Stan Chow

Cofounder, Centrix Studio

Stan Chow is a game designer, producer, and executive whose credits include 4D Boxing (1991), World Tour Tennis, Skitchin’ (1994), PGA Tour Golf ’98, NBA Live 2001, NBA Live ’95 (1994), NBA Street (2002), Def Jam Vendetta (2003), and Theme Park DS (2007). 

On getting into the game industry: I spent most of my teenage years either playing video games at the arcade or on my Apple II computer. In 1989, my best friend, Don Mattrick, who started his own video game company in 1982, asked me if I wanted to join his company and help design games. I was in university studying computer science at the time; it was a no-brainer.

On favorite games:

  • Robotron: Mowing down hundreds of robots with my blaster and escaping against all odds gives me a sweaty, heart-pounding, white-knuckled adrenaline rush.
  • Metal Gear Solid: It’s the first game to let me play out my fantasy of sneaking around and taking people out. The game triggered feelings of fear and anticipation as I ran and hid from the enemy or snuck around a corner. It also has a good story.
  • Pikmin: I love this game for its fresh concept and great execution of gameplay.
  • WarCraft: As a player, real time strategy is one of my favorite genres of games. The most important thing in an RTS game is balance. When you find an imbalance that you can exploit in an RTS game, it is no longer fun to play. In terms of balance, WarCraft was the best execution of an RTS game.
  • World Of Warcraft: This is my all-time favorite game. It is totally captivating because of the vastness and beauty of the world. WOW offers fun activities for a variety of players so there were many different ways to enjoy the game. To me, WOW is the true definition of a social game because whether I am gathering some minerals by myself or raiding with 40 of my guild members, being able to interact with all the people online at the same time is what makes the game great.

On inspiration: What inspires me the most are games that feel fresh and original in concept or design. Games that have fallen into that category in their time are: Test Drive, SimCity, Goldeneye, Metal Gear Solid, The Sims, Pikmin, and World Of Warcraft.

Advice to designers: Understand the structure of games and what makes them fun for the audience you are creating for. Indiviual ideas and concepts are easy to come up with. What is hard is selecting the right ideas, weaving them into a cohesive design, and not losing your way during execution. Those are the keys to making a great game.