What at first appears to be a wonderful slice-of-life story, Birdland slowly becomes a science fiction tale. It would be very easy to spoil, however I’ll try not to.
The protagonist and hero, Bridget Leaside
Birdland is an interactive story where you play as Bridget Leaside, a seemingly normal awkward teenager. She’s an unwilling participant in summer camp along with other high school students including the young sleuth Bell. At first, the game can be difficult to get in to. By the end, you’ll be smiling ear-to-ear, practically yelling,”we did it! We did it!” Anybody who enjoys surreal stories that seem normal, yet somehow just a bit off kilter– this one’s for you. Also, the writing is accompanied by nice sketches of the main characters. Izzy Marbella(the illustrator) gets two graphite-smudged thumbs up from me. That said, the whole design and interface in general is very smooth, modern, and clean-looking.
Birdland’s story revolves around Bridget’s low self esteem and feelings of alienation from other teens her age. While she’s very sweet and tries to do her best, I found myself internally screaming at my screen, “GROW A PAIR AND TRY HARDER GOSH DARN IT!” If you play it, you’ll have sympathy for her, but in addition an incredible amount of pity, just wanting to fix her unhappiness. In the end, you’ll see her blossom with the help of a friend.(I’ll just leave it at friend, but actually, there was the cutest lesbian romance…)
This all seems pretty typical, but when Bridget’s dreams seem to bleed into her life, she’s full of anxiety, and nobody really listens to her worries. These are not just any dreams, but vivid dreams where she must explain how humans function to a bird-human-thingy. Yeah, when anthropomorphic bird-freaks start to take over your summer camp, be worried. Listen to that Bridget chick!(pun intended?)
Like pretty much every science fiction story, Birdland ends with humans proving their superiority over aliens by making art and being generally clever and emotional. Hurrah for humans, for we can make paintings better than emotionless bird-beings! This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s fairly over done, or, arguably, the only lesson in science fiction. The author executes it charmingly and with some unique Canadian references thrown in, but I could see this resolution coming from a mile away. Still, that didn’t stop me from fearing for humanity for a second there.
I’m fairly sure I’ve spoiled the plot by now. Stop reading and just go play it, before my mouth leaks any further! I can feel the spoilers trying to escape–just go!
Birdland by Brendan Patrick Hennessy