Bendy and the Ink Machine
|Name(s):||Bendy and the Ink Machine|
|Date(s):||February 10, 2017|
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Bendy and the Ink Machine is a episodic video game released for PC, before being ported to Xbox One, Android, and iOS. Its creator is theMeatly, who originally released the first chapter as a demo. The popularity of the game encouraged him to expand on it, resulting in a 5 chapter series.
theMeatly, who is a living, breathing puppet, conjured up the original demo alone. Quickly after release, he changed 'demo' to 'chapter one,' spawning a fan base eagerly awaiting updates. He then hired on a second staff member, Mike Mood, to fix the coding and help with modeling.
During the two years in which chapters were released, Bendy and the Ink Machine took on a number of updates. These include visual updates, such as new models and animations, to improved optimization, as well as a new form of game play after chapter 5's release.
The most notable updates that took place were to the Bendy model itself. In the original demo, Bendy's model was nothing but a torso and head, described as being "bird poop" by its creators. He did not have to move past the jump scare at the beginning, so this wasn't a major issue. Then, he was updated to be a walking humanoid with a limp, and strands of ink stuck on parts of his body. The final model update took his guts away, making him an inky skeletal figure with a constant drip, and slight chromatic aberration around the mouth.
Bendy and the Ink Machine takes place roughly in the 1960s, 30 years after the events at Joey Drew Studios. Henry Stein, a former animator, was asked to return via letter by his ex-boss Joey Drew. Once he arrives, he quickly realizes that major changes took place after he'd quit. The building is falling apart, and Joey Drew had a giant "ink machine" installed. This machine has the ability to bring cartoons to life, but as Henry comes to find, with a price.
Chapter 1: Moving Pictures
Henry Stein gets a letter to visit the old animation studio. It's abandoned, and he discovers the ink machine. After turning it on, Bendy, a living cartoon character, jump scares him and floods the first floor. Henry runs and falls through the floor before he can escape.
Chapter 2: The Old Song
Henry is now in the music department. Blobby ink monsters attack him as he tries to find an exit. Before he is able to make further progress, he's knocked out from behind. He wakes tied to a chair because Sammy Lawrence, the music director who worships Bendy, wants to sacrifice him. Bendy arrives and kills Sammy instead of Henry, then Henry runs away.
Chapter 3: Rise and Fall
Henry meets Alice Angel. Alice, who is a combination of Susie Cambell and living ink, is disfigured and attempts to fix herself by stealing the thick ink from more composed ink creatures. She makes Henry preform several fetch missions. Then instead of letting Henry go, she tricks him into the elevator before plunging it down to try and kill him. She then steals Boris and Henry passes out.
Chapter 4: Colossal Wonders
Henry tries to find and rescue Boris. He fights Bertrum Piedmont, the former theme park designer who has been turned into a living theme park ride. Then, he discovers that Alice has changed Boris into a Frankenstein monster. He fights and kills this Boris, before Alice tries to kill him. Suddenly another Alice and Boris appear, killing the evil Alice.
Chapter 5: The Last Reel
Henry now believes he must kill Bendy in order to escape. So he travels to the center of the ink machine, where Bendy has made his nest. Here, Bendy transformers from skeletal to a demonic monster, and Henry plays a reel called "The End." Bendy, unable to ignore a cartoon, watches it and dissolves into light. We then get a flash back to Joey Drew (now old) in his apartment, telling Henry that he should have pushed Joey a little harder to do the right thing.
Bendy and the Ink Machine is popular with children and teenagers, like games such as Hello Neighbor or Five Nights at Freddy's. A majority of fan art is created by minors, while fan music is usually composed and sung by adults. Numerous fan characters have been created. Frequently, fan characters take on the appearance of cartoon Bendy himself, with or without a few adjustments. It's not unheard of to simply take Bendy's design and re-name him. Other fan character designs are wholly original, and may be human, animal, or supernatural.
There is a common theme among BATIM fans, in which they write Bendy as cocky and with a Boston accent. This contrasts Bendy's canonical personality, as in Bendy's shorts, he is seen to be rather timid and dense. In the game itself, the personality of Bendy's skeletal and beast forms are unknown. Though fans write Bendy as talking, he never actually speaks in any of the canon material. However, there is a high pitched singing voice at the beginning of all the Bendy shorts (except Cookie Cookin) that were re-uploaded by Joey Drew Studios on Youtube, staring December 24, 2018.  This voice was not heard in any of the previous uploads before Dec 2018.
Like many fandoms, BATIM has a special tag for NSFW content. This tag is called "Bendy and the Kink Machine," abbreviated as BATKM. The creators do not necessarily condone NSFW content, as stated in their Fan Content Policy. Under their policy, "In no circumstances are you permitted to... Create Fan Content that violates the rights of others, or is obscene, sexually explicit, defamatory, offensive, objectionable, or otherwise harmful to others." This stanza would imply that any NSFW content is in violation of their fan content policy. Despite this, no issues have risen between the creators and fans due to this policy.
A common theory that sprung up after the release of Chapter 5, is that Henry Stein is actually living in a time loop of sorts. During the whole of Bendy and the Ink Machine, Henry talks about nothing other than escape. But because it all fades to white after killing Bendy, we suddenly have a flashback, and then Henry walks through the studio door before credits roll, some believe Henry is stuck in a loop. After all, it didn't appear that Henry escaped after the death of the final boss. We simply saw the flashback, and he stepped through the studio door once more. And because Joey had storyboards in his apartment relating to some of the events in the game, it is cause for some to believe Henry is simply inside of that story; that none of what happened was real.
Previous theories that sprung up before the games finale included: Original Boris is evil, original Boris is Wally Franks or Thomas Connor, Bendy is Joey Drew, and that Henry is a cartoon character. (Editors may elaborate)
Shipping among BATIM fans is widely variable. For example, some fans ship Henry Stein and Bendy, while others head canon their relationship as a father and son, since Henry was Bendy's character designer. Others believe Bendy is Joey Drew, in the same vein that the evil Alice Angel is Susie Campbell. In that context, shipping Henry Stein and Bendy becomes the same as shipping Henry and Joey. Because there is no certainty in who or what Bendy is, all the above relationships are equally plausible. However, the most common ship tag for BATIM on Archive of Our Own, as of February 2019, is Henry/Joey with 111 fanfics.
Some fans also cross ship Bendy with one of the brothers from Cuphead. This ship is sometimes debated, as the age of the Cuphead brothers is not totally known. Some believe that the Cuphead brothers are children, thus shipping Bendy with them is wrong. However, some also see Bendy as a child. In contrast, some believe the Cuphead brothers and Bendy are all adults.
Outside of shipping canon characters and cross shipping, it's common to ship Bendy with an OC. This includes Bendy/Reader fanfics. Bendy/Reader fanfics are the forth most popular ship tag for BATIM on Archive of Our Own. As of February 2019, there are 51 Bendy/Reader fanfics on AO3, and 40 fanfics tagged as Bendy/OC.
There are a very large number of BATIM fan songs on Youtube. Below is a list of all known songs from 2017, as the boom of fan music began during 2017. There are 40 fan songs from 2017. These fan songs are prone to being remixed several times, so for some it may be tedious to find the original video. The first fan song was uploaded on Feb 17, exactly one week after the Feb 10th release of chapter 1. During 2017, only three chapters of BATIM were released, the rest coming in 2018. Fan songs are still regularly created as of 2019.
- Bendy and the Ink Machine Song - Feb 17, 2017
- Build Our Machine - Feb 25, 2017
- Bend till You Break - Mar 11, 2017
- Devils Swing - Mar 17, 2017
- Blood and Ink - Mar 31, 2017
- The Dancing Demon - Apr 8, 2017
- Recording Town - Apr 16, 2017
- Our Dreams Come True - Apr 23, 2017
- His Game - Apr 28, 2017
- Sheep Sheep - Apr 28, 2017
- Boris the Big Bad Wolf - May 3, 2017
- Who’s Laughing Now - May 13, 2017
- Horror Show - May 23, 2017
- Composer Struggles - May 25, 2017
- Bad Wolf - May 26, 2017
- Bendy Chapter 2 Song (Sammy Lawrence) - May 31, 2017
- Can I Get an Amen - Jun 6, 2017
- You Will Believe - Jul 2, 2017
- Alice Angel - Jun 15, 2017 (lost the link)
- An Angel’s Lie - Jun 15, 2017
- Gospel of Dismay - Jun 24 2017
- Can't be Erased - Jun 25, 2017
- Beautiful Angel - Jun 28, 2017
- Angel of the Stage - Jul 8, 2017
- Flow the Ink - Jul 9, 2017
- Come to Life - Jul 21, 2017
- Spotlight - Jul 28 2017
- Bendy and the Ink Machine Musical - Jul 28, 2017
- Pretty Bad Girl - Aug 14, 2017
- Find the Keys - Sept 28, 2017
- Another Chapter - Sept 29, 2017
- Quite a Gal - Sept 29, 2017
- Sweet Dreams are Made of Screams - Oct 4, 2017
- Not Your Angel - Oct 7, 2017
- Bendy and the Ink Machine Song - Oct 8, 2017
- All Eyes on Me - Oct 10, 2017
- Cells No More - Oct 14, 2017
- Cartoon Craze - Oct 31, 2017
- Alice Angel vs Boris Rap Battle - Nov 26, 2017
- Absolutely Anything - Dec 25, 2017
- Devil's Swing by Ava G -- A traditional animation to the fansong "Devil's Swing"
- 107 Bendy and the Ink Machine FACTS by The Leaderboard -- A fact video with BATIM trivia
The most popular Bendy fanfic on AO3 is a NSFW Bendy/Reader fanfic, written by a high schooler. Not linked.
- Bendy-Fans -- The oldest BATIM art group on DeviantART.