Warning: Spoilers may enrapture you with their sweet nectars. Look out.

Hello readers, and welcome to another installment of my Most Interesting, which counts down the very best of the weird and wonderful elements of video gaming. Having already counted down the greatest examples of trees ever to be seen in interactive digital media, I shall now turn my attention to something far more integral to the survival of our world: the humble flower.

Flowers are innocuous enough, but without them our planet could not exist in its current form. We - and all other living creatures - depend on them for our ecosystems, for food and for decoration; they are a vital part of our natural world. Without flowers we would have no honey, or late-night-petrol-station-relationship-rescuing and what kind of world is that? One without love, that's what, and therefore I must celebrate the humble flower, in all their colours, shapes, sizes and nutritional preferences (I'm looking at you, pitcher plant.

As always, I have a particular set of rules to guide list inclusion. In order to count, the flower must be limited to one type per category in order to represent a wider variety of flowers. The flowers must also be interesting, and must also play an important role in their game. With that said, grab your secateurs and a vase as we cut off, water and lovingly arrange The Top 10 Most Interesting Examples of Flowers in Gaming. What a gorgeous bouquet!

Love it or hate it (and oh my Lord doesn't the conservative world abhor it), the Grand Theft Auto series is a hotbed of creativity, both in terms of how to take technology and hardware capabilities to new extremes as well as creative ways to allow people to kill innocent bystanders. However, the beautiful pink blossoms that are featured in San Andreas are used in a more romantic setting. As well as being used to kill people. Figures.

The romantics in all of us can find the flowers of San Andreas in a number of locations around the (vast) map, but cemeteries are often a go-to location to discover them. Once you have stolen recently-lain flowers from the graves of the recently deceased, you can then take your swag to a girlfriend, and woo her in the hopes of getting further than a lovely meal for two at Cluckin' Bell or World of Coq. Just having the flowers in your inventory raises your sex appeal, which is interesting - how does that even happen? Does the delightful smell emanating from your pockets really do it for the ladies?

If that's not your scene, you can always take your flowers and ram them down a gangsta's throat - for some inexplicable reason, the flowers cause more damage to your "enemies" than regular fist punching. What, does the pollen irritate their hayfever or something? Romantic, beautiful and deliciously deadly, the flowers of GTA: San Andreas are ripe for the picking and perfect for this list.

If you're going to San Fierro, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair! See also: On a similar note, but not included due to it being not explicitly flowers, Plants vs. Zombies shows deadly flowers in tower-defence glory. Truly one addictive game!

Have you ever wanted to play as a flower in a video game? No? Well, you should: JRPGs have always been a hotbed of creativity when it comes to playable characters, and flowers are by no means off limits. Breath of Fire II features a flower as a playable character, and one with an interesting story to boot. Well done!

A circus attraction, Spar (the shortform for Aspara Gus, which in itself is hilarious) is a 111 group of flowers that Circus Director threatens with death in order for his circus to gain some fame. Having "rescued" the group, Spar follows you for the remainder of the game, allowing the player to communicate with various wonderful trees, and allow the party to travel through forest areas normally not allowable by any other means. Seemingly, this plant can't put a root wrong.

Sadly, Spar is one of the weakest characters in the game, but has access to many excellent spells. Spar can even transform into a variety of other forms, which allows for the character to gain quite a bit of versatility within the party. While not the most famous character in Breath of Fire, Spar is a welcome and interesting addition.

And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils. See also: As mentioned, there are other JRPGs with flower-based characters, namely NeoFio in Chrono Cross, a creation of Lucca's that is half human, half plant.

This flower is possibly the most iconic in gaming. It doesn't need any introduction, as probably every single gamer in the world has used it, seen it or at the very least knew of its existence. If only there were real Fire Flowers in the world... well, there would probably be far more arson and far fewer standing buildings. Real world logic aside, you cannot beat this flower in terms of outright power in the Super Mario series.

The Fire Flower has featured in almost every single game in the series, originating in Super Mario Bros back in 1985. Not only does touching the Fire Flower allow you to take an extra hit, but it also, as its name oh so conveniently suggests, allows you to fire balls of flaming energy at your enemies. Goombas crumble at your feet. Koopas beg for mercy. Bowser quivers in fear at the very thought of the Fire Flower, and for good reason: a single attack can kill an enemy, while it only takes a few more to kill bosses. It truly is a weapon to be feared: until later games, when the bosses get hardier and the powerups more numerous. But we still love you, you little white-faced flower, you!

The sight of the Fire Flower has given gamers cause for celebration for many years, but due to it being such a straightforward powerup, it arguably does not qualify as the most interesting in gaming. Nevertheless, its iconic status gives it the edge over other similar powerups on this list. Long live the Fire Flower, and ever shall you destroy the weak and helpless of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Every rose has its thorn. See also: Violent flowers are a regular occurence in gaming, especially in "piranha" form. Piranha plants feature both in the main Mario series leaping out of pipes to surprise our stout plumber friend, and also in the Crash Bandicoot series as venus flytraps from hell. Just look out for those that spit bombs at you.

What was it about the late 1990s and early 2000s? I was turning ten around this period, a period when Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot were frolicking around on the PS1 and Sonic was dying along with the Dreamcast. But aside from the anthropomorphic animal mascots popping up left, right and center, one particular one was being created by Rareware that was rude, mean, an unashamed parody and a goddamn squirrel. I'm talking of course about Conker's Bad Fur Day, a game that was on a Nintendo console and features the bustiest Sunflower ever put to pixel. Lovely.

The Sunflower is the object of Mr. Bee's affections, a bee that has left his wife and wishes to shack up with a "younger model" so to speak (talk about adult, non kid-friendly themes here). A flirtatious and well-bequeathed individual, she is playful with Conker when he tries to set the two up. She is then, quite oddly, tickled by bees which allows the player to get a glimpse of her floral "appendages", which leads to two events: a threateningly sexual encounter between bee and sunflower, and Conker being allowed to leap on 'them' for cash. Seriously, you couldn't make it up.

Along with Duke Nukem, this game set the tone of a decade of extremes - kid friendly mascots versus terrible role models which really liked to play with the boundaries of what is acceptable. Though good-natured at heart, I doubt we will see a similar thing attempted in another game (the remake notwithstanding), and that allows this flower a place on this list.

Flower Power! See also: Talking of bouncing, several games have flowers as some form of platform or transportation, namely Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Super Mario RPG. Very helpful!

Pikmin has developed quite the following over the years, and it's not hard to see why: its deceptively simple exterior masks a wonderfully addictive gameplay experience that is both creative and genuinely interesting. And what are the featured flowers? Well, the eponymous Pikmin of course!

Captain Olimar is stranded on a mysterious planet after a comet smashed into his ship, causing him to crashland. With the planet's atmosphere containing high levels of oxygen which could kill him, he must round up his ship's part in 30 days or else die slowly, painfully and humiliatingly. Who else could help him but the anthropomorphic plants known as Pikmin, a race on the brink of extinction and see Olimar as their leader. Employing their skills to his advantage, he heads off to save himself.

What I love about the Pikmin is how well developed they are. Taking a brief glance at the Pikmin Wiki page shows swathes of discussion on how they breed, live and act, as well the dangers facing them (they all get eaten if they stay out at night, for example). The Pikmin are also incredibly cute, and are genuinely really useful in your quest. And they come in a variety of pretty colours! What more could you ask for really? These cuties deserve their spot on this list.

Roses are red, violets are blue, this is a rhyme I have just made for you. See also: One particular flower-themed Pokemon is Roselia, which features in the third generation and is completely forgettable. Sorry, Roselia fans.

Cave Story is a 2D game in a 3D world, and the internet, and by extension the world, adored it. The game is inspired by a number of games that the creators played in their youth, including Metroid, but that does not mean that it's not creative: it contains one of the most volatile flowers in gaming, with the power to turn innocent creatures into monsters of the most terrifying sort. No, I am not rehashing the plot of Despicable Me 2, but I am referring to the Red Flower.

This particular flower is crucial to the plot of the game. Set on an island inhabited by Mimiga, a cross between dogs and rabbits, the flowers grow everywhere. The Mimiga are small and weak, but when they eat the flowers they mutate into enraged creatures that lose all self control. To that end, the Doctor (no, not that one) is tricking the Mimiga to cultivate and eat the flowers in order for them to become his own personal army. He also attempts to extract the substance that causes this to use on humans, and it is this that leads to a final confrontation with our hero, Quote.

I think that the way that this flower is implemented and used in the plot of the game is excellent. It's a simple enough premise but the Red Flower's innocuous appearance hides a deadly nature that helps Cave Story to really shine. It deserves a spot on the list.

Every rose has its thorn. See also: Talking of mutated flowers, look no further than Plant 42 from Resident Evil. Actually, it looks very similar to the Mist-mutated Plant Brain from Final Fantasy IX.

Are you averse to anything that even slightly resembles the colour pink? Do you actively dislike even the slightest thing that could destroy the tiny shred of masculinity that you thought you had left? Well look away now, because Blizzard took the concept of whimsy an extraordinary degree, creating the violently bright, cheery and deceptively dangerous "Whimsyshire", a land filled with psychotic creatures straight from the bowels of Unicorn Hell. And yes, they include flowers.

Taking cues from the Secret Cow Level of Diablo II, the sequel upped the ante and created a land of syrupy loveliness and violent death. To get to it, one must have the Staff of Herding, which is crafted from some of the most difficult to acquire items in the game. Once received, Whimsyshire is at your disposal, where unicorns, teddybears and the Twinkleroot flower attempt to destroy you without mercy. They spit fire at you, plague the land and can even freeze you to death. They also attack in packs, and when killed die in a very messy way. And what's more, also featured is Maisie the Daisy, a unique enemy that is no less dangerous. This is what truly happens when the world of My Little Pony meets The Walking Dead.

Although the weakest of the three enemies featured in the secret level, their deceptively cute appearance is something that cannot be ignored. Interesting for all the right reasons (mostly deadly ones), the Twinkleroots deserve a spot on this list.

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray. See also: Flowers also cause death and destruction in other games. Grim Fandango features a gun that fires seeds which, when fired at the undead, cause flowers to sprout from them, allowing them to die. Sounds like Ferngully.

I won't lie, my lists have been notorious for slipping in some form of reference to the Final Fantasy series at somewhere. However, I feel I am absolutely justified to include one of the most famous characters in gaming as part of this list, due to flowers being one of the most important parts of her personality and character. I can only be talking about Final Fantasy VII's Aerith Gainsborough.

Set up within the first 20 minutes of gameplay as a flower girl living in the slums of Midgar, she immediately offers our protagonist Cloud with a flower for the princely sum of 1 gil; odd, seeing as the world of the slums could not be any more polluted and grim. Refuse or accept, the offer, and this introduction, is a perfect way to showcase the innocence of this young girl, as well her connection with the Planet. Her home in Sector 5 is surrounded by flowers, while the church she frequents is one of the only places where flowers can grow freely from the dying lands. It would be such a shame if she couldn't tend them anymore...

The symbolic importance of these flowers cannot be overstated. Her playful, innocent and good-hearted nature, and the fact that she is the only person on the Planet capable of creating such harmony with the earth, only sets up the dark tragedy that occurs later on in the game. Without her, a ray of light is extinguished, only causing the party to go to any lengths to destroy Sephiroth. Although an indirect inclusion, Final Fantasy VII's flowers are part of what makes the game utter breathtaking.

...and don't step on the flowers. See also: Flowers are a recurring symbol in the series. From Final Fantasy II's Wild Rose rebellion, to Final Fantasy VI's Celes and her use of flowers during the Opera, flowers are everywhere - and often tragedy lies in their wake.

Viruses have been the subject of increasing interest in video games. From Resident Evil to The Last of Us, they have normally been part of some sort of discussion of zombies, but Advance Wars: Days of Ruin rips up the rule book by including a virus that turns its victims into a hanging basket. Yes, the virus involves flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

Said virus is known as "The Creeper", officially known as Creeping Derengea, and it was created by the main antagonist Caulder and dismissed as a failed experiment. It causes flowers to sprout out of every orifice, leaving them resembling some sort of beautiful flower arrangement. Sadly, those who contract the virus end up very much dead, and those who have contracted it face the firing squad in order to protect non-infected people. It truly is a horrific way to die, and the search for a cure is one of the main plot threads in the game.

I think the virus is really creative, and one which is unique in gaming as a virus that does not automatically turn its victims into mindless slaves. This floral scourge of a post-apocalyptic world is one that certiainly is interesting, and I would love to see more examples of its kind in the future - just not in real life. That would be terrifying.

Roundup kills the root, kills the weed. See also: Although not a game, a similar idea appears in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, where Geostigma features as a virus filled Jenova Cells which kills its victims slowly and painfully. Wonderful!

The Drakengrad series has been going for over 10 years now, JRPGs that are now on a level footing with SquareEnix's other mighty franchise heavyweights. Luckily for us, the third installment, helpfully titled Drakengrad 3 contains a wonderful example of an interesting flower. Which is evil. And becomes the final boss. And did I mention it is basically the cause of every bad thing in the game? Wonderful!

Our heroine (and anti-hero, as it turns out) was once an ordinary woman who had lived a terrible life. Almost dead, she was impaled by an evil flower that turned her into a tool of destruction that the flower could use to its own ends. Attempting suicide to rid herself of the flower, it simply caused five more intoners to appear, all with the power of song and all with supreme power. The flower caused Zero to gain a unique body, prolongs her life, and is omnipresent throughout the game as the Intoners, once worshipped as deities for ending a great war, are picked off one by one by Zero. Heavy stuff, eh?

This flower is the root (sorry) of such awesome power, and is interesting for any number of reasons. What other flower in video games can be described as wanting to take over the world? This is possibly the first of its kind, and is therefore certainly one of the most interesting flowers in gaming.

What did happened to the Dutch Tulip Man? See also: In PS1 RPG Koudelka - which I have talked about before as it was set where I went to University - the final boss lives in a flower. Once it blooms, she attacks! Flowers are REALLY mean in these games.

And thus endeth The Top 10 Most Interesting Examples of Flowers in Gaming! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I could have put any number of games into the list, and the order of this ten could be wildly different: please leave a few lovely (or helpful) comments in the Top 10 List Board, or you could send me a lovely bunch of posies or something to my PO Box. I love the smell of flowers in the morning. Until next time, goodbye!

Honourable Mentions

Crash Bandicoot
Flower
Legend of Zelda
Resident Evil
Plants vs. Zombies
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Metroid Prime
Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Mega Man (various)
Devil May Cry 4
Pokemon
Sengoku Basara 2: Heroes
Flowers of Robert Mapplethorpe
Street Fighter
Soul of the Samurai
Tomba 2
Chrono Cross
Sprout
Final Fantasy (various)
Urban Champion
Virtua Tennis
Fast Draw Showdown
Dead or Alive
Guilty Gear
Marvel vs. Capcom
Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Stranded 2
Minecraft
Rollercoaster Tycoon
Heaven and Hearth
RuneScape
SimEarth
Batman and Robin
Batman: Arkham
Obscure 2
Koudelka
Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Heavy Rain
Super Smash Bros
Okami
Super Mario RPG
Super Paper Mario
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
We Love Katamari
Grim Fandango
Castlevania
Tales of Symphonia
...and many more!


List by sirloinestake (05/29/2015)

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