The Game Master


Dylan Chao

Chao plays Dungeons and Dragons virtually with his friends. In this photo he is the dungeon master.

Two years ago, senior Dylan Chao got a birthday present that changed his life forever. At the time he did not know what his future career would hold, after his trip to the Music and Gaming Festival (MAGFest) in Northern VA, he found his passion.

“There were tons of merchants selling art and crafted objects, people walking around the festival in cosplay, and an overall exciting energy. There were also a lot of good live performances of music that I really enjoyed and felt awesome after leaving the concert hall. I saw a lot of panels on video game development, soundtrack composing, music in video games and also some just for fun,” Chao said. “I also saw a lot of booths for independently published games, which inspired me to maybe go into that field. Doing this made me also see how independent publishers show off their games to the public and how some of them get to be titans amongst the gaming community. Sometimes when I am looking online at games, I sometimes recognize some of the games I saw with a demonstration booth at MAGFest and I remember the experiences I had at that great convention.”

This convention helped him to realize that he wants to pursue video game development. His college plans reflect what he hopes to do in the future.

“My plan for college is to take a gap year after graduation, take classes at Blue Ridge [Community College] and later transfer to George Mason,” Chao said. “Both of these colleges offer courses that will help me in my career path and will utilize my skills in art, music, and programming.”

Not only does he plan on programming more in college, but he has also discovered his love for art and music throughout his career.

“I didn’t really get super into making art until high school. I didn’t take any art classes in middle school, but my freshman year of high school I decided to take Art 1. Around this time I also discovered a new medium that I preferred over traditional or standard digital mediums: pixel art. I am by far not the best or super good in this medium, but I have felt that it is more interesting over the other forms, and it was an ‘easier’ medium to start with that produced art that I felt more proud of than a pencil drawing,” Chao said.

During high school, Chao has taken many music courses such as Piano, Mac Music and Concert, Symphonic and Marching Band.

“I have been in band classes since early middle school and have taken classes every year since. My favorite part of creating and playing music is being able to completely shift the emotion in a room just by changing the music. I have stayed in music classes as long as I have because I had a great band teacher who introduced me to my current main instrument, the Euphonium, and have had great teachers throughout my other band classes,” Chao said.

Along with video games, Chao also loves playing tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). However, the pandemic makes it much harder for people to get together to play. Chao has come up with ways to play D&D despite the ongoing pandemic.

“Instead of meeting up in person to roll dice and create a story with friends, we now meet up on Discord and either play over texts or play with a voice chat,” Chao said. “It is sometimes strange not to hear as much emotion over text, but it is still nice to be able to play together as a group and for the players to still be able to interact with the worlds that we have created in the narrative.”