Creative Director, Game Designer, Creative Strategist at First Contact Entertainment
Adam Orth is a 17 year veteran of the video game industry, having held high level positions at companies such as Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, LucasArts, EA, and PopCap Games. After leaving Microsoft in 2013, he formed independent games studio Three One Zero with partner Omar Aziz and they released their first title ADR1FT in 2016 for the Oculus Rift, Steam, and PlayStation 4 .
Earlier this year he joined developer First Contact Entertainment where he serves as Creative Strategist and is developing his next game. He is an avid advocate for virtual reality and regularly speaks at industry events such as GDC and CES. Adam currently resides with his family in Southern California.
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“Space Invaders. My family went on a short local vacation to the coast in Connecticut where we grew up in the early 80’s (probably 80 or 81). It ended up raining the entire time and we were stuck inside. My brother and I found the game room and in the corner at the back I saw this glorious thing. I’ll never forget seeing the classic invaders art on the side. That alien holding the missile up ready fire it down to earth. It was scary and dangerous-looking. Then we heard the sounds from the attract loop and looked at each other in awe. We had no idea what it was. We ran over to it, bypassing bumper pool and ping-pong (metaphor city!) and couldn’t believe our eyes. It was magical and we were forever changed. Somehow, we figured out that the machine was set to free play (GASP!) and we literally spent an entire day playing Space Invaders in a Howard Johnson’s motel while it poured outside. Great memory. Still love that game and whenever I hear that music, the sound of aliens advancing in increasing speed, I get the pavlovian rush. Incredible.”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“This is always a hard question to answer. For me, games mark eras of growth, discovery, changing interests etc. Kind of like music, I guess. The ones that really standout as benchmarks: Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pac-Man, Centipede, Tempest, Star Wars, Pole Position, Defender, Missile Command (basically the golden era of 80’s classics), basically anything on the Atari 2600, Tomb Raider (original) Quake (original), Goldeneye, Rainbow Six (original), Metal Gear Solid (all of them), Resident Evil (original), Deus Ex, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, GTA Vice City, Medal of Honor (original, Underground, Frontline), Wipeout (any), Rogue Squadron (any), Shenmue, Tekken, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Journey, Tetris. I dunno, there are tons more. There’s always more…”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
Do you and your children play video games together?
“My daughter Zoe just turned 5 and we have a lot of rules and restrictions around screens, screen time, appropriate content and violence. She does have an interest, so we do play a few things together. We are playing through Monument Valley together on the iPad, Fruit Ninja is another hit with her too. We did a lot of Star Wars Tiny Tower. We played through Abzu and Flower together recently. We don’t allow adult games to be played while she is in the house or awake, but sometimes I’ll find ways to play my games with her in safe ways. For example, we spent hours and hours looking for animals and picking flowers in Metal Gear Solid 5. That was a lot of fun and led to using the various systems/activities in other games to find fun, which is surprisingly easy in a lot of modern games.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“The truth is, I don’t have a lot of time to game these days. Mostly an hour or two after bedtime at night and an hour or two here and there on the weekends. Because of this, I’ve also become more critical and choosy about what I play. I suspect I’m like most developers with children, although I feel like I play a lot less than most and I alternate between jealousy and relief when I see the activity feeds of my friends and peers. recently, my wife and I decided to stop watching TV/movies during the week and gaming doesn’t fall under that restriction, so the frequency has increased. I’m working my way through Dishonored 2 right now and loving it.”
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“I don’t really have any proudest moments, per se. That feels selfish because it’s about me and parenting (in my opinion) is about her. Zoe is an adventurous spirit and I have many moments of pride but they are for her. I will confess to loving it when she discovers great music. She’s a huge Bowie fan and I seriously can’t get enough of that. Being a dad is so much fun for me. I truly love it!”