Human Flower Project

Are You Game for ‘Flower’?

A new online game mixes environmentalism with animation with a sedentary play on petals. Is it mind expanding or sleep inducing?


Screenshot from “Flower”

Photo: thatgamecompany

Late last year we got wind of “Flower,” a new online game. This is a topic that for many reasons makes us recoil, but today we dared to look.

Animated petals swirl across a landscape. They course along gloomy stone ridges, fall into canyons, and breeze through fields with smokesacks in the distance. Suddenly, you have a hyacinth’s eye view of a hillside, or a circlet of yellow lights, like gold-dust, will twinkle into bloom around the base of a bare tree. It’s Andy Goldsworthy meets Fantasia to “follow the bouncing ball.”

Flower’s creators, an oufit of youngsters who call themselves thatgamecompany, also made “Cloud,” a game that likewise seems intent on blowing through categorizations of art, game, consciousness-raising, and self-hypnosis. Shuddering, semi-classical tone-poem-type music and surfy whooshes provide the sound track.


Petals soar toward turbines, in “Flower”

Photo: thatgamecompany

The developers write, “In Flower, the surrounding environment, most often pushed to the background in games, is pulled to the forefront and becomes the primary ‘character.’”

Fascinating. We’d be curious to hear what Jim Wandersee and Renee Clary make of this. Could an online game help in overcoming “plant blindness”? – (Our propensity to overlook everything botanical once anything mammalian enters the picture.)


Bright moment, courtesy of “Flower”

Photo: thatgamecompany

The developers go on in a more environmentalist (and PlayStation promotionalist) vein – “The player will journey through a beautifully vivid and changing landscape in this fresh and genuine game only on PS3. The game exploits the tension between urban bustle and natural serenity. Players accumulate flower petals as the onscreen world swings between the pastoral and the chaotic. Like in the real world, everything you pick up causes the environment to change. And hopefully by the end of the journey, you change a little as well.”

May that “change” be something other than growing old in a chair.

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