There is much excitement for the 4th IMGA MENA as we are now accepting entries for the competition. Like last year, we are expecting a lot of new and exciting games that will showcase the excellence of game developers in the region.
Someone who has been dedicated to helping MENA developers gain recognition is last year’s 3rd IMGA judge, Fawzi Mesmar. We would like to thank him for graciously answering our questions and hope that his words will encourage more developers to show the world what they’ve got!
Since I’ve played space invaders as a little kid I’ve been infatuated with video games, I was determined that when I grow up I’ll be a game designer. I’ve been a game designer now for over 16 years, in a career that has spanned the middle east, New Zealand, Japan and different places in Europe. I have made over 20 games played by millions of players every day working for companies such as King (Activision Blizzard), Enish, Gameloft, Atlus and others. Last year I’ve released my book “Al-Khallab on the art of game design” which is the first textbook about game design written in Arabic; Reaching out to game development communities around the world and passing on my design knowledge is something I’m currently super passionate about.
I was also a judge on the global IMGA; it’s very important to highlight the accomplishments of development from both the design and creativity perspective not only from how well the game did financially. I think it’s important that these awards exist as they give developers a platform to showcase their work. In the games industry nowadays discoverability is very difficult, there are great games out there and we need to get more eyeballs on them.
The growth has been really inspiring, on both the number of gamers in the region, but also from the number of local companies that are making more production and publishing work. The widespread use of smartphones meant that everyone now basically has the capability to play games, and that has reflected really positively on the region. There are game development communities in every single country in the middle east and North Africa. There has been localized releases of a lot of the major games around the world in Arabic on mobile and even traditional gaming. It seems that the market is hungry for more local content, I’d love to see the developers creating products that fulfills that need.
Currently whenever I visit or speak to developers in the local communities, I see a big focus on technology or tools, but not a rivaling focus on design. I would urge devs to think of their overall package, focus on the “what” not just the “how”; really study design pillars and think about what is the game supposed to achieve from an experience point of view instead of just hurrying to start building or to just copy other games. Biggest advice is that, practice to learn how to scope your projects so that you don’t build projects that are bigger than your capabilities, and testing; testing and playtesting is a very humbling experience, that is integral to the iterative process of making successful video games.
I’m expecting to see more games than ever before, top-notch games, and new ideas and themes that the world has never witnessed before! I’m very excited!
Do you have a game that you want to submit? Enter your game here before the 30th of September!