Photo by aidanbrooks

Today’s idea is a terribly simple one – so much so, I’m astonished nobody else seems to have thought of it: Tamagotchi Gardening.

Instead of looking after a pet, you tend a garden. Dig it over, choose what to plant, care for it, water it, and reap the rewards.

But it’s not simply about the satisfaction of growing your own (virtual) food.

Crops mean points – and you can compete against your friends to choose the best fertiliser, pick the right plants for the right times of year, water at the correct times of the day, do a spot of weeding, build fences to keep out the critters, go organic or use chemicals, and so on.

Of course, there’s jeopardy. Things that eat the plants, things that can go wrong with the plants, neglect, over-watering, and environmental forces can all play havoc with your virtual allotment. Get it wrong, and the plants could die. Get it right, and they’ll thrive. But make sure you harvest at the right time.

And if veges aren’t your thing, we could always make it a flower garden, a zen garden, a vineyard or an orchard. There are lots of different options – and each ‘plot of land’ could be another purchase.

The game (let’s call it an iPhone app) could be tied into the actual calendar, and to weather data in your area – and so there could be a kind of realism to it that matches your exterior world. But this way, you get to do a bit of gardening while you’re on the bus, on your lunchbreak or while lying on the couch.

Just a few minutes here and there, or a good half an hour of weeding and digging, transplanting and pruning – and you need never get your hands dirty.

Of course – this goes without saying – but there’s an opportunity here to do lots of gardening education too. BBC Gardener’s World should be all over this.

Table of contents for 30 Days of Ideas

  1. The other way of following first
  2. Now we’re up and dancing
  3. 30 days of ideas – 01: Keymash
  4. 30 days of ideas – 02: Radio Alerts
  5. 30 days of ideas – 03: Only Famous (a romantic comedy)
  6. 30 days of ideas – 04: Modcasts
  7. 30 days of ideas – 05: Numberless Calendar
  8. 30 days of ideas – 06: SpringCleanr
  9. 30 days of ideas – 07: Street Gallery
  10. 30 days of ideas – 08: Smart Business Cards
  11. 30 days of ideas – 09: Recordings in Concert
  12. 30 days of ideas – 10: Vinyl scanner
  13. 30 days of ideas – 11: Photo Stack-and-Scan
  14. 30 days of ideas – 12: A Box of Cool
  15. 30 days of ideas – 13: Karaoke-Tube Celebstar Idol
  16. 30 days of ideas – 14: I Made You A Tape
  17. 30 days of ideas – 15: Newspaper download codes
  18. 30 days of ideas – 16: Pebble Splash
  19. 30 days of ideas – 17: Digital radio, somewhere useful
  20. 30 days of ideas – 18: Public domain music collection
  21. 30 days of ideas – 19: Blog cast-list automator
  22. 30 days of ideas – 20: The Retirement Pile
  23. 30 days of ideas – 21: Nationalise EMI
  24. 30 days of ideas – 22: The Stainless Steel Rat (the movie)
  25. 30 days of ideas – 23: WordPress Bandcampify template
  26. 30 days of ideas – 24: Rollercoasters as public transport
  27. 30 days of ideas – 25: Next-gen personalised music radio
  28. 30 days of ideas – 26: New Music Trust
  29. 30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening
  30. 30 days of ideas – 28: Charity shop clothing subscription
  31. 30 days of ideas – 29: ‘Now Playing’ social music app
  32. 30 days of ideas – 30: House of Spare Ideas
  33. Mixtape for You by Ray Kuyvenhoven
  34. What can you do in 30 days?

3 thoughts on “30 days of ideas – 27: Tamagotchi Gardening

  1. Sounds like a great way to educate young people about how to grow vegetables, what’s in season at the moment, etc. Perhaps some of them will graduate to a real-world plot at some stage, confident in the knowledge that if they can keep virtual veggies alive, the real ones won’t be too hard.

    It’d be great fun to have a service that sends players real physical veggies that they’ve grown in the virtual world, so they can feel some of the reward. Well worthy of grant funding, I reckon.

  2. Err… isn’t that Farmville?

    Though I can see there’s an argument for making it more realistic with the addition of time – having to wait for the right time to plant crops (ie planting virtual crops during spring IRL).

  3. Ah, well spotted. I can see where there are similarities to Farmville. More than I thought there’d be (not having played it) but I’d have aimed this more at adults (or at least, not so pixel-art cartoony) and not as a social game – more as a solitary endeavour.

    In my head, it’s virtually photo-realistic, with tips for novices, and the ability to remove the training wheels for the seasoned gardener.

    The idea of receiving real vegetables did actually cross my mind – but I discarded it along with the larger ‘remote-controlled real-world gardening’ nonsense that this idea started life as. I like the idea of samples… and I think you’re right about funding.

    Go for it!

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