Moved to Finland


These last few months have been whirlwind, but I can officially say it: I live in Finland now. My job is here, my family is here, and the truck driver just called saying he’s about to deliver my stuff.

(I’m excited about the stuff arriving! I’m not so excited about hauling hundreds of pounds of books up to a third floor apartment.)

When we told our Texas friends we were moving, we usually got two questions. Some people asked, “Where’s Finland?” Just about everyone asked, “Why are you moving?”

So, Why DID We Move to Finland?

Work is a big part of this. I’ve been coming to Europe for years for consulting jobs, and I like the vibe of the European technology scene. There is a lot of creativity and youthful energy here, especially in mobile gaming. There are big studios running their projects by the numbers, but there are also plenty of small studios that combine serious funding and an individual approach to game-making.

Kopla Games is a case in point. The studio is owned by a medium-sized German publisher with millions of euros of funding. But the studio itself is 12 guys, a dog, and a mission to “introduce action games to everyone!” That’s a strong, specific mission that can offers lots of game design possibilities.

Not-work is also a big part. Tampere, Finland is a beautiful small city tucked between two spectacular lakes. (Just look at the view on the article header.) It has good food, a busy arts community, and is full of parks and walking trails. My younger daughter has made it her mission to play in every playground in town. Since there is one within five minutes walk in any direction, it could take here a while.

In the end, though, this is a values choice. The first question — “where is Finland?” — partly answers the second. Even at the best of times, Americans can be a bit blinkered and unaware of the world around them. (It’s not the best of times.) We wanted our kids to grow up in a broader society, where the assumptions are a bit different, where a society is more than just one country.

So, What Next?

I’m always wary when a blog goes quiet and then promises new material soon, but I am getting back on the blogging horse. You can expect the “usual” meandering thoughts about game design and economics.

But I’ll also be writing more about the society around me. Finland as an interesting society, and as several books have already pointed out, there’s a lot that others can learn from it.

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