The Play Biome

card_andyr_small.gifIn 2001, Tim Smit started a country garden project with a difference. Inspired by the fascinating story of plants’ importance to man, he set about creating an environment where people could again explore:

man’s relationship with and dependence upon plants

eden.gifOften acclaimed for its giant conservatory biomes, the Eden Project removed the usual boundaries and borders that kept the public away from the plants. Instead they provided enticing winding paths amoungst the undergrowth.

Art and information encouraged people to touch, smell and experience the plants in their natural habitats. For them, the problems this introduced was worth the results. They believed that a big part of enjoying and preserving something was to be invovled and connected to it.

We don’t have all the answers, we don’t want to tell others what to think; what we do is invite people to explore their world afresh

All very well, but what has this got to do with games? After a recent visit to the Eden Project, it struck me that this vision has much in common with Nintendo’s hopes for the Wii.

The previous boundaries, like complicated controllers and complex games, that kept many people away from games have now been replaced by friendly wii-remote. Games that took hours to learn have given way to games that anyone of any age can pick up and play.

For Nintendo, the cost of compromising on complexity was worth it, if it meant bringing games to a wider audience. Their Wii (we as in us) monicer, highlights their beleif that we best enjoy games when everyone gets invovled. Not only are there more players, but our play interaction and mechanic benefits from the variety of perspectives.

Like the Eden Project, they are helping people explore man’s relationship with games.

Nintendo has created the most inviting, inclusive video game system to date. Thanks to our unique controller, anyone of any age or skill level can pick up and play games on the Wii console.

And as Tim Smit was surprised by the success of his project, Nintendo also look like they might exceed even their own dreams of playing being believing.

digg.gifAndy Robertson

47 Responses to “The Play Biome”


  1. 1 Anonymous January 4, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    I’m not intending to criticize the article here, but how exactly would you suggest that the Eden Project broke down some of the (smaller) barriers excluding the public from enjoying rare and exotic plant life in, say, Kew Gardens?

  2. 2 AndyR January 4, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    Out of their ethos of the need to have human invovlement in their planted environment, they actually encourage you to get off the track. In some parts of the tropic biome it is hard to tell where the path stops and the plants begin. They don’t even have the small or lowered barriers I have seen elsewhere.
    The information posts (that provide collectable stamps for visitors) both blend in with the planting, and make you want to touch and feel what they are talking about.

  3. 3 Anonymous January 4, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Fair enough. To be honest, I did answer my own question whilst writing it, but I’d though it’d still be fun to ask. Thanks for replying, anyhow.

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