To Be @ EGD: Simon Yip
Written by: Max Mitchelson
Edited by: Mary Joaquin
EGD is more than just an organization. It is a group of passionate individuals working together to make the games industry a better place.
To highlight the individual work of our dedicated volunteers, members, and staff, we give them a chance to speak about their time here at EGD and what it means to them.
This week we interviewed Simon Yip, a former member and former Pokemon TCG/Yugi-oh Top Player.
Mary: Can you introduce yourself, say what your role was and what you've done with EGD?
Simon: I used to be a student at Hunter College two years ago. I did a couple of things at EGD. Most of it was just hanging out with a lot of the members here and there like Kyra and Kai.
Also, I used to play Pokemon competitively. I went to nationals and worlds. So Kyra invited me to talk about it at a panel at one of the Waffle Games. I don't remember which one.
I also played in a couple of tournaments, mostly TFT (Teamfight Tactics). I also won the recent Waffle Games TFT tournament, too.
Mary: Alright, that sounds cool! Can you share your first experience with EGD? How was the very first time you found them like?
Simon: I thought it was gonna be a small room with maybe one or two setups and people just playing console games.
But when I went to the room the first time, I was pretty surprised, because there it took up almost the entire floor of that building. And there are multiple setups for people to play different games.
There was a PlayStation, there was an Xbox, a GameCube, Smash and stuff. There were a ton of board games too. So that was pretty surprising and I was happy that there was someplace I could go and hang out and just play games with people.
Mary: Do you have any memorable experiences with EGD? Anything that stands out?
Simon: I'd say the Waffle Games I spoke at is the most interesting. Just because there were so many people there. The setup was big and there were all of these sponsors, and it was really, really cool.
Mary: So for that Waffle Games you spoke at, was it the first virtual one? Or was it still in person?
Mary: I see. And can you share your experience in that in-person Waffle Games?
The last two have been online. So I'm sure there's a great difference between the two.
Simon: Yeah, of course. They rented out a space. I want to say one whole floor, it was most likely the arts building. So it was something like a music room. And I was where the main room was. And so they had a bunch of booths set up. And walking in was really exciting.
There are a lot of different developers, some students, because Hunter College has a game development program. So a bunch of students set up their games to show people demos. It was cool. Peers trying out the games their peers made and designed and listening to them be excited about it.
There were also a lot of official game developers, actual companies, a lot of indie ones. But there are also some big ones. That was really cool to be able to speak to industry leaders. I don't know if I should say leaders, but people in the industry speak about how to develop games.
Mary: And which panel did you speak in?
Simon: It was just something about pro player gaming experience. Because it was me and a couple of people from the Smash community.
Mary: So what was it like, being with those big time and small time developers and all that and being in a panel yourself?
Simon: It was kind of surreal, because I played Pokemon maybe eight years ago. That was when I got good, and went to all these events. When I went to those, I wasn't expecting to do well or anything. Then I did really well. That led to a lot of other things going like going on paid trips to other events and that snowballed.
When Kai, Kyra, and Ben heard that I was good at Pokemon, they got pretty excited. It was a surprise to me because I felt like no one really cared. So being invited to speak was pretty exciting. I don't even know what other words I would use. It's pretty surreal.
Mary: Yeah, I can only imagine. So you did say that your major wasn't game aligned. Is that right?
Mary: Do you think you would have made a switch to a game degree if you had found out about it beforehand? Was it in your radar at some point?
Simon: It's hard to say because I really am a math logic oriented person. So I prefer math. I like both comp sci and math. But I also do like the idea of game design. I just never really considered it. But once I met other members doing a complete game design minor or major, and maybe I wish I would have done that if I had found it earlier.
Mary: So what was your takeaway from your time with EGD?
Simon: I mean, it was mostly about its people, right? Everyone's really awesome. A lot of our staff, they're really helpful. Kyra went out of their way to help people. Things like scheduling and trying to figure out what we can do with our majors.
So I guess for me EGD was more a people thing, rather than an org at the time that I was active. EGD is about the people not just a thing or an idea.
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