331/365 – Meditation Games #331 – Growing Things

Developer: Celine de Wijs

Launcher Quote: “Since I was young nothing has been as satisfying in games to me as growing things. When it was cold outside I would sit under a blanket with chocolate milk and play farming games. Seeing something grow from nothing to something beautiful, edible or both came with the great feeling of “I did that!”

(A special thank you to Flyover Games, who have generously allowed me to use their screenshots, this one included, after I lost a few from my computer – go support them at the WaveCrash! website!)

Creation is one of the best parts of playing games, and there are many ways that that creation can take shape. For some games, it can be direct and obvious, as it is with the farming games that the developer says are the most satisfying for them. You’re raising something from nothing, and watching the results of that play out, a formula that has been responsible for many of the most well-known and successful games out there. But creation in games can take a variety of forms, and depending on the genre, can be a bit less straightforward. In JRPGs your goal is to build up your characters and watch them grow both physically and mentally so that they are able to succeed. In adventure games you’re building up an arsenal that eventually makes you a versatile badass and able to take on a ton of enemies. You get the idea.

In this context, however, creation via growing life and farming is one of the most fulfilling things that you can do, if for nothing else to have something that is a little less stress inducing than a JRPG grind or an adventure game pressure situation where you’re forced to kill enemies. A lot of what is appealing to these types of games is the idea that something that lives, something that ends up being enjoyed and sowed for benefits by others is something that finds value. Thinking about it this way, it isn’t a surprise that a developer is taking an interest in and creating something that involves creating and growing something from nothing and watching it grow and mature. There is, of course, always the question about whether or not the human cost of that creative process is too high, but that is a debate better left to another day and perhaps another Meditation Games entry. For now, the developer (and us) are able to delight in the eventual maturation of something that they know all too well isn’t something that might last forever, and, like any thing out there that is grown, is something that needs to be cultivated.

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