I am a huge fan of thatgamecompany. I liked flOw on the PSP, I absolutley loved the Journey Beta (can't wait for them to release that.) and I recently bought and finished flOwer.
Now, when I show my friends their games, I usually get responses like: "What is the point of this?", "Why are you even playing this?" or "Boring." At Gamescom I saw someone playing Journey who didn't have a clue what to do. When I gave him a hint, he happily gave me the controller, so I could do it and left after a minute.
What I'm trying to say is, that most people I know and meet don't really get their games.
But yesterday my mother's boyfriend visited with his 5 year-old daugther.
I'd just started playing the 6th level of flOwer, when she came to watch me.
In that level you free a city of steel structures and return the color.
She commented on me playing the whole time.
The dialouges won't be 100% because they are translated from German.
First thing she said was: "Wow, you are making everything beautiful!" Instantly, I knew I'd found someone who understands this game.
Then she asked why there weren't any people. I had no answer to that. It was something I had simply not thought about.
As the game moved into the grey city with all the steel structures she got kind of sad. "I don't like this. There is no colour!" The happier she was when I slowly restored all the colour.
As I started to remove the structures she wondered:"Why are they there? Who put them there?"
Again something I didn't think about and thus had no answer to. So I just told her:"I don't know."
To which she replied:"Must have been someone evil, who wanted to do evil."
That's pretty much what she was doing the whole time: Admiring the beauty of the restored city and wondering who is responsible for the chaos.
It fascinated me how she instantly grasped what this level and the game in general was about.
Coming back to what I wrote in the beginning, most people I know take a look at thatgamecompany's games, think: "Boring" and don`t even try to understand their meaning or admire their beauty.
Not her. She, with her childish curiosity, didn't just dismiss it as boring, but took a closer look and instantly understood the game's message.
But there is one thing she didn`t understand.
When I approached the end of the level she said: "Good that this is just a game."
Not too sure about that.