Game Design: An Interview with Barthelemy Atsin

In December, New York State approved LIHSA’s three new CTE programs. We will begin offering Sonic Arts, Expressive Arts in Human Development, and Game Design programs during the 2021-22 academic year.  This week we’d like to share more information about one of our new programs – Game Design – with our LIHSA Community and share additional information about the program through an interview with one of our talented Artists-In-Residence, Barthelemy Atsin.

Barthelemy Atsi(see his bio below).

About Game Design

The Game Design curriculum provides grounding background in the design, story-telling, illustration and 3D animation and in-depth game development coursework. Students learn to conceptualize, iterate and produce games that fit their artistic visions as well as their career goals. Game Designers author the storyline, writing the plot points, character development, and game objectives that drive the game. Students will learn the twenty-first century skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and technical expertise, which will increase employment capacity across the job market. In the Game Design pathway students prepare for both entry-level employment and additional postsecondary training needed for advancement in the highly competitive game design industry. Students completing this pathway develop the skills and knowledge to be creative partners in video game design while building capacity for employment in all areas of the creative workforce.

Sample occupations associated with a Games Design pathway include: Game Designer, Storyboard Artist, 2-D and 3-D Animator, Mobile App Designer, Interactive Art and Media Consultant, Visual Effects Designers, Production Team Manager.

An Interview with Barthelemy Atsin

Why do you think Game Design is an important CTE Program for LIHSA to offer?

Game design is a way for students to open up and understand what makes them connect, especially as teenagers. What I’ll be teaching at LIHSA is how to incorporate an interesting story into a theme. I played games all my life and specific games have meaningful storylines that I remember even as an adult. It’s important to have a story telling process in animation and game design. I ask students to ask themselves what do you take from a game that you’ve played and apply it something you can create currently. This can be anything from a small scale animation, or something bigger that they can construct like a game. When I work with students, they create personalized characters and then moving forward, they have these as the foundations to build on.

We dive into why people connect to a game like Street Fighter. When I play, I feel l like I’m a part of this story, relate to character. Gaming is often about find a place to belong.

Take Comic-Con as an example. It’s all inclusive, all accepting, no limit no matter what the age. Since I’m a fan of the world, help the students to open up. Understand what makes them connect, especially as teenagers.

Where do you think will be the opportunities for students studying Game Design in the future?

It can take them anywhere! One of the most fascinating things about gaming in general is that it has so many aspects: I’ve gotten to be involved both from a graphic design and an acting perspective. I get to see how it all works. I actually voiced two different characters in Red Dead Redemption 2. From an acting aspect, it’s so cool seeing your voice come to life in a digital world.

What has your journey been in the Game Design Field?

Mostly animation, I’m all about animation. I incorporate animated ideas into illustrations and create after affects.

Acting in Red Dead Redemption 2 was a blessing that fell into my lap. Rock Star knew who I was, and contacted me. I feel so lucky!

What is a piece of advice you’d offer to potential students considering entering the Game Design Program?

Students should be open to collaborating and also be really aware why people like certain games. They should ask themselves why are some games so popular, like Super Mario. People who play video games emulate them, play games in tournament, play in professional league. The level of engagement is why they have they lasted so long.

Students should stay open to all the art forms and bring them together. All the elements that go into games like voice over, character design, and music stay with you forever.

Samples of Barthelmy Atsin’s work on YouTube


Squad Episode 5
Bart & Amelia
Bart & Amelia

About Barthelemy Atsin

Originally from Philadelphia, Barthelemy is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College and is an alumni of SVA’s After Effects and Photoshop program intensive. He’s studied Shakespeare at Balliol College and performed live throughout Oxford. He’s collaborated with Elizabeth Swados on developing children’s books and created backdrops for La Mama’s main stage performances. He premiered his first animated children’s show, Kids Play, on the BRIC Free Speech Network in Brooklyn. Barthelemy’s work can also be seen in shows such as Master of None, Boardwalk Empire, Person of Interest, Mr. Robot, Billions and Hunters on Amazon Prime.  Barthelemy voice’s  can also be heard in Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II. Check out more of his work at or on his Youtube channel called Art with Bart.