There have not been many times in my life that I would say that a game has helped me through a bad spot in my life. Pokemon helped distract me through my first break up, but I had started playing before the event. Mario Kart Double Dash made me feel less pathetic when I was unemployed a few years ago but that just kept me from facing my problems. Flower was the only game that I could play recently when the thought of shooting or stabbing something was as far from my thought process as possible due to tragedy hitting my family and I’m so glad that I did.
I hadn’t played flower when it came out for the PS3 and I really didn’t know much about it other than it was made my the same studio as the amazing Journey and the bizarre Flow. When it was announced as a launch title for the PS4 and I realised that I had bit of money in my PSN account I thought I’d buy it.
We had received some bad news about a family member at the same time as a birthday and we met up at our house to celebrate/support each other. During the night my sister and brother in law wanted to see my new consoles and as part of that I showed off Flower. I’d played for a half hour or so up till that point but knew only enough to show off the basics. Everyone watching the game was transfixed with the simple beauty of the design and for a few minutes everything seemed better.
A few days later we attended the funeral together and all stood together confused at why this event had happened and unsure how to talk or even stand. We had taken part in the service and our focus was on helping those who would find the next few weeks to be the hardest. I looked out into the gardens in a moment to myself and noticed a tree shedding it’s leaves in the December wind and I was instantly reminded of flower.
A day later I had some time to myself to boot up this remarkable game based solely on the idea of using a petal to restore life to baron landscapes and cities. You control the wind and guide your petal through closed flowers, gaining petals as you go until you are guiding a huge wave of colour along huge grassy areas. There is no HUD, no score and no lives to lose. Your goal is to bring life where there was none and it was the perfect antidote to the helplessness I was feeling at that moment. Watching landscapes and cities come to life through your actions was nothing short of revelatory to me during that afternoon and I found myself becoming incredibly emotional during it’s short 3 hours span.
If you’re ever looking for a game to show to people who think games are just about guns and blood then there is no better example of how beautiful games can be and how good they can make you feel. Games can be an incredibly helpful tool by giving your brain the space to process things in the back ground like art or cooking before it. I would class myself as a fixer when a problem arises and death is incredibly difficult for me to accept as a result. Bringing beauty back to a world that has become a little darker for me was so beneficial that it felt like therapy.
On a less emotional note this is also a cross buy game at the moment, which means one purchase gets you the ps3, ps4 and Vita versions to download. All are beautiful and a must play if you haven’t already.
Has a game ever got you through a bad time? I’d love to hear your game therapy stories.
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