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Monday, June 25th, 2007

Time Event
A Burger With Nothing In It
Today I got a good look at Ville Vuorela’s Pelintekijän käsikirja, a small book about designing games written in Finnish. Despite the grandiose claims on the back of the book, Vuorela’s actual claims to fame as a "game designer" are that he has published a role-playing game which in truth sold not due to his less-than-original systems "innovations", but due to being based on the brilliant works of Finnish comic book artist Petri Hiltunen, and some mobile games catering to the lowest common denominator. Impressive as statistics and sales, yes, but not as creative works.

In this book, Vuorela has changed his usual discourse tone ("obnoxious jerk") to a more suitable one ("condescending know-it-all"), and pretends to give instructions about game design. Much of the stuff is decent enough, but almost all of those parts have already been far better presented by numerous earlier authors. Given that Vuorela has repetitively stated that he considers all game studies works to be a waste of time, it is no wonder that this book is mostly just a sloppy attempt at re-inventing the proverbial wheel. Pelintekijän käsikirja is effectively a very, very poor man’s version of Rules of Play with some added tips on production. So people interested in designing games would indeed be much better off buing that book straight away, as paying about 45e for that huge tome is a far wiser move that shelling out 29e for this shallow pamphlet. This book is barely worth the paper it is printed on, and definitely does not correspond with the high price or the inflated claims stamped upon it.

In a country like Finland, apparently any hack can call himself a game designer and get away with it.

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