2013 Judges

In 2013, we were honored with a team of skilled judges from various fields of gaming, including UCSC alumni, a games journalist, and long-running professional game designers. (Their bios here were written at the time of the Sammys they judged, and may be out of date.)

Dave Cowling


Dave Cowling is Vice President of Technology for Activision. He has worked on videogame tech for almost twenty years – starting at Sega on 3D engines for the 32X and Saturn and spending many years at Neversoft where he led the original Spiderman PS1 team, worked on Gun, all nine Tony Hawks and many, many versions of Guitar Hero. In his current role he oversees technology development across Activision’s key titles.

AJ Glasser


AJ Glasser is a Bay Area games journalist with seven years of editorial experience both online and in print. Her studies in virtual communities and background in news reporting have consistently increased traffic to every site on which she’s worked. But the real reason people keep hiring her is to hear horror stories from her days of localization and quality assurance testing in manga and video games. She holds a master’s in journalism from Stanford University and a bachelor of arts in international relations from Mills College.

Zach Lindblad

After graduating from UCSC in 2012, and leading the Hello World team to victory in the 2nd annual Sammy Awards, Zach Went on to work for Roblox. Over the past year Zach has developed promotional games for properties such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lego Hero Factory, and made example projects for kids to use when making their own Roblox games. In his spare time, Zach Continues independent development, Participating in competitions and jams like the Ludum Dare, Global Game Jam, and the Game A Month Challenge.

Justin Molyneaux


A graduate from UCSC, Justin has been responsible for creating some of the world’s best known casual online and mobile games, that he and his team conceived, produced, and published at addictinggames.com. He worked as a creative Game Producer at AddictingGames for six years. He now is Executive Games Producer at Games2win, where he has continued to produce high quality casual games for mobile platforms.

Jane Pinckard

Jane Pinckard is the former associate director of the Center for Games and Playable Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is internationally known for her long-running blog GameGirlAdvance, which explores games and art in a broader cultural context. In 2005, she co-created The 1Up show, a weekly video internet show about game culture for the 1Up Network. An expert in gaming, she has lectured at Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and Whitman College and served as a non-resident fellow at Stanford Law School in Lawrence Lessig’s Law in Virtual Societies class.

Joanna Stringer


Joanna graduated from UCSC in 2009 with a BA in Fine Arts. During her time in industry, she has worked in various art roles on a number of independent and mobile titles. She is currently a Senior UI Artist at TinyCo in San Francisco, designing user experiences and creating interface graphics for some of the the mobile industry’s leading games.

Brian Upton

Brian Upton Headshot

Brian Upton has been in the game industry since the mid 90’s. In 1996 he
helped found Red Storm Entertainment, where he was the lead designer on the
original Rainbow Six and the original Ghost Recon. For the last decade
he’s been a Senior Game Designer with Sony Santa Monica, providing design
critique and support on a number of PlayStation titles.

Sam Wolpert


Sam graduated from UCSC’s Computer Science: Computer Game Design program in 2012. His senior project, Firewall, won the Design Innovation Award at the 2012 Sammy Awards. After graduating from UCSC Sam went to work at 343 Industries, where he helped ship Halo 4. Sam continues to work at 343 as a gameplay engineer.