IntroComp2011: Bender

Do you recall last year’s Waker? Or the movie Jumper? Or the game Twister? Or the ice-cream Twister? Following on the tradition of the above examples, Bender is a piece about bending. Well, maybe not bending as you might imagine it, like bending iron or bending roads, but more like bending the laws of physics — and logic.

> bend bender to reach spoilers

Bender by Colleen Boye

Truth is, Bender is more related to Jumper than with any of the remaining examples. It’s the story about someone who has a power. Others have similar powers. The ones who have these powers have a —er kind of name, both specific and general enough to mean basically anything. It is Bender (in this game) and Jumper (in the movie), but it would go fine with Breaker, Timer, Summoner or Dancer. Bender is particularly interesting, since nothing remotely resembled to bending (other than bending logic) happens when the powers that be use their powers.

The first part of the game got me stuck for a while. Good ol’ Gargoyle coughed me a bunch of question marks with different colors all over the place, together with some black, white and gray squares. This was my map, and I was to bend my way through it. I started by getting this bend thing all wrong, and the game didn’t help me get going. The messages I got after trying to bend a wall to where the wall already was where vague. I insisted on “> bending north”, trying to bend the north wall, but I should be “>bending east” instead, to place the wall east of my position. It took me a while, and a few desert deaths, to get my bending going, but I finally got my bleeding ass to the jeep.

At this point I was thinking “Why is this IF? Why isn’t this a Flash game?” The answer came flying in the form of a girl with medicine hands, who I immediately imagined being Olivia Wilde. She ends up rescuing our hero in a very traditional IF way, revealing she’s also a bender in the process. She bends different things, with completely different physics implications, so this bending business is quite open; fully open, one could say.

So, when this intro ended, I got mixed feelings. I found Part One (better known as The Flash Sequence) to be annoying, but I welcomed being dropped right into the action from the beginning. Part two actually had text, and it wasn’t all that bad, but this kind of plot puts me off big time.

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