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vleize aka. Allaura Crossley

I’m vleize and I’m a lowly intern here at OSnap! Games; also the resident concept artist. I’ve been drawing for as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil, and playing games for almost equally as long. Currently, I’m a third year student at George Brown College in their Game Development program.

I’m what you’d probably call a “second generation” gamer. My dad is really into games, and so he introduced my brother and me to the consoles and stories that he loved very early on in my life. Playing Super Mario World on the SNES together is one of the first times I can really remember being mesmerised by a game, and from there, my love for them has only grown.

I remember spending hours and hours with my GameCube when I was younger, being inspired by all of the stories and visuals. I’d then run off to go and draw things based off of what I saw in game, and then extrapolate on those ideas to make my own worlds. My absolute favourite thing to work on was characters though, and I’ve probably got dozens of sketchbooks filled with ideas for games. The day I found out that concept art was a real job that people actually got paid for was probably the most universe-altering day of my life as a kid.

Name 5 of your favourite games:

  1. Dragon Age is my all-time favourite game franchise. The storytelling in these games and the way that the characters come to life is what actually cemented the idea that I wanted to be a game designer. I love everything about Bioware in general, but these games will always have a special place in my heart.

  2. The Pokémon franchise (and particularly Pokémon Emerald) is a game that holds an insane amount of nostalgia for me. Sometimes I wonder if I actually still like the games, or if I just like the fact they’re nostalgic… and then I go out and by the next one anyway. These games are actually pretty engaging, and I would actually say that this is the series I’ve spent the most time with over the years, which may simply be because they’re portable.

  3. Saints Row 3 is pretty much the epitome of sandbox gaming for me. Every time I want to just jump into a game and dick around for a couple of hours, this is generally the one I choose. I like the fact that the game is incredibly freeform and ‘zany’. Ironically, it’s also probably the game that I’m best at. I don’t really know what that says about my skills as a gamer, haha.

  4. Fable… oh Fable. This was my first ever experience with a 3D RPG. I was 10. The first time I tried to play this game, I got to the level with the Balverines and was so scared I had to leave it alone for a couple of years. Despite that though, the next time I visited it, I was completely swept away by how amazing and vibrant the world was. This game really drew my attention because all the characters felt so alive, which was something very unique at the time.

  5. Guitar Hero 3 is probably my favourite rhythm based game. I’ve spent many, many hours being completely absorbed into the fake guitar practicing some of my favourite songs. The first time I ever beat the Devil on expert was probably the most satisfying experience I’ve ever had in a game… and then Through the Fire and Flames happened and I wanted to cry a little bit. I still dig out my guitar every once in a while and spend an afternoon playing, and it’s always as fun as the first time I picked it up.

Is there a specific moment or reason that lead you to wanting to build games?

I mean, not really? For me it was sort of just a natural progression because of my interests. I was raised around games, and I loved art a lot, and so it was pretty much just, ‘hey, why don’t I do art for games?’

Who is your favourite game character and why?

Commander Shepard from Mass Effect is my favourite character from any game. I think that this was probably the first time that I actually had a really strong connection to a protagonist in a game. Not only are they a complete badass, but a lot of the morality and decision making involved in the game really made me feel like I was Shepard. This is one character that I always love to revisit in game, and in my art as well.

What is your favourite weapon from any video game?

It’s a toss-up between the gravity hammer from Halo, and the splat roller from Splatoon. I have a lot of love for melee weapons.

Favourite or most epic moment in your gaming history?

Let me preface this with the fact that I’m very bad at most games, and so I generally just stick to RPGs. I don’t know if it’s necessarily epic, but every time I hear Leaving Earth from the Mass Effect 3 soundtrack I’m reminded of everything I love about games. There’s a certain sense of awe that I get whenever I listen to this piece, even when not in context of the games, and it’s exactly that feeling that I want other people to have from something I make.