Founded by Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin in 1984 while they were still in high school, the company was originally named “JAM Software”. The first game developed was a an educational game called Math Jam in 1985. It was a huge success in the school but they needed several approvals from teachers, psychologists and references from principals from different school districts which they couldn’t get so they decided to just give it to the school instead of selling it.
Their second game was a skiing title for the Apple II, however during the production stage Andy Gavin accidentally copied other games over their single copy of the skiing game. Soon after they remade the game and called it Ski Crazed. The game had problems as it ran slowly, so Gavin reprogrammed it to play faster. The Game was published by Baudville, bought for only $250 from Jam Software.
Their next project was a graphic adventure game for the Apple IIGS titled Dream Zone, released in 1988 and made compatible with the Atari ST, Amiga and PC.
As Naughty Dog
In 1989 Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin renamed JAM Software as Naughty Dog. They released a game titled Keef the Thief, published by Electronic Arts for the PC, Amiga and Apple IIGS.
Naughty Dog then created Rings of Power in 1991, also published by Electronic Arts for the Mega Drive/SEGA Genesis.
Jason Rubin and Andy Gavin along with some friends then produced Way of the Warrior, a 3DO Interactive Multiplayer game, which was then presented to Mark Cerny of the Universal Interactive Studios (now defunct Vivendi Games). Pleased with Way of the Warrior, Cerny signed Naughty Dog for three additional games with Universal Interactive Studios.
Naughty Dog planned to create the first 3D action-platform game. Because the player would always see the character’s backside from their perspective, the game was jokingly called “Sonic’s Ass Game”.
They began production in 1994, and Naughty Dog increased its number of employees and created a game programming language called “Game Oriented Object Lisp (GOAL)” to create characters and improve gameplay. Charles Zembillas and Joe Pearson, two cartoonists, were recruited as character designers and so the main character Crash Bandicoot was born. the game was presented to Sony Computer Entertainment after 14 months of development, and they signed for the game to be published.
Crash Bandicoot was presented for the first time at E3 and released in 1996, it became one of the best-selling games for the PlayStation selling over 6.8 million copies, and making Crash Bandicoot one of the most well known video game characters and considered a PlayStation mascot.
Since then Naughty Dog has released two more Crash Bandicoot titles, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back in 1997 and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped in 1998. Naughty Dog then decided a change of pace was in need and created Crash Team Racing in 1999, a fully 3D racing game, and the last Crash Bandicoot title created by Naughty dog.
In 2001 Naughty Dog was acquired by Sony and left Crash Bandicoot behind, starting work on the Jak and Daxter franchise for the PlayStation 2.
Jak and Daxter: the Precursor Legacy released in 2001 was the first PlayStation 2 game by Naughty Dog and it’s sequels Jak II (2003), Jak 3 (2004) and Jak X: Combat Racing (2005) were a huge success.
In 2007 Naughty Dog took full advantage of the new PlayStation 3 system and created Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, praised for its highly realistic levels and characters, cinematic experience and technical advancement. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009) and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011) were both a big success as well, winning several awards.
In the Spike TV Video Game Awards in 2011, Naughty Dog revealed The Last of Us, a survival horror action-adventure title. Set to be released on May 7 2013.