Flower, Sun, and Rain
Flower, Sun and Rain is a PlayStation 2 puzzle adventure game developed by Suda 51. It was also remade on the DS for Europe and the United States.
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I've lived my short life being pushed forward to achieve what I desire by people who's real goals are obscured by something out of their control. My brother, who I was never close to on account of the fact that I am half his age, but is a man who hides behind a strongly-constructed wall of masculinity and frustration as to not reveal the layers of regret and disappointment from the actions that restricted him from doing what he really wanted in his life. My mother, a woman who took a while to realize what she had wanted but in the end hides in romance novels and made-for-TV-movies as a form of escapism from the sadness she can only confide in me to. My father, a man with passions aplenty, the man who inspired me to chase any dreams I would have in art whose creative visions were blinded by a constant, unrelenting illness. Any sort of upbringing I had as a child was surrounded by sad, frustrated, angry, but most of all, disappointed people, not at me, not at anyone else, but at themselves.
Now, why would I care to paint this picture of my childhood and my current life as such a sob story, such a shit situation even though by most standards, what I had was golden, and how does this even relate to this game at hand? My childhood was how I shaped my consumption of art and to this day, it still applies. The times I spent watching a movie, or reading a book, or playing a game like this as I grew older were compared to myself in almost an instant. I grew up wishing I could be everyone I saw on TV that was better than myself, someone that would help those around them because I knew the people around me needed help to the point where I would never be able to focus on myself, and this was how I lived up until recently. I had always prioritized the needs of others over my own, to the point where it had gotten me abused and hurt over what should have been my golden childhood years of what I thought would be promised and constant happiness.
Cut to today, I'm fifteen--although soon sixteen--years old and writing about some game made from well before I was born (even though at this point, I'm basically writing a fucking biography) and giving whatever poor soul that decides to read this the story of my life. The difference now though is, I'm starting to care for myself. I'm finally realizing that maybe I was the one who needed help all along. That's what this game is about at heart, in the first place. It's a sad story, an almost abysmal one, about a broken man that learns how to live through his work, through his passion, which is (ironically enough) helping people. I figured that maybe if I tried hard enough, I could be like Sumio. I could learn to love the life I live through my passions, and I could learn to help people but learn to help myself as well. I could learn to be kind to everyone, and I could learn to be kind to myself.
At surface level though, at this point, I'm kind of just rambling. What would I know anyways, haha? I'm only a kid (who's never really even written before) writing about some old-ass masterpiece of a game on a website populated by strangers I've now more or less summarized my life to. I don't know, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and think this game sucks. Will that even matter? This has already impacted me in some kind of incredible way to the point where that won't even matter.
If a bunch of pixels on a screen can make me re-evaluate my life in some kind of way, it sure as hell can do something for you. Please, I implore you, play this game. Play it, cherish it, remember it, contemplate it. Hopefully this will do something for you like it did for me.
"content dictates form. less is more. god is in the details.
all in the service of clarity, without which, nothing else matters."
- stephen sondheim
above is a quote from one of my lifelong heroes who passed away a few months ago. mr. sondheim's work defined a great deal of my teenage and transitional years and upon hearing the news of his tragic passing, i took the opportunity to reflect on the ways with which he'd influenced my art, my views, and my conduct. i'm by no means a theatre type - while i spent a few years in high school co-directing and acting as a dramaturge for a local company, by no means do i enjoy the theatre as it exists to the common eye and ear. i left that world to escape the despotism of what 'must be' and what 'sells' by the overseeing eye of the major companies and self-satisfied bigwigs because, as any artist knows, when you climb a few rungs of the ladder no art is political, but all art is politics.
yet i find myself, years removed from theatre, years removed from pushing my own envelope of personal expression to a public eye, many nights in front of a google doc, or a blank notepad, or staring at my shelf, wondering when the spark is going to hit and i'll write the next pieces of my screenplay, or my next chorus to a song, or my next analysis of some 20-year-old adventure game made by a small passionate team from the literal opposite of the world. sometimes i wonder if my minimalism, my expression of big feelings in small boxes, through white and black forms with bright technicolor lights, if it's a crutch, if i'm an imitator of the conglomerate great ideas of people before me... if i shoot half this short film adaptation of a novel as a silent work, am i up my own ass for it? if i push myself creatively as a musician to a one-man audience by design, am i selling myself short? have i missed my shot at truly expressing MYself?
of course, if you've got your head screwed on halfway right, you'll realize this self-talk is a complete load of bullshit. just put the pen to the paper. put the fingers to the keys. don't worry about who sees it, don't worry about why you do it, but if you believe in it - content dictating form - and if your style is simple short strokes with deep, cutting lines - less is more - and if your heart hurts to watch it play back - god is in the details. if you are an artist, if you are a person who needs to be able to say something for the sake of saying it, you must throw away preconceptions, you must disregard what people have said of you and your work, you must take that future into your hands and seize it. all in the service of clarity, without which, nothing else matters.
live your daily rut. get up, go to work.
push hard to make those days count.
let your work be your work, and let your work be your work.
to find happiness is to be honest with oneself.
recognize the monotony but don't let it overtake you.
your career isn't your person.
every person on this site, every person reading this
i think each one of us has art inside of us waiting to blossom.
you need to be willing to find love in your heart for that, for yourself, and the willingness to seize that potential regardless of the cost and regardless of how you've hurt before.
you need to seize the future.
you need to kill the past.
flower, sun & rain was me all along, wasn't it?
How ugly can be game textures? How bad written can be game dialogues? How obtuse and confusing can be game puzzles? These are the questions that this games answers.
A videogame so poorly executed in all possible senses that it is a masterpiece. It's the Morbius of videogames.