Flower (2009)

by Christopher
7 minutes read


Flower is an extraordinary game that combines simple gameplay mechanics with a powerful narrative expressed through the environment. It’s a celebration of nature, beauty, and emotion, offering a respite from the fast-paced world of traditional gaming.


Enter the serene and surreal world of Flower, a game that transcends conventional gaming paradigms to offer an experience rooted in emotion, beauty, and the simplicity of nature. Developed by Thatgamecompany, this title invites players to embrace freedom and exploration, setting the stage for a journey unlike any other.


“Flower” is a unique video game developed by Thatgamecompany and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Released in February 2009 on the PlayStation 3, it was later ported to PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Microsoft Windows. The game was designed by Jenova Chen and Nicholas Clark, and it was intended as a “spiritual successor” to Flow, a previous title by Chen and Thatgamecompany.

In “Flower”, the player controls the wind, blowing a flower petal through the air using the movement of the game controller. Flying close to flowers results in the player’s petal being followed by other flower petals. Approaching flowers may also have side-effects on the game world, such as bringing vibrant color to previously dead fields or activating stationary wind turbines. The game features no text or dialogue, forming a narrative arc primarily through visual representation and emotional cues.

The game is divided into six main levels and one credits level. Each level is represented by a flower in a pot on a city apartment windowsill, and upon selecting one the player is taken to the “dream” of that flower. Each dream, or stage, revolves around a different theme and gameplay objective, but your method of control remains the same: tilt the controller to direct a series of flower petals through beautiful environments. Press any button to stir up a wind that will coax them along.

As you begin with one flower petal, you’ll soon touch other flowers and gather more petals, generally influencing the environment in a way that pleases the dreamer. This setup works amazingly well to create varying tasks for you to enjoy. The game only requires one button (any button on the controller) making it totally approachable.

“Flower” was primarily intended to arouse positive emotions in the player, rather than to be a challenging and “fun” game. This focus was sparked by Chen, who felt that the primary purpose of entertainment products like video games was the feelings that they evoked in the audience and that the emotional range of most games was very limited. The team viewed their efforts as creating a work of art, removing gameplay elements and mechanics that were not provoking the desired response in the players.

The music, composed by Vincent Diamante, dynamically responds to the player’s actions and corresponds with the emotional cues in the game. “Flower” tells you so much by saying so little — as if a Zen poem had been lovingly shaped into a videogame. This is the sort of experience that anyone can enjoy with the right attitude. There is no death or failure. You simply complete the objectives and solve organic puzzles in your own time while basking in the euphoria of the game’s visuals and music.

“Flower” was a critical success, to the surprise of the developers. Reviewers praised the game’s music, visuals, and gameplay, calling it a unique and compelling emotional experience. It was named the “best independent game of 2009” at the Spike Video Game Awards, and won the “Casual Game of the Year” award by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.


The game’s primary ‘character’ is the wind itself, accompanied by a multitude of flower petals. While there are no traditional characters or dialogues, each type of flower introduces a unique element to the gameplay and narrative, effectively becoming silent characters in their own right.


Gameplay in Flower is a testament to simplicity and elegance. Players control the wind’s direction and speed, guiding petals through environments to bloom flowers. Each level is distinct, with puzzles and challenges that encourage exploration and interaction with the landscape. The game is accessible to all, focusing on the experience rather than difficulty.


Flower stands as a profound statement on the potential of video games as a form of artistic expression. It challenges players to reconsider what video games can be, offering a peaceful, meditative experience that leaves a lasting impression.

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