Bear Stearns Bravo is a full-motion video choose-your-own-adventure game with a bizarre origin; it was revealed this morning as the "next step" in an art project predicated by the mysterious Twitter account Horse_ebooks and YouTube channel Pronunciation Book.
Horse_ebooks is arguably the more mysterious of the two predecessors; a Twitter account that generated apparent spam messages that are almost always humorously incomplete. Those tweets have inspired comics, yearbook dedications and more fan responses, all in admiration of the accidental hilarity of a spambot — but those messages, at least since 2011, have actually been authored by Buzzfeed creative director Jacob Bakkila and former Howcast vice president of product development Thomas Bender.
Those collaborators are also behind Pronunciation Book, a YouTube channel chock-full of deadpan video guides for pronouncing difficult words like Yggdrasil and Ouroboros — a channel which has been counting down to the reveal and launch of Bear Stearns Bravo.
That game is, fittingly, a bizarre take at the fictional 31st century version of banking firm Bear Stearns, in which the player — a bank regulator — and his partner must gather evidence for the bank's "surprise midnight trial." It's all set in full motion video, offering the player dialogue choices or the option to arrest whoever they're talking to at set junctions. The "First Impact" of Bear Stearns Bravo is free; the "Second Impact," costs $7 to access, and also unlocks "full-text message boards and personalized interDactive modules," and "news, sports, stock quotes ... romance?"
Little attention from the followers of Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book have been paid to the game, however, as many fans of both are upset about the reveal and its repercussions for the accounts. Both are in the process of sunsetting — speaking to The New Yorker, Bakkila said, "No one wants to work on a painting forever," later adding, "When it's done it's done. We're ready for the experience of whatever this next piece is."
The pair, along with The Orchid Thief author Susan Orlean, are currently performing another interactive exhibit in which people can call a number posted in a Horse_ebooks tweet to have the two creators read spam-like messages to them live. You can read more on that installation over on The Verge; you can also watch a trailer for Bear Stearns Bravo above.