Title: Friendship Is 8-Bit – Story of the Blanks
It’s been more than a year since I began writing for Point Horror, and after carefully double checking with Wing and Dove, I thought I’d do this extra special recap of a horror computer game. This’ll be my first ever game recap, and I don’t know if I’ll be doing others because it may be a bit tricky.
As the name implies, this is a “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” game. Not an official one, mind you. It’s a fan game I found on newgrounds.com a few years ago when I was doing a search for creepypasta-related games. As it turns out, “Story of the Blanks” was made for a fan contest over on a “Friendship is Magic” website. A contest specifically for creepy games.
This game is surprisingly ingenious as the creator designed it in the style of original generation Nintendo games. It’s pretty short once you get the hang of it, but the story’s engrossing and well-crafted, leaving a number of things to the player’s imagination and scary in a non-problematic way. You’re probably thinking since this is “My Little Pony” and it’s horror related it’s probably gonna be some gross shit, but I assure you if it was I would never have recapped it for this site.
[Wing: I might have recapped it, depending on what that gross shit is, though not if there was, say, bestiality, etc., so. I love horror video games, but can’t play very many of them because a ton are first person camera style, which triggers my vertigo. Alas. Horror video games forever, though.]
The game opens with Applebloom and instructions on how to control her with the keyboard, how to talk and interact with things, stuff like that.
Applebloom runs into Twilight Sparkle one afternoon and excitedly tells her all about the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ latest endeavor to get, well, their Cutie Marks. Twilight politely tries to explain she’s on her way to drop off some books at Zecora’s place in the Everfree Forest, but Applebloom doesn’t notice and is explaining something involving “Cutie Mark Park Rangers.” After Applebloom caps off with “Every. Single. One,” she finally hears what Twilight was trying to say and asks if she can tag along with Twilight. Twilight doesn’t think it’d be a good idea since it’s late in the afternoon, but Applebloom belts out a pretty long “Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease” Twilight relents and allows Applebloom to come with her.
Twilight and Applebloom head into the Everfree Forest. The trek through the forest is quiet and a little melancholic, but kind of soothing. A nice way to end a day. Applebloom stops to look around a few times, Twilight patiently waiting for her so they can go to Zecora’s hut together. At Zecora’s, the zebra thanks Twilight for the books, but then warns the two ponies they should head straight home. Something’s about to happen in the forest, and it’d be best if they didn’t stick around.
Applebloom’s not sure what Zecora meant, but Twilight thinks they should head back. On the way out of the forest, Twilight and Applebloom are surprised to see a fallen tree blocking their path, even though the path had been clear a few minutes ago. Applebloom wonders if a ghost did it, but Twilight, a talking unicorn with magic powers, reminds her there are no such things as ghosts. Twilight uses her magic to levitate the tree away… but then finds a whole bunch more trees in their way.
Exasperated, Twilight asks Applebloom to give her space so she can clean up this mess. So Applebloom looks around the area a little bit and is shocked to see a gray pony with a yellow-orange mane going off the path into the forest. Applebloom tries to get Twilight’s attention, but she’s too busy trying to get rid of the trees to notice. Worried about the other pony, Applebloom follows her into the forest.
In this part of the woods, the trees are all dark and that soothing quietness has become a little sinister. Applebloom trots through the bushes and trees, trying to find the other pony on the dark path. Applebloom calls out for the pony but receives no answer. After wandering around for ages, Applebloom sees a bright opening in the trees, and heads toward it to find-!
A town. A brightly lit, nice looking town, hidden away in the Everfree Forest. Applebloom walks through a small wooden gate and meets a gray pony with a black mane standing by some tables loaded with refreshments and snacks. The pony welcomes Applebloom to Sunny Town and introduces himself as Grey Hoof, “Celebration Planner Extraordinaire.” He invites Applebloom to join the festivities. Applebloom looks around the party area for a bit before she sees a white pony with an orange mane sitting on the ground by one of the farther tables. The pony makes a vague comment about how somepony hasn’t spoken to her all night and seems upset about it. Over by a nearby house, a pale yellow pony with a blue mane is standing in a doorway and seems equally sad. Applebloom asks the yellow pony what’s wrong. The yellow pony, Roneo, is upset because he had a gift for Starlet, the white pony, but lost it somewhere and doesn’t know what to do.
While looking around the small town, Applebloom can’t help but think there’s something odd about this place. Talking to Gladstone, a dark brown pony with a light brown mane, it dawns on Applebloom that none of the adult ponies she’s met have Cutie Marks. Gladstone laughs saying he doesn’t know what a “Cutie Whatsit” is. Equally confused that there’s an entire town in the Everfree Forest, Applebloom is told by a green pony named Three Leaf she isn’t the first visitor they’ve had. But the ponies of Sunny Town have everything they need, so they never need to venture out of the forest for stuff.
As she wanders around, Applebloom comes across a ruby hidden beneath some bushes near one of the houses. Remembering what Roneo mentioned, Applebloom wonders if this is Starlet’s gift. Roneo is ecstatic when Applebloom brings him the ruby and can’t thank her enough as he dashes over to Starlet’s side.
Applebloom’s a bit uncomfortable with how heavily Roneo thanks her, though. She sees the two lovers reconciling, Starlet assuring Roneo she doesn’t need gifts to know he loves her, and Roneo thanks Applebloom again.
Applebloom decides to check out the house Roneo was standing in front of, almost like he was guarding the doorway. The house appears to be some sort of storage shed or warehouse. Inside she finds a maze made up of several crates and has to move the boxes around to get a better look at what’s inside. Applebloom finds a small crank, like for a well, and a gray pony with a dark red mane. This pony, Mitta, is upset about something to the point of tears. Mitta cries about something not being right, about something repeating over and over again.
Applebloom can’t figure out what Mitta’s so upset over and can’t get the pony to properly explain, so she decides to leave her alone…
Applebloom continues her search through the town when she heads past another gate into the darker part of the forest again, but hey she’s found the pony with the yellow-orange mane again! Applebloom tries to keep up with this mysterious pony, but at the end of the path is an old, crumbling house. Not at all like the quaint, lovely houses in Sunny Town. Applebloom discovers the door is locked, but there’s an old well next to the house. Using the crank she found in the storehouse, she’s able to pull up the bucket in the well and finds a key to the front door. [Wing: OLD WELLS ARE BAD NEWS, APPLEBLOOM.]
The house looks just as nasty inside as it does out, but Applebloom can’t find the mystery pony anywhere. She’s sure the pony went inside the house because even though the house looks abandoned, there’s a fire going in the kitchen’s oven. Applebloom’s exasperated, saying the only thing in the house is a…
W-what is that in the oven?
Inside the oven are the charred remains of a dead pony!
[Wing: O.O WELL THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY.]
Scared beyond belief, Applebloom runs out of the house and heads back to Sunny Town, but is in for another awful surprise.
When she emerges from the forest, Applebloom is horrified to discover the town has become dark and abandoned, just like the house. Buildings are falling apart and there are dead trees and plants everywhere. Applebloom doesn’t understand what happened and can’t find any of the other ponies.
But don’t worry, they’re still there.
There was no other way.
She was going to spoil the party.
Applebloom can hear Grey Hoof, but she can’t see him. She sees something, though. Something dark and misshapen with flames burning in its eyes, something trying to pass itself off as a pony, crawl out of the ground. It’s Three Leaf.
The curse had befallen her this very night.
She had the mark!
She had to go!
Applebloom runs away from this… thing, knowing that if she so much as touched this abomination it would all be over for her. But a boulder is blocking her path as something else crawls out of the ground. As Applebloom desperately pushes the boulder out of the way, she hears Gladstone begging her not to leave. Begging as he gets closer and closer…
Applebloom doesn’t listen and manages to get the boulder away just in time as Gladstone gets near her. As Applebloom heads for the gate back to the way she entered, another blackened pony emerges from the side and chases after her with astonishing speed. It’s Starlet!
Applebloom only barely makes it back to the gate before Starlet could grab her when more ponies begin to approach her. She hears Roneo’s voice coming from one of them.
All we want is friendship.
The others won’t like it.
Applebloom hurries to the gate when another pony crawls from the ground in front of her, possibly trapping her. But wait! This pony doesn’t appear as twisted as the others, almost familiar. It’s Mitta, the crying pony! Mitta tells Applebloom to run while she holds off the others.
Fools. Even in death they do not understand.
I should have protected her, but I made my choice.
This is our everlasting punishment, what we deserve.
Run for your life.
Applebloom hurries past Mitta into the Everfree Forest, but it’s like the forest has turned black and been stained with blood. All around her, more ponies rise out of the ground and chase after her. Every corner she turns and through every set of trees, more of the hideous abominations appear and try to stop her. There doesn’t seem to be an end to how many there are, but Applebloom doesn’t stop to keep count.
Getting closer to the place where she left Twilight, Applebloom doesn’t know how much longer she can make it before those things catch her when she realizes she’s not alone. But this time it’s the mystery pony. Her name is Ruby, and her eyes glow bright and yellow. She apologizes to Applebloom for accidentally dragging her into this, but she was simply curious. Applebloom’s not upset with her and asks her not to be sad.
Up close, Applebloom notices Ruby has a Cutie Mark, unlike the other ponies. It’s a magnifying glass. Ruby says she’s good at finding things… as the dead ponies start to close in on them. Ruby swears she’ll find a way for Applebloom to escape as the Sunny Town ponies get closer and closer when a ball of light appears over the forest and envelopes everything!
Applebloom blinks, and the forest appears normal again. Twilight’s found Applebloom, but Ruby and the others have vanished. Twilight’s so relieved she found Applebloom and tells her they need to get out of the forest now before they run into something awful.
As the two ponies exit the forest and head back to Ponyville, a familiar voice calls out from the forest.
But What If You Lost?
I guess sometimes, friendship ISN’T magic. [Wing: Never has our trope tag been more appropriate.]
So, let’s begin with wondering what happened. The general interpretation is Ruby was killed by the other ponies because they thought her Cutie Mark, all Cutie Marks, was/were evil, and as punishment for what happened the town was cursed. Mitta’s comments lead us to believe she didn’t try hard enough to save Ruby so she has more self-awareness than the other ponies. Some fans have felt this attitude makes more sense when recalling “The Cutie Pox” episode, so maybe their fear of Cutie Marks happened because of an epidemic of the disease. [Wing: I like this theory quite a bit.]
The game doesn’t rely on unnecessary shock value, building up its scares through mood and music, and leaving enough to our imagination to fill in the, um, blanks.
I’m disappointed the HD remake was cancelled, and there doesn’t seem to be any further development with the comic adaption another fan worked on over at DeviantArt.
This is one of my favorite aspects of the Friendship is Magic fan content, or rather, it’s kind of the only fan related thing I focus on for this series. I hope you guys are able to give the game a try and experience it for yourselves.
(Ruby by MLP: Friendship is Magic comic artist Amy Mebberson)