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.