kingofbees1.pngKing of Bees in Fantasy Land is a new piece of interactive fiction inspired by classic text adventures and by badly translated story material from Japanese NES and Genesis games (think The Legend of Zelda, the infamous Zero Wing, or, to quote the author in an email, "anything anyone ever says in Final Fantasy 1"). King of Bees is one of the funniest games I've played this year. It's also one of the cleverest applications of Twine that I've seen. The narrative is presented--both graphically and grammatically--as if it was the story text from an 8-bit game that was translated into English by non-native speakers.

In a nutshell, you are Space Knight and you are on a mission to kill King of Bees. You have to find a Space Gun and make your way through several Zones before facing your enemy. But things are not what they seem, and the game ends up questioning some of the basic assumptions in your typical game of the era. There is a great sequence toward the end where your perspective shifts completely and you see the 8-bit world with new eyes. But don't worry about there being a "message"; the game's focus is firmly on comedy and nostalgia.

This is a Twine game, and you interact by simply clicking on text to make choices. The choices you make and the results of your decisions poke fun at the plot devices and dialogue in translated 8-bit games, and affect where the story takes you next (though you always ultimately end up at the same place). After finishing the game, I immediately restarted so I could go back and see some of the things I missed the first time around.

King of Bees is a text-based game that any fan of old console games can enjoy. If you like it, be sure to check out author Brendan Patrick Hennessy's other hilarious Twine games: The Thing about Dungeons and You Will Select a Decision 1 and 2.

You can play King of Bees in Fantasy Land in your browser.