Some kids run lemonade stands; 13-year-old Henry Abrams designs iPhone apps. Abrams, student by day (at Tappan Middle School) and owner of Red Sky (www.henryabrams.com) on nights and weekends, designed the addictive basketball game app “Hot Shot” (among others available at the App Store) and has discovered he’s pretty handy around a computer. Future mogul alert? (Bill Gates, take note.) Ann Arbor Family sat down with the teen to find out more.
So, you’ve already outdone yourself. What’s next?
I don’t plan to stay in the game industry that much longer. I would like to create something more beneficial to people and something that’ll have more of an impact on the world than just games.
What is a typical day like for you?
On most weekdays after school I hang out with my friends or if I have soccer practice I go straight home. Later that night I'll do my homework and try to get a little bit of programming or marketing done. But I get most of my work done on the weekends.
How do you juggle being a regular teenager with doing an adult job?
I feel like I have a pretty good ratio of programming to playing, and I try to keep it that way. Basically what I do is, instead of watching T.V. or play- ing tons of video games, I work on my own projects.
How did you get started in game development?
I've always been fascinated by technology, but I first was interested in taking apart things. When I was 6 or 7, my elementary school was having a garage sale. I looked and found the coolest gadget there and ended up buying an old black and white TV for $5. I brought it home to my dad and told him I wanted to see what was inside of it. We took it apart. It really sparked my interest in technology.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for other kids your age who have dreams or goals they want to pursue?
The best advice that I could give a kid is to not let your age get in your way. I've had many people doubt me because I am a minor, and there are a few legal issues, but for the most part I haven't let it stop me.
What's it like having this type of success at a young age?
Having success at this age just drives me to continue to succeed. Every time I create a game that does well, I think of how to make the next one better.
What do you think is the best app for kids your age?
I'm a huge fan of sports games, so I have to say that the app that I like the most is FIFA 12 from EA Sports.
How do people you work with respond when they find out your age?
Only a few people I've worked with actually know my age. For the peo- ple who do know it, I've had to work hard to gain their respect and show them that I can create games as well as adults can.
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