Long Live Play PSN Community Spotlight

23 3
Long Live Play PSN Community Spotlight

Thanks for checking out this week’s Long Live Play PSN Community Spotlight! As you may already know, this is the weekly series where we look at posts submitted in the PlayStation Community Forums and relay the most interesting tales of PlayStation awesomeness to the front page of the PlayStation Blog! You too can get in on the action by heading over to the Forums and posting your story. Remember to read the posting best practices for more info. If your post is selected, you’ll be getting a $50 PlayStation Store voucher code.


This week’s spotlight is from PSN member Zookey. Check out his story on how PlayStation framed a big life decision for him and his brother, as well as shaped how he later impacts his own community through the power of game design. It goes to show how much of an inspiration PlayStation gaming can be to what we hope to accomplish in our own lives, as long as you put your mind to it.

Gaming Against The Odds

I have been fascinated by video games since Kindergarten and especially by middle school when I saw the PS one’s U R NOT E commercials. The PlayStation was just about to launch stateside mere weeks before my birthday so I begged my parents for one.

I got a launch unit for my birthday and became even more fanatical for games. Through PlayStation I got to play a wide range of titles and experience games from all sorts of angles! My brother (Trevor, 6 years younger) got into it as well—sneaking friends into my room to play Crash Bandicoot when I wasn’t looking! The more we played, the more Trevor and I didn’t just enjoy games more – the more we fell in love with it as an art form and a way to connect with people.

In 2002, I had just graduated High School (Trevor was entering 7th grade) and our lives got turned upside down. Trevor tried out for football and, after failing 3 physicals, he was rushed into emergency surgery. It was found out he had a very serious kidney problem.

Over the last 10 years, Trevor has had many surgeries. To make it easier, we’d always bring his PS2 (and, eventually, PS3) to the hospital and make an entertainment center around him. No matter the apocalypse going on in our lives, we could turn to our beloved art form for comfort and escape! Trevor’s now in roughly 2 years of dialysis leading up to the transplant, and always brings his PS Vita to pass the time!

After 2.5 years of working a dead end job to help make ends meet, I had a conversation with my Mom in the waiting room during one of Trevor’s surgeries. I told her normal wasn’t working for us – we had to try crazy. Crazy meant taking our passion of game design and using it to take our lives back and dominate. Now was the time to open up a video game studio. Team KAIZEN was born!

We started development on Shattered Soul, a 3D fighting game meant to bring back the insanity of 90’s fighters like Bloody Roar and Toshinden. We’re also working on a game called Burst!; meant to be the indie rhythm game for independent musicians.

Team KAIZEN was also awarded a grant from HASTAC and The MacArthur Foundation to develop a LittleBigPlanet 2 level pack that teaches STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through rides and coasters. This was our first paid gig and anybody can queue up the first level right here.

We now are also working with Great Falls Public Schools on LittleBigPlanet Clubs. Currently in a test phase, LBP Clubs are where kids learn their normal curriculum most of the week. However, on 2 days of the week, they’re pulled out to learn game design from Trevor and I and they are working to build LBP levels to educate their peers on STEM and History. The levels will be debuted at this year’s STEM Expo here in Great Falls, Montana!

There’s much more we’re working on, and all of it inspired by PlayStation. Whether it’s comforting my family during chaos, keeping Trevor company during dialysis, or educating kids in LBP Club, or helping define our career aspirations; we’ve seen the power of PlayStation! It’s been a lifelong pleasure to live life on PlayStation. Consider us lifelong fans!

Has gaming on PlayStation helped shape some of your life decisions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments on this story. Congrats to zookey, who is now the recipient of a $50 voucher redeemable in the PlayStation Store! Send in your stories here, and feel free to read zookey’s original post right here.

Comments are closed.


3 Author Replies

  • Amazing story, hope you find more success in the future. I went ahead and queued up your level in LBP2!

    • Check out their games too on their site. Hopefully they find a grey opportunity to make an impact in the gaming scene!

  • Any news on remote play

  • @ 2

    If by remote play you mean VITA/PS3 “all games” remote play there’s news yes, Mr Yoshida twitted like two days ago that due to memory constrains on PS3, remote play wouldn’t be possible for most titles, I don’t think Sony is even working on that (that was one of the main reasons I bought a VITA…) , hackers on the other hand have it working somehow… so I don’t know what is happening, probably that will be a PS4/VITA thing (it’s called marketing opportunity).

    I still hope Sony brings it somehow and someday, I won’t put homebrew software on my Playstation systems!

  • PSN is really screwy today- please acknowledge and explain

  • @3

    I really really hope your wrong/somehow have bad info.

    The ONLY reason I bought a vita was for remote play.

    If I can’t find any info telling me your info is wrong, I’ll be returning my Vita this week.

    For a full refund of course, thank god for my local store accepts “False Advertising and Lies” as a legit reason to return Vitas (my friend returned his last week).

    It’s a shame, the Vita has so much potential but after a few months, there’s hardly any games, next to no support and next to no information for the customers. Oh and of course all the lies and false advertising (last time I looked, weeks after launch, Killzone 3 remote play was still advertised on the main Vita page).

  • @1 thanks!! Let me know what you think of our levels! We have done more since then under the user handles Zookey (myself) and Mehrsilis (Trevor) –the Kids’ levels will be uploaded later this year and I’ll tweet out the LBP.me links so follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ZookeyTK :-)

    @Morgan thank you so much dude for featuring us!!!!! LONG LIVE PLAY!

  • PlayStation have us anything ground breaking we will see/hear about at E3? Maybe a PS4 cough cough :). Any news on Final Fantasy 10 HD? Any news on PS Vita’s Assassins creed, Call of Duty, or Little Big Planet Vita? Can’t wait for this fall when “big hitter” games test Vita’s power! Also any plans on a Gran Turismo For Vita? Love my Vita, just don’t tell the ps3, he is #2 though behind Vita.

  • Interesting story there, congrats. I’d like to see more team based co-op though than just fighting. Even simple PSN games are great. I’m interested in that music game. Can’t wait to hear more.

  • Hey zookey,

    It’s JillyDad from the Community Spotlight last week. What a fantastic story! I think the fact that you are using games to educate kids is absolutely amazing.
    My 5 year old son plays LittleBigPlanet 2 all the time. He mostly fiddles around in Creation Mode, and it’s amazing to watch him solve fairly complex physics, and engineering problems.
    People like you, are going to drive the games industry forward, and I wish you tremendous success.

    P.S. Congratulations on getting the spot on the blog.

    Oh, and one more thing. All of you trolls that are using the comment space on here to cry about remote play on your Vitas should be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Yeah, I would like to see the comments be more relevant to the posts at hand. Hope you’re well Jillydad!

  • one question if you have playstation plus does it renew on its own because i woke up and i got an email saying it renewed it for 17.99 @ 7:01am i was asleep that time

  • psn store not taking my redeem code any explanation anyone

  • @10 Stormshadowrule

    Yes, PlayStation®Plus automatically renews at no further notice to you until it is cancelled from your Services List. This is stated in the Terms of Service and User Agreement (not specific to playstation plus, but to subscription-based services in general). To access your Services List, navigate to PlayStation®Network > Account Management > Transaction Management > Services List. Next, choose “PlayStation®Plus”, and press the “X” button on “Cancel Automatic Renewal”. This will allow you to prevent the auto renewal from occurring again.

    @11 Spazmatic10

    Make sure that your voucher is from the same region as your Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) account, and that it was activated through your retailer. If these conditions are not met, you can’t redeem the voucher.

    Also, check to make sure that you haven’t redeemed the voucher already through your transaction history. I had redeemed a voucher, forgot that I did so, and checked my transaction history to find out that I already redeemed it. Your transaction history can be accessed by going to PlayStation®Network > Account Management > Transaction Management > Transaction History.

  • This was a great story, and I hope that everything goes well for you and your family Zookey.

  • Nice story and I hope Sony provides more support for such upcoming indie devs. At the moment their support is pretty weak. There appears to be no Sony run/sponsored competition for indie devs. There is little promotion for award winning games like Closure. There are no well planned spotlight campaigns like XBLA’s Arcade Next or Summer of Arcade. The line up coming to PSN seems pretty bare compared to the competition and I think this reflects Sony’s lack of strategy when it comes to attracting and supporting indies.

    Minis seem an afterthought when it should be a chance for small indie devs like Zookey to get some exposure through a weekly segment on the blog and promotional space on the XMB for good quality small games. Also think it’d be a good idea to do some Mini bundles headlined by games like Canabalt and Where is My Heart?, like Steam has. Anyway, good luck in the future Zookey.

    • Closure was part of the same Spring Fever campaign that Journey was a part of. There’s no larger degree of support than getting the full treatment on the PlayStation Store. The fact that an indie developer can get their work published on the front pages of the PS Store speaks volumes for the more available channels for devs on PSN. But I would say that certainly, there’s room to improve even further.

  • Thanks everyone for the kind words :-) We hope to show off more stuff soon!

  • @beetlegossip thanks :)

  • Really inspiring story, I‘m going to check out your LBP level right now. I‘m currently trying to do something like that (for free as I live in a third-world country) for my High School in order to provide teachers with better tools for teaching.


  • Try your chance with Dying2Win:
    Up for grabs: 1 PS VITA and many PS3 GAMES!!
    —> dying2win.playstation.com.tr.vu <—

  • @18 cool let me know what you think! You should also look up Stem Cell Sackboy by Gevurah22, he won the same grant program we did :-) In our pack we give away a lot of what we made so feel free to repurpose it if you want!

  • @Morgan Haro, Closure got a total of 8 reviews because as a self published game they had to do most of their own promo work. Nick Suttner said as much. Sine Mora which was released around the same time has 54 reviews! Closure should have been published by Sony. What great indies came out on PSN this month? Nothing.

    Will there be improvement though? Why not start improving now? XBLA and Steam have their act together, Sony needs to step up their game starting yesterday.

  • Great story and congrats Zookey.

  • You ave me a little choked up there zookey.
    My prayers go out to you and yours.
    Best of luck on your endevours .

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