Technology Tuesday: Bendy and the Ink Machine

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The primary reason we have Technology Tuesday’s is to keep you educated. The kids keep us educated, when it comes to technology. We’re often behind the 8 ball…much to our dismay, and sadly, at times, to the detriment of the kids we love. Just this week, we received an email from a dear friend who is a counselor at a school, to tell us of the latest game she’s been hearing kids talk about at her school.

The name of the game is Bendy and the Ink Machine. It looks harmless enough…as so many of them do. It’s available as a game for almost every platform out there—from iOS to Android to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and, basically, wherever your child plays video games. 

It feels a little reminiscent of the Five Nights at Freddy’s game several years ago. You don’t quite know what it’s about until you become more involved in the plot. Here’s the main premise: Henry Stein, the main character, is a retired animator who returns to his old animation studio from the 30’s, after being invited by his old employer. Upon arrival, he fights his way through a “nightmare” of cartoon characters who have been brought to life by the Ink Machine.

According to Wikipedia, the maker of the machine was participating in “bizarre occult practices” while making the machine. It goes on to describe the plot as follows, “Henry wakes up and explores the studio for a way out, encountering hostile ink monsters, known as searchers. He learns that Sammy Lawrence, the musical director for the studio, started to worship Bendy as a deity after the Machine's installation. After draining a stairwell to escape, Henry is knocked out from behind by the now-insane Sammy. Hoping that his "Lord" will restore his humanity, Sammy tries to sacrifice Henry as an offering to Bendy, but the ritual fails when Sammy is attacked by Bendy off screen.”

Our friend who sent us the email said that a kindergartener had been playing. After hearing about it, we watched several videos of the game on YouTube. And it is seriously scary—and disturbing. It falls into the “survival horror game” genre.

When Five Nights at Freddy’s took the elementary age video game world by storm a few years ago, we ended up with several kids in our counseling offices due to anxiety over the images contained in that video game. If your children haven’t downloaded it yet, you need to be educated. The Apple App Store has it rated 12+ and ranked #4 in their Adventure Apps. Obviously, it’s caught on already…there is a mobile spinoff and merchandise that is helping promote the story. If your kids haven’t downloaded it, you can keep them from doing so. If they have, you want to have a conversation with them about the content they’ve seen thus far and how it’s affecting them. The theme song I watched on video was at 91M views to date. It looks relatively harmless for most of the video, with characters that look a little like the original Mickey Mouse characters. It eerily ends with the lyric, “There’s no machine to cure our dirty needs. For now, you must build up our machine you die tonight.”  Seriously? Kindergarteners are watching this?

As always, we would strongly suggest settings that don’t allow your child to download an app or purchase a game without permission. And, before we agree, we need to do our homework…read up…watch…play…whatever we need to do to protect their little minds and hearts. And stay with us for more Technology Tuesday’s twice a month. You can also grab a copy of Sissy’s book, Taming the Technology Monster, with more info to help at Amazon.