Today is his birthday and I am please to share an interview with my friend and one of our key forum members.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you a Moderator, Toy Box artist and John Vignocchi's favorite pirate ... .What is your real name?
Steven Bache (USA)What is the origin story of your toy box submission username?
I worked at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at WDW for eight years where it truly was "A Pirate's Life for Me". What made you decide to buy Disney Infinity?
My oldest son turned five, and he was just starting to get into video games. I had heard rumors that a toy-to-video game based on Disney characters was going to get announced sometime in January 2013. This game would be a great bonding tool for me and my son as well as feed my addiction of Disney collectibles and video games. I was hooked from the announcement.What is your favorite play set and why?
I know that you would expect me to say the Pirates of the Caribbean play set as my favorite, and you would be right. The Pirates of the Caribbean play set was really well made, and you got to play as three legendary pirates: Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa, and Davy Jones. The three characters are not very diverse in their character's move sets, but I could really tell the difference in their personalities when I played the game and in toy box mode. I would not complain if Disney Interactive released more of the characters from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise or the ride. Who is your favorite Disney Infinity character and why?
From the time that we watched the first trailers, the most anticipated character for both my son and myself was Agent P. I also have felt a special bond with Sorcerer Mickey from being able to attend the D23 Expo and receive the D23 Sorcerer Mickey figure.Which character would you like to see included that hasn't already been and why?
Captain Hook is my all time favorite Disney Character. I would love to play as Captain Hook with the Peter Pan's Flight ride vehicle and just go for a joy ride. Also, I would die to have anything from the Haunted Mansion. Did you see what I did there?When you hear of a new challenge, what steps do you take to make your idea for a toy box a reality?
After hearing a toy box Challenge theme, I go through the following phases:
(1) The Idea phase - I brainstorm to come up with a few ideas for the toy box challenge. I then eliminate the ideas until I decide on the idea that I think is most original and Toy Box worthy. I pick an idea that I know that: (a) My son and I would want to play, (b) well themed Disney style, (c) an idea that is thinking outside the box.
(2) The Visualization Phase - Once I have decided on the theme, I sketch out a rough sketch of what the toy box could look like. The toy box never actually looks like the sketch, but it helps me with placement on the elements that I want to create in junction with the toy box.
(3) The List Phase - For whatever Disney theme that I have chosen, I will write down everything from the movie or ride/show that I think could be represented in the toy box. During the list phase, I also research the subject matter. I may listen to a soundtrack or watch the show/movie for the Disney subject matter that I am recreating.
(4) The Gameplay Phase - Now that I have the theming settled on, I need to tie it to some sort of fun gameplay. I would go down a list of Hunt, race track, combat battle, maze, adventure, etc, and find what fit my theme the best.
(5) The Just Build it Already Phase - Put everything from the first four steps together to create the magic.
(6) The Test Phase - If your toy box gameplay does not work and is not fun, it doesn't matter how visually spectacular your toy box appears. A lot of great looking toy boxes do not make the cut because they are not tested properly.
(7) The Name it/Describe it/Submit it Phase - You want to pick a name that is memorable. Your description needs to give a good idea on what your Toy Box is about. I have seen way too many toy box reviews where the person reviewing has no idea what to do because the description is way off. Submit it when you are confident that your toy box is perfect. You will then spend the next seven days worrying if your submission really went through.
(8) The Stay Up Late on the Announcement Night Phase - this phase can either be very gratifying or disappointing experience.
(9) The Obsess Over Your YouTube Video Reviews - In this phase, you keep an eye on video reviews of your toy box on YouTube to make sure that everyone likes your toy box.
(10) The Pick a New Challenge and Do it All Over Again Phase - You now have "the bug", and you feel the need to enter more challenges.What do you consider to be your specialty when building toy boxes?
As you have read above, I do a lot of planning and research on the theming of my Toy Boxes to make sure that they are perfect. I try to have at least one large block figure in the game, and I like to choose subject matters that have yet to enter the Disney Infinity universe. To name a few characters that I have introduced into Disney Infinity, Sebastian the Crab, Flounder, Flotsam and Jetsam, the cast of Gravity Falls, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Donald Duck, WALL-E, EVE, and Disney Cruise Line.What is your favorite toy box that you have built?
I think Fantasmic! will always be my favorite because it was my first featured toy box, and I got to collaborate on that box with a Toy Box legend, PapaEcho. I made a great friend in the process, and it won't be the last box that we work on together. A close runner up would have to be my Gravity Falls toy box. What are some of your favorite toy boxes that other toy box artists have built?
In no particular order: Frozen Hunt (MightyGitis), NorthHoleMiniGolf (PapaEcho), and Neverland (Dadi).What are some of your classic toy boxes that have not been a featured top 5 toy box?
For the Egg Hunt Challenge, I designed a Roger Rabbit themed Easter toy box.
Toontown Hunt - The weasels have stolen 10 eggs and all of the retired Easter bunnies. Rescue and return the bunnies to Roger's basket.
This toy box was a lot of fun to design and play.What is your dream toy box challenge?
I can never get enough Disney Parks Challenges. Keep them coming! Do you place any hidden tributes in your winning toy boxes?
I made sure to use the Dragon Gate texture in the Fantasmic! toy box since I have helped a great deal of people out with the Dragon Gate unlock. I also love the Disney Villains. There are 10 Disney Villains represented by items in Fantasmic!, The Jolly Roger and the Crocodile (Captain Hook), Magic Mirror and Cauldron (Evil Queen), Halloween Town Gate (Oogie Boogie), Dead Man's Chest (Davy Jones), Jafar as the Snake (Jafar), Maleficient as the Dragon (Maleficent), Gaston's Chair (Gaston), Cruella's Car (Cruella), a Monsters Inc Door (Randall), Lava (Hades). These were all ideas from my imagination that I wanted in that toy box that PapaEcho helped me realize were all possible to build.
For Ursula's Race, the first thing I built and one of the thing's that I was most proud of in that toy box was Ursula's lair. I placed a hidden teleporter on top of Ursula's Lair that will transport the player to the top of Ursula's crown for a great view of the race course as well as a great spot to dive or fly around from.Share a funny story about one of your toy boxes.
On Underwater Challenge announcement night, I was already floating on air from hitting a homerun at my softball game. I was at the game so I couldn't hit refresh constantly that night until the new featured toy box list was published. I was really hoping that my toy box Ursula's Revenge would be chosen. My friend, Patrick, texted me a picture of the winning toy box names. Ursula's Revenge was chosen as the 1st place toy box. I was ecstatic! I then noticed that the 2nd place was called Ursula's Race. I immediately thought, that's weird, I can't believe that they chose two Ursula race tracks in the top 5 this week. It wasn't until I got home and fired up the Playstation that I discovered that crazybynick and I chose the same name for our toy boxes, Ursula's Revenge. Disney Infinity had renamed mine Ursula's Race. I was still ecstatic! What advice do you have for aspiring Toy Box Artists?
Have fun building whatever toy box that you choose to build. Don't build a toy box only for challenges, build the toy box for you. Don't get discouraged if your toy box does not get featured. You will learn from it and your building skills will continue to improve. I am sure that all Toy Box Artists would tell you that they wish they knew all that they know now back when they first started to build toy boxes.