I Don't Have a Garden, but I Watch One on TV

Video game about flowers – really?

This week Sony will release a new Playstation game called “Flower,” which "explores the path of an urban flower that seeks to escape to the countryside."  Sony calls the game an "interactive poem, which uses abstract landscapes, and the flower is the gamer’s dream."  According to Wired, “Flower lets the player explore the dreams of city blooms trapped in urban decay, longing to caress the soft grasses of the countryside.”

Sony designed the game to be “attractive and meaningful” for adults, and wanted to make it simple and accessible. Players can control the path of the flower, and its pollination of the landscapes. "The game explores the relationship between cities and nature, the complexities of ecology."

Well, that's what the tech world has to say about this game that's supposedly about flowers.  From what I can see of it on this introductory video, I have to ask:  Where the hell are the flowers, the pollination, or the ecology, for that matter?  Looks like a very bizarre notion of those concepts.  But if anyone has a chance to play this thing, DO let us know what you think of it. 

Posted by on February 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm, in the category I Don't Have a Garden, but I Watch One on TV.
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19 Responses to “Video game about flowers – really?”

  1. Diane says:

    Hmm… it looks like a fancy screensaver to me. I’d look for a demo but we don’t have a PS.

    My husband and I lately have been playing Plant Tycoon on the PC, which is very cute and well worth the $10 I paid for it.

  2. Wow. Pretty. And pretty surreal. I wonder if it will “connect users with the natural world” as they suggest.

    Gaming has come a long way since I played with Intellivision as a kid :)

  3. As someone who’s never played a video game, it is very attractive looking. But as a gardener, of course, the first thing I notice is all the petals and flowers visible in this demo seem to be the same. So I tend to get annoyed rather than interested. I consider blogging and commenting to be my “interactive video” garden experience!

  4. frank says:

    Good looking, I’m glad someone is digging into landscape exploration in these “games.” However, the story line is typical trope of escape from dismal “urban decay”. Maybe they can make a game where the flower pollinates the urban spaces. Instead it simply fuels our desires for escape to the countryside, where all is well, beautiful, peaceful. At first I thought, oh they are putting the seeds of this in the youngest group ever, adolescents. But then the speaker announces its really for adults, feeding their hunger for the fantasy of bucolic landscape. Hope it doesn’t set off a new round of white flower flight. Or is it fantasy escape for those who really never can flee? Playstation instead of the country house? I still wish they pollinated the city.

  5. Dave says:

    I like this. While I’m not a PlayStation Player, the poetry of those landscape gets me. We’re far from botanical accuracy (those look like an unlikely cross between Narcissus and Calochorthus) and no bees is to be seen anywhere but my trial run was convincing (read: fun and entertaining, if mildy – it is a ‘slow’ game).

  6. Annie Peters says:

    As the wife and mother of serious gamers, I comprehend the need to game. However, I’ve just got to ask, why can’t the proposed audience of this game . . .I don’t know. . . grow some houseplants or work in a community garden and get a better experience? I’m not being snide here, but whenever I get a plant to thrive, bloom, attempt to propagate, I figure I’m fulfilling its dream. And I’m helping to clean the air and not using electricity in doing it. I guess I think we need more people with their hands in the dirt and not further removed from it.

  7. Michelle says:

    Annie – I am a gamer, and I am a game designer by profession, as well as an avid gardener. Enjoying a game that is about gardening is no stranger and no more harmful than reading or writing about gardening, or being a photographer of plants. I wouldn’t consider any one of these to be a replacement for the other. No one form of entertainment will entertain everyone, including gardening.

  8. Annie Peters says:

    I never said that the game was harmful. I just think the player’s time would be better spent and better rewarded by doing the activity itself.

    To a certain extent, gaming allows the player to live vicariously. That’s great if you want to storm a castle in the Middle Ages or fight space aliens in a distant galaxy. For me, I can’t understand why people in the majority of situations would want to garden vicariously when it is relatively simple to grow something alive and real for most.

  9. I understand both points, but I don’t think this game is virtual gardening, digital gardening, or gardening. I haven’t played, presumptuous to say then, but I think it is landscape escape, landscape seduction, landscape fantasy with a floral character. You can probably virtual garden in Second Life or other virtual world/activity games.

  10. luise h. says:

    How about virtual gardening?
    http://wurzelimperium.de/#
    A friend send me the link,she said it’s fun to do in the winter.You know,some people just garden for fun.They dont spend the Wintermonths planning,they dont do it as a job or profession.I am not a gamer at all so none of the games,virtual gardening,car racing or any others appeal to me.But to some people they are FUN.Why cant it be just that?

  11. vicki says:

    I am not a big time “gamer” and I think a fantasy game of gardening could be a total hoot…but I’m not willing to buy PlayStation or whatever to play it…no…just something I could engage on my PC.

  12. thats surprising… i never would have thought they would make such a game for a video game console. i mean, its not many moms that i know that play playstation.

  13. Benjamin says:

    Once my dealer get’s his shipment in, I could imagine playing–and enjoying–this game. But not before. “Highly anticipated?” Good grief. By whom? The two designers?

  14. Tim says:

    @Benjamin: The problems with your comment are twofold. First, it’s not shipped, it’s downloaded. There is no physical product. Second, it’s highly anticipated by the media, as the hype about this game is large enough that even a garden blog is writing about it.

    @Everyone else: you’re missing the point. The game is not a virtual garden, it’s not a gardening simulator, the goal is not to be an accurate representation of gardening. It’s an experience designed to evoke emotions as you play.

    Asking questions like “why play this video game when you could grow a flower instead?” is like asking “why grow a flower when you could be jumping on a trampoline instead?” The goals are different.

  15. A Gamer who spotted this on google. says:

    I’m sorry to break it to all of you, but this as it has been stated is not a gradening game. You pollinate and gather more and more flower petals as you touch flowers. Every blade of grass moves appropriately and what this video game is called is(the genre of the game anyway) “zen gaming.” There is an example of this gaming in another downloadable game called fLoW by the same designers. You play a micro organism that survives in deep pools to evolve. And to answer a previous commenter’s question: Yes you do pollinate a city, and wow it is fantastic.

    You can play a version of fLoW both on PS and online where it started, but Flower is a PS3 Downloadable exclusive prices at $10.00

    -Andy-

  16. Cynthia says:

    I played this game. it truly is like a poem. the music is classical and beautiful. the more flowers you pollinate the prettier the music. it really opened my eyes to how horrible the world is to nature and how we need to work to make it better. It really is what song said it is.

  17. Rusty says:

    that is exactly what you do, later landscapes (levels)
    you use the wind to pollinate flowers in urban environments thus revitalizing the city. The game also has a very pro alternative energy focus with some landscapes being populated by wind farms.

  18. Rusty says:

    It actually may inspire non-gardeners into that lifestyle through a video game. I played it, and realized I probably have neglected my backyard landscape a little too much lately.

  19. Rusty says:

    The game mechanic itself is ‘controlling the wind’, so it fits right into your vicarious caveat.

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