I was searching for articles related to Star Control when I came across an article by Alistair Wallis on Gamesutra called “Playing Catch Up: Zombies Ate My Neighbors’ Mike Ebert”. The article discusses how he started out in the video game industry, games he worked on and his current position as lead designer at Toys for Bob. This article was written in 2007, while TFB was working on Madagascar 2.
Zombies Ate My Neighbours is a run and gun video game developed by LucasArts and published by Konami. The visual style is similar to classic horror films. Like Contra, this game is also very difficult and has a strong legacy of its own. It was released for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. In October 30 2009, it was ported to Nintendo’s Virtual Console.
Mike is also an artist and has created artwork for other popular games such as Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island and its HD remake The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition.
In 1992, he created art for Indiana Jones: The Fate of Atlantis and was a playtester for Star Control II. How cool is that?
He eventually founded his own studio, Big Ape Productions, which shared offices with TFB. After developing a few games, he left his publisher due to “politics”. Paul Reiche offered him a spot at TFB as lead designer, which he accepted. At that time, TFB’s next project was Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure. He continues his role as lead designer to this day.
I had no idea there was a connection with LucasArts and TFB. Toys for Bob has an incredible roster of talented people and I know that Mike’s role as a lead designer will be a great influence in their currently unannounced game. This really makes me think about the six degrees of separation theory.
The article on Gamesutra has much more to say about Mike than just his role at TFB. With a long history and ties to other critically-acclaimed games, it’s definitely worth reading. Check it out!