GROWBOTICS

by Cha Holland profile

2015

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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A consumer product about a consumer product, November 22, 2015
by CMG (NYC)

Aesthetically, this game is definitely polished. Nice blocky buttons. Smooth graphics. It's got "mass market appeal" with a neutral design scheme, like an IKEA catalogue. Which is exactly what it's trying to do.

Not be an IKEA catalogue. Just tap into that commercial zone.

The game is entirely about a product: a contraption that can take "basic creative building blocks" and combine them together to make new products. All that you really do in this game is combine the different ingredients, and then the game spits out an invention at you. The ingredients themselves are vague concepts like "quantity" and "sound."

At the end of my playthrough, the player-character (who had purchased this contraption) was showered with success for the great things they made with the machine.

Maybe I wasn't supposed to react this way, but I felt like this game was making a really sharp criticism about creativity and technological development. Everything that's normally called "creativity" is negated by the GROWBOTICS machine, where you just slot combinations together, press a button, and the machine does all the creative work for you. A product rolls down the conceptual conveyor belt, you snag it for yourself, and then you claim the credit without needing to have a single creative thought yourself.

Not to say that the game's text actually sounds cynical. Everything is upbeat. You're a happy consumer, after all, and you have a shiny new product to play with! Only at one point near the beginning does the game (maybe) show its hand, when the player-character reads the product manual and thinks:

An extended marketing spiel crafted to make you feel good about your purchasing decisions. Absurd thing is, it kind of works.

GROWBOTICS
kind of works like that too.