Flower

Flower

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJam5Auwj1EImage

This game is way less intense than the previous few, and propagates the well-popularized message of preserving the environment.

Flower is a short downloadable game for the PlayStation 3 in which the player controls the wind that is blowing a flower petal through the air. The goal is to collect other flower petals by flying past flowers in the landscape, that will then follow you on the breeze as you progress through the level. Often times collecting these petals causes changes in the landscape itself, adding color by revitalizing other plants or turning on windmills.

The controls are extremely simple. The game utilizes the gyroscopic mechanism of the PS3 controller, and the player controls the direction of the wind simply by tilting the controller in the direction they want the wind to go. Any button increases the speed of the wind, but no actual buttons need to be pressed to proceed throughout the game.

Throughout the game’s six levels (which are loosely connected into narrative without words), its environmentalist message becomes ever more apparent. The first two levels focus on the player increasing the beauty of the landscape by revitalizing grasses, trees, and flowers. The focus in the third and fourth levels then shifts to activating windmills, which then turn on lights as night approaches. In the fifth level, night falls and the flower approaches a city during a storm. The music becomes noticeably more ominous and the landscape fills with power lines that can shock the flower petal (though there is no way to die or lose). This urban landscape is noticeably darker, more dangerous, and finding the flowers required to progress through the level becomes more difficult. Finally in the sixth level the player reaches the city, which looks abandoned. Here the flower petal gains the ability to destroy metal obstructions and as it does so, it revitalizes the city. At the culmination of the level, the flower destroys the metal girders in a large crumbling skyscraper, and transforms it into a giant tree.

Image

Through this narrative arc, the message of preserving nature, and revitalizing society through nature are obvious. The flower petal both revives the natural landscape and the city, demonstrating the essential connection of nature and society. While environmentalism is not an issue lacking in public awareness, it is not the actual message, but the way it is delivered that is interesting. The “natural” style of the controls (simply directing the wind with the position of the controller) helps connect the player directly with the game, while also underscoring the importance of nature in harmony with technology. This message is be easily understood, but is not overbearing. No words are ever used in the game, and no specific actions are ever forced upon the player. The player is free to explore the world on his or her own, and to draw their own conclusions from what they discover. Flower manages to make its argument purely through visual (including audio) and procedural rhetoric.

-Wes

Advertisements
4 comments
  1. lpsmit said:

    I first want to say that they images used in the game are AMAZING! Through the games simplicity, and its’ images, the games players see the beauty of nature. The only thing I did not get about the game is its’ point. I was, and still am, intrigued by the games artistic stance. I think that they designer of Flowers used a very unique “object” to act as the actual player inside the game, was genius.

    This blog does an amazing job of telling the possible meaning of the game.

  2. khausoul said:

    My first reaction to watching the video for this was pure confusion. I was appalled by the fact that someone would spend the lofty price is costs to buy a Playstation 3 game on simply controlling wind. However, upon learning that it is a downloadable game through the Playstation Network, it made a little more sense. Whereas the replay value might not be high, the message behind it could be effective. The simplistic controls suggest that experiencing the beauties of nature is rather easy. We should preserve nature and the fact that we can be in awe of something like this game proves that there can be real-life fascination, as well. The symbolism attached to destroying “metal obstructions” shows that we must not place such strong emphasis on constantly industrializing all areas of society. Nature can provide benefits and this game does a good job of spreading awareness and making players have a new-found appreciation of it.

  3. talchild said:

    I have played the game, and though it wears its environmentalist message on its sleeve, it never affected me a great deal. I always felt that the main message or purpose of this game was to inhabit a unique emotional niche, being a game devoid of violence, offering a very serene type of experience wholly separate from the rest of gaming continuity. The environmental message was always, to my eyes, a side thought, a by-product of the choice of aesthetic, an aesthetic that was primarily made to serve an emotional purpose, not an intellectual one. Your post makes me rethink this though. I had not beaten the game, and the final two levels, particularly the end one, seem to contradict my original interpretation, bringing in elements of violence and destruction. This makes me want to go and replay the game to the end. I also really like your observation of the controls as concerning the harmony of nature and technology. I’ve always been into the idea of games as art, and so I have a lot about “art”-type games, including this one, and from all I’ve read I have yet to hear that interpretation.

  4. spenway said:

    After reading the post and the comments above, I have a few opinions about this game. I agree that the environmental message is clearly defined through the controls, images and narrative. In its simplicity it seems to point out how obvious and easy it is to take a stand and fight for a greener planet in our everyday lives. However, I do think its simplicity may lead to its downfall in the end. Such a straightforward game seems like it would get lost in the millions of games within the PlayStation universe. By not creating a strong desire to return to the game or even become attached to it in any way, I think the game makers have perhaps done an injustice to the overall message they are trying to communicate. While the few players who spend the time completing the game may understand the point, it does not seem tangible enough to withstand the power of the more “exciting and fun” games out there. As a result, its message and format seem easily forgettable and unimportant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: