Mark Essen (Gia)

Mark Essen, a grad student in UCLA’s Design and Media Arts MFA program. After he graduated UCLA, he established his own game company called Messhof in Los Angeles, California in 2013. One of his major work is Nidhogg that is a side-scrolling and two players fighting video game. In spite of his instinctive and simple games to play, it was difficult and challenging for players to master it over because it often requires players precise skills. Also, the visual quality of his games is influenced by arcade games aesthetic in 1980s.

One of the common features among a lot of his games is that he uses helicopters. The helicopters are influenced by the defective and 2D trends from the arcade games in 1980s, which well portrayed the characteristics. As a result, The helicopters and the arcade games in 1980s aesthetic style made a perfect harmony. Moreover, it brought him a gateway to getting involved with Adult Swim. His major works for Adult Swim are Turbo Turbo Turbo,  Pipedreamz, and Surprise Bullfight. He created more amazing games to entertain players.

Mark Essen’s presentation was not only inspirational but reassuring in the sense that his topics of games were successful despite the simplicity of them. This is specifically relevant to me and my preference of style in design. The humorous nature of the games made the talk easy to follow along and this element made it memorable. His Bruin alma mater means there are connections and networking to be made at Adult Swim, which makes me proud to have the opportunity to follow the pathway he paved.