Bad Day on the Midway
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|Bad Day on the Midway|
|Release date(s)||October 31, 1995|
|Bad Day on the Midway|
|Soundtrack album (computer game) by The Residents|
|The Residents chronology|
Bad Day on the Midway is a CD-ROM game designed and scored by The Residents and a number of other graphic artists, including Jim Ludtke. The game won the 1995 'Macrovision International User Conference Award' in two categories – Best Entertainment Title and Most Innovative Use of Multimedia.
The game was optioned by Ron Howard at Imagine Television for a proposed series to be directed by David Lynch. After two years of meetings with Lynch, the project was dropped because a script was never agreed upon. Had the project moved forward, The Residents would have not been creatively involved as their contract only gave them consulting roles in the pilot.
The character Timmy was later brought back in a series of short videos by the Residents.
The player can switch between the various game characters in order to solve a number of puzzles. The game has alternative narrative lines, with definite fixed story elements. The gameplay is centered around discovery via the different characters. The game has no save system and is time-limited. The player is faced with different puzzles and questions, such as how to stop a murderer without fighting, and the reaction to the backstory of the murderer.
Timmy is a 10 year old boy who skips his violin lesson to have a day of fun at the Midway. His only objective is to wander around and talk to people. According to the official strategy guide, because of Timmy's innocence, he is safe from things in the game such as Red Rat Plague, and being murdered by the psychotic killer, Ted.
Dixie is the de facto head of the Midway, due to her husband and original owner of the Midway, Ike, being in a coma for the entire game until the very end. Dixie has no objective in the beginning of the game until she meets the IRS Man, and her objective goes from nothing to searching for missing taxes.
The operator of the Racing Rat Booth, Otto is the least liked out of all the characters and speaks with a very noticeable stutter. In an effort to have improvements made to the Racing Rat Booth, he has been blackmailing Dixie. He is the only playable character to not get his own ending or be included in anyone else's as he always dies in every game,
A tattooed stripper who walks around with a pair of dobermans, Huck and Chuck, Dagmar's goal is basically walking up and down the Midway promoting her show. Due to programming, when playing as Dagmar, the in-game clock goes slower than normal. She is the only other playable character to not have her own ending, as she is included in one of the IRS Man's ending.
Late in the game, this mysterious new character appears. He dawns a brown stetson hat and asks Dixie for a job, and introduces himself as Jackie. It is later revealed that he is Jocko, Ike's former partner who tried to kill Ike over a lie Ike had told him about hiding gold on the Midway. His later objective is to retrieve a surveillance tape with evidence of his attempted murder.
- IRS Man
Like Jackie/Jocko, he appears late in the game and requests from Dixie to see all of her 1040s and receipts for the previous five years. His objective simply to obtain Dixie's taxes, and then later changes to getting better acquainted with Dagmar.
He is the psychotic killer on the Midway, believing that everyone is ugly and that ugly people should die. The game is set so that in specific locations, (if you are playing as an adult character) he will appear and murder your character. In passing, he doesn't say anything to any other characters besides Timmy.
- Madame Mandrake
An automatic fortune-teller who weaves together pieces of different phrases so they all become completely nonsensical, i.e. "The weakest link is stranger than fiction".
- Lottie the Human Log
Lottie the Human Log is a half-human, half-tree character who, like Dagmar, performs her own show at her own attraction. She is also Ted's mother.
- Oscar the Racing Rat
Otto's pet rat with a red head, Oscar is the only non playable character that can be accessed the same as playable characters, but unlike the other characters, he cannot be controlled. When assumed, a short clip is played of him running through the Midway, a thing that the official strategy guide refers to as the "rat-cam"
A character wrapped in gauze and facially disfigured, Ike lays in the private room of the Kill-A-Commie Shooting Gallery. A large majority of the other characters assume that in this state, the "Coma Man" is actually Jocko.
Attractions and Rides
- Kill-a-Commie Shooting Gallery
A shooting gallery where the game consists of communist leaders as targets. This is also where Ike rests in a room through a door marked "private".
- The Warehouse*
In the center of the midway, there is a large warehouse with cardboard cutouts and other random objects lying around.
- Sperm Whale Giving Birth to an Electric Eel*
A darkened exhibit with a broken fake whale made of plaster, the Sperm Whale exhibit is off limits to most characters in the game.
- Dagmar the Dog Woman's Theater*
The theater in which Dagmar performs her one-woman show. There is a peephole on the side of the building that can be used advantageously late in the game.
- Oscar the Racing Rat Booth
Where Oscar races, this is where characters encounter Otto and watch Oscar race. The game is rigged so that nobody playing will ever win.
- Marvels of Mayhem
A war-themed merry-go-round stationed across the way from the Racing Rat Booth.
- Lottie, the Human Log Theater
The location where Lottie performs. Ted's room is located in the back of the theater.
- Torture's Top Ten*
A sort of roller coaster/haunted house kind of ride, Torture's Top Ten is a ride where characters enter and are transported around the ride (presumably on some kind of ride vehicle that is invisible to the player).
- Eye of the Maniac
A fun-house mirror surrounded by eyeballs, the mirror serves no other purpose than seeing a garbled reflection of the character the player has presently selected.
- The Three-Headed Abominable Snowman Skeleton Exhibit*
A museum type attraction, the Snowman exhibit is the largest exhibit in the game. In the far back of the exhibit is Ike's workshop, where the scene of what is referred to in the game as "the accident" took place.
- *This denotes that this is a location in the game where Ted will murder an adult character
Multiple endings are featured in the game. A large majority of the characters have their own ending, often shared with another character. In every character besides Dixie's, Ike can be seen walking behind Madame Mandrake screaming Dixie's name.
- Timmy if Timmy is the last character alive, the game will end with him saying "Wow! What a great place, I have to come back here tomorrow!", and he leaves the Midway as it begins to rain.
- Dixie if Dixie is the last character remaining, the game will "force" her to find Ike's diary in the Sperm Whale exhibit, revealing that before he was in a coma, he faked being paralyzed to avoid having her children. The game then "forces" her to go to the private room in the shooting gallery. Ike wakes up and they discover Dixie has received a check in the mail from a record company who accepted a song she had recorded. They leave to open a Klan-themed amusement park in Idaho.
- Jocko if Jocko is the last character alive, the game will "force" him to go to Ted's room, where a duplicate copy of the tape is on Ted's surveillance console. Jocko confronts Ted about the tape, and brandishes a knife. Ted paralyzes Jocko by shooting a poisonous dart to his forehead and begins his death speech when he is interrupted by Oscar, who scurries around his feet, causing him to jump and impale himself on Jocko's knife. Jocko then sees off Timmy at the entrance of the Midway, just as soon as the police arrive and arrest him.
- Ted if Ted the last character, the game will "force" him to look in the Eye of the Maniac mirror. He recites his death speech to his reflection, then scales Torture's Top Ten, and fastens a noose around his neck to jump.
- IRS Man the IRS Man has two possible endings. In the first ending, he and Dagmar are the sole survivors and they discover they both discover they have a love for dogs, and decide to start dating. They see Timmy off at the entrance, as Dagmar mentions that the IRS Man has a bad breath problem, foreshadowing their entire relationship is already doomed. In the second ending, he shuts down the Midway and warns Timmy that "this is what happens when you cheat your government".
There is a myriad of ways to die as every character in the game.
- Red Rat Plague
Late in the game, Oscar bites Otto and causes an airborne virus with unclear symptoms other than high temperature and sudden extreme redness of the face. If playing as an adult character, the game will display thoughts of the character with such things as "I think I have a fever", indicating they have caught an early stage of the plague. If the character is assumed for too long, the screen will gradually turn red. If enough time passes, the game ends.
In certain locations in the game, if playing as an adult character, Ted will appear, startling the character, and then will shoot a poisonous dart into their forehead. He then recites a speech about how ugliness must die and how he will liberate the character from their ugliness. If the player clicks between his eyes when the camera zooms in, the game will continue with a picture of the previous character being strangled, then the game will continue, however, the character becomes Timmy in a random location.
- The Abominable Snowman Skeleton
In the back of the Snowman Exhibit, there is a sign that says "DANGER". If the character walks past it, there is an animation of the character losing balance and falling over the rail, landing on the floor, and being crushed to death by the Snowman Skeleton, which falls from the ceiling and crushes the character.
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