The A-Z of geek: F is for Flowers of Crystal

Primary school children throughout the 1980's got their first experience of computers via an adventure game called Granny's Garden. In this game you had to solve various puzzles with the vague aim of rescuing some fictional children from the evil witch, who would often show-up unannounced, play some horrible music, kill you and annoy your teacher, who had lost count of the number of times they had heard it happen. Granny's Garden was rather well-known (and well-loved), however many people are not aware that 4-Mation software released a sequel....

F is for Flowers of Crystal

In Flowers of Crystal the planet Crystal is in danger, and only primary school children transported across the galaxy can save it. It seems that the evil antagonist, Mr Grubble, an industrialist and entrepreneur, has put the entire planet in danger. Along the way you will meet Jim, protector of the planet Crystal and after a long, convoluted back story, you will discover that your mission involves finding the Flowers of Crystal which have the power to save the entire planet, or something.

I am scared...

As in Granny's Garden, success in Flowers of Crystal involves carefully solving puzzles. The first puzzle involves reading the 'weather report' which gives a hint as to which items will be needed. For example, if the weather report tells you that it is likely to rain, then taking the raincoat might be a good idea.

Part of the world of Crystal - thanks to Super Jim

The next puzzle does not provide you will such an easy hint. You are required to navigate through a map of the game world moving from location to location using or finding other objects along the way. I am sure that when I was a child we managed to make much greater progress through the game (or at least we had guessed the code word for getting onto the second level).  I do know that you need a disguise kit to get into Mr Grubble's bubblegum factory, in which you will discover the security pass allowing you access to the City.  The world of Flower's of Crystal is a fascist police state in which one must always obtain the correct paperwork in order to be granted permissions to travel. I wonder what 4-mation were trying to teach us?

Teachers across the land would plug children into the Flowers of Crystal, and then sneak out for some of their own 'special water'.
Another teletext monster murders you for no reason. So senseless.
Choose wisely or you will be murdered and then some other kid will get a go, and you have to go back to your seat and do long division problems
If you somehow survive the first map, then you will find out a code that allows you to access the second level, which, from memory, was much more fun. It involved a few more puzzles, but crucially, the mini-games were more 'arcade' in style. I seem to remember one puzzle where you have to fly through a cavern avoiding lightning bolts. Or maybe I am just remembering our school corridor at lunchtime. There was also a game of Nokia snake built in, and some sort of creature known as the Exiles who were literally hopping mad. I have no screenshots of that part of the game because I haven't managed to survive long enough however there is a video below.  Playing this game will be much improved by using the 'save state' feature of your emulator, because being randomly killed is no fun.

Not again....
So, if you enjoyed this post and you fancy having a go, stock up on some bubble-gum (the only way to protect yourself from underground worms - obviously), and award yourself some geek experience points.

Video time