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How I became a video game designer: Bugi Kaigwa

Welcome to our series “How I Became a …,” where we’re digging into the stories of accomplished and influential people and finding out how they got to where they are in their careers. We’re finding out what their biggest challenges, their biggest passions and their biggest pieces of wisdom are — for you.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited.

Working in the world of video games is a true dream job, and Bugi Kaigwa, a technical artist at Visual Concepts, is living the dream as a video game designer.

Bugi Kaigwa

Bugi Kaigwa. (Photo: Roger Rigley)

Kaigwa, who works on developing the immensely popular NBA 2K basketball games, including this year’s NBA 2K17 game, chatted with USA TODAY College about vanilla lattes, hard work and, well, of course video games.

What’s your coffee order?

Usually, being from Kenya, I am a tea guy — usually just a ginger tea. I also love a sinful vanilla latte.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

My travels to South Africa, my travel in general. Travel can make you such a better person, it can expand the way you think on so many different things.

Also, working on NBA 2k has been one of the coolest things I’ve done in my entire life. The look on people’s faces when you tell them you work on 2K is the coolest thing.

Who’s your mentor?

My parents. I think they’ve been such an influence in my life and to the person I’ve become. My mother taught me how to work hard in achieving what I want, and she’s opened so many doors for me just by showing me an example of what hard work can be. My dad is an amazing, amazing artist and I look up to him. I hope one day to be as half as good as he is.

Professionally, the dean of our school, Jerome Solomon. I met him when I joined Cogswell, and got to know him. His work in the industry is amazing, and he’s worked at a lot of studios that I’ve dreamt of working on. Very early on I developed an admiration for him, and he’s always guided me on a lot, always been there for me when I have concerns about the industry or question. He’s always guided me in the right direction.