🐳 Moby v2023.12.02

Marc William Ericksen

aka: Marc Ericksen, Mark Erickson, Marc W. Ericksen
Moby ID: 25

Biography edit · view history

Marc 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 Los Angeles. He graduated with a BFA in Illustration with honors. He began his freelance 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, the San Jose Sharks, the San Francisco Giants, and the Oakland Raiders, he was sought out by fledgling gaming companies like Brøderbund and Mediagenic for the development and execution of video game cover illustrations.

Early meetings with Doug Carlston and his brother Gary, of Brøderbund 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 Brøderbund products: 'David's Midnight Magic', 'Track Attack', 'Choplifter', 'Drol', 'Spare Change', 'Stellar Shuttle', and 'Sky Blazer' among others. This relationship garnered Marc an early entry 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 IndyCar race game, where he would suggest the over-the-driver's-shoulder cockpit view (with 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 with illustrations on these military themes 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 by numerous exploding depth charges, while in the dim depths behind them their target plunges in a column of escaping oxygen to its 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 the '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 Three-Sixty Pacific struggled. This team also worked on the Old Dog series based on Dale Brown's novels.

Marc became involved in early educational video games, on titles like The Learning Company's 'Operation Neptune' and HESware Education's 'Turtle Toyland Junior', where 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', 'Super Baseball 2020' and others. Tengen joined in with the requests for Marc's services. 'Vindicators', 'Blasteroids' and 'Afterburner' followed. Strategic Simulations, Inc. 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 such as PC Games and Gamepro (actually doing the art for its very first inaugural issue!), in addition to his other illustration work that was called for throughout San Francisco, the Bay Area, and nationally.

There were additionally many toy product illustration commissions from Galoob Toys, Marvel Toys, the Original San Francisco Toy Company, and Tyco Toys, where he created all of the illustrations for The Incredible Crash Test Dummies (and their archenemies the Junk Bots), as well as for the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs franchise. He continued to do many tech cutaway pieces and cartoon pieces as well as 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 then-recent wars in the Middle East.

Marc continues to freelance today from his home studio in Orinda, California, storyboarding for major agencies, doing presentation art for clients such as Academy Design for The Franklin Institute, the Ford Aviation Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, the Evergreen Aviation Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, Weldon Exhibits for the National Hot Rod Museum in Pomona, CA, and the Museo Papalote Children's Museum in Mexico City, as well as finished illustrations for clients such as 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.

For those interested in a closer look, Marc's illustration work has figured prominently in four artbooks:

  • Airbrush Technik (Germany, 1978)
  • JCA Annual 8: Eighth Annual of Contemporary International Illustration (Japan Creators Association Press, 1988)
  • Art of Atari (Tim Lapetino, Dynamite Entertainment, 2016)
  • The Art of the Box (Bitmap Books, Great Britain, 2023)

Credited on 89 games

Displaying most recent · View all

Radio Game (2017, ZX Spectrum) Cover Design
Museum Guide (2017, Browser) Cover Art
1503 A.D.: The New World (2002, Windows) Package Illustration
Full Tilt! Pinball (1996, Macintosh) Cover art Illustrator
Tempo Jr. (1995, Game Gear) Cover Illustrator
World at War: Volume II - Stalingrad (1995, DOS) Cover Illustration & Design
Evasive Action (1994, DOS) Box Cover Illustrator
Operation Crusader (1994, DOS) Cover Art Illustrator
LucasArts Air Combat Classics (1994, DOS) Package Illustrator
The Incredible Crash Dummies (1994, Amiga) Cover Illustration (uncredited)
Aerobiz Supersonic (1994, Genesis) Cover Illustration
V for Victory: Gold-Juno-Sword (1993, DOS) Cover Art
Super Baseball 2020 (1993, Genesis) Package Illustration
B.O.B. (1993, Genesis) Packaging Illustrator
Harley's Humongous Adventure (1993, SNES) Package Illustration
Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure (1993, TurboGrafx-16) Package Illustrator
V for Victory: Market Garden (1993, DOS) Cover Illustrator
Racing Aces (1993, SEGA CD) Cover Illustration
The Incredible Crash Dummies (1992, Game Boy) Boxcover Illustrator
Strike Gunner S.T.G. (1992, SNES) Cover Illustration

[ full credits ]

Related Sites add

  • Marc Ericksen Illustration
    A full sampling of Marc Ericksen's illustration commissions.
  • Vintage Video Game Art
    A listing and display of video game packaging art Marc Ericksen executed between 1982, and 2003. Eventually over 70 separate pieces of art will be reprised, and offered for sale as high quality prints.
  • Marc William Ericksen
    OVGA biography including video game box art catalog


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