Vincent Diamante and Flower on Top Score

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
December 5, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The game Flower came out in 2009. You play as a flower petal, flying through the air using the movement of a PlayStation controller.

Flower tends to be used as an example whenever video games are challenged as "art".

Picture an open prairie, full of bright, colorful patches of flowers. Each time you float by a flower, a sound triggers, depending on the color of that flower.

As a result, composer Vincent Diamante's score is highly interactive. Multiple layers of sound weave in and out while you're flying around.

In the video below, game-play starts about 30 seconds in. Witness the flowers opening, triggering different sounds as the player decides where to explore next.

Vincent even had a hand in some of the level design to make sure the flower sounds would harmonize with the music.

The musical texture is important in Flower. Many of the melodies are suspended and song-like.

"When listening to the music, I kept thinking, what are the possibilities of this musical space, and just how far could I keep on pushing the way the layers could be combined," explained Vincent.

But when the atmosphere of Flower turns dark, Vincent noticeably pulls back the texture initially to a solo piano that makes angular, less-consonant sounds.

"The sound design was so much of the reward of the game, along with the visuals, and it felt like it was really important to just keep it back and keep the player longing for something more, never quite delivering."

Jenova Chen, creative director of Flower and co-founder of thatgamecompany, wanted to create an emotional experience. He wanted gamers to feel uplifted and positive while playing.

The mission statement for thatgamecompany spells it out nicely: "Create timeless interactive entertainment that makes positive change to the human psyche worldwide."

Hear Vincent Diamante and his music for Flower on the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR, also on iTunes.

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