the basics

Wed Feb-23rd-2011 // Filed under:

About me

My name is Mikko Rautalahti, but people call me Mikki, since that’s the nickname that stuck in the first months of my existence. (I got lucky, actually; there was another nickname that was used a lot when I was still in the womb, but they had mercy on me and skipped that one.) I live in Helsinki, Finland, and I’m a narrative director working at Next Games. In the past, I’ve worked at Remedy Entertainment on games like Alan Wake, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, and Quantum Break. (But while we’re on the topic, just to be clear — this is my personal blog, so the opinions I express here are mine, not my employer’s.) I am, more than anything else, a story guy.

I’ve been doing lectures on narrative design at the Aalto University’s Game Lab since 2011, and I’ve been a speaker at events like the Game Developers’ Conference, the East Coast Game Conference, and the Sundance film festival, among others. So if you need somebody for public speaking about storytelling in games or a related topic, you should probably get in touch and we can see what we can work out.

In the past, I’ve done game journalism, translation, some stuff with pen and paper RPGs, and a pretty big bunch of other things in my exciting freelancin’ days. I still take the occasional piece of extra work when something cool comes along — and I’m glad to say that does happen pretty often — but my day job keeps me pretty busy.

About the blog

I’ve had Fun Pastimes for Stupid Children going since the year 2000, although the current incarnation isn’t quite that old. Originally, it was more of an online journal, in which I wrote about exciting things like what I did that day or what the weather was like. Nothing wrong with that, but I kind of drifted away from that format to what I have now. Also, I’m no longer doing HTML by hand like a fucking Luddite, so that helps, too. Hooray for WordPress!

Mostly, I write about things that I consider to be cool or interesting, or things that make me angry. I get angry about a lot of things, although — for good or ill — perhaps not as often or as ferociously as I used to when I was younger and dumber. This post is written in English, but a good chunk of Fun Pastimes is in Finnish — not much point in writing about local politics in another language, for example. Back in the day, I used to have Finnish and English posts with different content about the same theme side by side, but this proved to be pretty labor-intensive, so these days I just write and don’t worry about it. Don’t freak out, just about all of the nifty geek stuff’s in English, so if you want to laugh at old comics or something but don’t understand our horrible language, I got your back.

Want to talk to me?

You can e-mail me at, and if you can’t figure out what _CLEVER_TRICK_ should be replaced with, chances are good I don’t want to hear from you.

Or you can leave a comment below.

Oh, yeah, and I’m @MikkiHEL on Twitter.


  1. It is really strange to leave a message to a real God or someone who belivies he is a one. Your oppinioins are wrong from my point of view.
    I might sometimes be wrong but that is so seldom that there is no reason to mention it.
    I know that for a weak young person it is more dangerous to start to use any kind of drugs. Their personality won´t have chance to grow and become individual. Strong youngsters feel that they are accepted as they are. The personality will be changing until the person is 22 years old.
    Any way, there is no need to use drugs or is there?

    Comment by Vaili — March 22, 2011 @ 1300755179

  2. Uh, I think you’re trying to comment on this post. I don’t know why you would post the comment here, but on the other hand, at least you’re conforming to my expectations, so hey, I guess it’s all good.

    As for my alleged godhood, only one of us is claiming to be anywhere near infallible. (But if I was a god, guess who’d be getting some pestilence right about now? That’s just how I roll. You’re welcome!)

    Comment by Mikki — March 22, 2011 @ 1300755883

  3. Hey, what a cool blog. I don’t speak Finnish, unfortunately, but I have some Finnish friends, so maybe someday…

    Your English is awesome — you’ve gotta be bilingual: your mom an English speaker, maybe? — and I say this as a native English speaker who works with language for a living — I’m a Danish-English translator and interpreter living in Copenhagen.

    It’s a great blog title and you clearly have lots of interesting things to say and are darned good at saying it, so kudos to you. Keep up the good work. (Ok, it’s a cliché, but I mean it.)

    Comment by Dee — May 26, 2011 @ 1306423852

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Dee! I am pretty much bilingual, but not by birth (both of my parents are Finnish, and we only spoke one language at home). Obviously, I’ve had to hone it over the years, and that’s really a never-ending process, but honestly, most of my English originally stems from — in no particular order — comic books, Star Trek and role-playing games, and that strong childhood inclination towards full-blown nerditude is undoubtedly a big reason why I’ve got a career today.

    Comment by Mikki — May 26, 2011 @ 1306425812

  5. Ole hyvä, Mikki. That makes it even more impressive, then. Comic books, Star Trek and RPG are pretty good sources, but it’s the nerditude that makes it work, for sure. (Takes one to know one.) As we used to say in my youth (dating myself majorly): keep on truckin’ :-)

    Comment by Dee — May 26, 2011 @ 1306447143

  6. Loistavaa.

    Comment by AP — July 21, 2011 @ 1311218928

  7. Big Brother-kommenttisi oli niin täysin asiaa, että oikein kiitollinen hiki tuli.

    Comment by Juha Hyrsky — September 6, 2011 @ 1315315891

  8. Olen löytänyt suosikkiblogini. Kiitos Mikki tästä :)

    Comment by Melon — October 11, 2011 @ 1318372665

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