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Game Theory: How Bendy EXPOSES Disney’s Cartoon CONSPIRACY (Bendy and the Ink Machine)

August 27, 2019


Hocus pocus! Ibbity-bibity! Zibity-zab! Concentrate. Concentrate! I will now bear the naked truth! *Opening music* Hello, internet! Welcome to Game Theory! You’ve heard of the talkies. Well, this show pioneered the “talky-too-muchies”. And today, we’re flashing back to a simpler time. A time before video games and YouTube… Before Marvel and Star Wars… A time before… dare I say it… FIDGET SPINNERS! That’s right, loyal theorists… Today, we’re flashing back to the years between 1920 and 1940. A truly simpler time, in which, the US just so happened to be thrown into an economic crisis during The Great Depression, and Hitler rose to power overseas, thus sparking the beginnings of World War II. But HEY! Look on the bright side… At least there was no such thing as FNaF. In such dark times, the world was in desperate need of entertainment. They needed a reason to laugh. And thus, animation exploded onto the scene. I mean, sure, animation had been around since 1900. And if you REALLY want to get technical it could date back as far as the invention of the thaumatrope from 1825, but it was this era. The 1920s to the 1940s when history entered what’s known as the Golden Age of Animation. And it’s this world where we find ourselves in for today’s theory. The world of Bendy and the Ink Machine. Now if you haven’t been watching a lot of let’s plays lately, this one might’ve slipped past ya. It’s a small indie title told in five parts, because at this point it’s ALWAYS five parts… With the first two currently available and the third one on the way shortly. There isn’t a whole lot to do in every chapter, but what it lacks in gameplay, Bendy makes up for in style and story, putting you into the throwback world of the earliest days of animation. In the game, you play as Henry, a retired cartoonist invited to come back to his old studio after 30 years. The invite comes from a man named Joey Drew, your former boss at the company, Joey Drew Studios. Inside, you find that everything is abandoned. By putting the bits of lore together, collected from audio logs sprinkled throughout the game, you learn that Joey… was experimenting with ways of bringing his cartoon creations to life. And apparently, his experiments were a success. The company’s signature character, a little devil named Bendy, is now alive, and very, very dangerous. You also learn that some employees, like Sammy Lawrence, Joey Drew’s music department director, worshipped these living cartoons as GODS. Forming what seems to be a good old-fashioned cult! Sammy: But the believers must honor their savior. I must have him notice me. For our lord is calling to us, my little sheep. The time of sacrifice is at hand! Besides Bendy, there’s also Boris the Wolf walking around, and Bendy’s girlfriend, Alice Angel, who looks like she’ll be playing a bigger part in chapter three. And honestly, that’s about it for now. Now, many of you have been asking me on Twitter, @MatPatGT, as well as during GTLive to do a theory about this game. To try and predict what’s going on. But after doing the research, I think I can do you one better. Instead of just trying to put together a rough plot summary, I think I can reveal the true identity of the main character of the game. Joey Drew. The mastermind animator obsessed with bringing his creations to life. Because here’s the thing: I believe he’s inspired by a real person, and that the events happening in the world of Bendy Actually mirror events that occurred at one of the top animation studios during this Golden Age of Animation. Joey Drew in-game is playing the role of perhaps the single most important pioneer of animated entertainment. A man who’s name has sadly been almost completely forgotten by history. A man by the name of Max Fleischer. Now, seeing Bendy and Boris, you probably immediately think of Walt Disney and the old Mickey Mouse cartoons. I mean, we’re all trained to think that Walt Disney was the pioneer of this style of animation. That he’s the guy who made cartoons into what they are today, but that’s because he purposely planted those thoughts into your head. And that’s not an exaggeration! If you read about Walt Disney, you start to learn that he was a master of marketing himself, taking credit for things that weren’t his idea to begin with, then using the media to sell his story to listeners that didn’t know any better. No, if you’re looking for the true masterminds responsible for helping to shape the early world of animation, it was Max Fleischer, with his brother Dave Fleischer working for their animation studio in New York. Way back in 1914, when Walt was still only a teenager, Max Fleischer invented rotoscoping. A technique that allowed an artist to trace over live-action footage to create more realistic-looking animated movements. This was a HUGE advancement, allowing cartoons to be drawn faster and with a higher quality of movement. It also gave rise to the first of the major Fleischer brothers series known as Out of the Inkwell, in which live action footage of Max was combined with his animated characters as they literally came to life off the page to interact with and explore the real world. But the Fleischers didn’t stop there. Ask anyone what the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and music was and they’ll usually say Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse’s monumental debut from back in 1928. But it was Max, not Walt Disney, who was the first to combine sound and animation in his series of shorts called Song Car-Tunes back in 1924, four years EARLIER than Steamboat Willie! These were the famous “follow the bouncing ball” sing-alongs that you’ve probably seen or heard of. Well, you have Max Fleischer to thank for those. But according to rumors, when Steamboat Willie launched, Walt Disney, despite being four years late to the party, actively tried to discourage reporters from mentioning these past sound videos in their articles, thus allowing Disney to claim all the credit for being the first to use these techniques. And thus began the animation feud with the Disneys on the west coast in Hollywoodland, going up against Max and his brother back east in New York. An animation feud that would last in the industry for the next two decades. At their prime, the Fleischer studio would be a premiere producer of animated cartoons for theaters with Walt Disney Productions being their chief competition. And yet, as I’m sure you can guess, it was the Disneys who came out on top. Their marketing smarts and location in California amongst the growing movie industry ultimately buried Fleischer’s business and erased his name from the annals of animation history. But what’s any of this have to do with an incomplete indie game hit? Well first, think about what you just heard. Even with animation in its infancy, Max Fleischer’s work with Out of the Inkwell was literally bringing animated characters into the real world. Just like Joey Drew and his ink machine! A man who literally wrote a book on bringing images to life as we see in chapter one’s “The Illusion of Living”. It’s also clear that Joey Drew’s animation studio has fallen to ruin by the time your character visits it. A detail that reflects Max Fleischer’s eventual bankruptcy, ultimately losing his business to Walt Disney, the man who stole the credit from him. Wally Franks: At this point, I don’t get what Joey’s plan is for this company. The animations sure aren’t being finished on time anymore… Think about it. If this game was truly meant to parallel Walt Disney animation, why would it happen in an abandoned studio? And why would the characters be out for revenge? I mean, Disney won everything! Disney runs the world! Max Fleischer was the one who was left with a crumbling business and a name lost to obscurity. So if there’s anyone out there who would have a chip on their shoulder and be out for revenge, like you see Joey Drew in Bendy in the Ink Machine, well, it would be him. But we’re not even to the good stuff yet. One look at Bendy’s design and I’m sure you immediately think of Mickey Mouse, right? Small mischevious character with big white gloves? Well, Max Fleischer had his version of the character too: Bimbo! A tubby, black and white cartoon dog complete with big white hands. One of the five main recurring characters that the studio would produce during their run. A character whose personality is a much more direct parallel to Bendy than Mickey’s is. Mickey, in his early cartoons, tends to be the good guy. The one who’s havin’ to fight back against bullies. But Bimbo is actively a troublemaker. So much so that one of his most infamous appearances, 1930’s “Swing You Sinners!”, is entirely about undead spirits punishing him for his misdeeds. Bat: Chickens you used to steal… Bimbo: I don’t steal no more! He’s constantly chasing women and pulling pranks… Bimbo’s behavior just seems to be the stronger match for what you’d expect from a little devil like Bendy. And the parallels aren’t just with Bimbo. There’s also a direct relation between Max’s real life characters and Bendy’s girlfriend, Alice Angel. Now admittedly we don’t know too much about Alice, she was just introduced in Chapter 2 through one poster and one audio log but what we do know is that she appears to be a female devil creature like Bendy who somehow became an angel like a Looney Tunes-esque Lucifer, who also happens to sing. We also know that she is drawn to be beautiful. Not only does she just look physically pretty, but she’s also wearing a tight, black halter top dress. something that, back during this era of animation, Would’ve been seen as sexy and scandalous. We also know via the audio logs that Sammy Lawrence expects her to surpass Bendy’s popularity. Susie: “People really seem to enjoy my Alice Angel voice.” “Sammy says she may be as popular as Bendy someday.” Long story short, this ain’t your momma’s Minnie Mouse, But it IS your momma’s Betty Boop, One of the Fleischer Studio’s most famous creations. Betty Boop matches EXACTLY with Alice. She’s a singer, who was introduced in the cartoons to be Bimbo’s love interest, Surpassed him to become way more popular, And was considered to be an attractive, sexy character back in the day. So much so, in fact, that her design had to be toned down in 1934 When the government started cracking down on the sexual content in films. Oh yeah, and she also happens to wear black halter top dresses. Well, eventually red, but you know, this is black and white cartoons. And if you’re wondering how a human woman would become the love interest of a cartoon dog, well, get this: Betty Boop actually started as a dog. A French Poodle, in fact. It’s kind of disturbing, really, Her long dog ears became her long hoop earrings– Urgh, kinda gross… Anyway, she’s also the matching species of her love interest, Just like The Ink Machine’s two little devils. But it’s stylistically where we see these two worlds collide the most. During Fleischer’s war against Disney, two styles of animation developed, Disney’s West Coast style was much more family friendly, With characters behaving much more realistically, And in settings that happened to be brighter and cheerier. The New York style? Max’s work was much grittier, twisted, Aimed at more mature audiences, With character bodies contorting like rubber bands. It was a looser animation style that felt like improv, Where characters aren’t so tightly bound to the rules of reality. It was a lot like YouTube animations that you see from channels like GonzoSSM, PsychicPebbles, OneyNG, And of course, EgoRaptor. The settings were grungier, taking place in cities and sewers. Inside buildings rather than outdoors. And the topics dealt with were racier, Just like Betty Boop, A character made to be a sex symbol that has literally persisted across generations. In short, these were scarier cartoons with darker, Sometimes even hellish, imagery. And this is the aesthetic that seems to embody the game. Joey’s animation studio is a tight, confined space filled with industrial pipes, Dripping ink, dark and shadowy. It’s LITERALLY a hell on earth. And yet, for all the jump scares, what’s creepiest in the game right now is the cult. The big reveal that ends Chapter 2 Is that Sammy is trying to sacrifice you to their ink god, Bendy. He’s clearly in a cult worshiping these living, breathing, cartoon characters, But in this case, Truth is actually stranger than fiction, Because there’s an unexplained recurring theme of cult activity throughout the Fleischer studio roster. In “Betty Boop – Is my Palm Read”, We see Bimbo and Koko the Clown worshiping a shadowy witch figure. A shadow, mind you, that never gets referenced or explained, it’s not a joke in anyway– They’re just there, bowing to it, and presumably, It gives Bimbo his fortune-telling powers. Then, there’s “Betty Boop Red Hot Momma” Where a fireplace SUDDENLY– For literally NO REASON– Transforms into the LITERAL mouth of Hell. Also, let me just say how creepy it is that EVERY Betty Boop cartoon requires a scene that shows her with some sort of strong back light So you can see her legs through the dress. I mean, come on guys, find a magazine or something… And here we all thought that anime was creepy. But perhaps the single most disturbing, bizarre, inexplicable, example of this is in the cartoon “Bimbo’s Initiation” Where our lovable dog Bimbo gets locked in the sewer by Mickey Mouse– Max clearly showing his grudge against Disney there– When all of a sudden, he’s confronted with a bunch of cultists. No joke, ACTUAL cultists asking him: Cultist: “Wanna be a member?” “Wanna be a member?” Bimbo: “No…” When Bimbo refuses, he’s suddenly tortured with all sorts of horrific punishments. INCLUDING a knife CUTTING THROUGH a spinning room to STAB him repeatedly. Cultist: “Wanna be a member?” “Wanna be a member?” Bimbo: “No.” OVER and OVER again he’s asked to join again until he’s finally he’s finally had enough punishment and says “Yes” At which point it’s revealed that the cult is made up ENTIRELY of Betty Boops. WHAT THE– WHAT–? WHAT–? So are you saying Betty Boop created a bunch of clones? That there’s a cult that worships HERSELF? Or MAYBE you’re saying that when a stranger asks you to join a cult you should ABSOLUTELY say “yes” Because there’s gonna be a hot girl in it for ya. Regardless, it’s weird and it’s creepy, and I have NO IDEA How people back in the early 30s found it FUNNY– But I think this scene gives us a really strong indication of what’s going on in Bendy and the Ink Machine. So in the words of Good Mythical Morning, “Let’s talk about that.” Between the gritty setting, the failing company, the desire to bring cartoons to life, The mischievous white-gloved mascots and matching female partners, A boss with a chip on his shoulder and the recurring cult imagery, There is little to no doubt that Max Fleischer is, in fact, the real-life Joey Drew. So then what? What’s all this mean for the game? What’s the point of doing this? Well, if this theory proves true, First, we’ll see Alice take center stage as the game goes on. Like Betty Boop, we’ll hear about how her popularity skyrocketed, surpassing Bendy. And you can expect, Bendy probably won’t be too happy about that– Creating some in-fighting between the characters– With you stuck in the middle. I’d also hazard to guess that we haven’t seen the last of that cult. Just like we saw in Bimbo’s initiation, How INTENSE would it be to learn that these characters are using the ink machine to replicate themselves– Building a cult consisting of hundreds of horrifying Bendy and Alice clones. And lastly, just like Sammy as an ink monster, It wouldn’t surprise me to see Joey Drew as the real identity behind the first Bendy– Fused together with his creation by the cursed ink machine. Literally consumed with his desire to bring cartoons to life, Just like Max Fleischer desired to bring his cartoons to life– And was eventually consumed by his desire to get revenge on Disney. *bang bang* I guess we’ll just have to wait until Chapter 3 is ready to find out. But in the meantime, Remember, Tha- tha- tha-tha- that’s just a theory– A game theory! *high pitched voice* Thanks for watching– Ha ha! MatPat:”Wanna be a member?” “Wanna be a member?” Then click subscribe down below and join the Theorist cult. And hey, speaking of old-school cartoons, you like Bendy, right? Which means you’re probably a fan of animation. …Yes? Well then listen up because the service Crunchyroll– One I’ve advertised a bunch on Film Theory– You know, the awesome online service that allows you to watch your favorite anime like Attack on Titan Season 2, Dragon Ball Super and Naruto Next Generations– Subbed OR dubbed in 1080p HD– Well it just got even better because now it includes more stuff And stuff that isn’t just anime. It’s called VRV, And it’s spelled V-R-V which is kinda stupid But hey, Naming stuff is hard– And it’s a FREE app– You heard that right, it’s free. You can download it on pretty much anything– Your phone, your tablet, PlayStation, Xbox, phonograph projection– tube… And not only can you still watch your favorite anime for free, but now you’ll also be able to access shows from RoosterTeeth, Like RWBY, and also the Tested channel which is made by Adam Savage of the MythBusters– And who doesn’t love nerding out over him and watching him test, and build stuff. I LOVE the MythBusters– like the MythBusters are my sprit animal— So watching him do stuff on VRV is like is like– a dream come true. And remember, like I said, the app is free. It’s just giving you more great content to watch while you’re on the go– While you’re in the cafeteria, while you’re sitting bored at recess, (How many people watching this still actually have recess?) Or hiding from your boss in your cubicle– go to www.vrv.co/matpat– www.vrv.co/matpat. But seriously, let’s be honest here for a second VRV, that is a terrible website. Dot CO? CO??? What- Were all the com’s taken…? At the very least, you could’ve gotten a .io and everyone would’ve thought it was a slither.io clone or something– I don’t know… So loyal Theorists who are watching right now, if you’re interested in getting really awesome FREE content to whatever device you want, Just click the link in the description of this video– Or, just search for V-R-V– VRV. Honestly, I think it’s really cool, it’s helping me catch up with a lot of the shows I should’ve watched by now– Like RWBY, which A LOT of you have been asking me to do a theory on over on Film Theory– So get it and watch amazing shows literally ANYWHERE you are while you’re on the go. Again the link is below, or you just search for VRV. Cool? Cool! And sorry VRV, for making fun of you, but, seriously, fix the URL. Also, I gotta apologize if this episode ruined Disney for anyone– just though I should say that.. I mean, I still love Disney, but yeah, this one was kind of a bummer to learn about the way he manipulated people. So that kinda sucks. But hey, Space Mountain’s still a lot of fun to ride, and Star Wars land is coming so- YEE-HAW! Take my money Disney! To the victor go the spoils… I’m sorry, Max Fleischer, I’m so sorry. Not going to Bimboland. *music fades*

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