Wait... is this going to be one of those interviews where you use trick questions to make me say embarrassing and incriminating things?
Awesome! Ask away :-)
My name is Adam Bohn. I am the CEO/Founder/Paladin of Artix Entertainment., LLC. For the past 10 years, my studio has been creating family friendly video games for our 150,000,000+ registered players.
Wait, you make video games?
Yes. Ever since I was a child, it was my life-long dream to create a video game. In 2002 I created a game called AdventureQuest. I was just trying to get 100 people to play it... you know... so I could say I made "a real game" and die happy. You can imagine my shock when millions of players showed up to play. It was the start of a crazy adventure. Ten years later we have 7 major video games, card games, action figures and pre-paid game cards in stores including Toys"R"Us and Gamestop. *whispers* We still love making video games more than anything in the world.
I am dressed as Artix. He is my favorite character... a good and honorable Paladin who battles the evil undead. We created this armor and several others to wear when meeting players at conventions, visiting children's hospitals, and going to special events. It is a great ice breaker.
This? No, *chuckles softly*, this is just for play. For work you need the full steel plate armor. A lot of the amazing and creative people I work with are real life video game characters. It is an honor to work along side them at the Secret Underground Lab making new games, art, videos, photo shoots, costumes and... well... almost everyday seems to be something different.
Oh, LOL! Players of our games know our studio as "the Secret Underground Lab". *whispers* Rumors say it is located miles under the surface, it is accessible only via a secret elevator at a non-descript coffee shop. You have to order using the secret code word "Moglinberry" to activate the door. When people look at the photos they are like, "HEY! I see windows." But let me assure you, those are just holograms so the subterranean isolation does not drive you mad.
When I was in 5th grade, a friend and I were telling my Father about this awesome game that had come out. My Father looked at me with serious eyes and asked, "If you guys love these games so much, why don't you make one?" We looked at each other completely shocked. We never thought WE could build a game. So we ran home and spent the next 4 hours trying to make one. Turns out, you cannot build a game in Microsoft Word. (At least not back in those days.) We shoveled snow to earn enough money to buy programming books. Then we realized you actually needed the software. We were... pretty slow learners. But if there is one thing I learned, if you want something bad enough, you need to keep trying, and trying.
LOL! Noooooooooo.... *shaking head and smiling* I failed over 1000 times trying to make a game. But I NEVER gave up. A lot of people think you just win or fail. But the truth is, successful people fail over and over again... each time getting closer to achieving their ultimate goal. I finally finished a game. It was the original AdventureQuest. Even then, my closest online friends told me the game was so terrible that no-one would ever play it. Failure and rejection are really scary. That was the main reason I failed so many times before. But after quitting and failing so many times before, I hit my breaking point. As my finger was hovering over the delete key, ready to obliterate the game and start fresh (again)... I decided to do something that I had never done before. I decided to actually release the game and then I committed to continuously improving it. That is exactly what happened. This philosophy turned into what we now call "weekly releases" where we add new monsters, weapons, armors, pets, areas, cut-scenes or features. I am very proud to say, AdventureQuest has been updated every week for the past 10 years.
Actually, the awesome teams that run the games update them. Each game has a "Game Lead" who works with our artists, animators and programmers to improve their game. It takes a very special type of person to keep up with this sort of schedule... the creative people at the lab are truly incredible. Our production schedule is a lot like South Park or Saturday Night Live where we come up with what we are going to make on Monday, and then finish and release it on Friday. Except, unlike seasonal TV series, we work year round, especially on holidays which are our busiest time due to special holiday releases. My ultimate goal is to have special guests and bands appear on our games weekly... just like Saturday Night Live.
Most of our team came from our online gaming community -- the forums, our contests, Twitter, Facebook. It is amazing how much creativity and passion our players have. Because of this we have a very diverse skill set. We make and edit our own commercials, design our products and their packaging, and try to make everything from scratch. It really filled our hearts with pride when we went to Toys"R"Us and saw the card game we made sitting on the shelf. The team and I worked so hard on it. The best part are those little personal touches... like if you turn the card game over, there is a squished moglin on the bottom.
We put on a live puppet show to announce the name of a video game. I invited a famous author & his friends to my house, and had an army of Ninjas suddenly appear and serve dinner. We had a conference call with John Smedley, the CEO of Sony Online Entertainment and we had to mute our end so he would not hear all the clanging from us sword fighting with real swords.
Sure! What would you like to know?
The art, animation and storytelling of anime has always been a huge inspiration. Lately, I started getting into Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan. My all time favorites include DragonBall, Trigun, Berserk, Escaflowne, Bleach, Naruto, Death Note, Detroit Metal City, D. Gray Man and InuYasha. I should probably be embarrased to share that the song "God Knows" from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is #1 on my wake up in the morning play list. My absolute favorite character of all time is Goku. *Does martial arts moves* I keep trying to go super saiyan, but it just looks like I need to use the rest room. Off topic, I am also a fan of Doctor Who. I think Goku, the Doctor and Artix would be good friends.
I love the martial arts! Right now I train in Krav Maga and Kickboxing at KMMA Krav Maga Martial Arts. I started in Tae Kwon Do when I was 10 years old and earned my 3rd degree black belt. Then, when I moved away to college, I started studying Tang So Do and Hapkido. Just between us, I still make sound FX with my mouth when I do tornado kicks. My friend has been trying to get me into Parkour. So occasionally we have been going to Drew Dreschel's Parkour gym, a gymnastics gym, a rock climbing gym and, um, the obstacle course in the back of the Rock's godfather's house.
Most people already know this... my life is very PG-rated. I do not drink alcohol, smoke, nor do drugs. I never have. Also, I wear the exact same outfit every day. Well, most people think it is the same outfit, but really, I have 13 sets of the same black shirts and black sweat pants with three white stripes down the side.
I really love taking photos, making cheesy movies, or toying around with new software. All of my friends have the same "creative obsession". If you go looking for us on the weekends, we are probably at the lab building costumes, or talking about the gazillionth game idea that we will never have time to make. A lot of like minded people tend to gravitate towards us... both online and in person.
For the past several years we have contributed to Child's Play, a charity that helps sick children in hospitals across the country. We do the local American Cancer Society's Relay for life. But, once we found out that we can pack a bag full of HeroMart merch, put on our costumes and go to the local Children's Hospital -- well, that is something that something you never forget.
Whew, I was worried you were going to ask me a hard one. The secret is, you have the power to do anything -- but, you cannot do everything. So if you have a dream, focus all of your thoughts and energy on it. Do not let yourself get caught in the undertow by the endless sea of distractions. Envision your goal in your head, go for it, and never give up!
Wait... that was the secret to success, not life. The Secret to life is...
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