(b. 1970) is a programmer notable for co-founding the video game company Naughty Dog
with childhood friend Jason Rubin
in 1986. Naughty Dog
's games (most famously, Crash Bandicoot
) are known for their combination of exceptional technology, great graphics, and polished gameplay. The sophistication of Naughty Dog
technology is often credited to Gavin's background in LISP
at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Gavin studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. where he did research for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
on the Mars Rover Vision Project, under his advisor Rod Brooks
. While still a student, Gavin learned the computer programming language LISP
. Influences from M.I.T. and his own work lead 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. He also has a B.S. from Haverford College
in Neuro Biological Science.
Together, Gavin and Rubin sold their first video game called Math Jam in 1985. A few games later they sold Keef the Thief
in 1989 to Electronic Arts
. In the early 90’s, they created a fighting game called Way of the Warrior
which eventually led to a multi-title deal with Universal Interactive Studios. 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 segueing into the successful 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), 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: Warped (1998), Crash Team Racing (1999), Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001), Jak 2 (2003), Jak 3 (2004) and Jak X: Combat Racing (2005).
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.
Shortly after leaving Naughty Dog, Gavin co-founded a new Internet startup called Flektor with his former business partner, Jason Rubin, and former HBO executive Jason Kay. In May 2007, the company was sold to Fox Interactive Media, which is a division of News Corp. 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 presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.
Gavin continues to work for Fox Interactive Media.