A Trip to Wonderland! The Nest Visits Rovio HQ in Finland

video created by Mister D, husband of E*

Some of you already know what you’re about to read, but since many don’t I wanted to share why I’ve had such a huge smile on my face the last few days. I had the opportunity to visit the sacred grounds of Rovio HQ … in Finland!!

Rovio hosted their very first Offline Event on March 13th, 2015 and invited a small selection of people to come over. The Nest was included, but unfortunately (she says with a slight grin on her face) the guys couldn’t fit the 15 hrs plus flight into their schedule. When @Birdleader asked if I wanted to go (note: I am not the traveling kind, nor have I ever flown in my life!) I couldn’t pass up such an amazing opportunity!

If not for the Rovio designer asking for two more weeks to tweak it a bit, the original Angry Birds app would have been scrapped back in 2009. This little-known fact was just one of many revealed during Rovio’s first-ever “Offline Event” in early March at its headquarters in Espoo, Finland.

I was extremely fortunate that my husband was allowed to accompany me on this amazing adventure, so off we went on the first flight of our lives to visit Finland and the Rovio HQ!

It was a sunny clear blue sky when we took off at Schiphol and even though we both discovered that flying isn’t our thing, I loved the amazing view of the world beneath us. After landing we were picked up by a taxi and taken to our fantastic hotel, Klaus K. We checked in and went up to our room and found a goodie bag filled with amazing stuff. Sweet!!!

Later that night we had a meet and greet in the bar where we met the other guests and a handful of the Rovians (that’s what they call themselves, don’t you just love that!). It was great fun to meet all the new faces, everyone was so nice!

A day of wonders!

The next morning we were picked up by a taxi and brought to the Rovio HQ, which is in Helsinki-Espoo. Upon arrival the first thing I noticed was … well … it looked like just another boring office building. I never Googled it, but in my imagination it would look like a Pigconstructed building, with lots of secret places, wood and quirky corners. But none of that, just a plain office building.

Somehow it didn’t matter at all, because once inside the fun Angry Birds atmosphere took the upper hand and the plain office turned into a playground where people are (supposedly!?) working. There was a great vibe and all the Rovians are really proud of the company they work for. Amazing really as one would expect when a company grows that the employees start to disconnect from each other and just keep busy with their own job. But none of that, as each and every Rovian I met was full of enthusiasm and pride towards what they / Rovio have achieved. Plus, they were all super excited to have us visiting and to show off THEIR Rovio.

After breakfast we sat down for a couple of presentations. Kicking it off was Niklas Hed, Rovio’s co-founder. He talked about how it all started, the bumps in the road and how they came to the creating Angry Birds. Back in 2009 the smart phone just started to become a popular gaming device, the games and the possibilities were in the early stages. Actually playing games with your finger instead of controls was something that needed to be discovered. Did any of you know that if not for the original designer asking for 2 more weeks to tweak Angry Birds some more, Angry Birds would have been scrapped?! Whaaaaaaat??? Luckily that wasn’t the case and as we all now know, the rest is history!

Next up was Heini, she presented the new Stella Pop game, which surprisingly shows that a boring bubble shooter game can be so much more. Followed by Vellu who presented Ruffle, the in-game video channel section that will be a collection of all kinds of gaming videos, walkthroughs and hopefully a lot of behind the wacky scenes of the Rovian.

The history and future idea’s for the Angry Birds Toons and Comics was presented by Jukka. Who showed us Rovio’s new idea for a new comic starring the Super Angry Birds. It looks like old school comics and revolves around superhero Angry Birds. An amazing new look actually, totally different to the cuddly colorful Angry Birds we are used to.

Next Ritva talked about some new ideas for animation and I believe it was she who announced the new movie that will be released in August of next year. We tried to get a sneak preview and some information as to the story, but their lips where sealed. Nothing worked, not even waiting for the right moment and the right amount of, um, liquor. Nothing! :( So at this point we don’t know any more about the Angry Birds movie than the rest of the world. The line up is a who’s who of Hollywood though.

After a delicious lunch Patrick & Andreas presented the new game Angry Birds Under Pigstruction, which was soft launched in Canada the week before the event. Funny side note: Internally they call the new game ABBA, because it was the Swedish division of Rovio that made the new game. The presentation was enlightening, the stuff I found ‘different’ about the game was actually intended. Like the “no extra points for leftover birds”. Their take on the new Angry Birds game is actually the joy of doing as much destruction as one can and just watch the towers come down, which, I must admit, is the overall feeling it gives me when playing. I love watching the utter destruction caused by the birds, but alas, the “Score Addict” in me wants more!

They were really interested in our input though, which was the overall feeling of my whole trip. Each and everyone I talked too showed so much interest in what I do here at the Nest. They wanted to know what the Nest is about and how they can improve their connection to the fans. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they add the bonus for the leftover birds in the near future ;)

After all that amazing information we visited the different departments within Rovio. And let me tell you, it looks like one BIG playground. Everywhere you look there is a toy, game or plush, and Rovians with a huge smile on their face. We were divided into groups and sent of in different directions. Along with Juan we went off to make our own Angry Birds Original level lead by Stefan & Kai. It was so cool to see how easy they have set up their system to construct new levels. We all got to try it out and make a level of our own, but the fact we could do just about anything created a mind block. How could we make a level in the short time we would have? Where to start, what to use, how many pigs, which birds, what structure… arggggh… it was a total bust, so no new levels for Rovio for their next update :p

Next on the itinerary was a sit down with Patrick who presented Angry Birds Under Pigstruction earlier that day. We had a chance to play the game and ask him questions. I really never got to play much as I was too eager to talk with him. As many of you already know — or just found out by the length of this article — I love to talk about my passion for “the birds” and learn new things on just about anything. I also got to talk with the executive producer of Angry Birds Seasons (and formerly Angry Birds Space) Niko.

I was keen to learn about the mystery behind certain the glitches. Do they appear without them actually knowing in advance or do they intentionally place them in the games?? Well, due to the many variables most of the glitches are indeed unintentional. One site note, when I asked him about the Ham Dunk level 4-2, its high 3-star threshold and need for the basketball glitch he started to wonder that as well. He immediately tried to find the person responsible for that level, but due to the jam packed schedule and little time we had he couldn’t get me my answer right away, but he’ll will get back to me on that subject.

Off we went to the warehouse, the place where all the Angry Birds merchandise samples are kept! It’s a TOP SECRET place so taking pictures or video wasn’t allowed. I just got a glimpse, but with approximately 700,000 different items — it was HUGE!! Aisle after aisle of Angry Birds goodies. Some produced, while others never met Rovio’s standards for products that are using their name.

It was heaven! I wanted to come back at the end of the day, browse through all the wonderful stuff then curl up in a sleeping bag and dream sweet dreams about the birds (unfortunately, they didn’t let me in after closing hours). On our way out out they gave us a ton of goodies to bring home with us. Actually, as I write this I am wearing my new Mustache Pig Sweater :-D

After a group photo and signing of the guestbook, we visited the audio department, which actually opened up my eyes ears. Hearing the sound clips without seeing the actual scene made me realize just how recognizable the Angry Birds sounds are. I immediately drifted off into to the world of Angry birds. We got to listen to the first draft of sounds in Angry Birds Under Pigstruction, as well as the final, chosen, sounds. The process is just amazing.

We even got the record of Apocalyptica Angry Birds Theme song!! Which reminds me, one of the other guest, Vladislav Orel, produces amazing stop motion videos of clay sculptures and figurines. I am sure you have seen his work before, but check out his new video of Angry Birds Aporkalyptica on his YouTube Channel. I just love all the details he puts in them, just amazing. He offered to create stop motion videos for anyone here in the Nest! Just let @vlados110 know what you would like to see him make and he will be happy to try and make it work.

We finished the afternoon with some drinks and snacks in the audio department before finally leaving the wondrous world of Rovio HQ behind. We headed back to the hotel, freshened up and got ready for an evening in jail! Yes, you heard it right, we went to prison… for dinner! The prison in Katajanokka was closed in the spring of 2002 and was transformed in 2007 to a high-class, modern hotel. In the basement restaurant, The JailBird, waiters are dressed as prison guards and your dinner plate and water cup are made of metal. The food was delicious, actually all the Finnish food was. The evening ended up in a rock music bar. By that time my brain was so overloaded and hyped up with all the wonderful things I had seen that day that we only stayed for one drink before heading back to the hotel at 1:25AM.

Time left for some sightseeing

Our return trip was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, so we had the whole Saturday to explore Helsinki! Which we did. The weather was amazing and the sun was shining. There is big center with lots of little shops on the surrounding streets and the people in Helsinki are all super friendly. It’s a place to visit again for sure (going by train and boat that is hee hee)!

Sunday was supposed to be a visit to the sea side of Helsinki before we headed to the airport, but things didn’t turn out as planned… I lost my ID card (like a passport-light for us European Countries)!!! We ended up going to the Airport early to report my ID missing. Long story short, the police was there, but wasn’t… they only handled emergency passports for the Finnish citizens. Because The Netherlands and Finland are apart of the Schengen Area we took the chance and traveled without. Thankfully, this worked out, as we weren’t checked and we got home safe and sound!

Many Thanks!

So that’s it, my PIGmazing and BIRDtastic adventure to the birthplace of the game that I love so much. This game has lead me to so many wonderful things and how I found Angry Birds Nest, the place where I found all of you! It’s such a wonderful and amazing community for those “infected” by the birds!

There aren’t words enough to express my gratitude towards Rovio for not only creating the game that started the butterfly effect of me playing it, looking for a way to up my scores and get the “score addict” achievement, ending up here in the Nest, finding so many wonderful new friends and enjoying all that I do here, up until it all culminating in being invited to the biggest adventure of my life!

I also want to thank @birdleader for playing a huge part in this butterfly effect by creating THE BEST Angry Birds community out there, for putting his trust in me by making me an admin 2 years ago and sending me off on the very first flight of my life! You got the Dutchie off the ground and into the clouds, both literally and figuratively!

I also want to thank each and everyone one of you here at the Nest. From the first time I set foot in the Nest up until today, I always see friendly faces and comments from people across the globe. Each and everyone helping their fellow Nester any way that they can and sharing our love for the birds, however angry they are.

My visit to Rovio taught me the Rovians are in fact much like all you birdies at the Nest: one big community with a heart of gold! Lastly, a special thanks to Steve and Johanna for taking care of everything for our stay! Almost sounds like I won an Oscar huh?

So here is a cheers to all the wonderful people at Rovio and all the wonderful people here in the Nest, THANK you ALL!!

Lots of love from the bird-crazy Dutchie E*

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Category: Blog

Comments (37)

Rank: Boss Hog with 12515 points
By Rowdypup (@rowdypup)

I could compare myself to @e-star too, since I went to Haiti (on a mission trip)

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By Nothing (@autobird)

Thank you E-Star!! That was an amazing experience for you I bet! And now I feel like visiting Rovio’s HQ myself, though I don’t play all their games… :(

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By burry (@furry)

E-Star, thanks for sharing your exciting story. The Nest picked the perfect flinger to represent this site.

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By karen68 (@karen68)

@e-star wow! Sounds like you had an amazing & insightful trip. Thank you for sharing all the details & the pictures of your visit to Angry Birds HQ! And how perfect you got to meet the man in charge of Seasons… :D

Rank: Avian Overlord with 15955 points
By jlz-666 (@jlz-666)

@e-star I’m thrilled that you got to experience this amazing trip. Was I worried? Ermmmmm Yep! Unfortunately you didn’t have a great start or finish but WOW the trip was amazing! I’m so happy you got to “face” your obsession and to meet the creator of seasons!!! I really can’t think of a better person to represent the nest. You played a blinder babe,I’m so proud of you!
Thank you @birdleader for letting this nervous Dutchie spread her wings……….although she’ll never fly again…………ever…..well maybe………..;)

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By E-Star (@e-star)

Leaning toward… never ever @JLZ but as always in life, one never can say never! Thanks for being my lifeline, hugs and kisses!

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By TetrisMaster (@sonic36321)

Hope you have fun, @e-star!

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By Annem302 (@annem302)

@e-star, it sounds completely amazing. And thanks too to Mister D, so we can all see inside Rovio! I love the shot of the Rovian in his comfy footwear. It is so cool that they are interested in the Nest!

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By TomPuss (@annie-leigh)

@e-star Congratulations and a big “thank you” for sharing that wonderful story, photos and video!! You’re an ace reporter, you know that? Star of the show!

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By wrw01 (@wrw01)

@e-star
What a wonderful account of all your experiences on the trip to Rovio. The video is just amazing with the music, the little arrows and all the pics.
The pig is the bed was a hoot!!!!!
Favorite pic was you on the sling shot. Your joy radiates!
The write up was spot-on and it reads and sounds like a trip of a lifetime.
Thanks kid for sharing. Your positive energy is contagious to us all.

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By Sglouk (@sglouk)

@e-star I love this slingshot “chair” (or is it a swing?)! I wish I could go there some day. If I understand, you were the only member of the nest there. Where did the other guests come from?

Rank: Master Slinger with 6640 points
By E-Star (@e-star)

@sglouk Hmm, not sure actually, but my guess that it is a “chair”, maybe Rovio should bring it on the market. Love to have one in my home!

As for the other guests, most of them are YouTubers, check this twitter of Rovio for some of the names. They came from Florida, Canada, LA, @vlados110 is from Estonia and the masked guy is from China. He is called The Face, he has an internet show, which has slightly more freedom of speech as opposed to the television, but still the anonymity is key to getting some information to the public out there, hence the mask.

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By Joey (@joeyba)

@e-star I’m very happy for you! thx for sharing these lovely moments with us!

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By Bad piggies (@bad-piggies-2)

@e-star Congratulations for getting to visit Rovio! And thanks for sharing it with us!

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By Bird Leader (@birdleader)

@E-star Thanks again for taking the leap of faith and representing the Nest at this awesome event. An even BIGGER thanks for taking the time to debrief us all on everything that happened. I almost feel like I was there myself (I sure wish I could have been!).

I appreciate everyone who has taken a time to comment here. I am sure it means A LOT.

Rank: Sling God with 28570 points
By MVNLA2 (@mvnla2)

@E-Star — Fantastic write-up and video! So glad you got to go! I’m surprised your smile didn’t result in your exploding, but then, I guess bomb doesn’t have a smile on his face when he explodes.

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By steely59 (@steely59)

@e-star Such a great experience! Thank you for your account of Rovio behind the scenes, enjoyed the story:)

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By E-Star (@e-star)

@everybody I just got in from work and to see all these wonderful messages is such a TREAT! It really brings a huge smile on my face (and you all now know what that looks like LOL) @birdleader is right all the wonderful messages mean a LOT. It was really my pleasure to write about my amazing trip and take you all with me! Wished we all could have joined up there and experienced it together.

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By RovioHuzz (@roviohuzz)

Brilliant report! A big thank you to @e-star for making an epic trip over to Rovio HQ – your enthusiasm was infectious! People are still in awe of your Hal backwards flinging skills (you stunned a few of the flock with your avian mastery).

I hope we do more of these in the future and get the Nest over again!

Rank: Master Slinger with 6640 points
By E-Star (@e-star)

@roviohuzz a pleasure seeing you here, thank you for reading my report and I am *blushing* what?? they remembered Backwards Hal?! hahaha.

I can’t say thank you enough, but gonna try anyway… Thank you for the warmest welcome into your Flock and an amazing time!

PS: Good thing I was a little shook up from the flight, otherwise my enthusiasm would have probably been lethal ;)

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By Rowdypup (@rowdypup)

@e-star did you get a glimpse of what Rovio is brewing up for us in future updates?

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By E-Star (@e-star)

@rowdypup if they did, I probably can’t talk about it as it would have been in my report right? hee hee

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By Power Pork (@abginebird)

Thanks For Showing Us Your BIRDtastic Adventure @E-Star!

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By Rat (@rat9)

@Estar You have the skills for a fall back profession with Rovio as their promotional reporter. Great report. I felt as if I was there after reading, no experiencing, your report. Great representation of the nest.

Rank: Master Slinger with 6640 points
By E-Star (@e-star)

Awww thanks Mister @Rat9 for that compliment! hee hee E-Star the reporter, who knew! I am just so happy my own words (which are definitely not one guided by rules and regulations regarding writing reports) were powerful and “me” enough for everyone that commented here, to make you experience a tiny bit of my adventures. That is kinda all I ever hoped to do with my report and with the added bonus of all the love, it is just amazing!

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By MG516 (@mg516)

@E-Star – I thoroughly enjoyed your report and Mr. D’s video. Thank you for giving me a chance to visit Rovio through your wonderful descriptions. I can see why you had such a big smile on your face. Cheers!

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By HunnyBunny (@hunnybunny)

@e-star loved the video, lived the dream, thank you xx

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By E-Star (@e-star)

@hunnybunny have to say, I am loving you short note and the ability to convey all that needs to be said to get across the message. Not one of my capabilities ;)
Thank you for reading/watching and loving it!

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By Rat (@rat9)

Dagnabit. If I’d waited until Mrs. Bunny’s post, I could have just said “Ditto”. lol

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By Rambleberry (@rambleberry)

@e-star – what a wonderful write up! Absolutely could feel your enthusiasm shining through.

I’m surprised though, that Mister D came back with you. From what I read, I thought for sure that you would have stowed away inside Rovio. ;-)

Heading to watch video now, but did want to say… so cool! What great memories that you were able to make, and share them with us all.

Rank: Explosive with 2265 points
By Rambleberry (@rambleberry)

Okay, just watched the video. Now I’m really surprised that you didn’t hide away inside Rovio!

Loved the video, how cool an experience to be able to try and make a level, am jealous, pig plush toy got to see and experience stuff I’ll never be able to. Love that pig plush. Too cute.

Said it in above post, wonderful write-up and great memories to be had.

Thank you, and thanks Mister D, for the video. You both did great! :-)

Rank: Master Slinger with 6640 points
By E-Star (@e-star)

@rambleberry I would have if I could, I could spend a whole month there and not get bored!

Still surreal to realise I got to go on this adventure and all you wonderful people loving the fact I got to go… in the big bad world things usually are so different… I know I keep saying it time and time again, but the Nest is a different breed of humans.. the kind that cares for thou neighbor fellow addict, total strangers from across the globe, but so familiar in the Nest!

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By Karibird (@karibird)

@e-star you should tell little earlier that you are coming here in Espoo.. :)

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By E-Star (@e-star)

@karibird you live there? Awwww maybe next time we can give an heads up and do a meet up with other Nester fans :)

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By moondoggie (@moondoggie)

Congratulations, @e-star! The Nest could not have had a better ambassador.

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By cconnielf (@cconnielf)

Wow…@e-star! What an amazing “birdventure” you had! It was so much fun to get your birds-eye view of Rovio (the source of my one-and-only addiction)! Well done my fine-flinging, fellow-feathered friend….now you can add “ace-reporter” to your resume. I am already eagerly awaiting news of your next far-flung adventure….@cconnielf

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By swellD (@swelld)

How fabulously wonderful

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