Pajama Sam: A Life-time of Inspiration

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It has been said in recent years that Video-games have succeeded in becoming art, and have become much more cinematic than their early counterparts. And so it should be no great change of pace that I talk about a few video-games here on the Cinema Warehouse. Because just like any good video-rental store, there’s always a small section for games over off to the side.

Today, however, I’d like to talk about a slightly older game, one of the first in fact that captured my imagination and made me the person I am today. Humongous Entertainment’s Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside.

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The story of Pajama Sam starts with a little 6 year-old boy (with blue skin and blue hair) who has a favorite super-hero known as Pajama Man: a character who wears a mask, a red cape, footy Pajamas, and can trap evil-doers in a special lunch box he carries with him.gfs_36607_1_7

On one particular night, Sam has agreed with his Mom that he would go to sleep with the lights off, but Sam still isn’t so sure about it. And when his Mom turns off the light, he really isn’t sure about it. So he makes the decision to take his Pajama Man costume, and his signature lunch box, and venture into his closet where Darkness lives, in order to capture Darkness and put him away for good: where he’ll no longer be able to scare Sam.

This of course leads to an unusual set of circumstances that send Sam through a portal in his closet into “The Land of Darkness:” where Darkness apparently lives inside a giant tree house, and all of Sam’s stuff from his closet is haphazardly strewn about across the landscape. Hi-jinks ensue.

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I make it no secret that I want to be the first person to make a movie adaptation of this game, because it is astounding. Everything about this PC point-and-clink adventure is captivating, clever, imaginative, likable, and atmospheric. Everything from the voice acting, to the character designs, the inverted logic of the Land of Darkness, to the fascinating musical score is some of the best work you will ever see in a children’s entertainment game from this era in early computing. And it still holds up to this day.

I would often go outside, or build a box fort inside the house and pretend that I was venturing into another world and finding all sorts of strange creatures and landscapes. I would imitate the dialogue of the game and speak back and forth with myself, which actually helped improve my acting skills. Sometimes I would even film myself doing these things, which transitioned into my love for making film.

I also like to think of this game as the wholesome doppelganger to Laika Studios’ Coraline, because both characters escape their own reality and venture into another world where inanimate objects come alive and quirky or dangerous situations occur. So much so that I created this fan-art crossover below.

The music for the game, which was composed by both Rick Rhodes, Danny Pelfrey, and to my surprise, Jeremy Soule (composer of Skyrim), is a magical dive into the strange and unpredictable. The music jumps between numerous genres and styles, but always tries to keep a consistent tone throughout. Each song lasts only about a minute to a minute and a half, if that. And strings of these songs will rotate and randomize in every location that you visit. But no matter where you are, the music always fits the mood. I love the music so much, it was some of the first that I ever added from one of these games onto my MP3 player. And I’ve often gone to sleep listening to this music on a Mix-CD.

Pajama Sam Soundtrack – PLAYLIST

The reason that I feel this game deserves to have a movie or short-film adaptation made about it is because of its wholly unique design and approach to this sort of story. It takes the basic concept of Alice in Wonderland, or any other similar story, and twists it further by making Sam himself an odd looking fellow to begin with, and by making this world just on the other side of a boy’s bedroom. The trees talk, the candlesticks talk, the rocks talk, the mail-box talks: the pencil, the carrot, the fridge, and the broken wooden chair talk. And it’s always a gamble whether or not these talking things will want to help you, hinder you, or have nothing to do with you.

The game, like most PC point-and-click games, is laid out in a series of locked-off shots of locations or landscapes, with portions of the screen able to be clicked, or portions that turn your cursor into an arrow that will take you off to new directions and locales. And every new place you go allows for the camera to get a new perspective. Most times the camera is straight in front of you always in a wide shot. But in a few instances the camera is looking down a hall, or looking down at you from above, or looking up at you from below. And all of these varied choices of angles make the game seem much more 3-dimensional than if the camera were to just stay at the same relative distance the entire time.

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The world of Darkness is also very much like a Disney attraction in that it looks large and impressive, but the distance between any two places is relatively short, making back-tracking a rather easy task. Certain elements of this world are actually very Tim Burton-esque in their design and their humor. And I’ll admit, I would have loved to see Tim Burton make a movie of this game much more than Alice In Wonderland.

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In my case, I would like to take a hand at making a movie adaptation of Pajama Sam because I feel that my experience and love for the game, along with my love for all things animation, gives me a special perspective that allows me to understand why the game works the way it does, and how to translate that to the live-action screen. Now of course, this game could also work just as well if it were done in CGI animation, and if it were done all in 2D. So any form could suit it just find I think. But whatever style it takes, it has been one of my life-long dreams to be the director of such a project. And so when the opportunity affords me in the next few years, I’ll be contacting the right people to try and make the project a reality.

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You can now purchase Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside, and all of the other Humongous Entertainment titles straight from Steam for your modern PC and Windows 7/Windows 8 needs. No more digging out those old CD-rom copies. So have fun everyone. =)

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