Bendy and the Ink Machine

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Fandom
Name: Bendy and the Ink Machine
Abbreviation(s): BATIM
Creator: theMeatly
Date(s): February 10, 2017
Medium: video game
Country of Origin: United States
External Links:
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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.

History

Origins

theMeatly, who is a living, breathing puppet,[1] 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.[2]

Game Updates

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.

Canon Universe

Plot

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.

The game is split into 5 chapters, with each chapter having Henry move through a specific part of the studio and usually meeting a new character. In chapter 2 he meets Sammy Lawrence, who was the old music director, and in chapter 3 he meets the evil Alice Angel. After chapter 2 Henry becomes friends with Boris the wolf, however Alice corrupts him and Henry ultimately has to kill him. Evil Alice dies directly after at the hands of the good Alice and her own Boris. From there the trio makes their way through the bowels of the studio and puts an end to Bendy. However, after Bendy seems to die in a flash of light, Henry is suddenly thrown into what looks like the "real world" and meets up with Joey Drew. The ending has caused much confusion and theorizing among fans.

Fandom

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.[3] This voice was not heard in any of the previous uploads before Dec 2018.

Like many fandoms, BATIM had a special Tumblr tag for NSFW content before the Tumblr Purge. This tag was called "Bendy and the Kink Machine," abbreviated as BATKM. The creators do not necessarily condone NSFW content, as stated in their Fan Content Policy.[4] 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.

Survey

A survey was conducted in July 2018 by Youtuber colemancheu. The survey was promoted only within the Bendy and the Ink Machine Reddit. It's goal was to find out where it was fans first heard of the game, their age range, the type of let's players they watched, and if they've played the game themselves and enjoyed it. It procured 98 responses. One should note that the questions of this survey were not set to required, so not every participant replied to every question, which could lead to some slightly off results. The survey was taken before chapter 5 was released.

Of the 98 participants a large majority identified as minors: 3% 10 or under, 43% between 11-15, 33% between 16-20, with the rest over 20. The majority (78%) discovered BATIM from Youtube, after which 12% discovered it from friends. 15% discovered it from Markiplier, while other creators named included: DAGames, Drako, Jacksepeticeye, and The Living Tombstone. Note that both DAGames and The Living Tombstone are music Youtubers who have created Bendy fan songs. While these are the creators that introduced Bendy to the participants, 63% also watch Markiplier, 67% watch Game Theory, and 47% watch Jacksepeticeye. 76% have played the game and 92% believe it is a good game. Of those who played the game, retention drops roughly 20% between chapter 1 and 2, then drops about 10% with each chapter after that, save for chapter 5 which had not been released.

Fan Theories

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

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.

Notable Fanworks

Fan Art

Fan Music

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.

Videos

Fanfiction

Communities

Archives

References

  1. http://www.themeatly.com/
  2. https://twitter.com/KindlyMood
  3. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_ZsD6F_qLsN6wmPLm9rwg/videos
  4. https://joeydrewstudios.com/fancontentpolicy/