Why are you studying games?
I love watching people play, laugh, and enjoy themselves, and nothing makes me happier than being the one (or creating the things) generating the smiles.
Describe your favorite project made by a classmate.
It would have to be Square Off by Alexander Bevier and Angela Lee. It's an abstract, 10-second, super simple territory control game for 2 or 4 players. It's quite fun to play as well as watch, and has that "one more go" quality that I'm a sucker for.
Describe your most embarrassing playtesting moment.
Definitely Linecraft, a game involving waiting in line in Chipotle during peak times, with the winner being the first to order. The catch was having to go to the back of the line if a non-player in front of you pulls their phone out. The game was near impossible to win when our group playtested, but when it came down to the actual critique, nobody in the line decided to pull out their phone, and we gruelingly watched our teacher and classmates simply standing in line with nothing happening for 15 minutes.
What's your secret weapon?
Probably my relaxed working method. I spend time organizing and scaling my projects to make sure I accomplish something fun and polished in as little time and with as little hair-pulling frustration as possible. It keeps me calm and levelheaded, not to mention constantly cheerful.
Describe one memorable lecture, assignment, or exercise you've had at the Game Center.
My favorite lecture/exercise was the one on game juice by Bennett Foddy. It was interesting to see how different a game feels by keeping the mechanics intact but adding particle effects, animations, sounds. We watched a boring Breakout clone turn slowly into something exciting and colorful. The lecture inspired several of us to put a lot of emphasis on juice in our projects.
How has the Game Center changed your thinking about games?
I learned that playtesting is probably the most important part of game design. Since starting the program, I make sure I have something playable as early as possible, and try to be open about my design problems in order to get as much advice as I can. Iteration and collaboration are big focus of the program, and the people at the Game Center have been incredibly helpful in improving my designs and methods.
What do you hope to accomplish after school?
After I'm done with school and acquired some work experience, I would like to return to my home country and take an active role in expanding the gaming industry in the Middle East, and hopefully be an integral part of its growth.
What's your favorite New York City spot?
Put me in Nintendo World or Toys R Us and you won't see me come out for a while.