Overview Ben There, Dan That!
, released in 2008, is the first title from Zombie Cow Studios. It stars fictional versions of the game's designers, Ben Ward and Dan Marshall, in a point-and-click adventure which lovingly parodies LucasArts
classics like The Secret of Monkey Island
and Sam and Max Hit the Road
. Ben There, Dan That!
was built using the freeware Adventure Game Studio tools. Released as a donation supported freeware game, it was met with widespread praise among the indie game enthusiast crowd but failed to bring in much money for its creators. In 2009, a direct sequel, Time Gentlemen, Please!
, was released.
Gameplay Ben There, Dan That!
puts players in control of Ben Ward while his friend and adventuring companion Dan Marshall haphazardly follows in much the same way as Sam and Max
. Like the point-and-click adventurers that came before him, Ben primarily gets him and his compatriot out of situations by picking up seemingly random objects and combining them in somewhat nonsensical ways. Ben can also occasionally direct Dan to flip a switch here or there to help out.
The game is primarily based around a hub that gives Ben and Dan access to several parallel dimensions. In spite of the seemingly open nature of this hub structure though, the game is largely linear with the adventuring duo progressing from one dimension to the next until the journey finally reaches its end.
The game opens on a jungle scene in Peru "two weeks earlier". Dan has somehow died and subsequently turned into a zombie, and Ben has done a lot of solo adventuring to set up a contraption that should restore life to his friend. Putting the finishing touches on the machine, Ben jams a firework into Dan's bum and lights it which causes Dan to be launched across a wide canyon on a vine attached to a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle
Two weeks later, Ben and Dan find themselves back in their London apartment in yet another predicament. Magnum P.I. is about to come on TV, but the antenna is broken and can't pick up the channel. After fashioning a new antenna out of a wire hanger and some bathroom wiring, Ben sticks it out the window. Surprisingly, the new antenna gets struck by lightning, teleporting Dan and Ben aboard what appears to be an alien spaceship. Finding themselves in yet another adventure, the duo resolve to resolve their alien abduction predicament before Magnum P.I. starts.
Looking around the spaceship, Dan and Ben find many doors, each requiring a unique item to unlock them and each leading to an odd parallel dimension version of London. Through the first door, unlocked with a cutout of Sam's head from Dan's expensive signed Sam and Max poster, the pair finds a post-apocalyptic future version of London that has been ravaged by zombies.
After solving a simple puzzle or two, killing a priest, and stealing from a child, Ben and Dan move onto the next dimension where they discover a world where England has been annexed as the USA's fifty-first state. To their horror, Ben and Dan find that American style theme resturaunts have overtaken classic English pubs and American football is now featured on TV.
From there, Ben and Dan continue onto the DINOmension, a world where dinosaurs have become the dominant race and act like humans. Specifically, the duo find themselves in a dinosaur game development studio where they are working on "Gibbage 2", a sequel to one of Dan's less than excellent indie-developed games. Ben continues his killing spree that he started with that priest by knocking off a few dinosaurs and getting away with a model of an X-Wing that serves as a key to another door and a few copies of "Gibbage 2". Going back to the fifty-first state dimension, Dan and Ben find a trio of jaded out-of-work game journalists drinking moonshine and plotting global domination. By satiating their desire for something new and fresh with copies of "Gibbage 2", Ben collects a random bottle of moonshine that he assumes will be helpful later.
It is at this point that Ben and Dan discover a secret room aboard the spaceship where they find that two aliens have been closely following their inter-dimensional travels and somehow seem to already know what they're going to do in the future. In addition, the aliens have also been distributing a Bejeweled style match three game titled "Hello World" to every single person on Earth for some unknown reason.
Continuing on their adventure, the adventurers pass through the bowels of a Cow and end up in a dimension where a mysterious Yang has given everyone superhuman (but mostly worthless) powers. After stealing the Yang from its museum exhibit and pairing it up with a corresponding Yin in another dimension, Dan and Ben use the Yin-Yang to open the door on the spaceship that leads to their own London apartment.
Back home, Ben and Dan are confronted by the two aliens who reveal that the "Hello World" game included a sublimenal message that makes every unconditionally follow Ben and Dan as supreme dictators. The aliens however turn out to simply be evil future versions of Ben and Dan that used their powerful time-space manipulating abilities to occupy the present day versions of themselves while they took over the world. Having altered the past though, the evil future versions of Ben and Dan vanish since their timeline no longer exists leaving present day Ben and Dan in control of the entire world.