Which school do you go to and what year are you in?

I am a graduating senior at Oakland Technical High School (Note: Kai has officially graduated from Oakland Tech. Congratulations, Kai!!!).


What are your plans after high school?

I am headed to the University of Southern California to get a Bachelors of Arts in Interactive Media and Game Design.


How do you feel about getting into USC and what are you most excited or freaked out about?

I think it is very intimidating to know that I am going to a school that has such a strong reputation, and that I will have to live up to those expectations. I am very excited to meet new students who are dedicated and have the drive needed to flourish in such an intense environment.


Name your favorite video game and why?

My favorite game is probably Monument Valley. The games’ artistic and musical composition was very well done, and I found I wanted to savor each level.  The way that the game was designed made it enjoyable to play over and over again, with the experience being just as engaging each time.


How or why did you decide to pursue a career in video games?

I had been told over and over that I should go into a STEM field. I was admitted to the Engineering Academy at my high school. I liked the technical challenge that Engineering and Math provided, but I found that I was always doing artistic projects on the side. I would draw in class, or spend my free time writing short stories, or making costumes of my favorite characters. As I got more and more busy with academics, I realized that I couldn’t leave art as just a hobby in my life. I realized that I wanted to pursuit a career that could be both technical and artistic. Video game design is that category.


Name the first video game you played.

The first video game I remember getting really excited to play was probably Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. I have really great memories of playing the game with all of my friends in the multiplayer mode.


Tell us why you play video games.

I really like the ability of games to provide an experience that can change people’s emotions. I can play a funny game and then want to laugh, or a horror game and be scared. The emotional experience of games makes them really interesting to play.


How long have you been with Gameheads and how did you get involved?

I first heard about Gameheads last year through a fellow classmate. We had an animation class together [at Oakland Tech], and I invited him to one of the programs that I attended for coding and game development. He then in turn invited me to the Gameheads Game Jam, and then from there, I was invited to join the program. I have now been in Gameheads for just over five months.


Why did you decide to join Gameheads?

I decided that I wanted to apply to colleges that had a game design major, so when I heard about Gameheads, I thought it would be great to hone my skills as a game developer before starting in the fall next year.


What has been the biggest highlight of your program involvement thus far?

I have really enjoyed looking at the history of game development through a different lens. I had heard a lot about the major milestones in game history but, in Gameheads, I heard about many of the unsung women and people of color who have contributed to the game industry.


Who is your mentor at Gameheads?

Damon [Packwood] has been really supportive of me these last couple of months. He has helped me with the process of transitioning from my high school experience towards getting ready for my college one.


What is your tech superpower?

I have the power to help organize projects, and keep them organized and color coded!


Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself working at a large game company, and working on a few AAA titles before moving on to a smaller studio to make more indie content.


How is Gameheads helping?

Gameheads is helping me build my game portfolio, as well as improve both my technical and artistic skills.