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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:

  • 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
  • Game-Over Man: The Witch.
  • Gotta Catch Them All!
  • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Rainbow Speak: "I am the King and Queen's Blue Raven. I have Magic Powers."
  • 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 it up and you can't win without it.
  • 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.


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