Of the many great and bountiful things that exist across the great plethora of games is nature. There are plenty of ways of making a game world feel real and lived in. Have people with their own schedules, cultural identifiers, language and history, and so on. But that's just for the people; the world should be a character of its own too.
And that, of course, brings us to flowers and the great variety of them. Flowers have been used in symbolism since the beginning of time, be they representing something or medicine, food, and everything in-between. A world without flowers is no world at all. So it's no surprise that many games feature them, and in many ways.
10 Hollow Knight – Delicate Flower
Though the world of Hollow Knight can look precious and adorable on the surface, it hides a prevailing sorrow just beneath that shiny veneer. A society built on empty promises for the vain of a god-like being who couldn't afford to be forgotten. As such, much of Hallownest feels forced, made with intent rather than natural growth.
And in a far-off corner of the world, you may encounter Ze'Mer, a forgotten knight who wishes for a flower to be brought to her lover's grave, a flower from lands far from Hallownest. An oddity in this land, the flower is said to hold great power, though it is incredibly gentle. In fact, it even has the means to stop the encroaching void.
9 Pikmin – Pikmin
Captain Olimar is simply drifting through space hoping for a new adventure when suddenly his ship loses control and crashes onto an unknown planet. And instead of being met with hostility, he is instead greeted by the Pikmin, who form a bond to protect each other to stave off predators.
The Pikmin themselves are the flora of the world, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some can breathe underwater, others can survive poison or electricity, and can be thrown for miles. They celebrate the differences of their planet, all working in tandem for survival. It's a nice message. And they're cute little guys too.
8 Mario – Fire Flower
For a guy who likes to crush and stomp just about everything he comes across, Mario finds quite a lot of help from the flowers around him. Sure, some of them are pretty hostile, like the Piranha Plants, but there's plenty more to help him too. Hell, it's mushrooms that let him grow so big!
But maybe the most iconic of all the flowers in Mario is the Fire Flower. A simple, strong stalk with two leaves, and a head of a red, yellow, and white circles, with two long black eyes. An unassuming fella that gives Mario the power to incinerate the world around him. It seems somewhat counter-intuitive for a plant to have, honestly. Oh, well.
7 Undertale – Flowey
There's a lot to be said about Undertale, and to be honest, most of it has been said – we won't dwell on that too much. But no matter how you see it, Undertale was something of a cultural marker in games, with so much of the game's experience being based around the communal experience of playing it, rather than just the game's content.
And a most beloved fellow is Flowey. Introduced as the first character you meet, Flowey tries to guide you through the game's mechanics, all the while seeming kinda… off. Well, Flowey wants to murder you. And it's all wrapped up in the idea of flowers being gentle things, but things aren't always what they seem. He's also an Earthbound reference. Because, of course he is.
6 Resident Evil – Herbs
There are a great many things you could praise the Resident Evil series for, be it popularizing survival horror, its great early-level design, and its incredible ability to seemingly change the entire series between entries. And yet, despite how much it changes, the one commonality in all the games is herbs.
Not all the herbs always return, but you can always count on the red and green herbs. They're pretty simple, just green and red potted plants that you grind up and mix and can somehow heal mortal wounds, and seemingly everyone in the world just has lying around. Zombie bites be damned.
5 Nier – Lunar Tear
Though Yoko Taro's works finally reached worldwide acclaim with Nier Automata, his works extend far beyond, with his first directorial role with Drakengard. But as Yoko Taro also loves, Drakengard and Nier all take place in the same universe, just based on different endings.
If you've played Nier Automata, you probably recognize the Lunar Tears Emil asks you to find, of which plenty are in his room. Well, the Lunar Tear first originated in Nier Replicant, where it can even be grown by the player. And would you believe flowers are incredibly relevant in Drakengard, too, with many characters sporting an almost identical one on their eye? Well, they are, and they do.
4 Pokemon – Roselia
Pokemon has been running for a damn long time at this point, and with almost 1,000 Pokemon, you could guess that they have more than a few based on flowers. Pokemon represent every element of the world, from ghosts and animals to the literal trash and food, so it can be hard to choose a single one.
But in terms of most iconic? That would have to be Roselia. They represent everything a rose is meant to be. Slender and beautiful, but sharp to the touch, poison meant to keep you at bay. Also, Roselia's evolution line is pretty natural, from a growing bud to a rose in bloom to a bandit!
3 Final Fantasy 7 – Aerith's Flowers
Across the many, many Final Fantasy games, both mainline and spin-offs, when asked to choose a favorite character, many people will choose Aerith. This might seem like a generic answer, but there's a reason she's so beloved, and the symbolism of flowers is central to that.
Final Fantasy 7 is a world corrupted. There's the figurative corruption, a massive corporation ruling over Midgar with governmental control, and the literal corruption of the planet's life. And Aerith, the simple girl selling flowers, is the one thing in that world that feels natural. And when she's gone, those flowers are her remains, a promise that life can be better than an industrial hell.
2 Skyrim – Nirnroot
For the many things Skyrim does, both good and bad, the one thing that can't be denied is the reverence paid to the world's design. Because yeah, the game feels like it has a collective six voice actors, but the actual life of the natural world gives it so much personality outside actual characters.
And one of the most distinct of those is Nirnroot. A highly researched piece of flora in-game, it's said to be the roots of the planet reaching upwards. But what makes it so unique is how it glows and calls out, as if it wants to be found. Of course, all plants are alive, but nirnroot feels like it's calling for you.
1 Breath Of The Wild – Silent Princess
We talk a lot of open-world games and how they need to change beyond being just major checklist games that look pretty, and many people herald Breath of the Wild as being the blueprint for how to do better. But of course, many misinterpret what exactly it is that makes Breath of the Wild tick.
And a major part of that is natural life. Seeing fireflies glow at night, apples falling from trees, and flowers growing across the fields. And one of the most iconic is the Silent Princess. Because it's more than a simple flower, but a beautiful symbol. A flower that can't grow in captivity, only reaching its potential in freedom. A silent admirer with so much to say.
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