Posted on November 19th, 2016
by Sofia Staab-Gulbenkian

Nick Crockett

Age: 24
Hometown: Grass Valley, CA
Prior Education: UCLA, B.A. in Design Media Arts
Current City: Pittsburgh, PA
Role in UCLA Game Lab: Game Lab Resident, 2012-2016



Pachinko with Nick
TV Pals
Sneaky Cactus
Tap-Out Saga
Black Friday
Defender Of The American Dream
And many more!


Notable Shows/Exhibitions/Awards

UCLA Game Art Festival 2013, 2012
Amber Platform Festival, Istanbul
GDC Wild Rumpus After Party
San Francisco Giant Robot Game Night no. 25, Los Angeles
Northern Spark – Minneapolis Popup Arcade, Los Angeles


What are you doing now?

I am currently working on Vietnam Romance and pursuing my M.F.A. at Carnegie Mellon University, with a focus on games and media art.




How would you describe your experience at UCLA Game Lab?

What sets the Game Lab apart from programs I’ve seen at other schools, I think, is its focus on the inherent value of play and games, and also an openness to considering the aesthetics, systems, contexts, and content of games as all worthy of study. We have a really special culture here that emphasizes personal expression and risk-taking, encourages constant re-examination (and often rejection) of tropes in games that many of us steeped in gaming culture take for granted. Also, the lab’s unique position at UCLA allows us to bring extremely talented artists, visual designers, writers – often people who never thought they would make a game – into games, all of whom bring fresh perspectives and make lots of great work.


What did you find valuable at UCLA Game Lab? What did you learn during your time here?

The most valuable thing is the community. The Game Lab represents a wonderful community of makers; everyone has unique skills and perspectives which we all share with one another. I’ve been really enriched by the diversity of people, practices, and ideas here, and feel like my work (and life in general) are much better for it.
Working in the Game Lab has had a transformative effect on the way I think about making games. It’s expanded the way I think about the contexts that games can exist in and the kinds of ideas that can be expressed through them. It’s also where I was first exposed to and really dug in to the formal study of games, although my understanding is that the formal aspect of games is emphasized less ardently here than other academic game programs.



What would you tell other prospective students about UCLA Game Lab?

It’s a really special place. I don’t know that there’s any other lab that has this position between the worlds of art and games, nor do I know if there’s a university games program that emphasizes the inherent value of games (as opposed to games for commercial purposes, games for change, gamifying your life/business, etc.) in quite the same way.


What do you want to do in the future?

I’m interested in a lot of different things! On the one hand I’ve made several games that use satire and role-play to critique social and political happenings in the US, and on the other I’ve made a number of short-form games that play with interface to put players in uncomfortable (but hopefully fun-inducing) situations. In the future, I’d like to find some way of merging those two channels in a meaningful way. Working on Vietnam Romance has made me really excited about the possibilities of site-specific games that function as performances or social events. More and more, I’m seeing that as an avenue for this merger of interface and content.