Seppo Helava

Seppo Helava co-founded Self Aware Games. He focused on creating a company that valued its employees, never crunched, built things no one had ever made before, iterated fast, learned quickly, and most of all, where people loved coming to work. He was the lead designer on Taxiball, Word Ace, Fleck, and Card Ace: Casino (now Big Fish Casino), one of the highest-grossing apps of all time, and functioned as the General Manager of the studio.

He has been developing games since 2000. While at Electronic Arts/Maxis, he created a brand-new combinatorial food system for the Sims, and he led the development of numerous pitches & prototypes while at Factor 5.

He now provides independent consulting services specializing in system design & managing company culture, with a focus on deeply understanding the differences between developing AAA & mobile games, and why approaching mobile with an AAA mindset is a fatal mistake.

He hates “gamification”, loves building things with passionate collaborators, and thinks that there are no blanket answers to anything.

Seppo graduated from MIT with a B.S. In Mechanical Engineering, where he enjoyed building robots. He’s been a gamer since the days of the Commodore 64, and loves to cook.