BEN THERE, DAN THAT / Size Five Games / PC
 
 
"Author self-insertion" is generally a phrase that should get you running in the other direction from any creative work. However, Ben and Dan of Ben There, Dan That may have pulled off the first instance of making it work, thanks to a good sense of humor and a reverence for old PC adventure games, particularly those by LucasArts.
 


It also works because it doesn't overstay its welcome, being a light snack of an adventure at no more than 2 hours cumulatively to complete it. And like the LucasArts games that it frequently pays homage to, it's not possible to die or get irrevocably hung up. It's actually rather on the simple and easy side, but with the humor being the main draw, that's absolutely fine. Better that than brain-bendingly obtuse.
 


Ben and Dan are Brit flatmates who start the game seeking only to repair their broken TV antenna with whatever they can scrounge around the house, and end up stuck aboard a spacecraft that has portals leading to various weird alternate versions of the area around their place. It's an adventure in point-and-click style with a lot of in-jokes based on LucasArts classics, and since they apparently have the typical Euro inferiority complex toward America, plenty of potshots at Budweiser and football.
 


In the end, the game is almost more like a prologue to the longer and more involved sequel than a real full-length adventure. But they're only asking $3.25 to download it from their site, and I think I got it packaged with the sequel for like 2 bucks on a Steam sale. It was certainly worth 1 dollar at least.
 
 
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