Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Indie Nation #57: Enviro-Bear 2000

3:40 PM on 04.17.2009 // Anthony Burch

Every Friday, Destructoid highlights a fun, meaningful, or just plain interesting independently-made game for our "Indie Nation" series. 

Voting is still open for TIGSource.com's Cockpit Competition, but regardless of who actually wins first place, this week's highlighted game will always be number one in my heart. Specifically, the part of my heart that loves quoting otherwise awful cartoons.

Yes, Enviro-Bear 2000 is the best, and only, bear-driving-a-car simulation money can't buy.You do the typical bear thing -- fishing, eating berries, and hibernating -- but you do so from behind the wheel of a goddamn car.

That should really be all the suggestion you need to try this game out. If you still need to know why Enviro-Bear 2000 is worth your time, however, you can always hit the jump and listen to me rave about it some more.

My initial reaction to Enviro-Bear 2000 was an obvious one -- I laughed. The prospect of a game in which you not only control a bear from the first-person perspective, but one in which you control a bear driving a realistically functioning automobile felt too wacky and original not to be funny. The bad-yet-good graphics undoubtedly helped the hilarity factor, as well.

The way you control the car, via manipulating the actual pedals and steering wheel and gear shift with your mouse one at a time, initially seemed funny as well. "Ha!," I said to myself, condescendingly. "This is what it would really be like to drive a car if you were a bear! I guess!" That Crackerblocks, the game's creator, took the actual control scheme so seriously was of equal laugh value.

And so I played. And I kept playing. And after about ten minutes, it stopped feeling funny and started feeling really goddamn clever.

You're given very few actual things to directly interact with in Enviro-Bear 2000, but they all feel so completely believable, and interact with one another in such legitimately interesting ways, that the game truly begins to feel like an imaginative, enjoyable experience beyond the mere scope of its absurd humor. When I referred to Enviro-Bear 2000 as a "simulation," I wasn't joking.

Consider, for example, what happened when I hit a boulder. Small pebbles rain down into the car through the sunroof, obscuring your vision and cluttering the cockpit. Initially, I just tried to throw the dozens of pebbles out of the car, one by one. As my time limit ticked down, however, I just tried to clear them away from the windshield by pushing them down beneath the dashboard where they wouldn't obstruct my view. This caused an entirely new problem, however; pebbles rolled underneath the brake and gas pedals, preventing either of them from being pushed downward. I quickly grabbed the pebbles and threw all but one out of the window. The lone, remaining pebble rolled across the dashboard, down the steering wheel, and landed smack-dab on top of the gas pedal.

And suddenly, the car friggin' floored it. 

Where I'd spent 99% of the game manually pulling down the gas pedals with my hand when I wanted to move, awkwardly moving from the gas to the steering wheel and hoping my momentum would maintain long enough for me to steer where I needed to go, this simple incident with the pebbles showed me just how much I was capable of doing within the confines of this car. I could weigh a rock on the gas, leaving my hand completely free to steer the car. I never thought it would have been possible in a game as presumably simple as this, and especially not in a game as funny as this, but it was -- and it was awesome.

I'm sure that story sounds boring as hell written down, but only once before have I experienced that difficult-to-describe feeling of suddenly having your expectations blown away by a game mechanic which seems so simple and obvious and believable that you're amazed nobody ever thought of it before. I felt it when I killed my first shopkeeper in Spelunky, and I felt it when I discovered how to simultaneously accelerate and steer in Enviro-Bear. There's a lot of similarly clever stuff you'll find after playing for a short period of time -- the way a badger can drop into your car if you hit a tree and start switching gears and hitting things he shouldn't be hitting, or the way eating a really big fish can really clutter your cockpit and cause problems if you don't throw it away quickly enough.

Granted, the game gets kind of repetitive and irritatingly difficult as it goes on, and there's not much to do outside of eating stuff and hibernating, but Enviro-Bear 2000 is perfect for spending fifteen to twenty minutes with. Come for the absurdist humor, stay for the limited, but deceptively deep game design.






 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
I swear, it makes sense in context..... Kinda. Hmmm. Okay, not so much. [img]http://i.imgur.com/YhIzmYN.png[/img]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Almost done with my Waifu wars blog. pretty happy with how it turned out.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Time to scream and shout. It's Nanako cosplaying as her big bro! <3
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump is like Gandalf the White vs. Handsome Jack.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Skellige is so cool! It's like the land of Valhalla Rising.
Torchman avatarTorchman
http://gonintendo.com/stories/251840-fire-emblem-fates-petting-mini-game-is-in-game-but-only-availa I THOUGHT THIS WAS GONE. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS PEOPLE
Shinta avatarShinta
God damn, Bernie Sanders is just killing it with this speech. Hitting basically every point. He even used the word "oligarchy." Probably the first time I've ever heard that word uttered on CNN. I think a lot of people in power are shitting their pants
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In my haste to finally factory reset my tablet, I erased a blog I had worked on. Thankfully, it's fresh in my mind. It's another MGS blog, but it goes the opposite way of my last MGS blog. Pray this guy is not your husbando, for he is shit.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Just ate a disgusting amount of sugary wonders in a Fat Tuesday blowout. Chocolate (birthday) cake, Oreos, brownies, cookie dough, and some creme brule thing. Satiation by way of eat-'til-you-puke is what Shenanigans says!
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
Is there any real difference between the PS3 and the PS4 versions of Valkyria Chronicles?
Shinta avatarShinta
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Say whaaaaaat?
Gundy avatarGundy
Voting for Broforce made me think of the most American person that could ever exist. President Michael Wilson!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
By the way, that IGPX collection is a new release. It's the first time the show is available in a complete package, and the first time it's been available in any format in about 10 years. [url]http://amzn.to/20JSMCd[/url]
gajknight avatargajknight
This is your daily reminder that Taxi Driver is the best movie ever and if you disagree then all I can say is: God, you're square.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
I love when someone at work tries to claim you screwed up on something and it completely backfires on them. I try to help them save face afterwards, but secretly I'm like...
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I still love Tearaway Unfolded despite the shit pacing and hell yeah I'm going for that plat. It'll be my 2nd plat, first since Sly 2 Remastered back in 2012. So it's been a while. gotta beat the game first tho :P
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Tearaway Unfolded's final level is my least favorite kind. Life is Strange-esque linear path (through a void) of moments from the game. Bleh.
Shinta avatarShinta
Gravity Rush Remastered looks reallllllyyyyyy nice. Video and screenshots didn't quite do it justice. Seeing it in person is much better.
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
We are T-7 days until the release of Street Fighter V! There will be a blog released on the February 15, only one day before the release. This blog is about reflecting on Street Fighter IV.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -