HOFT Game Lab Welcomes Mike Wikan

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Mike Wikan is the newest member of the advisory board for the Game Design & Development Lab at HOFT Institute. To welcome him, we’re putting him on our home stage at the HOFT offices this Saturday afternoon for a speaker session where everyone can hear bits of wisdom from his career up until now, and ongoing. You can sign up for the session on our Facebook event page, or just show up in time to get a seat before 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11.

Mike has spent the largest chunk of his 20-plus-year career in video game development in Austin at Retro Studios, the Nintendo-owned studio at which he was a Lead Game Designer for 12 years, working on the Metroid Prime series, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze. He’s currently the Creative Director at Booz Allen Hamilton’s Austin office.

Our friends at EGaDS, the student game development club at the University of Texas, has had Mike as a featured speaker twice in the past year, and he has always made an impression. We’re always grateful for their support, and will continue to support them!

We sent Mike a few questions to introduce himself.

How did you hear about Game Lab at HOFT Institute?

An acquaintance of mine, John Henderson, reached out to me regarding an opportunity to speak at EGaDS and also HOFT was mentioned by Paul Toprac, a professor at UT.

From your perspective, what do too many people seeking their first job applying skills that might be used in game development, need but don't have? Is it anything simple?

Demonstrable applications that show their skills, coherent written expression of their skills, and a willingness to embrace their worth as a Creative Professional (i.e. they are shy about being a Creative).

Where do you see Austin as a hub for game development and related industries in the next 5 years?

Austin’s position as a major hub of technical and game development will only strengthen. With the upward cost pressures on the west coast studios (Bay Area and Seattle), Austin is the natural area to expand and replace those high cost locations with studios offering a better professional life at a much lower cost.

Come join us Saturday afternoon, and sign up on our event page so we know you’re coming!