Why are you studying games?
It's probably an existential thing at this point. Why do anything? And of course, we do things because of our circumstances. Those circumstances knocked down the dominoes to make a lonely weirdo Asian American kid from Queens New York to make games and study games... Can answer this with a whole wiki but the short answer is maybe I don't know how to do anything else
Describe your favorite project made by a classmate.
That's such a loaded question!
But I'll try to think of devs whose work I think about most.
Big fan of Krishan Rajaratnam's work, Go and Come Back made me cry on a live twitch stream. Such a comprehensive and staggering work for a first assignment. Manages to be a 3 hour visual novel that juggles cultural identity, family, memory, Alzheimer's, personal narrative, and I think even has pretty clever narrative design in the vein of Sam Barlow's Her Story.
Additionally, Toby Do's work is always very compelling, he makes his games cinematic pretty effortlessly, even for his really small prototypes, to the point his challenge is beyond that aspect.
Emi Shaufeld also has really interesting innovations on personal aspects, narrative design, and mental health portrayal to her work, although I don't know if she will like me labeling with those things alone.
What's your secret weapon?
The internet, it's literally the key to all media, all knowledge, all history, all people, here in 2020. Also tons of things to distract you if you prefer that! And if all humanity falls, at least we can have some upload of wikipedia or internet archive backed up in space somewhere.
Describe one memorable lecture, assignment, or exercise you've had at the Game Center.
I was allowed to pitch an independent study on Mental Health and Game Design, which was facilitated by Matt Parker. Later, it evolved to Asian American Mental Health and Game Design, and naturally it changed my life.
Furthermore, Dog Eat Dog was an amazing game exploring themes around colonization in Naomi Clark's Indie RPGs class, which had many rich lessons to take away from since it was by Naomi.
How has the Game Center changed your thinking about games?
Too many things. But maybe one of my biggest takeaways might be to look at games and other things through historical lenses, and ask things like "what are the limitations of resources and knowledge at a given time?" That applies now and forever.
What's your favorite New York City spot?
Too many to count as I've basically lived here my whole life. Probably would be somewhere between getting Asian food in Chinatown and visiting one of the many amazing parks.