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Birdland

Birdland's title page

Birdland is an interactive fiction game created by Brendan Patrick Hennessy with art by Izzy Marbella. It follows the story of Bridget Leaside an anxious 14 year old girl attempting to adapt to her new surroundings at summer camp.

PlotEdit

The story begins with Bridget Leaside reading a letter sent to her by her parents. That night, Bridget dreams she is the sheriff of a western town, with a bird deputy partner populated entirely by bird people. For her first task as a sheriff, Bridget must decide how to deal with a drunk citizen, such as through force or otherwise. After, the player has the choice to foil a bank robbery, or enjoy a drink in the saloon.

July 13Edit

During the day, Bridget engages in a number of camp activities, including canoeing (taught by Dan Canoe, a camp counsellor reluctant to let the campers in the water), swimming (taught by the more lax TJ Swims) where she chats with Taylor Massey and Taylor Creek and sailing (taught by Alisha Sail, a louder and fiercer counsellor). During sailing, Bridget meets Bell Park, a teen detective attending the summer camp.

That night, Bridget dreams she is a pirate with her bird person First Mate. Together they can hunt for treasure, attack a pirate ship, go drinking or throw a beach party.

July 14Edit

In the daytime, Bridget has a nature session with Cassidy Woods, who is teaching them orienteering, which camper Elizabeth Wei is less than satisfied with. She attends Ropes and Climbing, taught by Heather Ropes, where she gives her spot to athletic camper Zoe Price, due to Bridget's own fear of heights and falling. She also attends Arts and Crafts with the less than attentive Logan Crafts, where she can chat with Mackenzie Singh, Bridget's bunkmate. In the evening, Bridget hangs out with Bell during a camp activity, and chat with each other while other campers play a modified game of tag.

That night, Bridget dreams she is a hockey player with a bird person Coach. She attempts to play a game against the opposing team of birds, but ends up on the bench. Seeing that the game is tied, she decides that she has to get in the rink, and help her team score the winning goal, which the player can choose whether or not to do.

July 15Edit

In the morning, Bridget is in the nature area, where she hangs out with Mackenzie and Bell, before being split up into pairs with the junior campers for the activity. The campers then head to the Canoe Dock for canoeing, but are surprised to see that Dan Canoe is acting strangely, suddenly allowing them to get into canoes on the water, something he hasn't done before. He speaks monotonously, "testing" the campers, which nobody questions very much. She hangs out with Mackenzie and Bell, falling into the water when in the canoe and splashing Bell. Afterwards, the campers head to arts and crafts, where the campers are together gossiping about crushes. The campers pressure Bridget into revealing her crush, wanting it to be over with, she decides to tell them that it's another camper named Nathan.

That night, Bridget dreams she is a musician with a bird person Manager. Bridge performs a few songs which are well received by the bird person audience. She goes backstage, but returns for an encore. In the middle of her song, she is distracted by a single human person in the audience, which turns out to be Bell. The audience begins to become agitated and boo Bridget offstage before she wakes up.

July 16Edit

When day arrives, Bridget is at the sailing dock, where she encounters a monotonous and robotic Alisha Sail, who questions Bridget on the purpose of the life jacket, and then promptly leaves. After putting away the life jacket, Nathan arrives. Nathan attempts to dramatically reject Bridget, believing that she is desperately in love with him. Afterwards, the campers attend swimming, where TJ swims is acting more unimpressed, robotic, and stricter than usual. Attempting to demonstrate good swimming form, he dives into the lake and swims into the horizon, and the campers decide to dismiss themselves. Bridget chats with Liz about the recent events and the campers them move onto the ropes course. After freaking out for a while, Bridget and the rest of the campers are dismissed for dinner. Bell leads Bridget away from the pack and they relax at a nearby "secret beach" for a short while. Bell chats with Bridget over her recent behaviour, mainly her lying about Nathan and head to dinner.

That night, Bridget dreams she is a detective with a bird person Assistant. She is tasked with solving a mystery where a wealthy man has recently been murdered, and she must deduce who the killer is. After the solving the mystery, Bridget meets Bell outside, who gives her a badge for her good detective skills.

July 17Edit

After a morning swim session, Bridget follows TJ swims as he heads down a path to investigate him. Along the way, he greets Alisha Sail. Bridget attempts to hide, but is caught by Alisha, but is let go as she returns back to the main group. Afterwards, the campers attend canoeing. Bridget notices Liz is acting strangely, and Liz panics and freaks out. Admitting that suddenly being cut off from technology is slowly breaking her. The campers head to the nature area for their next activity, where Cassidy Woods teaches the campers how to hunt for grubs in the ground, as humans lack the ability to find food within the skies. Bell and Bridget sneak away from the session. They talk about Bell's old friend, also named Cassidy, chat about other things and discover an abandoned tetherball court. Before leaving, Bell attempts to ask Bridget a question, but drops it before leaving.

That night, Bridget dreams she is a college student with a bird person Fellow Student. At the college, they can decide to go to class, or hang out in the quad. The Fellow Student attempts to guide Bridget to the party, but she discovers Bell in one of the university dorms, and decides to hang out there and chat with her instead. The Fellow Student eventually grows impatient, and the dream ends.

July 18Edit

At the Sailing Docks, Bridget and Bel enjoy a nice morning. Afterwards, at the ropes course, Bridget chats with Zoe about getting over her fear of heights while Mackenzie is being "tested" by a strangely acting Heather Ropes. At the crafts hut, the campers discuss the strange behaviour of the counsellors as they attempt to make pottery.

That night, Bell visits Bridget's cabin, both of the campers can't sleep, and decide to take a midnight walk out together. They find and light a campfire, and chat together. The player can go along a variety of conversation paths, such as talking about the other campers, Bella's cases as a detective, or small talk. Eventually, Bridget falls asleep. In her dreams, she meets a bird person, who reveals their job title as "Expropriator" after being questioned by Bridget, before disappearing into a portal. The sky is suddenly blocked out by a huge swarm of birds.

July 19Edit

Bridget wakes up kicking around while Bell attempts to calm her down. They walk into the main camp area, but realize that something is awfully wrong. Many of the campers should already be outside, but there seems to be no activity anywhere. Walking around the site begins to reveal hundreds of catatonic campers covered in feathers standing around. Bridget confides in Bell about her dreams, and they attempt to find the last remaining normal counsellor, Logan Crafts. However, upon arriving, they find that all the counsellors have become vessels for the bird people, and that the camp is set for its destruction and the decimation of the campers within it, as the bird people prepare for their domination of mankind.

Bridget, attempting to find a way to challenge the rule-stickler bird people, appeals to them by challenging them to a Summer Camp Olympics. The bird people agree, and Bridget must win the competition in order to save the camp and its residents.

The first competition is swimming, against TJ Swims, who beats Bridget by a landslide. The next is against Cassidy Woods in grub hunting, which Bell and Bridget forfeit. However, in their next competition, a low ropes course against Heather Ropes, things begin to take a turn. Despite Bridget's fear of heights, Bell realizes that they can still win the competition. The bird people follow rules scrupulously, and the rules of the ropes course dictate that only one person can be on a designated section of the rope course at a time. As long as Bridget stays on the course, she will be ahead of Heather, and win. After nearly falling on the monkey bars, Bridget is able to win the competition with the help of Bell and they move on. Next is arts and crafts, as Bridget begins making her art, Logan is unable to do anything, as he as no idea what "art" is. The other counsellors tell him to follow his instincts, and he pulls out a bag of weed and begins to roll a joint, and the counsellors have no choice but to allow Bridget and Bell to win. Afterwards, The next competition is canoeing against Dan Canoe. Once started, Dan Canoe does not move in his canoe, revealing that he has nearly no practical experience in canoeing. Attempting to replicate the tactics he studied from observing the campers, he purposefully tips the canoe over.

Alisha Sail reveals that in the event of a tie, all humans will be eliminated, and as a result, Bridget must win the final competition against Alisha Sail. Before going off, Bell kisses Bridget, and both confess their feelings for each other. The competition starts of smooth sailing, but things soon go awry as Bridget's boat tips over, and she ends up landing in Alisha Sail's boat after hanging onto the sailboat boom. Alisha Sail taunts Bridget, saying that Bridget will never be able to beat her, and that she will never have the skill to surpass any of her qualities. Seeing that the finish line is slowly coming up, Bridget tackles Alisha Sail, removing her life jacket in the process. Alisha Sail, seeing that the life jacket is mandatory, attempts to chase after it, but falls into the lake, which allows Bridget to get to the finish line and win the Summer Camp Olympics.

The other birds are angered. They attempt to find a way to reverse this, and Alisha Sail decides to full on attack Bridget and Bell, before suddenly being stopped dead in their tracks and all collapsing. The bird threat is eliminated and everyone is safe. That night, Bridget meets a bird person, who gives her a warning of another expropriation attempt before leaving.

July 26Edit

It is now nearly the end of camp and Bridget and Bell are in a relationship together. Bridget drags Liz into the cabin to hang out with the other campers. Liz mentions how Bell is suddenly in a good mood lately, and sneaking out of her bunk every night, which Bridget denies any knowledge of. While preparing for a card game, the campers mention how Bridget has been sneaking out for midnight walks. Liz immediately catches on, and Bridget leads her outside, where she admits to her and Bell dating, and asks Liz to keep it a secret. Liz goes back inside the cabin, and Bell soon comes back out. Bridget confesses that she is nervous about not being able to see Bell again after camp. Bell points out that they both live in the same city, Bridget's realization, and the two share moment together.

CharactersEdit

CampersEdit

CounsellorsEdit

BirdsEdit

  • Bird People
    • Deputy
    • First Mate
    • Coach
    • Manager
    • Assistant
    • Fellow Student

Minor CharactersEdit

Chapter ListEdit

  • July 12th
    1. Counting the Days
    2. Job Title: Sheriff
  • July 13th
    1. Respect the paddle
    2. Sex Stuff
    3. Hold On For Dear Life
    4. Job Title: Pirate Captain
  • July 14th
    1. Orienteering
    2. One at a Time
    3. What is Art?
    4. Safe Zone
    5. Job Title: Hockey Player
  • July 15th
    1. Edibility Survey
    2. Camper's Assemble
    3. Crushes
    4. Job Title: Musician
  • July 16th
    1. What They Say
    2. Like a Bird
    3. Secret Beach
    4. Job Title: Detective
  • July 17th
    1. A Normal Human Function
    2. Swiping Fantom Touchscreens
    3. Sneaking Expert
    4. Job Title: College Student
  • July 18th
    1. A Nice Day
    2. Sooner or Later
    3. The Damn Wheel Thingy
    4. Not in the Mood
    5. Feathers
  • July 19th
    1. Round One
    2. Round Two
    3. Round Three
    4. Round Four
    5. Round Five
    6. Round Six
    7. Our Duties Are Concluded
  • July 26th
    1. Saying Goodbye

LocationsEdit

GameplayEdit

Birdland's story structure is separated into 9 days, with the first and last acting as an introduction and ending. Each day starts off with a dream sequence, and then three daily camp activities.

Birdland is unique in that it utilizes a stats component to allow the player to choose certain options that may not be available. These stats include Serenity, Alacrity, Vigilance, Melancholy, Tenacity, and Guile. Depending on how high or low these stats are, the player will be able to choose certain options that they might have otherwise been able to during daytime scenes. The player is able to affect their stats during dream sequences. Before starting off each day, the user will go through one of Bridget's dreams. The player is free to make any choice without a stat check, and the choices they make decide their stats for the waking day. However, despite this, the game's overall plot still remains largely the same.

Birdland is written in second person viewpoint, in similar style to a play or a script.

HistoryEdit

Birdland's actual developmental history remains largely unknowns, as Brendan did not talk a lot about developing Birdland on his Twitter, and only began to use his Tumblr after Birdland's success. Birdland was released on October 1, 2015 as a submission to the XYZZY interactive fiction competition. It gained considerable amount of popularity, especially on Tumblr, where it had a large following. Part of this could be attributed to a post by Tumblr user girlfriendluvr, which gained 23778 notes as of May 22, 2019.[1]

On September 22, 2016, Birdland was updated to work better on iOS devices.

On July 19, 2016, the Bell and Bridget's anniversary, Brendan Patrick Hennessy released a micro-sequel, giving an update on Bell and Bridget's relationship.

It was released on itch.io alongside Known Unknowns on June 10, 2018.

ReceptionEdit

AwardsEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Bell's conversation on Bridget on the last night reveals that most of the counsellors are "eighteen-year-old jock dipshits."
  • Bell mentions that the camp is located in the middle of a provincial park.
  • On each new day of camp, another instructor is overtaken by a bird person. This is partially meant to help flow with the pacing and structure of the game. [2] The order of "birdification" is:
  • During the pirate dream, if the player enters the salon, they have the choice to have their future predicted by tarot cards. The player gets a series of three random cards chosen by random from a a full list of 21 (based on the major arcana). All the predictions tied to the cards hint at an event later in the story.
  • Character names are often based around Canadian/Torontonian puns.
    • Bell Park is a reference to Trinity Bellwoods Park.
    • Bridget Leaside is a reference to the Leaside Bridge.
    • Taylor Massey and Taylor Creek are a reference to the Taylor-Massey Creek.
    • Elizabeth Wei is a reference to the Queen Elizabeth Way highway.
    • Mackenzie Singh is a reference to Mackenzie King, a former prime minister of Canada. 
  • Originally in the musician dream, Bridget was greeted by Clementine Creevey and the other members of Los Angeles band Cherry Glazerr. However, this has since been changed to Emily Haines and Metric, possibly to fit with the Canadian themes of the story.
  • On July 18 at the Arts and Crafts hut, Liz mentions frthr, a failed social media site created by one of the characters from Bell Park Youth Detective.
  • According to the information during the final "warning" dream sequence, the birds had attempted to "expropriate" two times before, making the events of Birdland the third expropriation attempt. A fourth one is planned on "period of time roughly equivalent to seven thousand eight hundred and fifty-three point zero two eight eight orbital periods of this planetary body around its local plasma sphere. [...] launched at a location approximately thirteen point two one five zero one seven degrees of latitude north [...] and fifty-nine point five two four three zero degrees of longitude west [...]" This translates to roughly 21.5 year in the future, (the exact sequence takes place on July 19, 2015, making the day described January 17, 2037). The coordinates lead to a beach in Bathsheba, Barbados.
  • According to Brendan Patrick Hennessy, there are "pre-callbacks to places and things that might come up in future games set in this universe."[2] Possible call-forwards include
    • References to campers named Ethan and Mason are made. These names are shared by minor characters who appear in Known Unknowns. However, it is entirely possible that this is simply a coincidence. Ethan and Mason are in Grade 12 at the time of Known Unknowns, which would make them around a year older than the rest of the cast during Birdland.
    • During Bridget and Bell's conversation at night Bridget reveals that she attends Middle Canada College, one of the major settings in Known Unknowns. She mentions the uniform that the students wear as well.
    • Bridget mentions she is friends with someone named Abby. Abby Loretto Does It Again is the name of Brendan Patrick Hennessy's next unreleased interactive fiction game.
  • In the final portion of the game as Bell and Bridget officially enter their relationship, Bridget's personality staistics even out to normal, meant to represent the idea that Bridget feel confident enough to be her natural self. [2]
  • Bell references Branksome Hall, an actual real life all-girls independent school.
  • Nathan's a bitch

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://girlfriendluvr-remade.tumblr.com/post/133112972323/are-you-looking-for-an-interactive-experience-ie Retrieved May 22, 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 https://ifsff.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/interview-brendan-patrick-hennessy-on-birdland/
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