Andy Gavin

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Andy Gavin
Gavin smiling to the camera, wearing sunglasses
Gavin in 2009
Andrew Scott Gavin

(1970-06-11) June 11, 1970 (age 50)
  • Entrepreneur
  • game designer
  • novelist
  • programmer
Years active1984–present
EmployerMaker Studios/Disney Digital Network (2015–present)
Naughty Dog (1984–2004)

Andrew Scott Gavin (born June 11, 1970) is an American video game programmer, designer, entrepreneur, and novelist. In the video game industry, he is known for co-founding the video game company Naughty Dog with childhood friend Jason Rubin in 1986, where games such as Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter were released to critical acclaim.[1] The sophistication of Naughty Dog technology is often credited to Gavin's background in LISP at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.[2]


Gavin earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiological Science from Haverford College.[3] Gavin studied for his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he carried out research for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the Mars Rover Vision Project, under his advisor Rod Brooks.[4] While still a student, Gavin learned the computer programming language LISP. Influences from M.I.T. and his own work led him to develop a number of custom programming languages that improved the quality of graphics, controls, sounds, and artificial intelligence in Naughty Dog video games.


Naughty Dog Wrap Party, Santa Monica, CA

Gavin and Rubin sold their first video game, Math Jam, in 1985. In 1989, they sold Keef the Thief[5] to Electronic Arts. In the early '90s, their fighting game, Way of the Warrior, led to a multi-title deal with Universal Interactive Studios.[6] It was under the auspices of this Universal deal that they produced the multi-million selling Crash Bandicoot series from 1994 until 1999, and later segued into the critically acclaimed Jak and Daxter series of games. At the end of 2000, Rubin and Gavin sold Naughty Dog to Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). All in all, they created 14 Naughty Dog games, including Math Jam (1985), Ski Crazed (1986),[7] Dream Zone (1987), Keef the Thief (1989), Rings of Power (1991), Way of the Warrior (1994), Crash Bandicoot (1996), Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997), Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (1998), Crash Team Racing (1999), Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001), Jak II (2003), Jak 3 (2004), and Jak X: Combat Racing (2005). Together, these games have sold over 35 million units and generated over $1 billion in revenue.[8]

While at Naughty Dog, Gavin developed two LISP dialects for use in game development, GOOL (Game Object Oriented Lisp) and its successor GOAL (Game Oriented Assembly Lisp). These represented a departure from the mainstream in terms of language choice, and featured some innovations in design.[9]

Shortly after leaving Naughty Dog in 2004, Gavin co-founded a new Internet startup called Flektor with his former business partner, Jason Rubin, and former HBO executive Jason R. Kay. In May 2007, the company was sold to Fox Interactive Media, which is a division of News Corp.[10] Fox has described the company as: "a next-generation Web site that provides users with a suite of Web-based tools to transform their photos and videos into dynamic slideshows, postcards, live interactive presentations, and video mash-ups." In October 2007, Flektor partnered with its sister company MySpace, and MTV to provide instant audience feedback via polls for the interactive MySpace / MTV Presidential Dialogues series with then-presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.[11]

Gavin left Fox Interactive Media in 2008. In 2009, he announced a return to the video game business with his Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin. They have formed a new social game startup called Monkey Gods that is working on a new version of Snood along with a casual word game called MonkWerks.[12]

In recent years, Gavin has turned to novel writing. His first novel, the dark historical fantasy, The Darkening Dream, was published in December 2011.[13] His second novel Untimed, which involves time travel, was released on December 19, 2012.[14]



Game Title Release Platform Role
Math Jam 1985 Apple II Programmer
Ski Crazed 1986 Apple II Programmer
Dream Zone 1987 Commodore Amiga, Apple II Programmer
Keef the Thief 1989 Commodore Amiga, Apple II, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Programmer
Rings of Power 1991 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Programmer/Designer
Way of the Warrior 1994 3DO Producer/Programmer/Designer
Crash Bandicoot 1996 PlayStation Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back 1997 PlayStation Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped 1998 PlayStation Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Crash Team Racing 1999 PlayStation Chief Technology Officer
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy 2001 PlayStation 2 Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Jak II 2003 PlayStation 2 Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Jak 3 2004 PlayStation 2 Producer/Lead Programmer/Designer
Jak X: Combat Racing 2005 PlayStation 2 Extra Special Thanks
Daxter 2006 PlayStation Portable Special Thanks
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune 2007 PlayStation 3 Special Thanks


Title Release Genre
The Darkening Dream 2011 Dark fantasy
Untimed 2012 Time travel


  1. ^ "Death Match: The Hit Squad". Wired (9.05). May 2001.
  2. ^ "Franz Inc Customer Applications: Naughty Dog Software". Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Kim Pallister. "Rendering to Texture Surfaces Using DirectX 7". Gamasutra.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Keef the Thief: A Boy and His Lockpick for Amiga (1989)". MobyGames. Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Meston, Zach (February 1995). "Electric Word: Naughty Dog Does Good". Wired (3.02).
  7. ^
  8. ^ Purchese, Robert. "Devs don't need producers – Naughty Dog". Eurogamer.
  9. ^ Stephen White. "Postmortem: Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy". Gamasutra.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 16, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Barack Obama Fields Tough Questions At MTV/MySpace Forum". MTV. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Crash Bandicoot creators speak out on forming new game company | GamesBeat | Games | by Dean Takahashi". 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "The Darkening Dream". All Things Andy Gavin. Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Untimed". All Things Andy Gavin. Retrieved 2016-03-29. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)