Dave Gilbert (game designer)

Dave Gilbert (game designer)
Dave Gilbert
Born David Gilbert
March 31, 1976 (1976-03-31) (age 35)
Residence New York, NY
Nationality American
Alma mater Boston University
Spouse Janet Gilbert (2009–present)
Children 0

Dave Gilbert is a designer of independent adventure games using Adventure Game Studio. He started out with home-made, freeware games, but went professional in 2006, founding Wadjet Eye Games and releasing The Shivah and The Blackwell Legacy commercially.


Game design career

Gilbert's first adventure game was The Repossessor in 2001, an entry in the Reality-on-the-Norm series (a shared universe for adventure games started by Ben Croshaw). He went on to make three more RON titles, which gained a reputation for being among the better games in the series.[citation needed] In 2003, Gilbert released Bestowers of Eternity — Part One, a game about a young woman who inherits a family ghost when her aunt dies in an insane asylum. It went on to win multiple awards in the 2003 AGS Awards.[1]

In 2004, the AGS Forums organized the AGS Team Challenge, an informal contest where teams worked together to create an adventure game. Gilbert designed and wrote Two of a Kind for the contest. The game included two playable characters with different abilities and personalities, an unusual feature in an adventure game. This was one of only two games completed (the other was The Hamlet) by the deadline, and both were declared co-winners. Two of a Kind received positive reviews, and won an AGS Award for Best Gameplay.

In the summer of 2006, Gilbert produced The Shivah, one of the first videogames to star a rabbi, for MAGS, the monthly one-month AGS game contest (which it won). After its release, Gilbert decided to rework the freeware version, improving the graphics, adding new puzzles and voice acting, and releasing it as a commercial title. The game got good reviews and received considerable attention in the press,[2] [3] mainly because of its subject matter. It even earned some criticism in the Israeli press.[4] The Shivah is sold through Manifesto Games on a non-exclusive basis.

Turning his hobby into a professional career, Gilbert decided to become a full-time game designer. He founded Wadjet Eye Games to sell The Shivah and his forthcoming titles. A few months later, in December 2006, The Blackwell Legacy was released. This game was partially a much-improved remake of Bestowers of Eternity (revamping the earlier project which he considered to be over-ambitious [5]), but continued past the end of the earlier game, telling more of the story. The Blackwell Legacy is intended as the first installment of an episodic game. The second game, a prequel called Blackwell Unbound, was released 4 September 2007.

In February 2008, a publishing deal was announced between Wadjet Eye Games and PlayFirst.[6] Under the agreement, Wadjet Eye Games would develop a casual adventure game for PlayFirst. The resulting game, Emerald City Confidential, a noir story set in the world of Oz, was released on 19 February 2009.[7]


In 2007, Dave Gilbert's Wadjet Eye studios was nominated for Best New Studio in the prestigious Game Developers Choice Awards[8] and presented The Shivah at the associated Game Developers Conference.[9] Dave was also awarded the AGS Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2007[10] to go along with his other 8 AGS Awards. In 2008, Gamasutra listed Dave and Wadjet Eye as one of their top 20 breakthrough developers.[11]


Dave Gilbert is Jewish, a background he drew on in making The Shivah. However, he claims that he is not at all religious, despite this, he feels a strong connection to his Jewish heritage beyond its religious aspect.[12]

Gilbert spent some years in South Korea, teaching English as a second language and spent some time exploring China. He now lives in New York City with his wife Janet.



  • The Repossessor (Reality-on-the Norm)
  • The Postman Only Dies Once (Reality-on-the Norm)
  • Purity of the Surf (Reality-on-the Norm)
  • A Better Mousetrap (Reality-on-the Norm)
  • Bestowers of Eternity — Part One
  • Two of a Kind

Commercial (Wadjet Eye Games)


  1. ^ AGS Awards 2003 (cited 20 February 2009)
  2. ^ Gamasutra, Are there any Jews in the Audience?
  3. ^ CNN.com coverage of The Shivah
  4. ^ Scan of article in Maariv translation to English (cited 31 December 2006)
  5. ^ Adventuregamers.com interview with Dave Gilbert
  6. ^ PlayFirst Signs Acclaimed Developer Wadjet Eye Games to Publishing Deal PlayFirst Feb 18 2008 press release, via Reuters (cited 20 February 2009).
  7. ^ PlayFirst Releases Emerald City Confidential, A Noir-Inspired Twist on the Book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz PlayFirst Feb 19 2009 press release, via Yahoo! Finance (cited 20 February 2009)
  8. ^ Game Choice Awards nominees (cited 12 February 2007)
  9. ^ Game Developers Conference 2007 Session Info: The Shivah (cited 12 February 2007)
  10. ^ AGS Awards for 2006 winners (cited 12 February 2007)
  11. ^ Gamasutra Top 20 Breakthrough Developers (cited 20 October 2008)
  12. ^ Adventure Classic Gaming interview with Dave Gilbert (cited 17 February 2009)

External links

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