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Games

This Dreamlike Game Feels Like Playing an Art Film

'watering a flower' skewered my expectations around what I think a short, dreamlike game can do.

by Cameron Kunzelman
Jun 30 2017, 4:00pm

All images courtesy of Lily Hathor Lima

I think the best short games are those that put you in a particular time and place. Whether it's a Twine game or a 3D experience with a thousand snakes, there is something special about a game that plops you down into a very specific circumstance and allows you to just inhabit that for a moment. Generally, I tend to stay away from the more abstract of these experiences because I think they tend to fail to stick the landing.

watering a flower skewered my expectations around what I think a short, dreamlike game can do. Presented as a dialogue between the past and future versions of the same person, it plays out like a conversation from an art film, all side angles and evocations of information that viewer just doesn't have access to. The dialogue lands in a serious, weighty way, and I got the sense that there was a real-life story between the elided meanings that the game presented to me.

The setting of the game is also stunning. It's a diorama that appears to be assembled from pieces of oil paintings, and it is constructed in such a way in Unity that it appears to expand and contract in the great void of the skybox. Halfway through the experience, I simply walked around it, clipping my way back and forth through the layered images.

And then it ended, or maybe it broke, and either way I was happy with what watering a flower gave me. More and more, I am in love with this vignettes that appear on itch.io, and I'm interested to see what the developer Lily Hathor Lima produces next.

You can download watering a flower on itch.io for Windows platforms.