Weekly Game Idea 6: Full Spectrum Window Box
I think this one could be revealing a bit too much about my psyche.
During a recent episode of River Cottage Autumn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall gave a fleeting reference to lovage – a plant I have been gleefully looking for excuses to talk about since I first heard of it a year or two ago. To cut a long story short, I soon found myself reading Wikipedia’s list of companion plants. I love it when naturally-evolving systems of interaction have controllable, practical functions – another fun example is the use of guard llamas – because it creates wonderful opportunities to PLAY GOD WITH A TINY ECOSYSTEM.
The objective of Full Spectrum Window Box is simply to grow some nice stuff in your window box. The important gameplay schtick would be that all the different plants, insects, supplemental substances and so on would all interact realistically. Players might want to grow a lot of plant A, so they’d mix in some of complementary plant B to help it grow faster, and a few runners of plant C which attracts insect D, who help prevent insect E from eating all of plant A. All in all, it’s a kind of casual edutainment deal, with the ultimate objective of getting players to put down their joypads for ten minutes a day and take up small-scale gardening for real.