adventure game and while it's mostly a standard, mediocre point & click adventure based on Jeff Smith's famous comic, it's still filled with oodles of charm and is pretty amusing at times. The Great Cow Race was even better than the first game but Telltale's adaptation of Smith's series stopped abruptly after that, which is a bit sad since they were just figuring out how to steer that ship.
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14. Poker Night At The Inventory/ Poker Night At The Inventory 2: Telltale's got a thing for poker, huh? They brought back their first game and updated it with new visuals and replaced their characters with popular characters in geek culture. The first had Penny Arcade's Tycho, Max from Sam and Max, Team Fortress 2's Heavy Weapons Guy, and Strong Bad. The second game has Sam instead of Max, Brock Samson from The Venture Brothers, Ash from The Evil Dead and Portal's GlaDOS. They're amusing enough games, especially if you like poker or any of those characters.
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13. Jurassic Park: The Game: Jurassic Park: The Game is an important game because it bridges the earlier Telltale games with the company's contemporary focus on player choice. It's also astonishing in its awfulness, in how utterly broken it is and how stupid its characters are. It is a bad bad bad game that's immensely enjoyable because of how crappy it is. If there were a Rifftrax for games, Telltale's Jurassic Park adaptation would be a prime candidate for mockery alongside Duke Nukem Forever and Superman 64.
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12. Hector's Badge of Carnage: One of the few games published (but not developed by) Telltale games to feature original characters and easily the crudest adventure game they've put out yet, so vulgar in its visuals and language you could have told me it was based on one of MTV's animated shows from the '90s and I would have believed you. Badge of Carnage is really, really funny and one of the best of the company's earlier offerings, especially if you play the mobile version.
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11. Sam & Max Save The World: LucasArts' Sam & Max Hit The Road is considered to be one of the funniest, greatest adventure games ever made. After being stuck in development hell for a while, a sequel emerged under Telltale's care: Sam & Max Save The World. And while Save The World isn't quite as brilliant as its predecessor, it's still pretty damn funny (and nice to look at too).