From George Brown student to 13AM executive

Alex Rushdy dishes on how to make it in the gaming industry

Story updated on March 2

“Picture in your head, a nude Danny DeVito holding a tube of lube in a machine gun,” said Alex Rushdy at George Brown College’s (GBC) Global Game Jam in January.

Rushdy calls the game Lube Slidewalker, and it’s quite simple. The player can control a pixelated Danny DeVito to fire lube on the ground to propel the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star where he needs to go.

“It’s a simple mechanic that solves multiple problems,” said Rushdy.

This is not Rushdy’s first game jam though. Now the chief executive officer of 13 AM Games, a Toronto-based game developer, Rushdy went to his first game jam in 2014, along with nine of his fellow classmates, where they would make Runbow, a multiplayer racing game.

Since it’s initial appearance at the jam, the game became viral and is now featured on Nintendo platforms including the 3DS and the Wii U.

“We were invited down to California to show off Runbow at an event, by Nintendo of America,” said Rushdy.

Although he enjoys it now, game design wasn’t his first passion. In high school, Rushdy was dead set on a career in film and wanted to work as a movie director since he was 12.

“I worked in video production for a year, and I didn’t really enjoy it,” said Rushdy.

After graduating from a school in arts and video production, he did freelance work for businesses, and traveled to the Czech Republic before he applied to George Brown.

“Alex had great vision and creativity, he led his team to a critical partnership with Nintendo and successfully obtained government grants,” said Jean-Paul Amore, a professor of game design at GBC.

13AM Games was incorporated in 2014, although the design work around Runbow was fun, its startup proved to be a challenge.

“We had no money when we started, so we ended up working several months for free,” said Rushdy.

Rushdy said the full-time commitment of the team was required to complete Runbow, but regardless of the obstacles, he never lost sight of having fun.

In a regular day, Rushdy wears multiple hats, from doing creative design work, to talking to publishers in business meetings, his work changes constantly.

As CEO of a growing company with currently 11 employees, Rushdy urges George Brown students pursing a career in the industry to study business management.

“There’s a huge section of my year that is purely business, if you ignore it, your company won’t go far,” advised Rushdy.

 

Updated with a correction on March 2. 13AM Games was not invited to California by the president of Nintendo as the article originally stated. Rushdy and his team were invited to California for an event by Nintendo, and they met Nintendo’s president on a separate occasion. The Dialog regrets the error.

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From George Brown student to 13AM executive