Jenova Chen

Jenova Chen grew up in China, and graduated from USC’s interactive media division. He made Thatgamecompany along with other USC graduates.

I first heard about them through the game Flower, back in 2010 ish. It is basically a game about blowing flower petals around, which sounded extremely stupid on paper. However, I was eventually convinced by a friend of mine to check it out, and it redefined what I thought video games could be. For the first time, I cried because of a game’s emotional power.

He believes in video games as its own unique media, one that is capable of producing what other mediums cannot. Instead of overloading on tiny mechanics, cheap tricks, and high quality cutscenes which are popular in AAA games, he boils games down to its essence. Instead of starting at mechanics, he starts with how people feel, and build the entire game around one central emotion. The power of his game was able to move many, including me, to tears. After this, I could not look at all the previous games I owned the same way again, as I always feel they are missing something.