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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Is Garten of Banban killing indie horror?

Photo courtesy of Euphoric Brothers // Wacky creatures, such as Jumbo Josh in the picture above, are a common sight in Garten of Banban

If you, like me, still keep up with the chaos that is indie horror games like “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” “Poppy Playtime” and many many others, then you have seen, heard or watched Garten of Banban. 

The best way I can describe it simply is that all of the classic indie horror tropes are crammed into a single game, or at least that’s how it first appeared. The first game was confusing, to say the least. The animation and gameplay were janky at best as one of the main features was to control a toy drone to solve button puzzles. Garten of Banban’s story was also a premise we’ve all seen and heard before, we play as a parent looking for their lost child.

All we’ve seen so far from the lost children are drawings and letters. We also know that they have been seen by the monsters living in the Kindergarten/backrooms/dark ether that is the main location of the game.

As of Aug. 11, there are four games in the lineup. The series began in January and for those of you who don’t know the process of game design, four games is a lot in a short amount of time. As the story stands now that’s pretty much all the information we know. There is, however, sprinkled complex lore throughout the game that hints at these clay-like monsters’ origins. But that is a topic for another day.

Now, this game has been called a “shameless cash-grab” by the Indie horror game community, with merch being sold immediately after the first game. Many fans are outraged by what they’ve seen, refusing to even consider it a real game, much less on the same level as franchises like “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

However, the most recent game has gotten the attention of the true kings of indie horror, YouTube let’s players! Let’s players have taken a liking to the chaos and embraced the wacky controls, creating amazing content and support for the game. Markiplier is a common name in the gaming community with over 20 million subscribers. By his own definition, he is a “Garten of Banban defender”, a statement he made during his live stream of the most recent installment of the series.

Host of Game Theory, Mathew “Matpat” Patrick has several streams playing and theorizing “THE LORE” of the game. It’s clear that while the game isn’t the best quality at times it’s still a lot of fun to play.

Still, the biggest argument in the community for this game being nothing but a terrible cash grab is the rushed schedule of the games, bad graphics and inconsistent game controls. However, as has been pointed out by Matpat, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is considered the peak of indie horror and has a similar story. With four games in a single year at the beginning of FNAF’s outbreak, and now with the newest FNAF game “Security Breach”, we see that no game developers are immune to a rushed final product. More on that in another article…

Back to Banban, the most recent game is beginning to feel a bit more polished, it’s clear that The Euphoric Brothers, who are the developers of the game, are learning and gaining experience as they go. More importantly, they seem to be leaning into the chaos they’ve made, creating what feels almost like a satire of indie horror. 

That idea I think may be their own unique mark, whether intentional or not. Being able to take all of these horror cliches and make them funny, entertaining and wacky, makes a statement that may be bigger than creating just another indie horror game.

Is Garten of Banban ruining indie horror? No, The Euphoric Brothers are making their mark in the game industry in a way no one expected. Maybe not even in a way that they expected.

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About the Contributor
Bree Lavine, Editor-in-Chief
Bree is a Freshman from High Point, North Carolina who is a Creative writing major and a film minor. Bree was a staff writer for the Guilfordian last semester and is now the Feature editor and is writing her own column 'Bree's Breeze on Culture' that explores things like anime, T.V. Shows, and movies. Aside from that Bree spends her time playing video games, drawing, hanging out with friends, and working on her own novel.

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