Alejandro Quan-Madrid

Alejandro Quan-Madrid

MFA, Interactive Media & Games '16

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How has SCA changed how you view game development? The Interactive Media & Games Division of SCA provided me with a roadmap of some of the best industry practices to take a game idea, scope it properly, and then go about creating it (then testing and improving…repeat). When I see other young game makers go about development in ways contrary to this process, it sets off a red flag in my head where I think, “hmm, that’s not going to go as well as they hope”—passion is not enough! 

What advice would you give to prospective students? If you want to get into the game design program at USC, make games—lots of them! Don’t try to be clever to stand out. It looks better if you can take a simple idea, bring it into existence, and make it feel good than if you have an ambitious, clever idea and none of it works or plays well (or even exists!). You have to get fit and good at running before you can even attempt a marathon.

How has IMGD prepared you for a career in games? To get good at making video games, like all other creative fields, you have to do it a lot and produce a body of work. SCA has provided me with the knowledge, resources, and (most importantly) incubation time that I’ve needed to finally create games that I think are cool. Outside of school, it’s easy to get discouraged or sidetracked when you start out and your work stinks or it’s too hard to do. 

What has been your biggest challenge here at USC? I want to say that developing the necessary technical skills has been the biggest challenge, since it’s definitely frustrating to have exciting ideas but get stuck not being able to make any of them. But really, I had to revamp my personal work process, my work-life balance, as well as my focus and discipline. As those have improved, getting the skills and growing them became much easier.  

What inspiration do you bring with you to USC? Everything outside of video games has helped me to make more interesting games at USC. Whether it’s a love of friends, family, community, Los Angeles history, nature, architecture, fine art, fashion, meditation, lifting weights, healthy food, or living in the ‘hood. I bring all of that with me, embrace them, and try to translate that love into art.