Announcing the Flower Essay Contest Winners

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Hello Everyone,

I wanted to start off by taking a moment to thank everyone for their contributions to the Flower “Experience” contest we kicked off three weeks ago. During that time, a lot of really great stories were submitted, and we even had a few that raised some eyebrows, but were entertaining to read nonetheless. Here in the Santa Monica Studio, we have enjoyed seeing the amount of support the community has shown for Flower, and we are also very proud and happy to continue supporting the community by providing things like the Flower soundtrack and the Dynamic Theme. It’s also great to see that our enthusiasm for the indie developer community is mirrored by so many gamers!

Kellee Santiago and the busy crew over at thatgamecompany spent several evenings reading through all of the entries, and were able to select the 5 stories they felt were the best of the best. Each of the five authors is going to receive a $20 PSN card. And, to show our appreciation, we decided to throw in a little extra surprise for each of the winners including Flower posters autographed by the team members of thatgamecompany. Congratulations to each of you, and thanks to all those that submitted your stories.

Flower

So, without any further delay, below are each of the five stories chosen by thatgamecompany, and the reasoning behind them, as told by Kellee. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Hi, Kellee from thatgamecompany here. Man, when we asked for stories about playing “Flower“, we really didn’t know what to expect. The responses were so touching, moving, and inspired, it’s truly been one of the most rewarding experiences that any game developer could ever hope to have. We’re all really thankful to everyone that took the time to jot down their experiences, whether they were long, short, funny, sad, or everything rolled into one!

These five were chosen because I think they best represented the collection of experiences that players were describing. Whether it was life altering, or just a really fun tryst, Flower seemed to really touch you, so much so that one of you even created a video inspired by it.

From the team here at thatgamecompany, thanks to everyone for playing “Flower,” and again to everyone who took the time to write in. We hope we can continue to entertain you.

thatgamecompany team

In no particular order, here are the entries from the five winners.

We have a little bundle of love in my family named Lacey, she is my younger sister and she was born with autism. Lacey tries to play video games, but because of her condition she has trouble enjoying them and gets frustrated and throws tantrums. It’s just so heartbreaking for her to not be able to enjoy gaming – that was until the game of Flower came along.

Right from the start Lacey sat near the screen and used her finger to trace the fascinating petals as they moved across the TVs digital landscape. But what really gave my baby sister the most joy was she was actually able to play the game, because there were no boundaries and no complicated button sequences, just the tilt of the PS3 controller and she was on her way. Ask Lacey what her favorite game is? She will say flower, ask her what she wants for her birthday, she will say Flower part 2. This summer my mother and I are going to give her a big surprise for her birthday, we are going to redecorate her room by painting murals of your beautiful game on her walls.

Words alone can’t thank you enough for making this wonderful game. God Bess you all.

–Nivi

In the month of February, after playing “Flower” endlessly, I felt a stirring in my spirit that this game, and from a spiritual standpoint, caused to help express an emotion that I have had buried deep inside me for almost 8 months at the time. The game posed as more a blessing to me and I couldn’t help but think that it came at the right time when I needed something to help me express the way I felt. So, on my YouTube channel that I used to vlog on, I decided to surprise everyone with a video that I had been wanting to do since the death of Michael Jackson. I wanted to express how much I truly loved him and how big a blessing he was in my life. Here is the video my story, “Michael: Soaring In My Emotion.”

Since his death, I had a very hard time finding ways to express what this man meant to me. I have never mentioned my love for Michael Jackson in my videos, only because I didn’t think you all wanted to know about it. But, his death was very hard for me and it wasn’t until this very weekend when I finally found a way to express what Michael and his music meant to me. A month or year never went by when I didn’t listen to or watch a video of Michael. He was very special to me and I thank God every day for putting Michael into my life.

Michael, singing one of his many masterpieces, “Music and Me”, and the help of an extraordinary game called “Flower” developed by thatgamecompany, and the use of my PlayStation 3. This video was also noticed by the very creator of “Flower”, Jenova Chen. He commented and spoke highly of the video and even favorite it as well on his channel.

-Whitney

My best memory of Flower has to be the time I first showed it to my neighbor/soon-to-be girlfriend/now wife.

The game had come out right around the time I met her, actually. We had been living in the same apartment complex for months without our paths ever crossing until April of last year. I had invited her over to my place to watch a movie and hang out. As we sat around talking after the movie was over I was constantly trying to bring up new topics of discussion. My thought process was, as long as we still have things to talk about, she’ll stick around.

Before long I asked, “Have you heard of a new game called Flower?” knowing full well she probably hadn’t – earlier I had learned she hadn’t really touched video games since the 8-bit Nintendo days. She of course hadn’t heard of it and I jumped up and powered on my PS3. The game completely blew her away. She couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful the game was and that she didn’t know video games had progressed so far visually. Then I put the controller in her hands and she drifted off into the dreamscape that is Flower.

We sat there on the couch as she flew around the open fields and grassy knolls for probably two hours or so. Despite the fact that she had work in the morning, there we were enjoying this incredible game together. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Flower is the reason we’re now happily married, but it is certainly one of the sweeter memories we share. A few months later I had to leave for deployment to the Middle East and during that time I asked her to marry me. I returned home in December of 2009 and we got married and one of the first things we did in the few weeks after my return was play Flower! We took turns getting through the levels trying to get all the trophies. I’ll never forget that first night I introduced the game to her, though. If that game hasn’t gotten her to stay with me so long, maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today. For that, I’m eternally grateful. That’s My (or our) Flower Story.

–David

I remember buying Flower basically on a lark. I supported the differentness of the idea, and loved the visuals. I figured I’d play it for a bit and move on. I certainly wasn’t impressed by the fact that it had six-axis controls, which had been implemented so poorly in past games. And then I played it. Instantly, I was able to control the pedal so effortlessly that I simply *became* the pedal. After getting through the first level, I was greatly looking forward to several more. I figured they would be different variations on the same basic gameplay, like the different levels in an old-school platforming game–skinned differently but ultimately the same. Again, I was proven wrong by this gem of a game. Instead of replaying the same level with different skins, I was given one of the most moving story arcs I’d experienced in ages. When I beat the game the first time, and that final rush of color engulfed the screen, I really felt like not only had I won, but I had overcome the darkness of the mechanized world!

I’m a full time college student at Los Angeles City College. I live very far from the school and have to take a myriad of busses and trains to get there. Every day the world that flower is against, is what I have to travel through. And it gets to me. You have no idea how much it gets to me. I get so stressed out in Los Angeles. It’s such a dirty, desolate place. But flower has helped me cope with it, because while I’m playing it, I have the power to change it–to add beauty back into the world.

I keep telling people: flower is the cheapest and most effective therapy you could ever purchase. It’s probably added years back to my life :)

–Ernest

There are many memories for me when coming to playing Flower. My fondest is when a friend had a “video game party,” if you will. There were about 15 of us all over in his basement with a nice 52 inch, 1080p television. Some friends brought their PS2s for music rhythm games and other casual games, but I brought the mother of all systems, the PS3 for our entertainment. I had shooters, fighters, sport games, and more. I was showing off my collection and someone asked what Flower was. I explained and my friend, Nate, said “Oh my god, we are so playing that tonight!”

We had the PS3 hooked up to the nice HDTV and PS2s were on smaller TVs. After playing music and shooter games since about 5:00pm, we were sick of the games. That was at 12:00am. For a few more hours, we popped in a Blu-ray into the PS3 to watch, but after the movie we were clueless on what to do. Too late to go outside and do things, we looked through my games since I had the only variety. At about 2:00am we stumbled upon Flower once again.

Instead of using that TV, we wanted to up the ante before watching/playing this game, so we set up my friend’s projector in his garage which made the screen a good 15×10 feet. Now we started to play Flower, all 15 of us arguing over the controller because we all wanted a crack at this unusually, but fun game. Being about 3:00am, we started to be more amazed by this pretty game with just a flower and petals floating around on the screen. Such a beautiful game and a relaxing one too. We kept playing through the game determined to finish it. The lightning scared us being so late when we got that far into the game. But the best part was when we finally completed the game. Flower got all colorful and even more beautiful and just as that was happening with the credits, the sun started to rise outside the garage windows. That is my most memorable time playing Flower; it was amazing to see 15 guys fighting over the controller to play this game.

–Jacob

Thanks again to everyone who participated, and congratulations to those that won!

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the PlayStation.Blog for some more Flower goodies coming in the very near future!

Hmm… I wonder what that could mean? :)

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