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New York Film Academy Faculty

FACULTY

Game Design Department

Chris Swain Chris Swain
Chair

An industry leader for over twenty years, Swain co-founded the Electronic Arts Game Innovation Lab at USC. He has led over twenty award-winning games and products for companies that include Microsoft, Disney, Sony, Acclaim, BBC, Activision, and many more. He is an in-demand speaker and writer on the game industry and innovation.

Matt Plotecher Matt Plotecher
Associate Chair

Matt has been leading games in the NYC game industry since 2007. He has worked with Microsoft, Nokia, Lionsgate, Konami, the NFL, and other companies. Plotecher has worked with a diversity of game types including casual, core, Facebook, mobile, and alternate reality games. In addition to having articles published in leading game publications, Plotecher has occupied roles that include Lead Game Designer, Producer, Audio Design, Writer, Q&A, and Happiness Officer.

Phoebe Elefante Phoebe Elefante
NY Chair of Game Design

Phoebe Elefante joined New York Film Academy as a Narrative Design instructor in 2014. She has a Masters in Media & Creative Management from Indiana University, and has been a professional Game & Narrative Designer since 2010. Drawing on a background in political science and economics, she synthesizes vast immersive story worlds with multi-platform distribution strategies to meet the demands of 21st century players. As the founder of Mstrmnd Ltd, she developed and produced a print and web magazine, Mstrmnd, designed games and web experiences for several clients, including: CBS, Sprint, Rockstar Games, and Melissa Auf der Maur’s music video project Out Of Our Minds. Phoebe's game credits include Wonder City, a superhero adventure game companion for the award-winning documentary, Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, and a long list of games and apps that target the intersection of play and pedagogy.

Naomi Clark Naomi Clark
Instructor

With over twenty years of creating games, Clark is an in-demand professional game designer in New York City in addition to teaching aspiring game designers. She has designed games for a variety of platforms and players, including the early multiplayer web games Sissyfight 2000, Lego World Builder, Gamestar Mechanic, and Trash Tycoon. She is an active blogger on the topic of games and feminism and is a member of the independent group the Brooklyn Game Ensemble.

Brian Fountain Brian Fountain
Instructor

Brian Fountain is an award winning developer and game designer with more than a decade of experience in transmedia storytelling. He has designed experiences that span multiple platforms, including: mobile, web and live events. His outdoor game, ZOWN, recently debuted at the 2012 Come Out and Play Festival. He and three teammates won the first ever Story Hackathon held at Lincoln Center. He is a co-lyricist and co-composer of the musical Freak Dance which was selected as part of the 2011 Austin Film Festival's Comedy Vanguard Series. He is a co-founder of Prototype161, a transmedia gaming company twice-recognized for excellence by Indiecade. He is also a Senior Agent with the international comedy group Improv Everywhere.

Geoff Fowler Geoff Fowler
Instructor

Geoffrey Fowler created his first online game in 1995 and has twenty years of experience as a professional digital artist and fifteen years of experience developing educational games across multiple platforms. Geoffrey held the title of Muppet Art Director at Sesame Workshop (Children¹s Television Workshop) where he was in charge of digital design and character branding for multiple global children¹s properties including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Pinky Dinky Doo, and DragonTales. After a decade of service to Sesame Street, Geoffrey founded his own design company GreenPig Interactive Inc. whose clients include Viacom, Sesame Workshop, Barnes&Noble, Kodak, Basic Fun, This is Pop! (Adult Swim, A&E, History Channel, Bravo TV, Red Bull, VH1). Currently an instructor at NYFA and a consultant to the Advanced Cognitive Training Systems Group at Aptima, Inc. He received his BFA in Illustration from The School of Visual Arts in 1993.

Andrew Garrahan Andrew Garrahan
Instructor

Andrew is a software engineer and game designer. He has led game projects for OMGPOP, Adult Swim, IBM, A&E, History Channel, Syfy, NBCUniversal, This Is Pop and many other companies.

Bryan Ma Bryan Ma
Instructor

Bryan Ma is a designer and producer from California and New York. Since 2006, he has been an active part of the international game industry community as a developer, educator, and advocate. Previously Senior Game Designer for 2K Games’ Shanghai studio, he has worked on AAA, mobile, social, and independent games for international and Asian markets. His broader project focuses on investigations of global cultural intersections of games, technology, art, and emerging media. He writes about games and design, built an indie arcade cabinet, is a committee member of the Global Game Jam, and has curated experimental game exhibitions in New York and around the world.

Alvaro Olsen Alvaro Olsen
Instructor

Al Olsen is a game designer, specifically, in games for learning. He has a multimedia development experience of over 10 years and his latest interests reside in "neuro-games", cognitive science and affective learning.

Joost Rietveld Joost Rietveld
Instructor

Joost Rietveld is a doctoral candidate in strategy at Cass Business School (London) and a visiting scholar at NYU's Stern School of Business. Joost's research interests include competitive dynamics between complements in platform-based markets, and the impact of digital distribution on business model design in content-driven industries. Joost has a profound interest in the market for video games in which he was active as a consultant before entering academia. During his time as strategic manager at digital games developer Two Tribes, Joost helped setting up a digital publishing subsidiary and assisted in bringing to market successful games including Toki Tori (WiiWare, iOS) and a game based on the popular Ice Age movie (iOS). Recently, the UK trade association for interactive entertainment (Ukie) embarked on a research project with Joost investigating business model design for game producers in the setting of digital distribution. Joost's research has been published in a number of academic outlets including Research Policy, as well as in various trade publications including Gamasutra. Joost started teaching for NYFA in spring 2014. Come fall 2014 Joost will also be a part-time faculty at NYU's Game Center.

Noah Sasso Noah Sasso
Instructor

Noah Sasso is a game designer with a background in music production and sound design. His work has appeared in the LA Times, Pitchfork Media, Polygon, Kotaku, Real Tokyo, Vice Magazine, XLR8R and more.

Neal Sinno Neal Sinno
Instructor

Neal Sinno brings 15 years experience in market opportunity assessment, product development, and sales management. Prior to joining Arkadium, Neal was Vice President of Business Development at Game Trust. There he managed key relationships with partners to develop network, channel, search and advertising opportunities, and was a member of the executive team responsible for the company's acquisition by Real Networks. Prior to his role at Game Trust, Neal worked at Mellon Financial Corp, where he was the Director of E‐Commerce Product Development. Within his role there, he led a global team of developers, designers and actuaries to create state of the art web‐based financial applications. A seasoned sales and e‐business product specialist, Neal has also held key leadership roles at The New York Times and Lucent Technologies. Neal sits on the board of advisors for the Casual Games Association and frequently speaks at key industry events.

Emily Treat Emily Treat
Instructor

Emily has an extensive background as a producer and designer of educational games. Working as a Senior Producer, Emily is extending her expertise to oversee social impact game projects at the Games for Change Lab. As a designer-producer, she works closely with impact partners, designers, developers, and other team members to produce and advise on high quality games that meet the high standards and mission of Games for Change. Emily began her career at Leapfrog where she worked on a range of e-learning platforms and products for children and teens. Since then, she has worked as coordinator of the Scratch software and online community at the MIT Media Lab, produced learning games for 360KID, and worked in Kaplan Inc’s international office in London as lead designer and producer of an expansive online virtual world for language learning. Emily graduated from Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center in 2006 and earned her BA in Fine Arts and Cultural History, also at Carnegie Mellon.

Greg Trefry Greg Trefry
Instructor

Greg Trefry has wide array of experience designing games—everything from web-based MMOs to hit casual games to alternate reality games. He co-founded the game design studio Gigantic Mechanic to explore the bounds of game design through mobile games that interact with the real-world. He serves as director of the Come Out & Play Festival, a festival of street games in New York City. Greg also teaches at New York University and recently wrote the book, Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us.

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