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Video Game / Story of the Blanks

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It is recommended that you play the game before reading this page. All spoilers will be unmarked.
A mysterious pony draws you deep into the Everfree Forest. Seems legit.

Friendship is 8-bit: Story of the Blanks is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan-made game made by Donitz in the style of traditional 8-bit games.

It follows Apple Bloom as she wanders away from Twilight Sparkle in the Everfree Forest and happens upon a village (called Sunny Town) full of ponies preparing for a party. She's invited to come in and enjoy herself, and aside from the fact that none of them have Cutie Marks or even know what Cutie Marks are, everything seems wonderful and straightforward...

...until she discovers what lies within the fireplace, and learns of their terrible secret.

The game isn't very long (if you don't die, you could finish in ten minutes), but still a great play, and even won Equestria-Gaming's "Creepy Game" contest. Play it for free here (DeviantArt) or here (Newgrounds).

Not to be confused with The Blank, and no such Blanks appear in the game.

An unofficial HD remake was in the works, but it's since been cancelled.

Story of the Blanks contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: Apple Bloom is a young filly who initially ended up in Sunnytown out of sheer curiosity towards the strange filly she spotted in the Everfree Forest. Though she had Mitta and Ruby help her, Apple Bloom escaped the hordes of undead coming after her and was found by a worried Twilight.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The comic version is going to have three more chapters. Of note, two things that stand out in the first volume. Mitta mentions the town "didn't deserve this," whereas in the game she says they did deserve it. Also, upon speaking with Ruby after being chased by the residents of Sunny Town, Ruby specifically says she might've triggered something upon entering the town, implying she is not a resident in the comic. There also appears to be some kind of unicorn or alicorn who may or may not be responsible for the curse.
    • The HD Remake, going by this swimming animation and a comment from someone working on the game, new content will be added. Exaggerated: At some point, they were talking about making it with original characters so that (besides avoiding getting a cease and desist from Hasbro) they could hire paid voice actors, have more mature situations and jokesnote , and create toys and other merchandise... This all when talking about the remake of a fangame that takes about fifteen minutes to play from start to finish.
    • Dinky and the Blanks is a (non-canon) Lunaverse adaptation of the game's story. Changes include but are not limited to: Dinky plays Apple Bloom's role and is on a class trip, the town is called "Moonville" instead, the residents' curse is different, and the local Element Bearers get involved.
  • All There in the Script: The Level Editor reveals a few names and identities:
    • The zombie ponies are called Nightmares.
      • The skeletal Nightmares are called Bone Fiends.
    • The fast Nightmare is Starlet, making her a case of Beware the Quiet Ones.
    • The two Nightmares who appear with Roneo at the front of Sunny Town are both also Roneo, which may be a case of Self-Duplication.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Touching any of the Nightmares except Mitta will result in Apple Bloom becoming a Nightmare and the villagers promising that she will never become like Ruby, protected forever.
  • The Atoner: Mitta didn't protect Ruby from being killed when she got her Cutie Mark, and as a result she spends her now undead existence lamenting her failures. When Apple Bloom is in danger, Mitta takes the chance to do for her what she didn't do for Ruby, and protects the filly from the pursuing Nightmares.
    Fools...even in death, they do not understand. I should have protected her, but I made my choice. This is our everlasting punishment, what we deserve. Now, run. Run for your life!
  • Back from the Dead: All of the residents in Sunny Town, plus Ruby.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: The Level Editor reveals that the fast Nightmare is Starlet. According to the creator of the game, "Since she was otherwise so calm and reserved, it only made sense to make her insanely quick."
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • During the Nightmares' chase of Apple Bloom, Mitta arrives just in time and pulls a You Shall Not Pass! to prevent her undead neighbors from catching up with their target.
    • As the zombies are closing in on Ruby and Apple Bloom, Twilight shows up and saves her.
  • Big "NO!": Apple Bloom's reaction to finding Ruby's bones in the fireplace.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To outsiders who wander in, the villagers of Sunny Town seem like normal, friendly ponies, until The Reveal that they murdered one of their own for getting her cutie mark, thinking it was a curse. Then, they drop all pretense of friendliness and try to turn the outsider into a zombie so they'll never become "cursed."
  • Blessed with Suck: The ponies in Sunny Town consider those with cutie marks this and murdered anyone who had them. Since those indicated you had discovered your special talent, the only way not to be murdered was by never figuring out what you were best at. You're still living (for a given value of "alive"), but will never find fulfillment or success.
  • Burn the Witch!: Clearly what these ponies thought when they saw that magnifying glass.
  • Call It Karma: The entire town is cursed into becoming Nightmares for what happened to Ruby.
  • Colon Cancer: Before the game's title was changed to Friendship is 8-bit: Story of the Blanks, it was My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Story of the Blanks.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: here (fanmade, but approved by the creator of the game). The creator of the comic has stated that the comic will continue beyond the story of the game (which has also been approved by the creator of the game).
  • Crapsaccharine World: Sunnytown. When Apple Bloom finds it, the people there are preparing a party. But after finding that old shack and Ruby's burnt bones in the fireplace, it's revealed that Sunnytown's happiness is just a facade, and that it's actually full of overgrown ruins by now.
  • Creepypasta: Called as such in the Newgrounds and Deviantart descriptions. This is more of a case of non-TV Tropes Trope Decay than anything. Basically, it just means it's horror.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Albeit in a different sense. Ruby's magnifying glass cutie mark, based on her knack for finding things, triggered the village into killing her. In a roundabout way, Apple Bloom's curiosity would've been the end of her too if Ruby and Mitta don't help her escape.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Cutie marks are treated like a curse in Sunny Town, even though they just mark conscious awareness of your special talent. The thing you are awesome at. However, with the release of episode "The Cutie Pox", it makes their horrific crime even worse as it comes off as a case of either ignorance or irrational paranoia on their part for a treatable disease.
  • Dark Fic: An odd example, as even though it's a generally dark story, it still seems to follow the themes and tone established in the show.
  • Dark World: Sunny Town becomes this after Apple Bloom's fateful discovery, though it's confirmed to happen every night anyway.
  • Dead All Along: Ruby, the strange filly Apple Bloom finds in the Everfree Forest, is actually a ghost, having been murdered by the people of Sunnytown for gaining a Cutie Mark. The same goes for the people of said town, who are cursed to become zombies because of their aforementioned crime.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In terms of gameplay, anyway...
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Apple Bloom's escape sequence, to unnerving effect (in red, black, and grey).
  • Dem Bones: the Nightmares. Most noticeable when they first appear-they seem to assemble themselves from a pile on the ground.
  • Easter Egg: The Level Editor.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The inhabitants of Sunny Town are cursed to become decaying zombies called Nightmares every night. It's implied that it's the result of their murder of Ruby, a young filly, making it a Karmic Transformation.
  • Fan Sequel: The fanmade Comic-Book Adaptation will continue beyond the story of the game.
  • Fetch Quest: This is how it starts out, but then...
  • A Fête Worse than Death: A subversion. The townsponies never intended to kill someone during the party, but Ruby's Cutie Mark appearing, "forced their hooves." Apple Bloom discovering this, "forces their hooves," again.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: As zombie ponies, Three Leaf, Gladstone, and Roneo have those in her dialogue boxes.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: Apple Bloom follows some of these, presumably created by Ruby, to escape from the Nightmares (temporarily).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Zecora tells Twilight and Apple Bloom to get out of the forest before it gets dark. And then along comes Ruby as it gets dark...
    • Mitta is the only pony that's not participating in the party, and can be found in one of the buildings in a severely depressed state, lamenting how the same thing happens every year. It's later revealed that Mitta regrets not stopping Ruby from being killed by her neighbors, and atones by helping Apple Bloom escape.
    • That the village exists in the depths of the Everfree Forest itself is one. In the show, every time the Forest is mentioned, it's explicitly laid out that it's filled with horrible monsters and is utterly unnatural; that Ponyville is on its border is purely because of the good farmland around it, not that anyone actually wanted to be near the place. And yet, somehow there's this nice, brightly lit village in the middle of it that no one knows about?
  • Freudian Excuse: The Cutie Pox retroactively supplies one for the townsponies. They were so scared of being infected that they were willing to kill a young filly for earning one after finding one of her neighbors a good gift to woo his love...
  • Friendly Enemy: Sort of. Mitta is a Nightmare after The Reveal that is not fatal to touch.
  • Friendly Zombie: Mitta is revealed to be a Nightmare like the other townsponies. But she is the only one who realizes that what they did to Ruby was wrong, and helps Apple Bloom escape the cursed town.
  • From Bad to Worse: As you first start playing, it seems like a straightforward find-and-give game, though just a little bit ominous with Mitta. Then Apple Bloom looks into the fireplace...
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Nightmares' and Ruby's sprites suggest this, although the latter is a friendly character.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: It's heavily implied that every year the town's last party is acted out as it happened then, and everypony (except Mitta) just pretends that nothing is wrong in order to entice new visitors in.
  • Harmful to Minors: Apple Bloom, just a little filly herself, discovers the terrible truth behind Ruby's murder and the curse of the town, and has to flee for her life before she becomes a blank-flank zombie-pony forever.
  • Hellish Horse: The nightmares are blackened pony skeletons kept together by a bloody red glow, which shines through the eyes and ribs. Mitta's sprite when talking to you looks different- it looks like a normal pony sprite with red fur, black hair, red eyes, and no pupils. The others just have floating red eyes when talking to you.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Let's face it Apple Bloom, leaving your guardian to follow some random pony into a haunted forest wasn't the best idea you've ever had, and it is almost a Curiosity Killed the Cast situation.
    • Of course, this is Apple Bloom we're talking about. Doesn't sound at all improbable she would pull a stunt like that.
  • Interface Spoiler: Once Apple Bloom enters Sunny Town, the text boxes' border design changes, possibly hinting that something isn't quite right about the place. The borders go back to normal after Apple Bloom and Twilight Sparkle leave the forest, but the narration at the end still uses the alternate design.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Ruby, which is a central plot point.
    • Also Apple Bloom if you can't dodge the Nightmares and escape town.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Ruby.
  • Level Editor: An Easter Egg, it can be accessed by pressing the home and end keys during the game, and is only visible if you resize the window to be taller than it is wide (which is only possible if you're viewing the SWF file itself, whether online or a downloaded copy).
  • The Lost Woods: Everfree Forest.
  • Lost World: Sunny Town.
  • Lured into a Trap: It's implied that the people of Sunnytown repeat the day they were cursed as a ruse, holding a party to lure in ponies with Cutie Marks so they could kill them.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • As soon as you check the fireplace and then visit the town after, the previously cheerful town has revealed its true state as a patch of overgrown ruins that's infested with zombies. Yikes.
    • Also the sudden switch from the frightening and narrow escape to the cheerful and bubbly theme song over pastel-colored credits is extremely jarring.
  • Murder by Inaction: Mitta feels she deserves to be cursed as much as any of the villagers because she didn't protect Ruby when she had the chance.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Mitta, the only Nightmare who shows regret at what happened.
  • Noodle Incident: Apple Bloom tells a humorous story to Twilight about what happened with her friends that apparently involved them being "Cutie Mark Crusaders Park Rangers", but since Twilight doesn't care, we only hear part of it.
    Apple Bloom: Every. Single. One.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The enemies are completely black when you first encounter them, and there are a few screens where the ground is completely black. There are no invisible enemies in these "black ground" screens, but try telling your mind that.
  • Novelization: Here (fanmade, but approved by the creator of the game).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Touching the Nightmares is instant-death. Mitta is the only exception, since she helps Apple Bloom (and the player) escape.
  • Palette Swap: Apparently done just to mimic the NES's style. Three Leaf (her overworld sprite in particular) looks like a palette swap of Pinkie Pie, although Pinkie doesn't actually appear in the game.
  • Prophet Eyes: Ruby.
  • Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice: The villagers of Sunny Town killed a young filly when her cutie mark appeared, believing it to be a curse.
  • Redemption Equals Death: This is inverted with Mitta. She was already dead to begin with, having been turned into a zombie, but she atones for her inaction towards Ruby's murder by helping Apple Bloom escape the undead hordes of Sunnytown.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Nightmares have these, though Mitta is a subversion since she wants to atone for her crimes by helping Apple Bloom.
  • The Reveal: Everything seems okay in Sunny Town, but once Apple Bloom follows Ruby into her house and looks in the fireplace, she sees the burnt remains of her skeleton. Ruby later tells Apple Bloom that she was killed by the other townsponies after she received her cutie mark.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who or what cursed the ponies of Sunny Town for killing Ruby?
  • Retraux: Down to the graphical limitations!
  • Scenery Gorn: After Apple Bloom finds Ruby's burnt skeleton in the fireplace and comes back, the cheerful Sunnytown is revealed to be an overgrown patch of ruins, with dilapidated houses long abandoned and covered in natural foilage. Not to mention, the entire place is infested with zombies. The Retraux style doesn't lessen the horrific impact at all.
  • Schmuck Bait: Three Leaf and Roneo as Nightmares. Similar to Mitta, they are not actively hostile, but unlike her, they will turn you into a Nightmare if you touch them.
  • Screening the Call: What the ponies of Sunnytown tried to do and have done, motivated by extreme fear of the Cutie Pox.
    • They ritualistically killed Ruby, a young filly, for earning her Cutie Mark in finding things, presumably by burning her alive. It's implied that they were cursed to live forever as zombies for this crime.
    • When Apple Bloom stumbles upon the town and discovers the inhabitants' dark secret, they turn their attentions on her and attempt to save her from earning her Cutie Mark, so she won't be "cursed" like Ruby was.
  • Self-Duplication: The Level Editor reveals that the two Nightmares who appear with Roneo at the front of Sunny Town are both also Roneo.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • "See you later, friend."
    • The ending narration implies that Apple Bloom will not be the first pony to find Sunnytown, nor will she be the last...
    • However, the creator of the game has stated that Story of the Blanks most likely won't have any direct sequels or prequels (but it will probably be referenced in his future FiM games).
    • The fanmade Comic-Book Adaptation has a bigger one, setting up its continuation.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Although Sunny Town is technically more of a rural hamlet, it still fits the trope. On the outside, it's a normal place like Ponyville, with its inhabitants in the middle of preparing a party. But once Apple Bloom discovers evidence of a past crime the people have committed, Sunny Town's true state is revealed as a patch of overgrown ruins infested with zombies.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Upon encountering the fallen logs, the only way to make the game progress is to wander off away from Twilight, then follow a mysterious figure into the depths of the forest.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    Game Credits: "Thoughout Equestria, relics of the past lay forgotten and alone, never truly resting, awaiting recognition..."
  • These Hands Have Killed: Mitta holds herself personally responsible for Ruby's death due to her failure to intervene, and prevent the other townsponies from killing her. When Apple Bloom is in danger, she takes the chance to atone by preventing the Nightmares from going after her.
  • Together in Death: This is subverted with Mitta and Ruby, along with the other townsponies, and Roneo and Starlet.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: On the outside, Sunny Town seems like a perfectly nice place to live in a la Ponyville. But its dark secret is that the people there murdered a young filly for earning her Cutie Mark, believing she was "cursed" with the Cutie Pox. When Apple Bloom finds Ruby's burnt skeleton in the fireplace, Sunnytown's true state is revealed as an overgrown patch infested with zombies, looking for anyone with Cutie Marks so they could "protect" them...
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Ruby found Roneo's gift to Starlet. What does she receive back? Euthanization via burning because she got her cutie mark in doing so.
  • Wham Line:
    "The Curse had befallen her this very night. She had the Mark! She had to go!"

    (if Apple Bloom gets caught by a skeletal pony) "Don't worry. You will never become like her. We will protect you... F O R E V E R."
  • Wham Shot: The whole game is quite sugary... until Apple Bloom sees the burnt skeleton of a foal in the fireplace. Then all hell breaks lose.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: What makes Story of the Blanks so disturbing is the very firm possibility that it could happen in the show, given the mysterious and unsafe nature of the Everfree Forest.
    • As well as the potential of the Cutie Pox having led to the town's fear of cutie marks.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Zig-Zagged, Apple Bloom seems disappointed when she finds a ruby the size of her hoof, but it's actually what Roneo intended to give Starlet as a present. This trope is even justified within the setting- this is a world where you can find diamonds the size of your head just by wandering around in the hills and digging a foot down in the dirt. Gemstones in general are abundant enough that entire species can use them as a food source without them worrying about running out. Spike regularly snacks on stones bigger than that ruby in the show. Apple Bloom finding a ruby of that size isn't so much of something to celebrate as it is a very mild curiosity.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The backstory of Sunnytown is that its people have murdered a young filly for earning her Cutie Mark in finding things, believing she was "cursed". When another filly finds the town and its dark secret, they turn their sights on her so they could "protect" her.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Subverted—when Apple Bloom is fleeing the town, Mitta appears in front of the entrance, seemingly to block her path. Instead, she reveals herself to be The Atoner for not protecting Ruby and stands aside to let Apple Bloom escape.