Game of Drones - Bees in Video Games

Bees tend to make a great villain in video games with their powerful stinging ability and the threat of a swarm.  Unfortunately bees are often stereotyped in video games in a negative way.  From a large swarm of bees chasing a person, to being portrayed as an active hostile weapon or enemy and in a constant stage of hostility.  This gives bees a bad image in real life, when bees don't usually act the way they do in the game.


Yes bees will sting you to protect their hive and yes a swarm of bees flying at one time can look terrifying.  The way bees get portrayed in the entertainment industry has led to people believing that the bees will seek people out and mass sting them.  Which is not the case.


Bees don't casually fly around in swarms. The main reason a swarm would be out is to find a new home.  So if you see a swarm of bees, get in contact with your local beekeeping association, so they can help the bees find a new home.


It is perfectly fine for a video game to have bees attack a person who has deliberately attacked the hive, as this is realistic to the real world, and is a valid response if you destroy their home.  Insects matter too.


There are many games which portray bees as the bad guy like Donkey Kong Country, Cup Head and Majoras Mask.  But let's take a minute to have a look at 3 video games that are more bee friendly and showcase bees in a positive light.


Bee Simulator

Available on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC



This game is set in an open world environment where you play as a newborn bee who gets a worker role and needs to collect pollen. The game has a story - Your hive is in danger, the humans are looking to cut down the tree in which your hive is located.  You also need to protect the hive from invading wasp and hornets. 


This game is educational and included a lot of bee facts.  The game is broken up into missions which take you around the game world. Completing the mission will reward you with knowledge points, which unlocks more knowledge as well as bee skins to make your bee look cooler.


The game does have some unrealistic features like the inside of the hive (just missing a few thousand bees) the size of the Queen Bee (she is not that big).  They also make collecting pollen look really easy by just having the bee fly through a ring above the flower. 


The graphics are stunning in this game and the ability to fly around at high speeds is a lot of fun, but the voice acting in this game could use some work. What is good about this game is it gives an inside to how important bees are and an inside into their world.





Minecraft

Available on PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Wii U



You may already have Minecraft fans in your house and be familiar with this game as it has gained popularity since its official launch in 2011.  Its 1.15 release at the end of 2019 saw the game add bee related items such as bees, nest, hive, honey and honeycomb.


Although in the game the bees are not realistically sized they do act out real life activities.   From which 3 bees can enter and exit.  The bees will fly to flowers and collect pollen (when they do so their appearance will change to show pollen on them) they will then fly back to the nest/hive and turn the pollen into honey.  The nest/hive will then fill up with honey. 


The honey/honeycomb can be collected from the nest/hive by a player.  If the player just taps on the nest to get the honey, or hits a bee they will be attacked by the bee (and poisoned if game mode is one hard).   Whereas if the player lights a campfire under the hive/nest first sending smoke into the hive/nest, they can retrieve the honey without coming to harm (you use a glass jar to collect the honey and shears for honeycomb). 


The game also has bees dying if they sting the player, mimicking what would happen in real life.  The game version of the bee also loses their stinger and will fly for a little while before dying.


Players can only craft hives and not nest to keep their bees. If you are playing in survival mode the game will generate nests mainly in a flower forest. Players can drink the honey as a healing potion, and craft the honeycomb into blocks.


Its awesome that a game as popular as Minecraft has chosen to add bees into its gameplay.




Bee Swarm Simulator

Available through Roblox with Android, iOS, PC, Mac, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch



The game was developed by Onett for Roblox and since its release in 2018 has gained over 5 million club members.  Although the game is not overly realistic it does promote bees in a positive view.  The object of the game is to harvest pollen from flower fields and convert it into honey.  You (as a human) are the leader of your own personal swarm of bees. 


You hatch your bees from eggs and you can repeatedly feed them royal jelly to transform them into another type of bee (with the aim to discover all types of bees.)  The more bees you add to your hive and the more bee type you discover you will open up areas of the game map and gain access to machines. 


You can increase your bond with each bee by feeding it treats, moon charms and fruits.  (each bee will have their favourite food and bond will increase more when fed this).  When your bees reach bond milestones they will level up and which will then lead to an increase in their ability to collect pollen, convert pollen to honey and their production rate.


This game is packed full of things to do.  There are quests from friendly bears and leader bees for you to complete and they in return give you rewards.  There are mobs for you to defeat, bees for you to discover, as well as mazes, puzzles and obstacle courses to complete.




Have you played a video game which featured bees?  Were the bees portrayed in a positive or negative way?  Let us know in the comments.





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