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Kristian's interview


PN co-founder
1 When did you play your first game of pinball, and what game was it, if you remember? Your first game of VP/VPM?

My first pinball game must have been one of those old EM's. Probably Gottlieb's Jungle or Williams' Strato Flite. Those old tables were tables in my arcade and being something like 8 years old I couldn't really afford anything fancier. I barely reached to the flipper buttons but I was addicted from the first minute. I remember how I spent all my pocket money to pinball and video games, my mother is probably still pissed off at me for that. When I wasn't playing junior hockey or training, I was always hanging in the arcade. Being a little kid I was usually broke so I just had to watch and admire how those bigger guys played. They probably thought I was one annoying little pissant, but they eventually accepted me because I knew all the rules and tricks about every machine there.

I don't remember what my first VP game was. Finding VP was so "pleasantly shocking" experience for me.

2 When did you discover VP?

Summer 2001. I discovered VPM earlier but my friend told me about VP+VPM combo. I was a bit skeptical at first, but when I went home and installed it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I've been into emulation since day one, but VP was something surreal. Definitely the best news in emulation since Neil Bradley's EMU (the first arcade emulator that emulated Atari vector video games). In the early days of VP many recreations weren't that great visually but back then they all felt amazing. I went completely nuts and I was probably feeling like a kid in a candystore.

3 Do you prefer VP or VPM tables?

VPM tables, but I also play many IRPinball classics.

4 Are there any types of tables you don’t care for, and which era do you enjoy best, such as 20s-40s commercial coin-op, bagatelle, Ems, SS, modern VPM.

I appreciate all eras of pinball. But I mainly play VPM tables.

5 If you are an author, do you work along, or with partners?

I really suck at coding. Well, of course I can fix & do some simple scripting but I mainly do layout and graphics work. Fortunately I've always had lots of good friends in VP scene who can always take care of the coding part. That's probably the biggest reason I never even bothered. And it's boring as hell.

6 Which of your tables is your favorite, and why? Which of your tables do you feel is your best?

Hard to say. Alien Poker and Black Knight are probably the most polished, but me and Destruk worked with really lousy images with some of the tables. Solar Fire turned out ok considering what kind of source material we had (read: crap). I also admire Baby Pacman, not because of my own contributions but because it's one of the greatest achievements of the VPM team. I still can't believe that game is emulated and fully playable. Biggest thanks goes to Steve for making it possible.

7 Do you agree or disagree that Originals are the future of VP?

I've never been interested in originals, personally. I only play some of the Bob's originals because they're totally whacked (just like the old guy himself).But emulation is the thing for me. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate what those original authors are doing, very impressive work there. But I don't know if they're the "future" of VP as long as there are hundreds of real tables graphically unfinished. But originals are very important part of VP.

8 What is your favorite VPF forum, and why?

VP Free Forums was my favourite VP forum. When it was originally found we had really good spirit there. Sometimes it felt like a lunatic asylum, but for me that was part of its appeal. All real pinball arcades always had lots of colorful and shady characters.

9 What are your best table making skills? What if anything is the hardest part of table making for you?

Graphics. I love working with the small little details and I guess I'm kinda pedant with some stuff. That would be hard to believe if you ever saw my apartment. Hardest part is sometimes to match the decals to the layout. I have quite unique way of dressing up the tables.

10 Do you have any hints or tips for making tables that would be useful to other authors? What do you feel is most important in table making, garphics, layout, playability, added sounds, or something else?

All combined. In VPM tables scene we don't have too many guys who can handle the whole package and still make impressive work. Most of old recreations are mostly lacking in the graphics department. It would be nice to see some new guys takin' on some of the old unfinished/unpolished versions. We have probably 20+ guys who can script but only a handful of people who can handle advanced graphics rebuilds.

11 What kind of computer set-up do you have? Are you a computer whiz or a computer nerd?

I have Athlon 1300 which should be upgraded already. No, I've never been any kind of computer nerd, I did some assembler coding in Commodore 64 thousand years ago but that's it. I'm not really interested in computers. They're just for fun and playing for me.

12 Where do you live?

In the suburb of Helsinki City. Helsinki the capital of Finland, and in the greater Helsinki area there are about one million people. Nice town, especially during the summer. Lots of good nightlife and beautiful women. Maybe a bit like smaller version of Toronto. Peaceful, clean place but cold during the winters.

13 How old are you?

35. Scary, huh? But I was 20 just a while ago!

14 Describe yourself. What are you hobbies and interests other than VP/VPM? Is there any other personal stuff you’re willing to share with me?

My passion is physical training. Besides being a pinball/video game nerd I practice hockey, boxing and power lifting. I also listen to all kinds of good rock music and collect bootleg recordings. Mostly progressive/classic rock a'la Pink Floyd, Rush and Led Zeppelin, but recently I've discovered tons of good new music. Lots of great bands there.

15 What are some of your favorite VP/VPM tables done by someone other than you? Why?

It won't probably surprise anyone when I say that Pacdude's modern VPM table recreations are ultimate VP-machines for me. His recent releases, Sorcerer and Firepower are probably the best VPM recreations ever created. I played Sorcerer in a dark room and it was really impressive feeling. Those tables alone prove that we don't need any other program to recreate computer pinball, it can't get any better than that. Scapino, of course, is a genius extraordinaire and really good friend of mine in the VP-scene. Eala Dubh's recreations are among the best. Lander, Patatrox, Emkaah, Gottlieb, Apoc, IR Pinball team, Shockman, Lio, Guittar... Lots of talented guys out there. For a new authors Rob is showing a lot of promise, I'm looking forward to his upcoming projects.

16 Do you, and how often do you play real pins? What are some of your favorites? Any that you’re really good on that you simply don’t enjoy playing?

I play real pinball whenever I have the opportunity. In Finland there's still a lot of pinballs available. Of course not as much as it used to be, but we have really old and good pinball/arcade culture here which I think is great. My favourites are the 80's Williams tables and of course the 90's Wms/Bally era. Let's say Black Knight and Twilight Zone should be everyone's favourites (at least from historical perspective). Both were the outstanding and revolutionary machines of their time.

17 Any advice for a new VPF member? Better yet, any advice for old, seasoned VPF members?

I'm not in the position of giving anyone advice. My only "request" goes to the site owner, AJ. I wish we could get rid of the "request posting rights" rule. At this point we need as much new contributing members as possible.

18 Do you think there are too many VP forums? Do you >visit any other than VPF?

I read all vp-related forums. No, I don't think there are too many. More the merrier.

19 Who, if anyone, do you consider to be the movers and shakers in the VP community, or the superstars, and why? Is there one Author whose work you always download, even without seeing the SS or knowing anything other than the name of the table?

The VPM team deserves the greatest respect from everyone. Without their contributions this community wouldn't be the same. Destruk has put tons of his own time, energy and money to this project. Great guy to work with. I also respect people who make old EM & flipperless recreations. Although their work will never reach the popularity of VPM tables, the average quality of this stuff is amazing. I look at the whole VP table library as a documentation of pinball history. Everyone who has been involved is equally important. Alex M should be mentioned because VPFF gave this community a second chance. Well, here we are now: all rats in the same boat (finally). Too bad the captain is still missing. :)

20 You've said that you appreciate the history of pinball as seen in older tables, such as bagatelle and flipperless. Do you have an interest in history beyond pinball?

I'm interested in the history of WW2. Both my grandfathers were in the wars against Russia. They always were the real-life heroes to me.

21 You tend to be quite outspoken about the lack of need for a lot of rules for forums. Why do you feel this way, and do you think there are any good rules a forum should have?

I've said it thousand times: Relaxed atmosphere is the only working evinronment for creative people. Chaotic atmosphere might be even better. Have you ever seen a musician, painter or ANY artist that likes military training, strict rules and discipline? (George Michael doesn't count).

The way VP Forums is moderated now is ok for me. I'd change some things, but I have no major problems with it anymore. Based on my experiences, overmoderation is much more common cause of major community problems than some occasional "hot debates". VP Forums was once a prime example of that. People should be able to speak up their mind and throw temper tantrums every now and then (if they feel like it). Abuse and spam should never be tolerated though.

22 Is there anything else you’d like to add? It doesn’t have to be about VP. Maybe a secret dream, or a joke, this is your last chance?

My new girlfriend looks like Naomi Watts but she couldn't care less about pinball. I can live with that. :)


Inserted Coin
nice read!
Kristian is one of the guys i was really interested in reading something about - thanks to both of you for this interview!

just one question though:
when did this interview take place?
i´m asking because Kristian said: "I wish we could get rid of the "request posting rights" rule" which happened in october last year :)
maybe if the interview took place some time before you actually get to post it you could put a note there when it was originally done, as some things might look a bit strange when you (re-)read it after a while and don´t really know when those things were said?


PN co-founder
I think we actually did it a week before that rule was lifted. When I sent the interview to Kristian to make changes to a few days ago, he did make a few changes, but left that part in, so I left it in also, since I know it was a major gripe of his.



Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
An interview with Kristian on the day that the NHL Hockey season was cancelled?

Thanks for trying a few of my whacko tables :) or did he mean I was whacko?

Kristian's always a nice guy and I also miss those early VPFF days.

I bet his girlfriend is only about 22 :)


Pinball Wizard
Yeah, Randy hasn't been missing (well at least in the conventional sense ;) ) for awhile either. :D

Finland? I'm not buying it. Your english is too good. Come on, confess. You actually live in Toronto, right? :D


Pinball Wizard
I think John misunderstood me. I didn't change anything from the original interview. My answers were spontaneous so I felt it should be left as it is.

Yes, the interview took place before Randy came back and the posting rights policy had changed, that's why some of the answers feel illogical now.

PS: Bob, she's almost 27 already. Old, yeah. But nice.
PD: Ok, you're right. I'm Pincode and I'm Canadian. There's a conspiracy. :)


PN co-founder
I'll just bet Kristian is as nice a fellow as he was back in 2005. I always wondered, coming from the hockey background he does, if his avatar means he roots for the NHL Sharks?


Pinball Wizard
John... thanks for diggin' up this old interview.... I had totally forgotten about it.... I'm now married to the same girl I was dating back then and have a 9-month old baby with her.

I root for whatever NHL team that has Finnish players.... Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks) is probably my favorite... the guy is 40 and still an amazing player....!!


PN co-founder
John... thanks for diggin' up this old interview.... I had totally forgotten about it.... I'm now married to the same girl I was dating back then and have a 9-month old baby with her.

I root for whatever NHL team that has Finnish players.... Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks) is probably my favorite... the guy is 40 and still an amazing player....!!

You're welcome. I just reread the interview and enjoyed it a lot. Glad to hear you now have a family.
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