Flower

We recently checked out “The Art of Video Games,” on tour from the Smithsonian.  It was a blast!  Not only did we get to play old arcade favorites and wax nostalgic about the home entertainment systems of our bygone youths (hello, ColecoVision!), we also got to see some games that departed familiar gaming conventions (i.e., the first-person shooter, the quest-oriented adventure, the OCD creature that needs to consume (or touch) everything in its path).  I enjoyed the whole exhibit, but I particularly enjoyed playing ThatGameCompany’s Flower for PS3.  There’s no object to the game, really.  You “play” the wind and as the wind you blow through different environments, picking up flower petals along the way.  It’s a gorgeous game.  You get to be the wind.  You get to participate in an (albeit simulated) eco-system.  You get to move your whole body, not just your wrists and fingers.  I enjoyed how I felt when I played it: I could lean into it, bend away from it, glide and drift with it.  I didn’t feel anxious or tense (the way I can sometimes feel in games in which I am chased) when I played it.  Instead, I felt relaxed and a little dizzy, like I’d been flying.

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