Joey Lapegna

Technical Game Designer and Director specializing in UI/UX and Player Engagement

Work

15+ years experience leading the design and development of new live service and free-to-play games for mobile, PC, Console and VR.

Contact

I’m available for consulting or freelance opportunities.  Please reach out to discuss how we can work together.

Lost in the Metaverse and need a ride?

Hire an expert in Live Service, PC/Console, Mobile, and VR game design and development.

How I can help on your project

I strive to create games that deeply engage and delight players whether it’s an indie premium title, a AAA premium game with live services or a mobile free-to-play game.

My Story

My father introduced me to computers and gaming at a very young age, when he brought home a second-hand TRS-80 with a stack of tape cassettes with different games. I was only 3 or 4 years old at the time, but I was immediately enthralled with the technology and the experiences it enabled.

The next gem he brought home for me was an XT terminal with a monochrome display. I learned how to spell and type on text-based MUDs, Zork, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. When I finally got my hands on a 286 PC with DOS, the world of graphical adventure games opened up and I became lost in the library of Sierra games.

During Christmas of 1987, my family was celebrating the holidays in Florida. We were all packed into a tiny condo and it was difficult for me to be away from my passion. I was hoping Santa would bring me a Nintendo Entertainment System, but we didn’t have a fireplace. Besides, he doesn’t even know where to find me and we don’t even have a tree here! Santa came through and I woke up on Christmas morning to find a tiny 8″, plastic Christmas tree next to a giant box. I ripped it open as fast as I could and immediately asked ran to connect it to the TV.

The Legend of Zelda for the NES was the game that changed everything for me. The open world to explore in whatever order I could; all the hidden secrets and mysteries; the perplexing puzzles; and the compelling action gameplay. From that moment on, I was hooked, and became obsessed with trying to recreate digital experiences for people.

Over the years, I taught myself to code in various languages and frameworks which led into a career in interactive and web development. Where I spent a few years creating web apps as well as live interactive installations for museums, where I would source the hardware and build the interface in Flash and ActionScript 3.0.

This whole time I dreamed of a career in games, but I was in a place where I was a multi-skilled individual who could design, code and lead projects. There were just not many opportunities in the industry for a Canadian kid like me in the mid 2000s.

Then, the iPhone and App Store came out and suddenly there was a place where someone like me could create and ship a game all on their own. I started making games on the side and got involved with a startup named XMG Studio where we transitioned from premium games to free-to-play. Learning along the way how to build and create games in this new environment of always connected devices. Incorporating product management practices, data science and live services to bring successful games to market.

After I shipped my last mobile game, I felt that the mobile industry had matured to the point where it was becoming reliant on large studios and publishers, similar to the PC/Console industry in the 2000s. So, if I was going to take on that challenge, I decided it was time to take everything I’ve learned to my original passion, the world of PC/Console and AAA development. Most recently I’ve become enthralled with VR and it’s potential to change our industry in the next 5-10 years.

Where I’ve Worked

2021 - Now

Senior Product Manager
First Contact Entertainment

2020 - 2021

Master Game Designer
Warner Bros Games

2018 - 2020

Vice President, Creative
Disruptor Beam

2016 - 2018

Director, Product & Design
Disruptor Beam

2014 - 2016

UI/UX Designer
Disruptor Beam

2010 - 2013

Mobile Game Developer & Producer
XMG Studio

2008 - 2010

Interactive Designer
Overdrive Design

Ready to take the next step and work together?