A common adornment of neighborhoods, especially idyllic ficitonal representations thereof, garden gnomes are a type of statue resembling the mythical gnome. Possibly dating back as far as the 1600s, the garden gnome was popularized in Germany and its surrounding countries, before spreading throughout Europe and into the United States.
In Video Games
Garden gnomes have become a small but recurring presence in video games, with certain series featuring the adornments prominently.
In The Sims series, garden gnomes can often be bought and added to a Sim's garden for aesthetics benefit. In certain Sims games, garden gnomes also have the ability water a player's plants, or summon animals. Special gnomes will sometimes appear at a player's residence, either as an Easter egg or as a random event, in which they must be appeased, lest they cause troubles for the player.
One specific garden gnome reappears throughout several titles by Valve Corporation, including Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Left 4 Dead 2, and Half-Life: Alyx. Unofficially referred to as "Gnome Chompski", this gnome's appearance typically acts as a challenge to the player, tasking them with retrieving the gnome early in a game and carrying it through the game's entirety, in exchange for an achievement. In late 2020, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell partnered with New Zealand-based aeronautics company Rocket Lab to send a titanium replica of the gnome into space as a charity event, referencing the gnome's appearance in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.