Three years ago, an adorable little demon with a dark, nasty secret entered the world of gaming as Joey Drew Studios introduced the puzzle-action-horror game Bendy and the Ink Machine to the world.
This first-person adventure that hearkens players back to the Max Fleisher era of animation has invaded our home ever since, as both my kids have embraced Bendy and his pals with fan art, Funko figures, backpacks, and cosplay.
Joey Drew Studios continues to crank out new ideas, including a series of animated shorts based on the characters. The boss run spin-off game Bendy and the Nightmare Run was released in 2018, and fans are still anticipating the game Bendy and the Dark Revival, featuring a new first-person protagonist, Audrey.
On February 10 this year, the studio celebrated its third “Bendyversary” with the release of its latest game, Boris and the Dark Survival, allowing users to play as fan-favorite character Boris the Wolf as they help him avoid demons, find supplies, and get more game secrets in the process. In just one day, according to the Twitter feed of elusive creator of Bendy, The Meatly, Boris’s dark adventure had risen to the number one game on Google Play. Good doggie!
Now, as the inky dark world of Bendy and his friends (or foes) starts another era, here are fun ways to celebrate three years of being trapped in the halls of Joey Drew Studios.
Read All About It!
First, run out and get Joey Drew Studios Employee Handbook from Scholastic Press. The book retails for $15, and it is filled with game secrets, maps, background information, and a bunch of great art, including “movie poster” images from the film vault. You’ll also find some hints on making your days as an employee at the studios more rewarding, including Drew’s seven rules of animation, the last of which is “your animations should haunt people.”
There’s also an official Bendy and the Ink Machine novel, Dreams Come to Life by Adrienne Kress. This has new information on the Bendy world, thanks to being able to follow along on the internship of 17-year-old Buddy as he investigates what is happening after hours at the studio. It also gives a little of the backstory of characters like Sammy Lawrence and Boris, making it a good companion read to the new game. Kress was a great choice for this first Bendy story, as her writing style is always full of energy and humor, as with her young readers series The Explorers and Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate.
These books, especially the handbook, are some of the best merchandise purchases for anyone who loves the games, plus we put it to good use in the next way we celebrated: meal time!
Cook Up Some Bacon Soup
Bacon soup is the food of choice (if there were a choice) at Joey Drew Studios, and a good celebration wouldn’t be complete without it. There are plenty of fan-made recipes, but we went with the “official” recipe in the employee handbook. At first, I was reluctant to try this, but it turned out to taste like some loaded baked potato soup. One recipe fed five people with enough leftover for everyone the next day.
For those with dietary limitations or preferences, this isn’t exactly the most low-fat soup we’ve ever made, but it was a good, easy, filling family meal for us.
We made the meal special by finding a printable “Bacon Soup” label similar to the ones seen in the game and pasting it around a soup can. We added some comic book flowers I made for “black and white” birthday party display last year.
You can also add to the atmosphere by planning the official soundtrack for Boris and the Dark Survival found on YouTube, although my kids are partial to anything by the artist DA Games as well.
For background music during the meal, however, I strongly recommend sticking with the creepy ragtime instrumentals.
One way to see how successful Bendy has been in his short existence is to go online and see how fans of all ages are out there drawing fanart, creating cosplay, re-mixing game images to music videos, and making clever game-based props and crafts.
The employee handbook has it’s own simple lessons on how to draw Bendy, Boris, and Angel, but it is also fun to create your own little items. We created some little “puffy” Bendy and Meatly hairclips from pom-poms we had leftover from another project.
For the Meatly: Glue two black craft gems on a yellow (or white) pom-pom and draw a straight mouth on him with black puff paint. He’s that easy.
For Bendy: Cut a small a yellow (or white) piece of felt in a circle small enough to fit on a black pom-pom, and fold it in half. Snip the top end like you’re cutting a valentine, and it makes his “face” when unfolded. Glue a pair of black craft jewels on for the eyes, and with a black fine line felt tip marker or paint, draw his mouth. If you want to give him “pie eyes,” draw a little triangle of white paint on the side of each eye with a paint pen or a toothpick. Make his horns by cutting a crescent shape with some black felt, then even out the outer arc. Glue them in place on his head.
Using a glue gun, attach these to hair clips (like we did), paper clips, or magnets.
It’s hard to believe we didn’t have Bendy in our lives for three years ago because he seems to be popping up everywhere today. Here’s to the next three years, and in the meantime, heed the words of Joey Drew:
“Just remember, if you ever feel lost: Dreams! Come! True!”