Sam Eng

Game developer

Sam Eng (born and based in New York) is an independent game developer working at the intersection of visual art and game design.

“My games are concepts and feelings that I can’t describe in words”, he says. “Everything I encounter, I try to portray in a gameplay or audio-visual experience. I cannot get enough of the movement of low clouds or falling light, so I try to capture it and put it into a video game. If I could describe these concepts and feelings easily, I would not have to make an entire video game. Interactive experience is so mesmerising to me”.

Born in Manhattan to immigrants from Hong Kong, Eng is a self-taught game developer.

He is currently working on SKATE STORY, a game which explores the experience of overcoming one’s own limitations. Players of Skate Story find themselves embodying a demon who skateboards through the underworld, their body comprised of glass.

In 2018, he independently launched his debut game on the Nintendo Switch. In the game, titled Zarvot, inanimate cubes gain sentient qualities. It gained recognition at the PAX Prime gaming festival and IndieCade East, an international festival for independent games.

Eng has collaborated with the digital artist Ian Cheng on his celebrated installation works Emissaries and BOB (Bag of Beliefs). He is a founding member of GUMBO NYC, a Brooklyn non-profit development collective for independent game makers. The video game publisher Devolver Digital is due to release SKATE STORY in 2024.

“The CHANEL Next Prize was an incredible, lucky and surprise reminder for me that art is an eternal conversation, and others are listening, no matter where they are”, Eng says. “The Next Prize is inspiring to me; to know that others are watching and recognising my work. I’ve always wanted to shine in my own eyes, and it makes me want to create bigger, brighter, truer experiences”.

Skate Story. Courtesy of Sam Eng (by Sam Eng) and Devolver Digital.​