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If you've ever considered a career in Game Development, Design or Programming, SAE Institute is the perfect place to kickstart your journey towards starting a career that revolves around your passion for video games. We've spoken with Leon Fernandes, an exceptional student who's achieved an Academic Achievement Scholarship for his academic performance. See what Leon had to say about his decision to get into Gaming and his experience at SAE.
Author: A Man-Z
“What was the first video game you played? And when was it?”
The first video game I played was "Sonic The Hedgehog" on the Sega. It was around 2001. I remember being really bad at the game but I never gave up!
“How did it come to you that you wanted a career in video game design/production?”
I knew I always wanted to be involved in the creation of videogames. I didn't know exactly what I wanted at first.But then I found SAE Dubai and it opened my eyes to the possible roles I could play in the creation of a game.
“Do you know where you want to go once you finished your degree?”
I would love to work as a Games Designer, Games Developer or tester at either an indie games studio, Ubisoft (Abu Dhabi), or a company that needs 'gamification' of their applications.
“What’s the best thing about SAE?”
SAE Dubai encourages collaborative work which allows us to understand the pipeline of other fields which can be very useful when working in the creative media industry, where you'll be exposed to all these different fields & you feel quite confident entering the real-world as you already have a comfortable understanding of how the different pieces fit together.
“What is it that you studied at SAE? How was it beneficial for you as a Video Game Enthusiast?”
I have chosen to do my major in Games Design, however, I have also gained knowledge & experience in Games programming. It made me realize how much work actually goes into the development of games. I now notice the small details in a game and try to understand how they developed certain things in the game which I try to incorporate into my university projects.
“What would you say to somebody that wants to make their passion their job?”
You will definitely ask yourself "Is it worth the risk?". I can tell you from experience, that it most definitely is. When you look back at life and are able to tell yourself that you worked everyday doing something you absolutely loved, you know you lived right! Not too many people can say that about their jobs.
I know graduating high school is the most confusing phase of a teenager's life. You feel like you NEED to decide (and decide right!) what you have to study because that is basically the field you'll be working in for the rest of your life. So do your research early, pick something you have a passion for, and you'll never work a day in your life. I studied Chemistry, Physics, and Maths for Highschool A-levels and went on to do
I wasn't happy at all since the idea of 'financial security' was my only motivation so I dropped out, took a gap year, and joined SAE Dubai. Here I have found that I can truly have it all in terms of stability, job security, financial security & most fulfilling of all, I get to turn my passion into my profession.
“What did you do/ will you do your dissertation on?”
My dissertation is a narrative game based on the autism spectrum. We're using live action sequences to drive the narrative and 2 types of gameplay sequences; happy sequences to depict the superior abilities
shown by people with autism, and a sense of horror in sequences to depict the social anxiety that may be prevalent inpeople with autism. We're trying to allow the player to experience these 2 contrasting
experiences in an attempt to build awareness and allow a dialogue about individual differences
and the need for acceptance. Gameplay seems to be a good way to get the conversation going.
“Congratulations on your Academic Achievement Scholarship, what did you do to get that?”
SAE Dubai sent out an email informing us about the scholarship & I applied. At first, I felt I wasn't worthy of the scholarship, but then I thought "hey, it would really help my parents and it wouldn't take too long drafting my application for the scholarship request". I was awarded the Academic Achievement Scholarship which is based on the student's academic performance and I feel I've had consistent grades since my first trimester. Of course, it was quite challenging balancing tasks and it didn't help that I live in Abu Dhabi. The travel time is my kryptonite, but it's definitely worth the time and effort spent when you give something your all & your efforts are recognized. Ultimately, I am completing my Bachelor's degree in a creative media field (Bachelor of Games Development (Games Design) that I absolutely love, so I'd say it was worth it!
“What sort of things do you think potential students need to think about before making the choice to choose this?”
Research. Make sure this is what you want to be doing. Just do enough research and pick what you think will make you happy in the long run.
“Do you prefer Single player Games or Online Games? Why do you prefer one over the other?”
Online Games. I like interacting with people and comparing my abilities with other people. I
like the sense of competition that online games offer.
“If you could be any video game character, who would you be?”
Easy. The Wolverine from any X-men game. As a kid, I've always fantasized about being The Wolverine. I'd put 3 chopsticks in between my knuckles and act like I'd have claws. Also, RIPPED body.
“What is your favourite video game quote? And how does it relate to you?”
"There's no use crying over every mistake, you just keep on trying until you run out of
cake"- Glados from Portal. It is the essence of playing video games. No matter how many times you lose, you try again, and as for the cake...well...
“With the increase in children and teenagers presence in Online Games, what tips can you give them to have fun yet stay safe?”
Ensure that personal information stays that way 'private and personal'. Ensure that parents or
guardians are aware of the genre of games that you are engaging in. Find a balance between work & play. Make sure you devote enough time to your studies. Play anything, just remember that assignment or test. Do your school/ university work first, and then play as much as you want, you've earned it.
“What are you most looking forward to at Games Con this year?”
I'm really excited about the "Laser Game" this year and of course playing all the upcoming games.
“How do events like Games Con help the community in your opinion?”
I feel Games Con here, in the Middle East is extremely underrated. The passion you see in people attending Games Con is immeasurable. Also, it is a great way of growing the games industry in the country. Games are slowly increasing in popularity year by year and Games Con is definitely playing a huge role in really pushing this industry out there, giving it the respect it deserves, and giving people the opportunity to make beneficial connections. Games will be the next big thing in this country, just wait.