Western notions of the diorama are preceded by the Japanese art of bonkei and bonsai. Dating back to at least the sixth century, these are the practices of growing miniature landscapes and trees contained in trays and pots. Surprisingly, only a few videogames have acknowledged these remarkable art forms. The closest is Mountain, an ambient game about watching over a mountain floating in space. But where its tribute falls short is in the lack of player control; a vital part of bonkei is the interception of the owner’s hand. It’d be remiss to ignore Prune, the meditative puzzle experience about trimming the branches of blossoming trees to get them maximum sunlight. The same goes for the bonsai simulation game simply called Bonsai. But the game to look forward to is Miegakure (Japanese for ‘hide and reveal’), which utilises Buddhist garden design concepts while challenging players to navigate the fourth dimension, visualised as warped, ever-shifting dioramas.
01 GiantCop 02 Fantastic Contraption 03 Wonderputt 04 Impossible Bottles 05 GNOG 06 Miegakure 07 lobes 08 WaywardSky 01 03 04 05 08 07 02