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Video Game / Granny's Garden

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A 1983 Edutainment Game by 4Mation for the BBC Micro, Granny's Garden was most commonly played in British primary schools up until the early 1990s. The BBC Micro is gone from the classroom, but 4Mation is still around, and so developed updated versions of the game for Windows and macOS X to use. (There was also an updated version for the Acorn Archimedes, the successor to the BBC Micro.)

The story is very simple. You are visiting your grandmother whose garden contains a magic tree. Upon your finding it, the tree transports you to the Kingdom of the Mountains, where the king and queen have been locked away by a Wicked Witch who kidnapped all of their children. It is up to the player, with the assistance of a magical raven, to return all six children to their family.

This game provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Simple though it is, the backstory isn't explained in the game itself, only in the manual.
  • But Thou Must!: What is probably the game's main claim to notability is the following gloriously egregious use of this trope almost immediately after starting the game...and it is the first of many.
    Can you see a cave?
    Yes you can.
    Do you want to go inside?
    Yes you do.
  • Episodic Game: The game is split into two parts.
  • Fetch Quest: In the last segment, the player is sent to fetch a stone from the hill, and water from the lake.
  • Fridge Logic: Invoked — the manual suggests "possible explanations for some of the mysteries of the program" as further discussion topics:
    Why does Redhorn eat keys? Why don't the ants follow the worm down the hole? where does the green broomstick come from? how can an apple kill a snake? how can you get inside a snail's shell? [...] how was it possible to take the Witch's cake safely?
  • Game-Over Man: The Witch.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The player's task is to find six children.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite being the main antagonist, the witch never receives any kind of punishment for her actions
  • Never Say "Die": When the evil witch catches you, she sends you back home. Mind you, this applies only to the player character; you can kill a snake by throwing an apple at it.
  • Password Save: All of them are geographical themed (mountain, river, etc.).
  • Parental Bonus: One version of the Acorn Archimedes version had a separate app to play the background music, due to technical difficulties getting the in-game music to work with older versions of RISC OS. The name of the app? !4Play.
  • Rainbow Speak: "I am the King and Queen's Blue Raven. I have Magic Powers."
  • Shout-Out: The opening sentence of the manual has three:
    In children's literature there are numerous examples of "gateways to other worlds"; wardrobes, police boxes and chalk pits being three such portals which, to the unknowing eye, are no more than what they appear to be.
  • Symbolism: The player kills a snake with an apple; the allusion to the Garden of Eden story is deliberate, and intended as a jumping-off point for class discussion.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Sometimes you'll pick up an item, and it'll trigger a trap later.
  • Tuckerization: Esther and Tom, the first two children you rescue, are named after the author's own children.
  • Unwinnable by Design: On the other hand, sometimes you'll decline to pick up an item and find you can't win without it.
  • Video Game Demake: The Windows version was released with updated graphics. Later, a 'Retro' Windows version was released that used the original BBC Micro graphics, for those with a nostalgic interest in the original game.
  • Violation of Common Sense: At one point, a giant asks you whether you want him to eat you. You have to agree to progress.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: You'd think a BBC educational title would be more careful to avoid things like "It's mouth is open wide."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The introductory text talks about a king and queen who were locked away by the evil witch. They are never mentioned again.