Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
About the Story
Fourteen-year-old Bridget's summer camp experience takes a turn for the bizarre when her otherworldly bird dreams start bleeding into reality.
Winner, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Winner, Best Story; Winner, Best NPCs; Winner, Best Individual NPC; Winner, Best Individual PC - 2015 XYZZY Awards
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Itís Twine, but with an unusual format; itís a lesbian YA romance; and itís an exploration of how teenagers learn to define their personalities, expressed through the medium of game stats. Itís charming and polished enough that you donít have to work too hard to get into it, but thereís enough there to support further thought. You donít feel like you have to play it more than once to get a good experience, but thereís plenty to reward you if you do. Birdland demands little and yet offers much, which is a rare accomplishment for any kind of art.
See the full review
spooky action at a distance
Birdland has at its heart a story about a young woman figuring out the sort of person she wants to be, and overcoming the difficulties of being shy, or weak, or scared, and maybe falling in love, and maybe solving a mystery. And all of that is encompassed in the voice of the narration, which combines a genuineness and an absurdity which effectively unites all of the disparate choices that the reader can make.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 11
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
I am a human reviewer. The function of a human reviewer is to review humans.
A normal human activity at this juncture would be to provide a review of the human, Birdland, but Birdland is not a human. Birdland is a sublime and transcendental experience created by the human Brendan Patrick Hennessy.
Birdland tells the story of a young human woman at a summer camp, where she is experiencing human emotions of melancholy, isolation, and loneliness, and she dreams that she is in a strange world of birds who ask her puzzling questions about common-place experiences each night.
These dreams affect her daily moods, which in turn close off or open up different actions she can take.
A large cameo/guest-appearance by Bell Park, Youth Detective, is a delightful reference to Hennessy's last game, but absolutely not required reading.
I can't say enough good things about Birdland; the formatting, style, design, and narrative are all excellent.
This game from IFComp 2015 is, in my opinion, one of the best Twine games of all time, and certainly the best outside of the well-developed horror/darkness segment.
In this game, gameplay is split up between a summer camp with a slice-of-life scenario and dreams with an absurdist take on talking birds. As the game progresses, the two halves become more related.
The game takes a stats-based approach, with a twist. You develop statistics at night during your dreams; in the day, it affects what options you have for various activities. At first, I felt like the stats didn't matter, because scene follows scene in the same order regardless of your actions. However, on replay, I found that some of the best material is contained in stats-enabled actions.
This story is long and has several surprising turns. It's split into several days, each of which can be accessed independently in case you can't finish in one sitting. Because stats seem to be reset each night, I don't think you lose anything just skipping ahead.
The game includes some mild summer-camp-normal sexual references near the beginning, and one branch of one scene contains strong profanity.
Recommended for everyone.
Edit: When I played through again, I counted the distinct pages I viewed, and I took 234 choices/pages to complete the game.
Birdland is a very long Twine story (probably at least novella-length for each playthrough) about teen girls at summer camp. They participate in standard camp activities like swimming, they gossip, and they fumble with their developing adolescent identities. This could've been horrible. All the ingredients are lined up for a sappy Hallmark special. But it's not horrible. It's great.
It's written in script format with occasional character illustrations (that are very nice; you can look at them all from the main menu, but they only show up once each in the game itself). What this means, of course, is that practically everything is conveyed through dialogue, and what that means is that major emphasis is put on character interaction. There is no flab. The game is laser-focused on these characters' mindsets.
I have the sense, although I could be mistaken, that you'll get the same overarching story no matter what choices you make. Which is no problem. It is a good story, not just about teen girls canoeing at summer camp, but about the dreams that the main character Bridget Leaside experiences -- strange dreams that seem to have ripple effects in the waking world.
Rather, what choices you make influence sub-scenes in the story by changing Bridget's mood, giving her access to certain actions or cutting them off. You're basically presented with different angles of approach to the same goals. What's especially thoughtful is how the game shows you every possible action, even if you can't choose one because you're in the wrong mood at the moment. This way you know what impact your decisions had. I am growing more and more fond of transparent game mechanics like this.
Since nearly all the writing is dialogue, the dialogue has to be good, and it is. Especially in the dream sequences, where humanoid birds speak to Bridget using stilted, mechanical language. Brendan Patrick Hennessy has a history writing stilted prose. You Will Select a Decision is all about the stilted prose. But whereas that was a pure comedy game, and the prose was stilted because it was meant to be a poor translation from Russian, in Birdland there's more going on. It's still funny in Birdland. The technique is just being used with more purpose.
Actually, Birdland feels like the natural next step after You Will Select a Decision and Bell Park, Youth Detective. Those games crashed together, refined themselves during the crash, and became Birdland. Bell Park herself is a central character in Birdland.
This game made me think about Wes Anderson movies. Moonrise Kingdom specifically. Kids who are more mature than the adults around them, but who are still kids learning how to survive. Kids who find themselves in over their heads as bizarre circumstances develop. Birdland is strong interactive fiction, pushing the medium more toward literature, which I completely support.
See All 14 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed Birdland...
Related GamesPeople who like Birdland also gave high ratings to these games:
The barbarians are coming!, by Daniel Kosacki
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
My very first twine story! This is a story of you saving your village from a bunch of meanspirited barbarians. A bunch of stuff happens in the middle as well. The humor is weird and the story even weirder still, so it's not for everyone...
|Dungeon Detective 2: Devils and Details, by Wonaglot|
Average member rating: (8 ratings)
The life of the world's first Dungeon Detective isn't exactly glamorous. You've spent many nights hungry, sleeping in the woods. But word is getting out, and the newest case has showed up at the foot of your bed in the first room you've...
Stupid Kittens, by Marc Valhara
Average member rating: (16 ratings)
"You are standing in Karen's room. >POOP ON COMPUTER Woo, bad kitten!" [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
Recommended ListsBirdland appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Favorites by Ivanr
This is a chronologically-ordered list of the games that are my personal favorites. These are the games that have stuck with me the way that a great movie or a great book does; a more restrictive criterion yet than my choice to give...
2020 Alternative Top 100 by Denk
(Created 24-Jul-2020) Philosophy: 1. If a game only has 5-star ratings, it is because the game hasn't received enough ratings. 2. Games with few ratings can still be among the best. 3. Sometimes the average score is the best metric. The...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Birdland:
For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible games of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Game in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...
Games with the best writing by A. I. Wulf
Games are a new medium of art. It's still a maturing medium. But still some works May have succeeded in being truly classic in their writing. As an enthusiastic writer I need to know about the growth of IF in this field.
This is version 10 of this page, edited by Zape on 3 May 2021 at 8:50pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item