Eric Zimmerman

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Eric Zimmerman
Eric Zimmerman game designer (cropped).jpg
Zimmerman in 2010
OccupationGame designer
Known forCo-founder of Gamelab

Eric Zimmerman (born 1969) is an American game designer and the co-founder and CEO of Gamelab, a computer game development company based in Manhattan. GameLab is known for the game Diner Dash. Each year Zimmerman hosts the Game Design Challenge at the Game Developers Conference. He is also the co-author of four books including Rules of Play with Katie Salen, which was published in November 2004.[1] Eric Zimmerman has written at least 24 essays and whitepapers since 1996, mostly pertaining to game development from an academic standpoint. He's currently a founding faculty at the NYU Game Center.


Zimmerman (right) at GDC 2019

Zimmerman develops video games and teaches game design. He has taught at universities including MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, Parsons School of Design, New York University, Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts. He co-designed the 1996 video game Gearheads with Frank Lantz at R/GA Interactive.[2][3] During the game's development, they coined the term "engine" to refer to combinations of toys.[2] Beginning in 2010, he serves as an Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center, within the Tisch School of the Arts.[4]

In 2009, game development company Arkadium acquired Gamelab. Zimmerman continued as workshop director for the company.[5][6]

Since 2009, Zimmerman has created a series of large-scale, performative games for art galleries and public space, in collaboration with architect Nathalie Pozzi. These games include Sixteen Tons,[7][8] Cross My Heart + Hope to Die,[9] Starry Heavens, which was shown at the New York Museum of Modern Art,[10] Interference.[11] and Waiting Rooms, at the Rubin Museum of Art

Zimmerman is a director of the RE:PLAY series of events and activities on gaming that included an exhibition, conference and accompanying book.

The first online game he helped create was a collaboration with called SiSSYFiGHT 2000.

Zimmerman is also a co-writer of a screenplay for a short film Play (2009).[12]

Zimmerman was an Honorary Fellow at Eyebeam from 1997–1999.[13]


  • IndieCade 2010 award – Finalists Choice award for Sixteen Tons[14]
  • IndieCade 2012 – Game Design award for Armada d6 and Interaction award for Interference[15]


  1. ^ "eric zimmerman · writings". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (October 1, 2003). Rules of Play. MIT Press. pp. 166–168. ISBN 978-0-262-24045-1.
  3. ^ Matthew Hawkins (June 16, 2005). "A Man For All Seasons: gameLab's Eric Zimmerman Talks Design, Trends, and the Big Apple". Gamasutra. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  4. ^ Game Center, NYU. "NYU Game Center: People". New York University. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Arkadium acquires game web site". VentureBeat. September 29, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2013.
  6. ^ "Arkadium Acquires Domain, Zimmerman To Lead Free Design Workshops". Gamasutra. September 29, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Sixteen Tons". Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  8. ^ IndieCade 2010 Finalist: Sixteen Tons by Nathalie Pozzi and Eric Zimmerman(archive), Indie Games Channel
  9. ^ ":: Come Out & Play 2010 ::". Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  10. ^ "Starry Heavens: A Life-Size Board Game at NYC's Museum of Modern Art". Global Toy News. October 11, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  11. ^ "Interference". Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "eric zimmerman · film". Archived from the original on October 25, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Eric Zimmerman |". Archived from the original on February 6, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  14. ^ "Indiecade 2010: The Sundance Of Indie Games Comes Back With Style". October 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  15. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (October 12, 2012). "IndieCade 2012 winners announced, Unmanned takes the top prize". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2016.

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