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Desert Island Games: Bugbear Entertainment's Jussi Laakkonen

This week's Desert Island Games talks to Jussi Laakkonen, business development director with FlatOut creators Bugbear Entertainment, who picks his top 5 video games of all time, from NetHack through Guitar Hero and beyond - full picks
For this week’s Desert Island Games, a column that looks at the top five games of some of our favorite industry personalities, we speak to Jussi Laakkonen, Business Development Director with independent Finnish studio Bugbear Entertainment. Bugbear formed in 2000, and released the historic PC racing sim Rally Trophy the next year, before moving on to Tough Trucks, a monster truck game for PC, in 2003. However, it was the over-the-top, physics based console and PC racing title FlatOut that drew international attention to the company – the game sold over a million units and its sequel in 2006 proved equally successful. Currently, the company is working on FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for the Xbox 360, which is currently slated for release in June. We spoke to Laakkonen recently, and asked him about his desert island, all-time, top five most memorable games. Sid Meier’s Civilization (MicroProse Software, 1991): "If I were stranded on a desert island for god knows how many years, there are only few games that would stand the test of all those years. Civilization is by far one of the most intriguing, complex and time consuming games I've ever had the pleasure to play. Hey, that's great for a desert island! Definitely my top number one pick. I was a bit late to the party and started with Civ II around 1996 or 1997, if I recall right. It's the amazing wealth of combinations of game play situations. Each time you play Civ, you get "basically" the same game but it is also a completely new scenario. If you can have only a few titles with you on a desert island, you need something that offers unlimited replay value." Diablo II (Blizzard Entertainment, 2000): "Continuing on theme of games where I've wasted countless hours, Diablo II must be among my all time top. I bought it immediately the day it came out in Finland. Having your mates there and shouting at each other in the heat of the battle and racing to hoard those pickups before your friend got to them. Ah good times. The longest marathons were LAN parties with six or eight friends to play Diablo II straight through a weekend. With its randomly generated dungeons and highly polished gameplay, Diablo II would definitely keep me entertained when not admiring the sunset over the atolls of the Pacific ocean. I really like games that provide depth, randomness and a lot of replay value. Diablo II just keeps you going and feeling great about the progress you are making; I think it is how the reward mechanisms is built.. Blizzard can't get around releasing Diablo 3 fast enough!" Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec (Polyphony Digital, 2001): "The definitive driving simulator is an easy pick. Easy to get in, truly challenging to master, fun always. Definitely better for speed thrills on a desert island than running in quick sand. GT3 is truly massive, and that is part of its lasting appeal. To unlock everything you'll need a few years on a desert island GT3 A-Spec was the reason I bought PlayStation 2. I was a die hard PC gamer, and PS2 was my very first console. I believe this was in 2002. PS2 was a perfect storm taking over the console world and GT3 was the most amazing driving game on it. It was such a huge leap forward. GT4 is a great game, but it doesn't deliver the same kind of radical improvement. Perhaps the forthcoming GT5 will amaze me in the same way as GT3 did. The start of GT3 is quite boring, with having to contend with all those slow cars, but once you start unlocking the faster cars, the game just hooks you. As we had just one TV in our household, my girlfriend was getting quite upset about me playing for hours on end while her favourite shows were about to go on air! I'm not terribly good in driving games, but I actually classify GT3 more of a sim, than an arcade racer like say, Burnout. GT3 is just about as hard core as I care to play, and that's why I really enjoy it. Games like Richard Burns Rally, the outstanding GTR series or games like Grand Prix Legends are just way too hard core for me." Guitar Hero (Harmonix Music Systems, 2006): "Can I ask for a couple of 20 meter high loud speakers to go with that? Hey, it's a desert island, nobody's gonna complain about the noise! Guitar Hero transcends being "just a game"; it's the pure definition of a wish fulfilment. I might be alone on the island, but with Guitar Hero I have my adoring fans right there with me to scream over my solos in Bark at the Moon and howl at my take on Jimi Hendrix's Black Magic Woman! A few of my faves are Symphony of Destruction, Take Me Out, Hey You and Sharp Dressed Man. I definitely prefer the original. Although the sequel is all around better, the track list for GH2 just doesn't do it for me. Most of the tracks are just too obscure and the game became a bit too hard. I imported a copy of Guitar Hero a week after it came available in the US for Bugbear's Christmas party. Dude, it hit like a ton of bricks among everybody in the office. We've actually have had a few people start playing the guitar for real after exposure to Guitar Hero! I don't play, and I think it's good because I don't know for real whether it resembles playing guitar or not. The thing about Guitar Hero is that it delivers this astonishing wish fulfilment: I know how to play guitar like the best of them." NetHack (The NetHack DevTeam, 1993): "Last, but definitely not least. The grandaddy of all games, NetHack, would be there with me until the last banana and the last drop of coconut milk. Mastering NetHack and its wonderfully, weird world would take me easily well into my senior years of being a Robinson Crusoe. I'm @! I played a lot of RPGs in my teens, so imagining the world based on the story told by the dungeon master and the actions of the other players is familiar to me. The bare bones graphics and amazing complexity of the story in NetHack remind me of those RPGs. It almost compares to reading a book where you imagine the visuals. It’s the depth of it. There so much to NetHack, that it just keeps on giving."

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