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Carol Mertz

Carol Mertz is an independent game designer, Executive Director of indie game conference PixelPop Festival, and MFA graduate of the NYU Game Center. Having worked for over a decade in interactive arts and media, her portfolio of work centers around multidisciplinary projects that expand our perspective, help us learn about ourselves and each other, and challenge the typical boundaries of play. See more of her work at

Why are you studying games?
Games have a lot of unrealized potential, and I want to be among the artists exploring their possibilities.
Describe your favorite project made by a classmate.
There are too many favorites. I'll highlight "Get Through," by Shirley Huang (an emotionally-charged puzzle-platformer where you vary your communication styles to navigate the world), and "Yumi's Home," by Emperatriz Ung, Poe Sriwatanathamma, Xiaoxun Yu, Maria Mishurenko, and Shak'ar Mujukian (a lovely yet heart-wrenching vignette-style narrative game that takes a close look at mental health and family responsibility). Both have game pages on this website—you should check them out.
Describe your most embarrassing playtesting moment.
You can't get embarrassed when you're playtesting. OWN THOSE BUGS!
What's your secret weapon?
I don't procrastinate. Most of the time.
Describe one memorable lecture, assignment, or exercise you've had at the Game Center.
The entirety of Prototype Studio was the most memorable and impactful educational experience of my academic career. Making a game a week for an entire semester was immensely empowering and formative.
How has the Game Center changed your thinking about games?
It's been great to have more opportunities to research and reflect on the cultural impact of games. I now have a deeper understanding of my role (and power) as a designer; being at the Game Center has encouraged me to reflect more deeply on my design values and the impact of my work.
What do you hope to accomplish after school?
As much as I can.
What's the last great game you played and what's great about it?
A few of us in our first year played Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes in our graduate lab quite a bit. It was so incredible to see how we collaborated, coped with stress, and adjusted how we communicated with each other. I'm really inspired by cooperative games that put a strong emphasis on communication.
What's your favorite New York City spot?
40°39'44.9"N 73°58'19.0"W