Developer BiographyMarc followed High School graduation with six years on active duty in the U.S. Army, which included two 12 month tours in Vietnam, leaving the service as a paratrooper, with The Combat Infantryman's Badge, The Air medal with 2 Oak Leaf clusters, and a Bronze Star, The Vietnamese Ranger Badge, and the rank of Captain at age 25.
He was then, based on a sketch portfolio from his time in Asia, offered advanced placement and a scholarship to study design and Illustration at the highly regarded Art Center College of design, in L.A. CA. He graduated with a BFA in Illustration, with honors. He began his free lance career in the San Francisco Bay area just in time for the development of the high tech sector in Silicon Valley.
In addition to doing a great deal of highly technical Illustration work for groups like Varian, Intel, Coherent Technologies, and many others, as well as art for the San Francisco Forty Niners, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants, and the Oakland Raiders, he was sought out by fledgling gaming companies like Broderbund and Mediagenic for the development and execution of video game cover illustrations.
Early meetings with Doug Carlston and his brother Gary, of Broderbund fame, working out of a quonset hut on 4th Street, San Rafael, took on a very creative feel. Marc sketched, watched beta gameplay, developed characters on the fly, and generally enjoyed the open idea environment encouraged by the Carlstons. This led to some memorable collaborations and illustrations for the very early Broderbund products: 'David's Midnight Magic', 'Track Attack', 'Choplifter', 'Drol', 'Spare Change', 'Stellar Shuttle', and 'Sky Blazer' among others. This relationship garnered Marc an early entre into the heated and creative world of gaming cover art.
Marc was then called by Atari to create the iconic Galaga art for their Atari 7800 series, and to work on an Indy car race game, where he would suggest the over the driver's shoulder cockpit view (Mt Fuji in the background) for the 'Pole Position II' add-on kit. Atari liked the art so much that it was subsequently used widely in posters and advertising. Sega Genesis called from its Hayward campus asking for ideas on 'G-Loc', and 'Thunder Force II', as Marc rapidly sketched aircraft twisting in aerial combat. He was also invited in for the beginning of a strong run with SNK, on Sobrante Way in Sunnyvale, for sketches and final art on 'P.O.W.: Prisoner of War', 'Guerrilla War', and 'Ikari III the Rescue'.
It was in these sorts of illustrations that his combat experiences led to strong relationships with Keith Zabalaouie, and Ed Rains, at Three Sixty Pacific. The first launch he worked with them on was the very tense and exciting 'Das Boot', where Marc envisioned a fleeing U-Boat slicing through curtains of refracted sunlight under the waves, being attacked with numerous exploding depth charges, while in the dim depths behind them their target plunges in a column of escaping oxygen to it's watery grave. It was at Three Sixty Pacific that Marc sketched diverging enemies in combat, each thrusting outward from the center, forming a reflection of the V for Victory, and framed the series of illustrations that became 'V for Victory' series: 'Utah Beach', 'Velikye Luki', 'Market Garden', and 'Gold Juno Sword'. Marc also designed and executed the 'V for Victory' logo. There was also an illustration for 'V for Victory Pacific Campaign' that was never used, as 360 Pacific struggled. This team also worked on the Old Dog series based on Dale Brown's novels.
Marc became involved in early educational series from The Learning Company, on titles like TLC's 'Operation Neptune', and HESware Education's 'Turtle Toyland Junior', he used his cartooning skills, developing character studies based on the gameplay.
As Mediagenic became Activision, Marc began working on Karate International's U.S. release 'Chop 'N Drop', and an epic naval battle scene for their release of 'Ocean Ranger'. Calls came from Electronic Arts, contracting him for 'Delta Patrol', 'Harley's Humongous Adventure' and 'Super Baseball 2020', and others. Tengen joined the requests for Marc's services. 'Vindicators' and 'Blasteroids', and 'Afterburner' followed. Strategic Simulations offered assignments for titles Like 'First Over Germany', 'Overrun!' and 'Storm Across Europe'.
The years between 1981 and 2002 saw Marc engaged in the execution of well over an estimated two hundred separate illustrations for video game covers, posters, prints, and advertising purposes, as well as a series of covers and interior illustrations for magazines like PC Games, and Gamepro, (actually doing the art for the very first inaugural issue of GamePro), in addition to his other illustrations that were called for throughout San Francisco, the Bay Area, and nationally.
There were additionally many toy product illustration commissions from Galoob Toys, Marvel Toys, and the Original San Francisco Toy Company and Tyco Toys, where he created all the illustrations for The Incredible Crash Test Dummies and their archenemies the Junk Bots, and the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs franchises. He continued to do many tech cutaway pieces, cartoon pieces, and editorial work, and was particularly fond of a full page editorial illustration for the Baltimore Sun Times Sunday edition on the relevance of the novel 'Catch 22', given the recent wars in the Middle East.
Marc continues to free lance today from his home studio in Orinda, California, storyboarding for major agencies, doing presentation art for clients like Academy Design for The Franklin Institute, The Ford Aviation Museum in Dearborn Michigan, The Evergreen Aviation Museum, and The California Academy of Sciences, and Weldon Exhibits for the National Hot Rod Museum in Pamona , CA., and Museo Papalote Children's Museum in Mexico City, as well as finished illustrations for clients like Clorox, Hidden Valley Ranch, Kingsford Charcoal and many others. He is also gathering material to produce a line of prints based on his experiences producing game covers, allowing fans of vintage gaming a chance to see the clean versions of his original gaming art, as it was delivered to his clients.
Contributed by Marker (507) on May 02, 2012. [revised by : Marker (507)].
Marc Ericksen, Studio, Jan. 2012