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

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