IndieZero: Enviro-Bear 2000


[Ahoy! Welcome to IndieZero, a more-or-less weekly feature where we try and make you play an independently-developed video game, the idea being that you’ll probably enjoy yourself, or something.]

Funny video games. Bit of a rarity, no? Ask anyone which game has made them laugh the most over the years, and nine times out of ten you’ll be given the name of an old LucasArts point & click adventure, or one of TellTale Games’ recent efforts. Now, don’t get me wrong – all those games have rightfully earned the places they hold in gamers’ hearts the world over. But the fact is, anyone who tells you Monkey Island or Grim Fandango is the funniest game of all time, probably hasn’t played Enviro-Bear 2000 – Operation: Hibernation.

Built for’s Cockpit Competition a few months back (which it won, incidentally), Enviro-Bear 2000 puts you in control of a bear who’s trying to fatten himself up, ready for hibernation. Which doesn’t sound all that fun, save for the fact that the bear is driving around the forest in a car, and he hasn’t really got a clue what he’s doing. You move the bear’s paw around with the mouse, and grab things (including the steering wheel and accelerator pedal) by left-clicking. You’ve only got one paw, so driving around is exactly as awkward as it sounds, and it’s this complete cack-handedness that helps to make the game so ridiculously funny. In order to actually finish the game properly, if you’re into that kind of thing, you need to drive into trees and through ponds, hoping that some food will fall into the car for the bear to eat. Then, once you’ve had your fill, you drive into a cave and go into hibernation. But mostly you’ll be spending your time giggling and just trying to drive anywhere.


If you’re normal, you’re probably sold on the concept already and want to stop reading and play the blessed thing. That’s fine – the more you know about the game going in, the less fun you’ll have discovering stuff for yourself. For such a small game, there’s a ridiculous amount of humourous little touches waiting to be discovered – for a quick example, take a closer look at the other cars roaming about the forest. If you don’t burst out laughing, you’re officially DEAD INSIDE.

Still, what’s really clever is that while most memorably funny games achieved their fame through sharp dialogue or cutscenes, Enviro-Bear 2000 manages it purely through context and gameplay. Like any decent video game, explaining or describing it can never do it justice – you’ve got to play if you really want to ‘get’ it.


Of course, humour is one of the most subjective things ever, so there’s a chance you won’t enjoy Enviro-Bear 2000 at all. But you’ve got little excuse not to try it out. Oh, unless you’re not using Windows. Hurrah!

[Found on Ta! x]