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VenusInFurs avatar 2:38 PM on 07.18.2011
Downloadables: The petal of life

I visit her every now and then. She holds my hand with a strong grip. We run through the grass and laugh. We sometimes sit by a tree and talk. I lay my head on her lap and start to tell her stories of my life. I tell her my problems - she doesn't talk, only listens. Listening is something I notice most adults lack. Her Listening skills are what I most admire. It's as if she's mute. She communicates only by facial expressions. Her warm hand caresses my hair as my head is laid down on her lap for hours. We stay there, underneath the tree, until night falls. We stare at the stars, counting them. Then I realize I have to go to bed. I turn off the PS3, and kiss Flower on its forehead.


... "Until next time," I whisper.



Being an adult is difficult. The responsibility and juggling more than you can handle at once sometimes can be too daunting. As a young adult, I look back at childhood with jealously: a life with no responsibility, a life where escapism is rewarded, a life devoid of money, a simple life where your mistakes are forgiven, a life I wish I can go back to. Being an adult has its perks, but nothing can replace the feeling of being a kid again. Flower, a PSN exclusive title, gave me a way to relax, a way to forget my problems in the world of the real. It's hard to explain why I hold this game so dear to my heart, but I will try my best to describe my feelings towards it.



Flower was my first PSN game. I was on my bed; legs spread apart, sheets a mess, and me half-way asleep. I was playing Fallout 3 and was quite bored with the scenery and gameplay to continue on. I decided to quit the game and see what the Playstation store can offer. I went through generic title after generic title until I saw Flower. I heard good things about the game, but never put much thought into it. I quickly reached for my laptop and searched for clips on Youtube. What I saw impressed me, so I decided to give the game a chance.

Flower is a pretty simple game. You use the motion controls on the sixaxis to move left and right and hold any button to move forward. You play as a single petal and your goal is to accumulate a swarm of flower petals. There is no time limit and the worlds are pretty open, but that is the extent of the game. There is nothing else to it. In this game the gamer brings life to a dark and cold world. The gamer is the sole source of light. The gamer is the petal that represents life - The gamer is the savior.



Now, how can such a simple game get an emotional response from me? Well, it's one of those games where you have to play to believe. The gameplay, while simple in design, is pretty addictive. It's almost as if you're not even playing the game; that's how simple the controls are. The key element is the presentation. When I played Flower my eyes were glued to the TV, then I started to space out. It's strange, I still had perfect control of the game and was accomplishing my mission, but my mind was on other things. The music and colors that Flower presented brought a certain kind of calmness to my mind and body. For a moment the game helped me forget my financial troubles. For a moment the game helped me forget the problems I have in school. For a moment I was calm and enjoyed what little free time I had. You see, I worry too much. I worry about school, social life, money, etc. There is nothing to relax me anymore. Even when I'm playing a game or reading a book my mind will eventually drift back to my problems. Flower is the first and only game to do this. A game where it's asking its player to participate and relax for moment; forget about the problems and be safe in this world of color and wonder. Being an adult is hard, but I'm getting use to it. I'm getting use to the idea that I will not get everything in life. Flower has taught me that there will be disappointments, but you have to move forward; don't let it get you down. Flower was therapy for me. I can see how silly this might be; such a minimalistic game having such a strong effect on me, and I can see how said game will totally not work with some gamers, but if you open your mind and heart then maybe, maybe you can feel the same way I felt.

I must stress that I didn't play this game every day. Games like this don't work that easily. You have to be in the right mood to play it. I played the game at night before I went to bed for a little over an hour. It took me about a month and half to complete the game. Minimalistic games deserve this type of treatment; they're not made with the intention of constant play. They are there to help the player. The game, like a good book, deserves to be completed in a leisurely pace. Well, that's my belief. I treat games the same way I treat literature. I take my time and absorbed each word, each sentence, each paragraph, and at times read them over again with the same care I did before, so I can fully absorbed the message. Flower is a delicate game that deserves this treatment. I know many will not understand why I feel this way, but I don't care. This is the power of video games! There is no story, no violence - I'm in control of everything. The game takes its robe and covers my problems for a brief moment, but that brief moment is enough to satisfy me.



So as I turn the PS3 back on, I am reunited with her. We start off slow. We are alone, but after a few minutes we start to meet new friends. Friends of all colors, my eyes grow bright with excitement. We run around the strange blue lit grass in the cover of darkness, with the moon being our only source of light. We count the stars, we laugh. We lay down on the grass and I let out a big sigh. I am happy.

 
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