Q&As with BFAs – Isiah & Maddy, Fall 2017

A group of students working together in a BFA Intro to Game Design course.

Isiah and Maddy are two of the NYU Game Center’s newest BFAs. Both started the BFA program in Fall 2017 after participating in the Game Center’s high school programs. We caught up with them at the end of their first semester of the BFA and asked them some of the most common questions we hear from prospective students. Find more information on the BFA Program here.

Isiah Rosa – BFA ’21

Photo of BFA '21 Student, Isiah Rosa

My name is Isiah Rosa and I am a first-year BFA at the Game Center!

I’m 18 years old and I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Video games have always been a significant part of my life since playing Super Mario 64 at age 3. I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in games after learning how to program as a member of All Star Code‘s 2016 Summer Intensive. Growing up, I was a huge Nintendo fan and still am; My dream job is to work at Nintendo! Some of my favorite game franchises are Kingdom Hearts, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Smash Bros. Recently I’ve been playing a ton of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, as well as Super Mario Odyssey.

What made you want to come to the Game Center?

In the winter of my junior year, I was accepted into NYU’s Future Game Designers program. This program is for high schoolers interested in Game Design. At the program, I learned a lot of the fundamentals of game design, as well as programming skills in GameMaker. Future Game Designers was a wonderful experience for me and cemented my decision to apply to the Game Center. I recommend this program to anyone curious about game design, or interested in pursuing a career in the industry

What kind of work did you submit for your portfolio?

For my portfolio, I submitted my final project from Future Game Designers. This project was a 2D platformer game titled Player 7. In this game, players must fight against dark beings in order to escape the video game that they have been sucked into. This game was similar to Mega Man, in which players traverse a 2D environment and shoot enemies with an arm cannon.

What kind of games have you created at the Game Center so far?

In my Intro to Game Design Class, my second project was my favorite by far. My group and I made a game titled All My Friends Are Dead (And it’s My Fault). This was a formal game with a hilarious premise. Players would be dealt a hand of strange and quirky qualities, and a scenario card would be drawn. These scenarios card explain the scenario and then prompt the group to sacrifice one of the players in order to progress. Players would then have to reveal one of their qualities and explain to the group why they should not be sacrificed. After everyone makes their pitch, the group votes to eliminate one of the players, and then continue playing until there is one person left alive. This game was very well received by my professor and classmates and was a blast to develop and play.

Card Game from BFA Intro Game Design course

What’s your favorite class this semester?

My favorite class that I’m taking right now is Games 101. In this lecture-based class, I learn about the history of games, from board games, all the way to modern video games. Each week we learn about a different genre of games, as well as the concepts and games that make those genres unique. I love this class because it puts my favorite games such as Super Mario 64, and Pokemon, under an analytical and intellectual lens.

What are you doing outside of classes?

Outside of class, I work on-campus at the Game Center Open Library. It’s such a chill and fun job. I love hanging behind the desk and helping people play games, as well as try new things. It’s especially great because as a BFA, I’m doing what I love. Alongside that, I hang out with my friends a lot and dream up game ideas on the regular.

Maddy Sutton – BFA ’21

Photo of BFA '21 - Maddy Sutton

My name is Maddy Sutton and I’m a freshman BFA student at the Game Center.

In case you’re curious, here’s a little about me: I’m 18 years old and I’m from Chicago, Illinois. I started designing games when I was a freshman in high school after taking an introductory coding class and fell in love. I grew up playing tons of Nintendo 64 games with my older sisters (our favorite will forever be Pokémon Snap and you can fight me on this) but eventually moved on to PC, DS, and Playstation/XBox games when I was old enough to play on my own. My favorite game constantly changes but right now I’m pretty obsessed with Life is Strange and Until Dawn.

I thought I would answer a few questions about applying to NYU as well as my personal experience so far as a game design student!

What made you want to come to the Game Center?

I did a summer program at NYU through Tisch School of the Arts before my senior year and got a real flavor for what the Game Center is all about. NYU’s game design program is really unique from other programs because it gives you flexibility about what you can study. I’m very interested in programming and narrative so that will most likely be my focus, but other friends of mine are more interested in art or board game design. There are so many different classes you can take that you can really personalize your curriculum and I loved that about the program.

What kind of work did you submit for your portfolio?

Honestly, if I were to apply all over again, I would have submitted a digital game I had already created or something computer science related, but I actually sent in a video I made. Luckily, it worked out for me, but I had a lot of second thoughts after I sent it in. I’m pretty sure I also submitted a couple drawings I had done and I also submitted a Critical Play Report I had done during my summer program about Portal.

What kind of games have you created at the Game Center so far?

In Intro to Game Design, we create board games all the time. My favorite so far has been my narrative game. My group and I were given two different genres to merge together into a game; Lovecraftian Horror (think Stranger Things meets tentacles) and English Tragedy (think Romeo and Juliet). We ended up creating an apocalypse survival game that takes place in detention of a high school. We call it The Breakfast Cult. Besides board games, in Intro to Programming I made a digital game. I called it Save the Date and it’s a sort of text adventure dating sim that I made for my midterm.

GIF of Pikachu on Surfboard

What’s your favorite class this semester?

As a freshman, your first semester is pretty much planned for you. I’m currently in Intro to Programming, Intro to Game Design, Games 101, and a Tisch required class called Writing the Essay. I’m actually really happy with all my classes this semester, but I’d have to say that Intro to Game Design is probably the most interesting to me because I really enjoy exploring elements of non-digital games. It gives you so experience in designing a lot of games from beginning to end.

What kind of stuff are you doing outside of classes?

I live in a suite with five other girls and we love exploring the city together. There’s literally so much to do in New York that we had to make a bucket list of things we want to try to get done so we don’t forget. I also have been trying to get back into writing which is nice. And video games of course.