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[ Leaders ]

David Engel, CEO

David Engel founded Nuukster to bring innovative, fun and meaningful content to the mobile-social gaming industry. A serial entrepreneur, software developer, location-based technology subject matter expert and biology enthusiast, Dave brings a unique perspective to game development.

Prior to Nuukster, Dave spent ten years spearheading the development of geolocation technology programs and providing GPS consulting to the commercial and government sectors.

At Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, Dave led software development for revolutionary GPS receiver systems. Dave then joined Mayflower Communications, where he managed technology programs and headed up business development, branding Mayflower’s product line while attracting significant technology funding.

True to his entrepreneurial spirit, Dave then founded iRecognize, a GPS consulting company, to address the GPS integration needs of small to midsize businesses and, of course, Nuukster.

A results-driven leader, Dave is adept at managing fast-paced, high value projects. When not obsessing over game mechanics with his team, Dave can usually be found tapping frantically at his iPhone, conducting “research” on the latest games.


Gabor Szikszai, Lead Artist

Over his thirty year career as an internationally-renowned artist, Gabor Szikszai has been recognized for his achievements many times, winning awards including Hungary’s Galaktika Award (1989), Germany’s Kurd Lasswitz Preis (1999), an ASFA Chesley Award (2006) and InQuest Gamer’s Artist of the Year Award (2006). Having been a key illustrator for Lucasfilm, Hasbro and Activision-Blizzard, Gabor’s vision has helped shape billion-dollar brands including World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and Star Wars and earned him a worldwide fan base.


Gabor recently switched continents, trading in his Budapest digs for Boston and is excited to bring his creative vision for Nuukster’s projects to life.


In addition to his tremendously successful career as an illustrator, Gabor has taught art and art history at the university level. He is an avid gamer and a lover of the beautiful game (soccer, for the Americans).


John M. Astell, Lead Game Designer

John is an innovative, creative, award-winning game and application designer with over forty published titles. John has designed games and apps for mobile phones, the web, Facebook, PC, Kindle, print and other formats. John’s recent published work include Facebook and PC music game Rhythm Zone, mobile apps Crazy Night Out, Name That Tune v3, Dream Shots and ringtone-creator ToneMaker v6.

John is a contributing designer on many mobile applications including Pocket Farmer, Redneck Racing, Diner Dash Hometown Hero, America’s Top Hotties, Name That Movie, Name That Music Video, and Mad Libs.

Some of John’s career highlights include: Name That Tune, a bestselling mobile game and The Next President, a 1992 presidential campaign simulation for the online service Prodigy and one of the first commercial massively multiplayer games with over 250,000 players. John won a CES innovations award for creating the first interactive game ever to use hit movie footage: RoboCop VCR Game. His design Scorched Earth won GAMA’s Origins Award for best simulation game.

John has worked in the game industry for three decades in design and management positions including lead game designer, senior technical writer, director of design and interface, and entertainment software manager. Before joining Nuukster, John ran his own game consultancy with clients including Sonic Boom, Sonic Branding Solutions, Zingy, and Vindigo. John has also worked at game startups and established game companies, including the Massachusetts game studios of THQ, Inc.

John is an avid player of all types of games. His current interests include mastering the quests in Skyrim (done!), gaining the coveted Level 138 spot in RuneScape (1 level to go!) and building Orthanc Cir in Minecraft.