Video Game Boss

At the end of a level or stage in a video game, you frequently have to fight a extra powerful enemy called a boss. I’m hoping to have at least 3 bosses in the video game that my son FWA and I (with some help from STA) are creating. All of the bosses are inspired by historical events/true stories in the lives of Finnish American immigrants from the UP.

Yesterday, FWA designed an Alpha version of a Lightning-wielding Tree Boss that the player faces at the end of the farming stage. This tree is inspired by a true story from my dad about a bad lightning storm in the back 40 field that electrocuted a prized cow. Here’s FWA’s vision of the boss (he will eventually shoot lightning bolts out of his eyes/limbs):


And here’s the story from my dad (2 minutes 37 seconds in):

A Video Game?!

I’ve decided to include a video game as part of this project. I recently received a micro grant to work on the game with my 10 year old son. Pretty cool. I envision this video game as a way to tell the story of the history of coming from the old country (Evijärvi) to the new country (UP Michigan). A key inspiration for this project is Oregon Trail. While I don’t recall playing the game in elementary school (I don’t remember using computers that much in the 1980s), I am familiar with it and the basic structure. Plus, I just played a bit of it. Here’s a screen shot from the “old-school” Mac version:

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Karelia Fever

In an interview that I conducted with some relatives, they mentioned how many Finnish-Americans from the Amasa area had been recruited to go to the Soviet Union, to the northwestern Russia area of Karelia. They were eventually killed by Stalin. I decided to do a bit of research about it, and came across this film, Letters from Karelia:

For more information, see Disillusionment on the Grandest of Scales: Finnish-Americans in the Soviet Union, 1917-1939

Elias Puotinen

Here are two random bits of information that I just uncovered about my great grandfather, Elias Puotinen. First, he owned his own logging camp in 1912 (source). Second, he sponsored a lot of immigrants coming over from Finland:

Mr. Puotinen was a prominent Finnish gentleman who was at one time manager of the Hematite Mercantile Store and, together with Matt Hurja of Crystal Falls, helped arrange for the immigration of his countrymen to work in the local mines. It is said that Mr. Hurja had agreements with the steamship lines in New York and was so well known that when men from Finland disembarked at New York, they were pinned with a tag which read “Matt Hurja”, and sent to Crystal Falls (source).

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Bonus: Also found this narrative by “Hap” Puotinen (my dad Art’s uncle/Grandpa’s brother) about logging in the UP.