Developer: Travis Antosh
Launcher Quote: “This Garden Will Grow Without You
The day after Valentine’s Day is probably not the best choice for a first date.
You ended up together anyway, for a while at least, but now you tend to this place alone.
Turn on all of the fountains, and wait.
See what blooms.
Move on to a new garden when you are ready.
Today’s entry from Travis is a bit bleak-looking at first impression, as it talks a bit about the day after Valentine’s Day and has a rather dark setting in the form of a cemetery that you have to tend. It’s a bit of a sobering take on things especially after yesterday’s rather saccharine entry about couples, but I’m thankful for this regardless, because there are relationships that do have two outcomes to them in terms of either being together or ending in heartbreak or loss. It’s just simple reality that not every coupling ends up in happiness, and that some people do end up with the timing of being alone on or after Valentine’s Day.
But despite the outwardly dark setting, there’s a bit of a message of hope in the game’s mechanics. You’re instructed to tend the garden, taking care of each fountain in turn, before moving on to the next one. The metaphor seems to me to be in handling this kind of solitude following a relationship that once was shared, now solo. It’s a sort of post-mortem, making the cemetery motif all the more appropriate, but it is also a message of moving on as well. Tending the garden of your life, not only after perhaps a painful event in love but also in general, isn’t far off from the things that you do in order to cope and ultimately move on. Dealing with the fountains as you are walking around gave me the impression of re-living some of the good memories and waiting for them to bloom before you go to the next garden to tend.
Ultimately I think while the mood is sobering the message of hope turns into a message of moving forward. It’s inevitable that if you open yourself up to the immense value of being with someone that you’ll encounter some pain and even some loss. But the act of having a garden and more importantly, having one to share with someone else, perhaps makes the process worth in on many levels.