What is Kihon?

Kihon, by definition, means perfection through repetition.  And Kata, our proprietary toolset, is defined as the act of practicing a motion to the point where it becomes second nature.  Thus, as we apply these terms to our company and to the art of making games, we would like to not only make incredible experiences for all to enjoy but we also want to perfect our craft in the process.  We strongly believe that the perfection of our craft will lead to the creation of masterful work.

We started our game studio in the spring of 2011 in Tucson, AZ.  We were able to join forces with Rick Thompson and Dan Fiden with an investment from Signia Ventures in the spring of 2012.  As of the fall of 2012, Kihon has grown to over ten people spread out over Arizona, Texas, California, and even Hawaii.  BabyMonkey, our first title, reached over 1.2million downloads and counting!  Our second and third titles are in beta and are preparing to launch.  Check our Press page for updates on our future titles.

Here are the founders who started Kihon:

Mark Grossnickle, CEO

Mark has 8 years of professional experience in interactive media as an entrepreneur and a programmer. At Kihon he has been integral to securing key strategic partners such Rick Thompson and Dan Fiden of Signia Ventures as well as Parry Gripp, the musical mastermind behind Baby Monkey.  He has kept the studio focused on incremental improvements which have increased SketchPhrase’s rolling day one retention from 10% to 40%. And he has played a key role in marketing strategies which have led to Baby Monkey surpassing 1.3 million downloads.

Prior to Kihon, he was a fundamental part of Sony Online Entertainments’ development team that launched Wildlife Refuge, a social game on Facebook.  In the past he was the Flash Team Lead at The Basement Design + Motion where he led the technical development of interactive web sites and games on national award winning advertising campaigns for clients such as KFC, Verizon, and Transition Lenses. Mark began his career developing interactive visualizations for live war zone simulations used by the Department of Defense in Afghanistan.  Over the years he has been published in Flash & Flex Magazine, taught as an Adjunct Lecturer at Butler University, and helped Co-Found a non-profit called IndianaUploaded.

Dan Kopycienski, Creative Director

Award winning game designer and entrepreneur at forefront of interactive media and entertainment since 1998 when he founded the interactive design firm Octopi. Built a complete suite of multiplayer mobile titles for dozens of Nokia devices utilizing their Snap Mobile technology. Creator and designer of PoxNora, one of the first free-to-play online micro-transactional strategy games that has generated over $20m in revenue.  After Sony Online Entertainment acquired PoxNora and team in 2009, Dan designed and lead production on 2 social games as Director of Development for SOE’s Tucson studio: The Agency Covert Ops and Wildlife Refuge. Most recently Dan has been hard at work designing Kihon’s first 3 iOS titles while simultaneously building the foundation for our premier cross-platform strategy game, Conquest.

Dan has been developing games for over 17 years with over 40 titles to his credit, including online, mobile and social networking games.  Founded and sold 2 game development studios; Fun Technologies acquired Octopi in 2005 and Sony Online Entertainment acquired PoxNora in 2009.

Bryan Rypkowski, Art Director and Lead Artist

Bryan has 16 years of experience as a professional artist, working in both traditional and digital media.  He has spent the last  7 years working as both Lead Artist and Art Director for a variety of iOS and online games such as SketchPhrase, Dojo Danger,  PoxNora, The Agency Covert Ops, and Wildlife Refuge.  Bryan has been featured in annuals like EXPOSE and EXOTIQUE, along with many of the artists who worked under his direction.

John Peterson, Lead Systems Programmer

John Peterson has over 20 years of software development and architecture experience in a number of methodologies and languages.  He has been involved with every aspect of the software engineering lifecycle, from conception and design, through implementation and maintenance.  In addition to proficiency in C/C++/C#, John has extensive experience as a database architect and developer with SQL Server and Oracle over the past 10 years.  This combination of expertise has enabled John to successfully develop and deploy enterprise-level solutions, with an emphasis on providing back end (server-side) components. In his previous role as a Principle Database Architect with Hire.com, John was responsible for providing strategic leadership for the company by working with the executive management team to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans, and policies.  John understood the critical and confidential data needs of the company’s many Fortune 500 customers, and consistently ensured a robust and secure data environment.