So that silly garden playground videogame, Shu’s Garden, is a thing which Mr. Colin D. Sanders, creator of dancing bears, and I did. For better or worse.
Ultimately, it consumed far more time and amounted to far less than either of us planned. Many things went wrong — I’ll spare you the postmortem — and needless to say it has not been a financial success. Perhaps what makes the spent time & effort sting most of all is that it’s not really in the vein of games we’d like to be making: Building a reputation around a cutesy platformer when you want to be making interactive stories for a more adult audience seems like misdirected effort, you know?
But every now and then I’m reminded that the game actually resonates with some people. Amongst the drone of “it’s cute, but I don’t see the point of it”, and “that’s a nice start; you should add lots of objectives”, there are those odd moments when it just clicks with a person and you hear something really rewarding: This game makes me so happy.
Last Friday, Nathan Grayson of Kotaku was kind enough to share his experience with the game and how it affected him at time in his life when he needed a little bit of happiness. His story is deeply personal and that Shu could be a positive part of it is surprising and heartwarming.
The same day saw the final part in a Let’s Play series featuring a man and his son playing Shu together. Shu was semi-targetted at children and it’s always great to see it hit the mark. Special thanks to HamShanksCraft for sharing this.
Shu will almost definitely never cover the costs which went into it, and it may not be the ideal exemplar of our work. But little stories like these remind me that it amounted to more than nothing.
Shu’s Garden Helped Me When I Was Feeling Shitty (Nathan Grayson, Kotaku)
Gaming with a Toddler — Let’s Play Shu’s Garden (HamShanksCraft)