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Flow is a popular video game independently created by Nicholas Clark and Jenova Chen. This free Flash game was originally released in the year 2006. The game was originally created by Chen as a part of his master's thesis. Later, Chen’s development studio “Thatgamecompany” revised the game into a 2007 PS3 game. In 2008, SuperVillain Studios launched Flow in PlayStation Portable version. In this game, the player has to steer a small aquatic microorganism through a 2D (two dimensional) plane. The microorganism consumes other microorganisms on the gameboard. The game was designed based on the research of Jenova Chen into dynamic difficulty adjustment. The designers also used the theoretical concept of flow or mental immersion of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

The game’s Flash version was downloaded 100,000 times within the first two weeks after its release. By the year 2008, over 3.5 million players had played the game. The PlayStation 3 re-release of Flow became the most downloaded PlayStation Network game in 2007. It also won the award for the Best Downloadable Game at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2008. He game also won nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. The audio visual appeal of the game was highly praised by critics. The simplicity of the playing method was also admired. Some people even considered Flow to be a piece of art rather than a video game.


How to Play Flow

In this game, the player has to navigate through an aquatic environment with a multi-segmented worm-like creature. The game begins immediately as it does not have any menus or guidelines. The game is looked upon from bird’s eye view and the game world has multiple two-dimensional planes arranged upon each other in a vertical manner. A hazy version of the level underneath the current layer is always visible. Organisms of different sizes move on the plane. The player attempts to consume these moving organisms with his or her multi-segmented creature. These creatures are generally non-aggressive and are made up of varying numbers of cells. When the player’s creature consumes them, these cells add to the segment number of its body. There are two distinctly colored organisms that the player has to touch to move up or down the layers. But this multicolored organism does not appear on the highest and the lowest layer.

There are some aggressive creatures on some layers which die only when the player’s creature eats all the segments of their bodies. But these creatures can re-grow from a single segment by consuming sections from the player's creature. Many cells are released upon the death of these creatures which restores the health and temporarily increases the mouth size of the player’s snake- like creature. The player may also travel to any level he or she wants to after defeating an aggressive creature. On the other hand, the player’s creature does not die if it loses to an aggressive organism. Instead, losing to them makes the player move to an earlier level. The flash version of Flow allows the player to replay the game with an organism that resembles a jellyfish if he or she is able to defeat an aggressive creature at the bottom layer.

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