Becoming a father did of course change my whole world, but also in some ways that I could not really foresee. In order to update friends and family who were far away about our pregnancy, I started a small blog called Spelpappan in 2010.
A gaming dad
“Spelpappan” is Swedish for “The Gaming Dad”, which was me playing with words – since I was at the time writing about games for the Swedish edition of Eurogamer.net, and was about to become a father, it fit me perfectly.
But something happened to me during the first months of writing weekly updates about what was happening to our little family to be. I began writing small posts about the little things I appreciated sa a kid; board games, role playing, Star Wars – and Commodore computers. In a couple of weeks I had some regular readers coming back and commenting; I understood that this feeling of newly awakened nostalgia appealed to more than just me.
Building an audience
Our son was born in August 2010, but my blog continued and both stories and new readers came to me in a regular fashion. I became acquainted with game developers and other people who still were connected to Commodore-computers and retrogames in general, and started doing interviews and more research around my stories. Spelpappan.se became a brand – which did not make me any money, but great joy.
Using my blog as leverage, I suddenly found myself in a position where I could actually contact people and the would gladly agree to get interviewed. Magazines began calling me and wanted me to write columns for them – something I had done a lot in the past – but around subjects that I really cared about and loved, which made the whole thing feel like anything but work.
What I had struck, was a gold vein where technological nostalgia meets today’s disruptive society. I was not writing about computers and processors, but about people and their stories in a world of today that heavily relies on the world of yesterday.
“So, you were playing Dungeons & Dragons when you were a kid? Where did that take you? And what did your parents think about that?”
Striding forward while glancing backwards
These stories helped me in my career, working as product owner and storyteller for startups with innovative and technological business ideas. My work with my blog and my retroarticles had me look at modern things in a different way – they had me look at disruptive trends and technology and compare it with what expired 30 years ago in my own backyard.
The whole thing also made me realize that our questions, worries, and hopes are pretty much the same today as they were then – but this time we are the parents and not the kids. But we seem to look at what today’s kids are doing with the same skepticism as our parents did – when in reality we should listen, learn, and encourage them, for they are onto what we may be not.
Cool stuff in the past that has led to even cooler stuff today
Eventually, my work with Spelpappan led to me writing a book about the Swedish generation of kids who in the 80s revolted against society with their home computers, especially the Commodore 64. I call them Generation 64 – and that story can be found here.
In 2015, I also wrote a book about the leading Swedish roleplaying publisher in the 80s, called Äventyrsspel (Target Games, internationally). They single handedly created a strong domestic interest for roleplaying games, which not only made Sweden the second biggest market for such products, but also helped creating the astonishing Swedish videogame market we like to brag about today. That story is found here.
RIght now, I’m writing a new book about the generation that grew up with the Amiga 500, the successor of Commodore 64. This book will be released in Sweden in 2017.