Ask anyone at Rovio and they’ll tell you – our people are awesome. Rovio is brimming with knowledgeable and talented mobile gaming professionals working in all disciplines of mobile game production, who come from over 50 nationalities. We’re going to be chatting with a different Rovian every week in a rapid-fire interview to get a glimpse of their life at Rovio.
First up – Shawn Buckelew. Shawn is a senior community manager in charge of the Rovio Gaming Discord server, among other community-facing roles. He got his start in the mobile gaming industry working as a community manager at Ubisoft Redlynx and was eventually promoted to Community Developer and led the Mobile Community team. Shawn joined the Rovio flock in 2020, beginning his Rovio career in the player experience team, and he has already seen many changes in how community is handled at Rovio. He has been a consummate spokesperson for Rovio and its games in the fan communities, where he is engaging with players and fans every day.
Let’s ask him some questions!
As a senior community manager, what does a typical day look like for you?
A senior community manager is someone who interacts with players on a day to day basis, bringing feedback from them to the game teams and brand teams. I’ve been primarily working as the owner and administrator of the Rovio Gaming Discord server. So my day to day is interacting with players on discord, engaging with them and answering their questions, getting their feedback about various things. We try to get players’ input any time we have something new coming out, but we just want to have open communication between the players and the game teams.
I love it when we have something new to debut, whether it’s Angry Birds Summer Madness season 3, or some new video we can share and start talking about, but there’s also a lot of talk about nostalgia on our servers as a lot of our fans are really attached to the older games. Outside of game-related stuff, we also have different events on Discord, such as Flock Art Fridays. We like to engage players and keep them active even if they’re not actively playing a game.
Which games have you been involved with?
The last live game I was working on was Darkfire Heroes, and I also helped launch Rovio Classics: Angry Birds, and I help out the Angry Birds Reloaded team from time to time with posting patch notes and things like that. At the moment, I’m working with Rovio Montreal on a new game project.
What teams do you work with the most?
I interact with the social media and brand team the most. I’m also working closely with the Montreal team. As part of the player experience team, the community and player support teams work closely together on various projects.
Have you always been interested in video games?
I’ve been gaming as long as I can remember. My family had an NES so I was playing games from a young age. I remember playing Mario Bros. with my brothers growing up. I played a lot of Zelda with my mom. My sister was a Pac-Man god so it has just kind of always been something I was interested in growing up. Then I got more into mobile gaming when smartphones came out. I got my first iPhone in 2009 and probably one of the first games I downloaded was Angry Birds.
What attracted you to Rovio?
Rovio was one of the first big companies in mobile games so they have always had a big presence in the industry. That was one of my major draw points coming to Rovio. I was at Ubisoft before and, of course being in Finland, everyone knew that Rovio was like this OG in mobile gaming, so just getting to work for such an iconic brand was huge for me. I had also heard from acquaintances about how great it was working at Rovio. But everyone knows who Red is. Everyone knows the Angry Birds brand so it was an opportunity I just had to go for. Still loving it two and a half years later.
What is your favorite thing about Rovio?
It’s got to be the people. There are so many people who work here from different backgrounds and it’s so diverse that if you have a problem and you need to figure something out, there’s always someone you can turn to who is willing to help you.
What are you most excited about right now?
I don’t know if we can talk much about it, but I’m super excited about what’s cooking in the Montreal studio. I think that has a lot of potential to be really great and it’s gonna be kind of outside the comfort zone for Rovio because it’s something we’ve never really done before. They also want community to be one of the key pillars for that game so it’s really going to show the strength of community. We were able to start working with them very early in production, which isn’t something that happens very often. It’s nice to get some time to plan these things out.
Do you have any non-video-game related hobbies?
I used to play quite a bit of baseball – American baseball, not the Finnish version which is totally different. There’s actually an American baseball league here in Finland that has been around for about 40 years so I’ve been playing with them for several years and my team managed to win the championship back in 2018. However, I took this last year off because of a shoulder injury. Before my injury I was a pitcher, but more recently I have played first base because you don’t have to throw as much.
What is your favorite Angry Bird and why?
I have to go with Terence. He’s just big and strong but he has a soft spot that he doesn’t show anyone. We also chose Terence as our Discord server bot so he’s like the protector of the server as well.
What’s something about yourself that the communities you interact with wouldn’t expect?
I think a handful of them know this, but the fact that I was in the Marines has really surprised people when it has come up. So probably that. I was in the Marines for 5 years, which is actually what brought me to Finland, as for a while I was working as a Marine Security Guard at the US Embassy in Helsinki.