This Is How Bees Work

By: Guest Reviewer

On: January 21st, 2010

This Is How Bees Work

[This is a guest review by Cosmic Fool. If you’re interested in writing an article for TIGSource, please go here.]

I think I’m going to have to meet bento_smile.

This Is How Bees Work is from the creative minds of Jasper ‘superflat’ Byrne and bento_smile, and I know right now its a game I’m going to remember. The passive and relaxing gameplay of bento_smile’s games has never failed to bring a smile to my face, and This Is How Bees Work is no exception.

You open the game to be greeted by 2 simple instructions (Move and Plant) and a pleasantly relaxed queen bee resting on quite a comfy looking plant. The contented smile on its face is a sign of things to come.

The joy of growing and harbouring a home for the bees made me feel like a good person. When I would see the first forest I had created on the horizon I felt happy simply to see it from a distance as a measure of my achievement. It also amazes me the sense of reward I got out of subtle graphical changes. When I would spawn a purple tree or begin to collect red bees I began to genuinely feel like I had created something beautiful in this strange and weird magenta land.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a game for everyone. Its lack of a superobjective and general endlessness might not appeal to those approaching it as a traditional game. Its beauty lies in a desire to excel on your own terms. If you got joy simply out of traversing the new environments in Knytt and Knytt Stories or seeing the new friends appear on your map in Tanaka’s Friendly Adventure, I’m sure you’ll garner some enjoyment out of this game, hampered only the brevity of the experience.

  • Juhkystar

    @ Yakatori

    I believe the distinction Radix is trying to make is that a “game” has an ingame “superobjective” while a toy has no objective other than “have fun”.

    So, for lack of a better example coming to mind, the simple flash game Linerider is a toy because there is no real objective other than have fun. Whereas the Corporation metagame aspect of World of Goo could be considered a game in itself due to the fact that there are leaderboards and records in the game, and it’s implied that your goal is to create the tallest tower.

    Whether or not either of these examples is actually any good is up for debate, but there’s a distinction between the two categories.

    So TIHBW is a toy, but could be fun or not, for various ammounts of time depending on personal preferences. (I haven’t actually played it and offer no opinion on its value.)

    Well, at least that’s how I interpret it. I’m not trying to put words in the mouths of others. =P However, if you disagree still, I’d be interested to know your reasoning. ;)

  • Anarkex

    Thanks, Derek. And to be honest, there isn’t really anything wrong with enjoying a game for five minutes. The only thing I’d say about that involving this particular game, is that I felt like there should have been more to it. The response people will always give to this is WELL THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACHIEVEMENTS AND FPS SEGMENTS AND QTES, RIGHT? but there’s actually a lot of ways to go with it. What if there were other animals than just bees? Or if there were ways to make different plants on purpose? I turned the game on a minute ago and already I’m confronted by the “invisible wall”, the limitation that reminds me that I’m playing a game with only one button. At that point it becomes kind of desperate and existential. The bees aren’t real, the flowers aren’t real. What commitment do I have to any of this? In any case, I do appreciate your response, Derek. You have a good way of looking at things. And I’m glad I didn’t come across as a dick about it! Seeing as most of my posting is done on 4chan, it becomes involuntary sometimes!

    Ssp: The nature of criticism is in comparing things. This is a game, Chess is a game. But I wasn’t really comparing it to chess. I was just using Chess as an example of the importance of depth. So don’t sweat. Secondly, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a game with very little depth. I myself enjoyed this one for all of about five minutes. But that’s kind of the limit for games like this, and the more I play games, the smaller and more insignificant games with very little depth seem. A lot of times, larger games have them completely circumscribed. So when I play games like this, frequently it seems I’ve played them already. As for making my own game, to be honest, I have dabbled in Game Maker before, not really to any end. I’d love to make my own games, but if you don’t mind my namedropping, I’m kind of studying pharmaceutics. If I ever churn out something I don’t hate, though, you bet I’ll be coming here with it. The other part of why I haven’t made a game yet is kind of because I already play tons of games that I love all the time. There’s no shortage. I just like talking about them, too. Y’know, game criticism. And no offense taken by the untalented part.

    Yakatori: You think you disagree with me, but your only reasoning why I’m wrong is “reality isn’t objective so logic doesn’t matter”. So I must be missing out on something, right? Careful, well-thought out arguments like mine are usually due to close-mindedness, after all. Also, that bit about most games being “simply toys”: You’ve got it backwards. All toys are games. There isn’t really a dividing line between the two. No goal is explicitly stated by a Rubik’s cube, after all. You could just enjoy clicking the colors around.

  • Radix

    I said that there was an established distinction, not what it is or necessarily whether I even think it’s valid, which is irrelevant.

    I was objecting to the semantic argument which was made by someone ignorant of a convention that’s been around for probably a couple of decades.

  • paul eres

    just want to quote this for truth:

    “If you compare every game you play against a set of faux-objective criteria you set up for yourself to see whether it’s a “good game” and whether it’s “OK” to enjoy it, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of good games.”

    i’ll never understand people who try to convince other people that they should not enjoy what they enjoy

  • nikki

    That sounds like a reasonable quote Paul, but who is convincing anybody to not enjoy this thing ?

    The comparing against [pseudo intellectualism mode on] a set of faux-objective criteria [mode off] isn’t really happening either, it’s more a natural way the human brains work, as in assosciating A with B, take that and add a anonymous forum, and you have the very nature of internet. So saying you shouldn’t is saying you shouldn’t post anything on any forum. Anywhere.

    On the software shown here; I liked the magenta. And the idea, i think the thing needs more depth though. I was bored with it within 2 minutes, mostly becaus eyou can feel there’s nothing happening, and the actions you take don’t have any meaningfull reaction.

  • superflat

    My second time on this mighty page! Yay!

    I’m glad some of you liked it, I had a lot of fun making it. And plan to come back to it, perhaps more seriously…

  • Mr.Troublesome

    I like this ! Not because it is much of a game, but because it’s cute … and there are not only different colored bees and trees, if you play this long enough there will also appear a giant bee!