It has been over 3 months since Sandsoft Games announced the launch of Press Start Program. Today we spoke to Hamam Zahran, a talented Game Programmer at Press Start about his experience at the Program so far, his way to the gaming industry, his hobbies and his favourite games, of course.
“When I was kid, I played Metal Gear Solid 2 on Playstation2. The game was so realistic! – says Hamam. – When I finished the game, I asked myself, how it was possible for someone, to make a virtual world so realistic, that a human being could feel, think and be involved deeply in the story of the game. I found out that Hideo Kojima, a Japanese videogame designer, director, producer and writer, who founded KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS, was behind this game. I wanted to know more about Japan and Anime. So I decided to do whatever it takes to be in the game industry!”
What is you favourite game genre?
“My favourite game genre is Action, Stealth. I am looking forward to GTA6 and Death Stranding 2 to be released.”
You have a diverse international experience: does it bring you any value now at Press Start?
“It gives me a lot of benefits: it helps me completing the tasks faster, finding various solutions and being more focused. An international team brings different cultures and various ways of thinking together. It is an absolute benefit, whether for brainstorming ideas, searching for solutions, approach to management, marketing, advertisement, or visions.
Compared to other countries, where I worked, gaming industry in Saudi Arabia has been growing fast. However I noticed a problem of the way the people earn their knowledge: they finish quick courses, and name themselves a Founder or an CTO of a studio, which requires at least publishing a successful game or having years of experience.
From the other hand, the industry is well funded in Saudi Arabia nowadays, and there is a lot of support for local young talents.”
Work at Press Start is quite intense: do you manage to sustain your work life balance?
“At the beginning it was a little bit hard, but later things became easier. My hobby is Latin Dance like Bachata, Salsa, Kizomba. So my rule is work hard dance harder! Dancing and Game industry for me are similar: both of them are arts.”
If not gaming, are there any other job you think you would have taken?
“Well honestly no. Since I was kid I dreamed of it. I have not given up in spite of anything. It helped me shaping my personality, I have met my friends here. So I am glad to have chosen it.”
Would you recommend your friends to apply the next Press Start Program? Why?
“Yes absolutely. When I discovered about the Program, I saw Yahsir Qureshi’s name, which is well-known in game industry. Another thing I have noticed at Sandsoft Games is the transparency of hiring process.
The program helps getting to know how big companies work in the industry, as well as sharpening the skills. The idea of the program is the team work, it is not about wining or losing.”