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2013 Festival Organizers

Please join us in welcoming those that will be speaking at the Panels and Workshops at IndieCade Festival for 2013!




queer tranarchofeminist | trash harpy | erotic slime hell | rockpapershotgun columnist | freeindiegames curator




Droqen creates games, and sometimes: sells games, thinks about games, writes about games. The best-known of Droqen's games is probably Starseed Pilgrim.

Lea Redmond



Lea Redmond is a collector of curious objects and a maker of unusual experiences. She is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Her World’s Smallest Post Service project has charmed thousands, she accidentally invented a board game that is being published, and she is currently writing a book of quirky knitting patterns. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, seeks to create a more playful, peaceful world one little experience at a time.

Henry Smith



Henry quit his job last summer to go indie. His first project is award-winning party game Spaceteam, with more to come. Before that he worked as a programmer in the game industry for 10 years at BioWare and Irrational Games. His specialty is UI, but he also loves to dabble in art, design, music & story.

Kaho Abe



Kaho Abe is a game designer and media artist based in NYC interested in improving social and personal experiences through the use of technology, fashion and games. She is currently a Computational Fashion Fellow at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center and the Artist in Residence at the Game Innovation Lab at NYU-Poly. She researches and build games that utilize technology to bring people together face to face. More recently she has been exploring the potential of costumes as game controllers when embedded with technology.
An important part of her practice is sharing her work, methodologies and techniques with youth and adults, with the goal to encourage critical thinking and creative problem solving through designing and building alternative physical game controllers. She also co-host a monthly playtesting event with Come Out and Play at Eyebeam. Kaho holds an MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons the New School for Design and was formerly an Artist Fellow at Eyebeam from 2010 to 2012.

Dan Adelman

Dan Adelman manages the relationships with independent game developers who make games for the Nintendo eShop on both the Wii U console and the Nintendo 3DS portable system. He joined Nintendo in 2005 to lead content strategy for Nintendo of America's first foray into digital distribution, WiiWare. Adelman is responsible for identifying and bringing great indie games like World of Goo, Cave Story, the BIT.TRIP series and Mutant Mudds to Nintendo platforms. He has been working in the video game industry since 2001.

Shawn Alexander Allen


Shawn Alexander

Shawn Alexander Allen is a game designer, artist and writer, born and raised in New York City. He is currently working on Treachery in Beatdown City, a game that is as subversive of the fighting and RPG genres as it is of gentrification, nationalism, racial stereotyping, and the war on terror. TiBC is the first game being published by his company NuChallenger which he hopes to grow into a creative space to give those with underrepresented voices a place to make games. Previously Shawn worked for almost 5 years in AAA games, the first game he shipped having sold over 25 million copies. Despite that he’s more proud of TiBC and other personal group projects - the HTML5/iPad game “the universe within…” which won a Best Overall award for the Global Game Jam 2012 at the NYU Game Center and Glorious Ending Cinematic, a stupid adventure game based around Love and Fear made for the first molyjam that won no award from anyone.

Amy Allison


Simply put, I am a video game industry evangelist. I like to make opportunities arise for talented companies and individuals in our industry in either the for profit, or non profit sectors.

I am a co-owner of a post production company (FatDroid) that continues my 8+ years of experience of video asset production for the video game industry.

Luckily for me, my job at FatDroid allows time for me to be an advocate for our industry at events and conferences. I often attend to represent and promote Women in Games International and Indiecade, and keep up to date on all new gaming technology and trends.

anna anthropy



Anna Anthropy is a game-maker, artist, writer, teacher, historian, and dominatrix. she has opinions on things and she just won't shut up.

Chris Avellone



Creative Director and co-owner of Obsidian Entertainment, Chris started his escape from reality by freelancing for a number of pen and paper role-playing game companies in high school before Interplay foolishly hired him as a game designer in 1996. He worked on most if not all of Black Isle’s internally developed projects, including Planescape: Torment (Lead Designer), Fallout 2, the whole Icewind Dale series, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, and a number of canceled titles that still make him weep, including Baldur’s Gate 3 and Fallout 3. Chris was the Lead Designer on Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, moved on to a Senior Design role on Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of the Betrayer, worked briefly as the Creative Lead of the Aliens RPG, and then went on to be lead designer on Alpha Protocol, Obsidian's espionage RPG. He worked on Fallout: New Vegas as a Senior Designer, and went on to be Project Director of most of the Fallout New Vegas DLCs (Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road). He just finished working on inXile’s Wasteland 2 and is currently doing joint work on Obsidian’s Kickstarter: Project: Eternity and inXile’s Torment: Tides of Numenera. He is reported to be non-toxic, and occasionally friendly to others.

Ami M. Blaire

Ami M.

Co-founder and Managing Partner at lvl UP Marketing, Ami Blaire remains as passionate and committed to her trade and the interactive entertainment industry today as the day she started over 20 years ago. She's held senior executive level consulting positions most recently at the Emmy award-winning Fourth Wall Studios and start-up Social Games International. Prior to that, Ami held several senior level positions at Square Enix America as VP, Digital, eCommerce and Integrated Marketing, at Vivendi Games as VP, Integrated Marketing, VP Marketing at MGA (toys), the Global Marketing Director for Xbox Live at Microsoft and Director of Brand Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. Earlier on in her career, she led major product campaigns and releases for Sega of America and SNK Home Entertainment. She brings vast experience in Brand Marketing across various business verticals, multi-media advertising, corporate partnerships, licensing, corporate communications, trend and engagement analysis, sales, merchandising, consumer promotions and events. Most currently, lvl UP Marketing serves as the marketing agency for IndieCade and other various indie developers and publishers.

Jon Blow


Jonathan Blow is a game designer who lives in San Francisco. He is also a partner in IndieFund.

Ian Bogost



Ian Bogost is an author and game designer. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Founding Partner at Persuasive Games. His most recent book about games is How to Do Things WIth Videogames, and his game A Slow Year won the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at IndieCade 2010.

Sue Bohle


Sue Bohle is a highly regarded public relations professional who has been providing hands on, senior level counsel to traditional game and serious games and interactive entertainment companies since 1983. She has been the lead speaker on PR for the game industry at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) five times and wrote the marketing chapter for a major textbook on getting into the video game industry. The Bohle Company has served hardware, software, tools, conference producers and online game sites and launched titles in all genres and for all platforms. Among the companies Sue has counseled include Alienware, Warner Bros,, GDC and numerous start-ups, including a dozen iPhone game companies. In the serious games space, The Bohle Company launched the first Serious Games Summit for GDC. In 2011, she launched the Serious Play Conference for leaders in the fast growing market for games for education, health care, corporate training, government/military and games for good segments. She is currently executive director of the Serious Games Association.

Adam Boyes


Adam Boyes is VP, Publisher & Developer Relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). In this role, Boyes leads publisher relations, developer relations and content acquisition, and is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with SCEA’s external development and publishing partners in North America. In addition, Boyes oversees SCEA’s Pub Fund program, working to bring unique, independent games to PlayStation platforms.
A 17-year industry veteran, Boyes began his career in production at EA Canada, later served as the Director of Production at Capcom USA and most recently held the position of President at Beefy Media, a videogame production house which he founded.

Mattie Brice



Mattie Brice is a play critic, designer, and activist. She focuses her writing on diversity initiatives in the games industry, often bringing in the perspective of marginalized minority voices to publications like Paste, Kotaku, The Border House, and Pop Matters. Mattie also consults, speaks, and teaches about play. Her studies have led her to explore narrative design and plans to push the borders of how we think of play.

Vander Caballero



Minority Media’s co-founder and Creative Director, Vander Caballero, worked as Design Director at EA Montreal from the studio’s inception, in 2004, until 2010. During his time there, Vander helped create Army of Two & Boogie. He co-founded his independent studio, Minority to break with the world of shooters and to explore new directions in game concept and design. This process led to the creation of Minority’s first game, Papo & Yo, and the birth of a new emotionally-driven kind of video game.

Carl Callewaert


Carl’s enthusiasm for gaming builds on 10 years of production and evangelism experience and he loves sharing that enthusiasm with the Unity community. Prior to Unity, Carl worked on AAA and indie games and as a contract worker for Autodesk Education.

Cecily Carver



Cecily Carver is the co-director of Dames Making Games Toronto, an educational and community non-profit dedicated to supporting women interested in creating video games. Since its founding in 2011, DMG Toronto has run numerous game jams, workshops, and long programs helping women from a variety of backgrounds to develop their first video games. Cecily holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Alberta and works as a software developer in Toronto for Bento Box Projects. She also enjoys opera, Victorian literature, and roguelike games.

Kat Chastain



Kat Chastain writes and draws in Los Angeles. She wonders what place video games have in our lives as adults. She has a Nintendo but not a Sega.

Jenova Chen


Jenova is the visionary designer of the award-winning games Cloud, flOw, Flower, and most recently Journey. After earning a bachelor's degree for computer science in his hometown of Shanghai, Chen moved to Los Angeles, where he got a master's degree in the founding class of University of Southern California's Interactive Media and Games Division. Following school, he founded thatgamecompany with fellow graduates, where he remains its Founder and Creative Director.

Brendon Chung



Brendon Chung hangs out in front of a computer writing, programming, and drawing things. He somehow makes a living making games as Blendo Games, and made the titles Thirty Flights of Loving, Atom Zombie Smasher, Gravity Bone, and Flotilla. Blendo Games is based in Culver City, California.

Naomi Clark


Naomi Clark is a freelance game designer who's been creating games for over two decades. She got her start designing early online games, including Sissyfight 2000, one of the first multiplayer games on the web. Since then she's designed, written and produced games for many different platforms and audiences: web games for LEGO, casual downloadable games with independent studio Gamelab, and social games for Facebook and mobile devices, among others. Her most recent games include Wonder City, a stereotype-breaking story game for adolescent girls, and Sandwich Kingdom, a fantasy puzzle adventure played on the Sifteo Cube game platform. She's currently based in New York City, where she consults on a variety of game projects and teaches game design while working on an upcoming creator-owned game with the Brooklyn Game Ensemble.

Jake Elliot



Jake makes videogames and noise in Chicago. With creative partner Tamas Kemenczy, he is currently working on the game "Kentucky Route Zero."

Simon Ferrari



Simon Ferrari is a doctoral student in the Digital Media program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Last summer he taught game criticism at NYU's Game Center. For four years Simon was a research assistant on Ian Bogost's Newsgames project, culminating in the pre-alpha release of the arcade remix engine Game-o-Matic. His current research focuses on the people who record, stream, or perform high-level videogame play in public.

Uriah Findley



Uriah Findley is a Producer at Nonchalance, a situational design company based in San Francisco. After finishing a degree in sound arts, he fell down the rabbit hole of alternate reality engineering by helping create The Jejune Institute. Along with Nonchalance's flagship project, Uriah also participated in the creation of projects for The Come Out and Play Festival, the Zero1 Art and Technology Biennial, and the Greenpeace's Love Letters from The Future project.
He is currently working with Nonchalance creating their next reality-altering experience.

Nick Fortugno



Nick Fortugno is a game designer of digital and real-world games based in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics. Games by Playmatics include the CableFAX award-winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation as well as games for clients like Disney Interactive and LEGO. Before Playmatics, Fortugno was the Director of Game Design at gameLab, where he was a designer, writer and project manager on dozens of commercial and serious games, and served as lead designer on the downloadable blockbuster Diner Dash and the award-winning serious game Ayiti: The Cost of Life. Nick teaches game design and interactive narrative design at Parsons The New School of Design, and has participated in the construction of the school's game design curriculum. Nick is also a co-founder of the annual Come Out and Play street games festival hosted in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam since 2006, and co-creator of the Big Urban Game for Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2003. Nick's most recent writing about games can be found in the anthology Well-Played 1.0: Video Game, Value, and Meaning, published by ETC-Press.

Jane Friedhoff


Jane Friedhoff is a game designer, creative coder, and programming teacher who loves making games that encourage silly and absurd behaviors in public spaces. She helped found and is a co-teacher at the Code Liberation Foundation, which provides free game design and programming classes for people who identify as women, as part of an initiative to increase the number of women game developers in the industry.

She graduated with her MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons in 2013. Her games and interactive pieces has been shown at a wide variety of events, including Babycastles, the SMart Media Arts Festival, Different Games, Come Out and Play, Indiecade, GDC, and E3, and her academic work has been published in DiGRA. If a project involves screaming, awkwardness, or dance parties, she’s probably into it.

You can see her work at

Tracy Fullerton



Tracy Fullerton, M.F.A., is an experimental game designer, associate professor and chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she directs the Game Innovation Lab. This design research center has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey, a collaboration with artist Bill Viola. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment.

Recent projects include Collegeology, a suite of college preparation games funded by the Department of Education, the Gilbert Foundation and the Gates Foundation; Participation Nation, a history and civics game funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and developed in collaboration with Activision-Blizzard and KCET; and Walden, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond. Prior to entering academia, she was a professional game designer and entrepreneur making games for companies including Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among many others. Tracy’s work has received numerous honors including an Emmy nomination for interactive television, Indiecade’s “Sublime Experience” and “Impact” awards, and Time Magazine’s Best of the Web.

Jeremy Gibson


Jeremy Gibson is an independent game designer/developer who currently teaches game development at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. From 2009-2013, he was an Assistant Professor teaching game design for the Interactive Media Division of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, which was named the #1 game design school in North America throughout that tenure. Jeremy serves IndieCade as the Chair for Education and Advancement and programs the IndieXchange and Game U tracks. He's excited and honored to be contributing to IndieCade, a conference that he has loved for several years.

Anton Hand


Anton Hand is a game designer, 3d artist, instructor and beard-warrior currently located in Los Angeles, CA. His work with RUST LTD. includes the design and production of videogames, graphics middleware, simulations, language-learning environments, and immersive virtual experiences. His personal research is centered on physically-based rendering (including the Alloy Physical Shader Framework), parametric animation, and the theory of content authoring pipelines.

Auriea Harvey



Auriea Harvey (USA/BE) received a B.F.A. in Sculpture at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, New York. In 1995, she began the web design studio Entropy8, which merged in 1999 with (by Michaël Samyn) to form Entropy8Zuper!.
In 2002, she founded the independent game development studio Tale of Tales with Michaël Samyn in Ghent, Belgium, where they still live and work. Tale of Tales is best known for experimental videogames such as The Path, The Endless Forest and The Graveyard. Within Tale of Tales, Auriea is game designer, art director and 2d/3d artist.

Amy Hennig



Amy Hennig is a Creative Director at Naughty Dog, and most recently worked on the Uncharted series of games. She is a game designer and director, head writer for the Uncharted series, and heads up the performance capture process for the games. She previously worked at Crystal Dynamics on the Legacy of Kain series, and at Electronic Arts.

Cas Holman



For the past nine years Cas has designed tools for the imagination. Her designs are manipulable parts and pieces which inspire constructive play, imaginative forms, and cooperative interactions between players. Abstract in their identity, these tool/toys inspire children and adults to imagine the origin and story of the toy as well as it’s function.  Cas will talk about designing for child-directed, free play.  “What is it?” and “What does it do?” are answered in intuitive details, play prompts, and semiotic clues, making the instructions implicit in the tool/toy. She’ll elaborate on her company’s motto “Good toys make good people” and the importance of good old fashioned building blocks.

Robin Hunicke



Robin is the Co-Founder of Funomena, an independent game studio in the heart of San Francisco. She is a game designer and producer, with a background in fine art, computer science and applied game studies. Executive Producer of the award-winning PS3 title Journey, she began her career at EA in 2005, where she worked on The Sims2, MySims, and Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox series for the Nintendo Wii. At Funomena, she is working on a new title with Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi.
Recognized as an influential Woman in Games, Robin is an evangelist for diversity of thought and participation in game design and game culture. She co-organizes the annual Experimental Gameplay Workshop, has chaired theIndieCade Festival, teaches and speaks extensively on creating novel, experimental designs in all media, by focusing on the unique feelings your work can communicate.

Corey Johnson


Corey is a Field Engineer for Unity Technologies. He provides technical Unity expertise to those in need. Prior to Unity he was held many different responsibilities in the game industry including gameplay, online, and tools programming.

Greg Kasavin



Greg Kasavin is creative director at Supergiant Games, the small independent studio that created the hit action RPG, Bastion, and is now working on its second game, Transistor. Kasavin's responsibilities include writing and level design. Prior to joining Supergiant, he worked for more than 10 years in the gaming press, notably as editor-in-chief of GameSpot, until he left in 2007 to pursue his childhood dream of making games.

Tamas Kemenczy



Tamas Kemenczy is a Chicago-based game designer and software/noise artist. He is currently working on Kentucky Route Zero with Jake Elliott and Ben Babbitt.

merritt kopas



merritt kopas is a cyborg artist and designer whose work deals with themes of bodies, gender, and difference. Her game LIM, an exploration of the violence of liminality, was named in several best indie games of 2012 lists. She holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Sociology from the University of Washington.

Frank Lantz


Frank Lantz is a New York based game designer and the Chair of the NYU Game Center. In 2005, he co-founded Area/Code, a studio that created a variety of games ranging from the early Facebook hit Parking Wars to the abstract puzzle game Drop7. In 2011 Area/Code was acquired by Zynga. Before starting Area/Code, Frank was the director of game design at the groundbreaking indie developer Gamelab. Frank’s pioneering work on large-scale real-world and location-based games has been widely influential and his writings on games, aesthetics and culture have appeared in a variety of publications.

Claire Latané


Claire Latané is a writer and a Senior Associate at EPT DESIGN, a landscape architecture firm with studios in Irvine and Pasadena, California. She directs the firm’s sustainable design and marketing initiatives. Among her accomplishments are managing the design and implementation of the Frontier Project landscape, a LEED Platinum building and grounds designed to educate people about the most innovative methods to conserve water and energy at home and work. Claire’s goal as a writer and designer is to raise awareness of the human, economic and environmental benefits of designing with nature. She just finished writing Making Home: the Search for the Perfect Place to Live, a memoir about how where we live shapes how we live and vice versa. She earned her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Master of Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.

Richard Lemarchand



Richard Lemarchand is a game designer, a writer, a public speaker, a consultant and an educator. He is an Associate Professor in the Interactive Media and Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, where he teaches game design to graduates, undergraduates and doctoral candidates, and has begun work on the development of a series of experimental research games.
Between 2004 and 2012, Richard was a Lead Game Designer at Naughty Dog in Santa Monica, California. He led the design of all three games in the Uncharted series including Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, winner of ten AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards, five Game Developers Choice Awards, four BAFTAs and over 200 Game of the Year awards. Richard also worked on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Jak 3 and Jak X: Combat Racing for Naughty Dog, and helped to create the successful game series Gex, Pandemonium and Soul Reaver at Crystal Dynamics in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A passionate advocate of indie and experimental games, Richard has been involved with the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games for several years. He organizes the annual GDC Microtalks, a session that celebrates games and play with short talks by diverse speakers, and he is a faculty member of the GDC Experimental Gameplay Sessions.
Richard grew up in a small town in rural England, dreaming of ancient civilizations and outer space. Perhaps as a result, he has a degree in Physics and Philosophy.

Adam Liszkiewicz


Adam Liszkiewicz is a media artist and activist from Buffalo, NY. He designs experimental and socially conscious games with RUST, LTD., coordinates development of the Tenants in Action mobile app with Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), and is an assistant editor at the online journal Anti-. He is the author and editor of several chapbooks, including ALPHABET MAN (Slack Buddha Press, 2010) and COUNT AS ONE (New River, 2009), as well as a forthcoming full-length collection, AFEELD. Adam received an M.F.A. in Media Arts Production from SUNY Buffalo, and is currently a Provost’s Fellow in the Media Arts and Practice PhD program at the University of Southern California.

Christine Love



Christine Love writes games with too many words in them about women and queerness and technology, her most recent works being Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus. Please work hard with her to help make the world a cuter place!

Henry Lowenfels


Scopely Platform Partnerships Lead

Henry heads platform partnerships at Scopely, where he works with independent game developers to create free-to-play multiplayer games, including three games that have been #1 in the App Store: Bubble Galaxy With Buddies, Mini Golf MatchUp, and Wordly. A graduate of Harvard University and the Peter Stark Program at USC, Henry began his career producing independent feature films such as Rock the Bells and Visioneers, as well as branded digital content with companies such as Xbox and Gatorade. His past work includes leading creative development at Unique Features, a Warner Bros-based production company, and heading business development at X-UP, a commercial production company focused on youth culture. Henry lives in Culver City with his wife, Toby, and enjoys the NY Yankees, and ultramarathon races in his spare time.

Henry Lowood



Henry Lowood is curator for history of science & technology collections and for film & media collections at Stanford University. He is also a lecturer in the Thinking Matters Program, the Science and Technology Studies Program and the History and Philosophy of Science Program at Stanford and in the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University.
Since 2000, he has led How They Got Game, a research and archival preservation project devoted to the history of digital games and simulations.   This project includes Stanford’s efforts in the Preserving Virtual Worlds project, funded by the U.S. Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Cabrinety Collection imaging project, funded by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.  His most recent book is The Machinima Reader, published by MIT Press and co-edited with Michael Nitsche. and

Palmer Luckey



Palmer is the original founder and designer of the Oculus Rift. Before starting Oculus VR™, Palmer worked as an engineer at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) in the Mixed Reality lab, where he contributed to research and development of virtual reality systems and head-mounted displays. Palmer is also known for having the world's largest collection of VR headsets and founding the ModRetro Forums.

Colleen Macklin



Colleen Macklin is a game designer, an Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design and founder and co-director of PETLab, a game research lab that has developed Budgetball, a "fiscal sport", games for disaster preparedness with the American Red Cross, and Re:Activism, a location-based activist game played in NYC, Beijing, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time. She is also a member of Local No. 12, known best for the social card game, the Metagame.

Laird Malamed



Laird is COO of Oculus VR, Inc, the leading personal virtual reality hardware company, and he is a 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry. Malamed was Sr. Vice President and head of development at Activision Blizzard overseeing software, hardware and manufacturing for products such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and Skylanders. Malamed is also an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts where he attended graduate school and has consulted in the K-12 Education space since 2011 about issues of sustainability. Malamed earned a joint BS degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering and Film & Media Studies.

Michael Mateas



Michael Mateas is Director of the Center for Games and Playable Media. He is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Santa Cruz, where he helped launch the Computer Game Design degree, the first of its kind in the UC system. His work explores artificial intelligence-based art and entertainment, forging a new research discipline called Expressive AI. Michael, who holds the MacArthur Endowed Chair, runs the Expressive Intelligence Studio with Noah Wardrip-Fruin. EIS, as it is known, is one of the largest technical game research groups in the world. Current group projects include automated support for game generation, automatic generation of autonomous character conversations, story management, and authoring tools for interactive storytelling. Prior to Santa Cruz, Michael was a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology. With Andrew Stern, he created Façade, an award-winning interactive drama that uses AI techniques to combine rich autonomous characters with interactive plot control, creating the world’s first, fully-produced, real-time, interactive story. Façade is available for free download at Michael received his BS in Engineering Physics from the University of the Pacific (1989), his MS in Computer Science from Portland State University (1993), and his Ph.D. in Computer Science (2002) from Carnegie Mellon University.

Spencer McCall



Spencer McCall’s first job was traveling the world, producing videos of cloned puppies for a renowned (yet now defunct) pet-cloning company. Since then, he has produced films and designed motion graphics for other ubiquitous companies and products before getting siphoned into the mysterious world of Nonchalance. He is currently teaching Design and Video at San Francisco State University. The Institute is his first feature film.

Dren McDonald



Dren is a game audio professional who has worn many hats over the course of many projects (composer, sound designer, audio director etc). He has worked in-house as Audio Director for Loot Drop (Ghost Recon Commander, Pettington Park), and at 6 Waves/LOLapps where he worked on hit titles such as Ravenwood Fair, and Ravenskye City. As director of NERDTRACKS he's gotten his hands dirty on a bevy of titles for publishers/developers such as Microsoft, 17 Bit, GREE, The Playforge, EA, and Disney Interactive on a variety of platforms. Currently he's also acting as Director of Development for the Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.), spearheading the Indie/Mobile branch of the organization.

Rand Miller


Rand Miller is getting old. He co-founded Cyan with brother Robyn about 30 years ago. 20 years ago they managed to create an unexpected hit called Myst which became the best selling game of the last millennium. He's worked on several products in the years since, and is excited about a couple new things, but claims it must won't be too long until retirement now that Myst is showing up in Museums.

Nate Mitchell



Nate is a software engineer and a product developer. He was formerly a lead product engineer at Scaleform, the leading user interface solution for the video game industry, which was acquired by Autodesk. Nate specializes in business development and strategy for companies with software/hardware products in the video game industry.

Michael Molinari



Michael Molinari is an independent game developer based in California. His work focuses on aesthetic connections between visuals, audio, and design. Many of his experimental games and collaborations revolve around character-driven narrative and the pursuit of a bond between player and character.

Ryan Monday


Ryan Monday has 12 years of experience in the games industry. As Community /Technical Art Director at Havok, Ryan is responsible for building Project Anarchy’s community and works closely with mobile game developers and educational institutes to help improve the user experience and tools in Project Anarchy. Ryan has presented at various developer events across the world including industry leading events like GDC. Prior to joining Havok, Ryan has filled a number of different roles in the areas of evangelism, training and support, art outsourcing, art creation and game scripting. His work has been credited in 10+ console titles.

John Murphy


John Murphy is a game designer. He’s working on Octodad: Dadliest Catch with Young Horses, an indie game studio that he co-founded. John was Executive Producer for Octodad, a 2011 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase Winner. He also works at ChicagoQuest, a middle school and high school in Chicago, where he designs game-based learning materials and experiences. His interests include games for learning, art games, abusive games, persuasive games, and a lot of things that aren’t games. John received a B.S. in Integrative Biology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006, and an M.S. in Game Development at the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University in 2011. He enjoys creating weird and/or joyful and/or meaningful experiences.

Robert Nashak


Robert Nashak most recently was Executive Vice President, Digital Entertainment & Games at BBC Worldwide where he had global responsibility for taking BBC’s top brands like Doctor Who and Top Gear to online, mobile/tablet, social media and console gaming platforms. Prior to BBC, Robert was SVP at Electronic Arts, VP and General Manager of Yahoo! Games, chief creative officer at Glu Mobile, VP of global production at Acclaim Entertainment and held key positions at Vivendi Games and Disney Online. Robert teaches an undergraduate course on the business and management of games at USC's Interactive Media & Games Division.

Luke Noonan


Luke is an international media artist, designer, punk, technologist, educator and noisemaker.
As a member of RUST LTD., he has co-designed and developed a number of innovative, award-winning games. He is also co-founder of Aluminum Records, a Buffalo-based record label dedicated to getting excellent music out to the world and putting people before profits. Luke has a B.S. in Electronic Media Arts and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MFA in Media Arts Production from SUNY Buffalo.

Ross O’Dwyer


Ross O’Dwyer is responsible for overseeing Havok’s worldwide Developer Support function. During his career in Havok, Ross held a number of customer-facing technical roles before assuming responsibility for the overall management of the Developer relations teams across each of the Havok global locations.
Ross is a graduate of University College Dublin with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics and a Higher Diploma in Computer Science.

Hector Padilla



Hector Padilla started making games and digital toys since early high school. He decided to study Electrical Engineering to work on Animatronics, yet shortly after Toy Story 1 came out, and realizing things were bound to change, he switched focus to Computer Science, Graphics and Multimedia. He worked on educational games and tools through his degree in a Media Lab. After graduation, he co-founded a thriving digital arts community in Mexico called KaraOkulta, now with hundreds of members helping each other grow in their craft in arts and game making. His focus on games for entertainment came around 2005 while working in a project with the University of Alberta and Bioware getting students from different majors making games. After grad school, he was co-chair of IGDA in Mexico, and co-founded RadicalGolem where he and his team worked on an original Facebook game. In, early 2010 he joined Zynga before moving on to Director of Engineering at Lively in 2013. In his personal time, he develops indie games.

Phoenix Perry


Phoenix Perry runs Code Liberation Foundation, an organization offering free development workshops and events in order to facilitate the creation of video game titles by women. Because she’s actually part octopus, she’s capable of doing more than a few jobs at the same time. She’s also a Professor at NYU teaching Gaming, Design and Embodiment at Game Center, Poly, ITP and Steinhardt. She received a Master in Science in January 2013 from NYU Poly with her thesis work focusing on creating emotion through embodiment. From digital arts practitioner to Creative Director, she has extensive experience in new media, design, and user interfaces. Perry’s creative work spans a large range of disciplines including drawing, generative art, video, games, interfaces and sound. Her projects have been seen worldwide at venues and festivals including Come out and Play, Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science, Lincoln Center, Transmediale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LAMCA, Harvest Works, Babycastles, European Media Arts Festival, GenArt, Seoul Film Festival and Harvestworks. In 2011 she co-authored the book, Meet the Kinect with Sean Kean and Johnathan Hall. Finally, she has curated since 1996 in a range of cultural venues, the most recent of which is her own gallery, Devotion Gallery. Devotion produced hundreds of shows, classes and events and was a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design from 2009-2013.

Ben Prunty



Ben Prunty is the self-taught musician who wrote and produced the music and sound for FTL: Faster Than Light. He used to work at Google where he diagnosed computer hardware problems and ripped apart machines for fun. He once beat God Hand, and now as a result can only solve problems with punching. He is currently punching music into shape for Gravity Ghost, Scale and a couple of super-secret projects.

Fernando Ramallo



Fernando Ramallo is an independent game developer from Buenos Aires. He has worked on dozens of games both in the industry and independently, from twitchy arcade games to experimental work. He’s currently being backed by the Indie Fund to create PANORAMICAL, an “album of interactive musical landscapes”.

Tim Rogers



Tim Rogers has worked in marketing and design facets of the games industry for many years, yet is perhaps best known for the unpopular and inflammatory opinions he has expressed in articles in various publications over the course of a decade. On his "alternative perspective" game review web log Action Button Dot Net, he gave Bioshock two out of four stars and crowned Gears of War "the game of the decade". He had fantastic reasons for doing both of those things. Some of his most cackling articles are for Kotaku -- a most popular one being "Ten Things I Hate About Skyrim". In 2012, he founded Action Button Entertainment, a boutique games studio whose final goal is to create "the MUJI coffee mug of video games".

Brenda Romero



Brenda Romero is an award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director who entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry. Brenda worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space. She is presently the Game Designer in Residence at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer of Loot Drop, a social and mobile game company.

Brenda serves on the advisory board of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play. She also works with John Romero and The Romero Archives to record game designers discussing their game design process for historical archiving. She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft and previously was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes “12 Women in Gaming to Watch” in 2013 and Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 Magazine in 2010, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007. Nerve magazine also called her one of the 50 artists, actors, authors, activists and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place.

John Romero



John Romero is an award-winning game designer, programmer and artist whose work spans over 130 games, 107 of which have been published commercially, including the iconic works Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM and Quake. Romero has worked in the mobile, core, mid-core, casual, social and MMO space.
Romero is a serial entrepreneur who has founded eight successful companies including companies in the traditional hardcore, MMO and mobile spaces. His contributions and philanthropy within the commercial game industry have led to a myriad of inspired games and the founding of 10 companies. He is considered to be among the world’s top game designers, and his products have won every major award.
One of the earliest “indie” developers, Romero began working in the game space in 1979 on mainframes before moving to the Apple II in 1981. He is a completely self-taught programmer, designer and artist, having drawn his inspirations from early Apple II programmers.
Romero’s current areas of interest are Facebook games and massively multi-player online (MMO) games as well as social media and its intersection with gaming. Romero also remains active in the artgame, game history and indie spaces.

Chloë Rothwell


Managing Partner, lvl UP Marketing
- 15+ year career in interactive entertainment living and working in NA, Europe and Asia Pacific
- Former VP of Global Marketing at Vivendi Games and founding member of two internet startups
- Brand and global go-to-market expertise with focus on digital platforms over last 5 years
- Marketing highlights include launch campaigns for: Crash Bandicoot, Spyro: The Dragon, Scarface, World in Conflict, The Sims, Half-Life, Counter-Strike among many others!

Elizabeth Sampat



Elizabeth Sampat is an award-winning indie tabletop game designer,mobile game designer, and East Coast girl living in California. In her spare time, she has consulted for companies like Failbetter Games and the Nike Foundation.

Her personal projects include a physics-based dating simulator, gory alternate rules for the board game CLUE, and a Twine game about the aftermath of attempting suicide. Elizabeth also made Deadbolt, a game about personal truth and vulnerability.

Sometimes Elizabeth talks about about women in the industry, designed experiences, narrative physics and writes love letters to the medium. She is kind of a feminist, and definitely trouble.

Andy Schatz



Andy has been an indie game developer since 2005, when he launched the IGF nominated ecosystem-sim game Venture Africa.  In 2009 he began work on the prototype of a co-op stealth game, Monaco, which went on to win the Excellence in Design and Grand Prize awards at the 2010 IGF.  Monaco was finally released on PC and XBLA in Spring 2013, and has since sold to about 200,000 heist fans.
Don’t ask him about tapas, Sandra Bullock, or colored denim.  Those things make him mad.

Reed Shaffner


Scopely Vice President of Product

Reed Shaffner is one of the gaming industry’s fastest-rising stars. He has built and led some of the world’s most popular mobile and social products at Zynga and Microsoft and has a proven track record driving product strategy and engaging new audiences.

Prior to joining Scopely, Reed was general manager at Zynga where he oversaw the company’s mobile platform and the Zynga With Friends network. He held various roles at Zynga including director of product for and lead product manager on Café World, during which time he helped establish the Zynga San Diego studio. Reed began his tenure at Zynga as a senior product manager.

Before Zynga, Reed was the senior product manager for Bing Social Search at Microsoft. Prior to that, he was product manager for Microsoft Office, where he was responsible for determining the company’s IT Pro strategy for the product suite, including deployment, application compatibility, user readiness and more.

Reed also is associate partner at Ironfire Capital, which invests in early stage mobile, big data and cloud computing start-ups in China and the U.S.

Reed was previously a research scientist and has co-authored articles in publications including the Journal of Neuroscience. He graduated from Duke University with a degree in public policy.

Emily Short



Emily Short is a creative director working on the Versu project at Linden Lab. She specializes in interactive narrative, especially dialogue models. She is the author of over a dozen works of interactive fiction, including Galatea and Alabaster, which focus on conversation as the main form of interaction, and Mystery House Possessed, a commissioned project with dynamically-managed narrative. She is also part of the team behind Inform 7, a natural-language programming language for creating interactive fiction.

Gabe Smedresman



Gabe Smedresman is a San Francisco-based designer, coder and builder with a passion for games, real-world data, interactive narrative, maps, public space and theater — and the intersections between them. His latest work includes the mixed-reality facebook game Crazy Boat: The Curse of the Trash Vortex (New York Times: "enormously compelling"), cartographic art startup Woodcut Maps (SF Chronicle: "new territory for decor"), and art heist installation game The Hearst Collection (Kotaku: "Look -- we all love lasers"). Gabe is currently the Technology Director at The Go Game, building platforms for live-action urban adventure games running every week across the world.

Max Temkin



Max Temkin is a designer from Chicago, Il. He's worked for good causes like Obama for America and the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, and makes the games Cards Against Humanity, Humans vs. Zombies, and Werewolf. The Atlantic has described Max as "just some guy." Max has a degree in philosophy from Goucher College.

Marc ten Bosch



Marc ten Bosch is an independent game developer based in San Francisco, currently working on Miegakure, a puzzle game that lets you explore and interact with a four-dimensional world.

Sara Thachr



Sara Thachr designs and produces interactive stories that leap between physical and digital platforms. Coming from a studio art background, she brings her aesthetic sense to bear in transmedia experiences that encircle participants in the story letting them inhabit the narrative.
Sara has served as creative producer on a diverse range of projects: from the recent Disney Imagineering alternate reality game, ""The Optimist,"" to indie projects like Nonchalance's ""The Jejune Institute."" She has also contributed her experience design expertise to projects for clients including: Greenpeace, musician Thomas Dolby, the San Francisco Exploratorium, the Zero1 Art and Technology Biennial, the Providence Public Library, and the Go Game.

Jane Tingley



Jane Tingley is a Winnipeg-born artist living and working in Montréal. She received her MFA at Concordia University in 2006 and uses new media, sculpture, and installation to explore ideas involving identity and contemporary experience. Her work spans sculpture and responsive/interactive installation to performative robotics and gestural gaming.  She is one of the founding members of the Modern Nomads and has participated in exhibitions and festivals in Canada, Asia, and Europe - including translife - International Triennial of Media Art at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, the Canadian Embassy and Gallerie Le Deco in Tokyo (JP), Festival Break 2.3 in Ljubljana (SL), Elektra Festival in Montréal(CA) and the Künstlerhause in Vienna (AT).

Kenzie Wilson



With her first game over a month late, 9-year old Kenzie is now an official Indie Game Developer. A 4th grader who stands 5’ tall, Kenzie is the younger sister of 17 and 15 year old brothers, Zach and Chase – both of whom are less-than-thrilled they’ve been credited as the driving force behind Kenzie’s success in creating the RPG, Truth & Trolls. Had they not been so vocal in doubting their younger sister’s ability, Kenzie admits she wouldn’t have been so driven to prove them wrong and certainly wouldn’t have created a $782 Kickstarter campaign with her mom that raised over $20,000 in two days (see Susan Wilson below). In addition to getting more girls into gaming, Kenzie dreams of developing World of Warcraft, Jr., being stealth and owning her own Pikachu.

Susan Wilson



Married 20 years to the same man, Susan is a 43 year old, award-winning serial entrepreneur. Together with her husband Christian, she created Zach, Chase and Kenzie Wilson – three perfectly normal children who, despite being forced into child slavery by their parents, somehow survived and perhaps even thrived. A contender for Mother-of-the-Year 2013, Susan is unemployed and spends her days incubating female entrepreneurs when she’s not relegated to being her daughter’s administrative assistant (see Kenzie Wilson above).

Austin Wintory



Austin Wintory is a composer based in LA, largely known for his hugely successful score to Journey, which became the first video game score soundtrack to ever receive a Grammy nomination. The score subsequently won an Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences D.I.C.E. award, two British Academy Awards, a Spike TV VGA, and IGN’s “Overall Music of the Year,” along with five G.A.N.G. awards and host of others. He has composed for other games, such as flOw, Monaco, Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, Banner Saga, DropChord, and Horn.

Eric Zimmerman



Eric is a veteran game designer who co-founded and ran the award-winning studio Gamelab for 10 years. He is also a professor at the NYU Game Center and has co-authored influential books on game design including Rules of Play. Recent work includes architectural game installations with Nathalie Pozzi, tabletop games Quantum and The Metagame, and the relaunch of the online multiplayer game SiSSYFiGHT 2000.

Karla Zimonja



Karla Zimonja has done a lot of different things in the game industry. None of them made her as happy or proud as working on BioShock 2 and Minerva's Den, until she joined Steve Gaynor and Johnnemann Nordhagen in forming The Fullbright Company and made Gone Home.