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Mark Essen is a game designer, who lives in Los Angeles and is currently a grad student in UCLA's Design and Media Arts program. His work has been exhibited at FILE in Sao Paulo, the New Museum in New York, MoCCA in Toronto, FACT, [DAM] Berlin, Vice/Intel's international Creators Project, and various other galleries, festivals, and basements.
Mark is a maker of purposely low-tech video games, which fuse the aesthetic of classic arcade games like Asteroids and Missile Command with geometric abstraction and Op-art. The games, all of which are fully playable and available for download free of charge revel in a nostalgia for the recent technological past that is unique to his generation, a group that has experienced technological change at unprecedented pace. Essen's works point to the compositional elegance in the design of early games whose simplistic objectives and Spartan graphics are redolent of a simpler time, particularly in light of the encompassing, open-ended realism characteristic of contemporary games like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.