Every once in a while I will stumble on a game like Bear With Me, and it will make my writing worth it. Firstly because Bear With Me is a point n’ click game, and secondly because it draws inspiration from film Noir. Two seemingly dying forms of entertainment that are now combined and nurtured in one final product.
And it’s not like I haven’t touched other specific niche genres here on IndieGala. The Samurai movies genre was a great genre to look back to, and so were the racing movies. Those were a lot of fun as well.
And of course, I can’t really forget about survival horror movies. They’re always a blast to watch and to write about.
But what about the actual Bear With Me game?
Bear With Me: What’s the game about?
Well, much like plenty of Noir movies, Bear With Me also features a damsel in distress and a private detective. The iconic duo never fails to entertain in noir movies and it’s a great source of inspiration here as well. Amber and her friend, detective Ted E. Bear, are at the very beginning of their adventure. They need to find Amber’s missing brother Flint, so the things that any good noir would have.
Bear With Me and the Noir genre
Before we dive into the specific titles of the genre, I want to do a quick reminder of the genre itself. What’s so special about noir, and why is it a dying breed of modern cinema?
Film Noir in a classical basic sense is a term to describe Hollywood crime dramas. With lots of crime, cynicism and sexual undertones, Noir became a staple in the Hollywood ’40s and ’50s. The term Noir even has a French origin. It means black/dark in French and it suits the genre perfectly. Noir movies are dark. Both in style and substance. And amazing.
Visually, the movies from that particular era, are predominantly black and white with very low-key lighting. Cinematographers were really drawn to the German Expressionist movement when crafting these movies. And you can say that (in a visual sense at least) the origins can be traced there.
Damsels in distress and cynical detectives
However, in regard to the themes and plots found in the Noir genre, there is plenty to choose from. A cynical and down on his luck private investigator is probably the most used theme in this genre.
As you can clearly see, it’s a basis for the plot in Bear With Me. But there are plenty of other great themes as well. Undercover cop, aging boxer, and even helpless drifter. You can find the Fame Fatal character here a lot. And of course a lot of the Noir movies were simply Raymond Chandler adaptations. Chandler really pioneered the detective fiction back in the day.
But speaking of actors, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and even Orson Wells really elevated the genre to a whole new level. And as for the female parts in these movies, well… The ladies were always women of questionable virtue. A deceiving, cunning and morally ambiguous female characters were dominant in the ’40s and ’50s.
Neo-Noir blends the old with the new
But although the Golden era of film Noir ended in the late ’50s, the genre amalgamated in different sub-genres. Neo-Noir seems the most obvious pick since it blends the classic themes and adds them to the new settings. However, the ’80s saw a surge in a sub-genre called Tech Noir.
A hybrid between noir and science fiction that was popularized with Radley Scott’s Blade Runner. Then came cyber-noir and the possibilities are now endless. However, because of the hybrids we now have masterpieces like Dark City, Matrix, Minority Report and The City of Lost Children. Furthermore, cyber-noir expanded into the world of books, video games and comic books, and there is plenty of material to choose from. If’ you really are drawn to the genre of course.
My favorite picks
However when it comes to selecting just a few favorites, that’s when it gets truly tricky. How can I possibly do that? Noir is one of my favorite genres ever. Especially because my mom (aka the biggest film buff I know) hooked me on it from an early age. Literally. Long before I was even old enough to understand the movies, I was watching them all because of her.
She would translate some of the lingo, and even elaborate the themes for me. And it would take years and years for me to get back to those movies and watch them through the eyes of an adult. It’s because of my mom’s insistence to grow up with the classics, that I still, to this day, say to myself… „Cat’s In The Bag … and . . . And The Bag’s In The River“. Or “Well, you’re about as romantic as a pair of handcuffs” to my husband. Sometimes those lines really stick with you. Forever and ever.
I watched The Third Man on one of my first dates with my now husband (since I have a soft spot for Orson Wells). And when I tried to get my younger sister hooked on old movies, I would play Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, and The Lady From Shanghai for her. I figured it’s best to start from the basics. Don’t you agree?
Chinatown And Dark City
Chinatown is probably the perfect neo-noir out there, and one of the very few movies I can’t find faults with. It’s god damn perfect. But if I would really have to choose from the vast pool of underrated movies that barely anyone knows about… I’m going with Dark City. It’s that good.
But I feel that not that many people have even heard of it. It’s not that ingrained in out pop-culture nor it is well known. Which is a shame really. It has a great plot, fantastic cast (led by my 90’s crush Rufus Sewell) and an incredible premise. It’s dark, gritty, and scary. It’s also incredible, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. I could really watch it over and over again and I wouldn’t get bored of it.
Bear with me and tell me your picks
What are your favorite Noir movies? Tell us all about them in the comment section. We’d love to know. And if you haven’t tried already the Bear With Me Collection, you can find it at a nifty price here.