I am Ville Vuorela, a veteran game designer for both digital and analog mediums and the author of four (hopefully soon to be five) books or novels. I am a relic of the Second Wave of the Finnish roleplaying, having started playing in the mid-80s. Initially we were replicating early computer RPGs on grid paper, with some added narrative picked up from Fighting Fantasy books but eventually we learned about real roleplaying games, mainly the venerable red-box D&D and began cannibalizing them for ideas. Despite having "played" D&D for two years, I don't think we ever played it as it is. I am not mentally compatible with level based systems and was much more comfortable with skill-specific rulesets like the early Stormbringer (an iteration of Basic Roleplaying System).
Since then, I've been playing and gamemastering roleplaying games for 28 years using dozens of systems and looking at hundreds of people across the table. Perhaps because of the plethora of systems I've used (which seems to be a rare trait among my peers), I am decidedly a setting-oriented gamer. In short, for me, a roleplaying game is the setting. Without a setting there are just the rules and not a game to apply them on. The setting need not be an imaginary world but there must be a narrative context for the actions of the characters. This is a driving principle behind all my roleplaying games.
Although some call this approach old-fashioned (or "old skool"), the results speak for themselves. Burger Games is the only Finnish RPG publisher from the nineties to have survived into the 21st century. It is one of the few ever to have made profit on its games. Praedor is by far the most played Finnish fantasy RPG. The statistics on Stalker RPG are more sketchy but saleswise it is easily the most successful Finnish Sci-Fi RPG ever and in spring 2012 it was also released in English. Today there are other Finnish RPG authors once more but the hobby itself has become increasingly marginalized. Old gamers are leaving and few new ones are coming in, so the entire scene is slowly withering away. This is a point of contention between myself and my colleagues. I sincerely hope they will prove me wrong.
Well, they don't call me Burger for nothing. I am short, round, red-cheeked and look like a dwarf with most of his beard cut off. Some have attributed other dwarwish qualities on me, like short temper and long grudges. I am mellowing with age, though. I am far too fond of good food (not that fond of good drink, actually; I only began drinking alcohol at the age 30 and even now it is very rare and selective), sweet and unhealthy treats. I try to balance it with physical excercise like going to the gym or riding a bicycle but although it helps, it has yet to cut down my waistline.
Originally from the sea shores of Espoo, I now live in Vantaa with Leena, the love of my life (and the occasional voice of reason in this family). Besides roleplaying I am an avid writer, reader, computer gamer and a part-time digital rights activist in Electronic Frontier Finland. We have recently picked up a habit of touring Europe and beyond by visiting science fiction and gamer conventions on a regular basis. When at home, you can usually find me by the computer in my home office, playing, reading or writing something. Such as this web page right here.
Leena, my delicate little flower...
I have been a teacher, a youth club director, a technical writer, an IT support person and a translator before going over to the dark side. On the one hand I am lamenting how videogames are stealing spotlight and audience from traditional roleplaying games but in my dayjob I am actually making it happen. After some occasional forays dating back as far as 1996, I began working full time in the games industry in 2004 when I was employed as a game designer by Sumea Interactive (present-day Digital Chocolate). Since then I've been involved with Rovio (of Angry Birds fame), Recoil Games, Casual Continent and now as a freelancer with a whole bunch of clients ranging from Sanoma Netherlands to Housemarque. I have designed 20+ titles for mobile and web. Still working on that first console game release, though. Soon, if a client project holds out. Soon.
I am currently working as a freelancer via Burger Games and besides helping out a bunch of game studios I do more or less regular appearances in games education, lecturing students on the do's and dont's of game design. Despite having a university degree, I like to think myself as a hands-on designer and try to teach them stuff that has actually been proven to work.
I have dry and boring EU-format CV right here if you are interested. Personally, I think this entry in my blog is a much better read.
Now you know who the guy behind Burger Games is...