Varun Joshi often looks to the past for the inspiration that will shape his future.
“My parents say I’m an old soul,” said Joshi, a Class of 2024 Presidential Scholar in the Honors College at Georgia State University. “I listen to old stuff and even the video games I play are from the ’90s.”
Among his biggest influences are grunge rock bands Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana and the classic Nintendo action-adventure “The Legend of Zelda.”
During summer break, the COVID-19 pandemic kept Joshi at home where he wrote and recorded music in his bedroom studio.
“In the beginning, when I started, I was really horrible,” Joshi said. “But I kept trying my hardest to get better and better, and now it’s kind of cool to see how far I’ve come.
“That’s just kind of me as a person—whenever I see someone doing things I like, I want to do it too. I can’t just consume a piece of media and then not want to do that myself.”
Wanting to improve his writing skills is one of the reasons Joshi joined his high school’s online newspaper. Before graduating from Lambert High School, he became editor-in-chief. He’s also been working on his artistic skills by taking online drawing courses this summer.
While he initially planned to study physics, Joshi’s drive and passion for creating unique media are leading him to consider pursuing video game design as a major.
“It really combines all my passions: music, physics, math, gaming and coding,” he said. “And there’s writing in there, as well.”
Joshi’s big goal as an undergraduate is to create a start-up gaming company. True to his vintage sensibilities, he said he’d like to focus on sprucing up two-dimensional platform games, which originated in the 1980s, and making them relatable to a younger gaming crowd.
“I’d like to take the old retro games and give them newer mechanics,” he said, “and higher degrees of difficulty.”