Hometown Heroes: Jamppi
Welcome back to Hometown Heroes! One of the greatest things about esports is how it brings people from many backgrounds and many places together, in pursuit of one shared goal. With EMEA and our Valorant team especially, we’ve got an international roster that pulls from many different cultures. So Hometown Heroes is our series spotlighting that through each member of the Team Liquid VALORANT roster.
This week’s entry spotlights Jamppi, our favorite Finnish initiator, who grew up in Vantaa, a city close to Helsinki. He thinks his hometown is great, but he’s also an avid traveler who loves to see new places. Jamppi shares his insights about his favorite cities so far, and where he’d like to go in the future.
Can you talk a bit about where you grew up?
I grew up in Finland, in one of the biggest cities in the capital area called Vantaa. It’s the fourth biggest city in Finland, so I grew up basically close to Helsinki, which is the capital of Finland. But I actually don’t know what makes it unique. Just a great, great place. It’s not really unique in any way.
What about when you were growing up? What kinds of things would you and your friends do for fun?
We were kids, so I think we just played outside one of my friends’ homes. We liked to play street ice hockey. Just playing outside, always — football, ice hockey… I think ‘til we were about 14. Then after that I started playing more video games.
How did you get into video games? What was the first game you ever played?
I think the first game I played — at least, that I have memories of — was called Dynasty Warriors 3 on PlayStation 2, around 2005 or 2004. I might have played something before that but those are my first memories, because I have two older brothers and they had a Playstation 1 and some PC games. I probably followed what they played. But my first memory is of me and my brother playing Dynasty Warriors 3. Then Guitar Hero later, around 2006, and I got introduced to computer games around 2014. That’s when I started playing CS:GO with my friends.
Would you say your brothers got you into video games, then?
Yeah, definitely. My brothers never played that much, but we always had at our home a PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii… we were always playing, but it was more like just randomly playing Guitar Hero or Call of Duty. They played CS 1.6 a little bit, so I also knew CS, but I never played it myself.
You went to school with fellow VALORANT pro Derke. Were video games big in your school?
No, I don’t think so. Within the school, it was just me and my friends. Games weren’t that popular in the school where me and Derke were.
What’s it been like to play against Derke now?
I remember it was 2018 when me and Derke played against each other. We didn’t know each other that much, or basically at all, but I just remember — I won [against] him in our first meeting, and during the handshake I was like, “I know this guy from somewhere.” We were in the same school for six years or something.
It’s pretty cool. I don’t think there’s many stories where people come from the same school and are professionals both playing at a high level. So it’s actually pretty nice to see — we still live pretty close, like a few kilometers away from each other, so it’s also crazy to think about how small the world is.
Does your family still live in the same place where you grew up?
Yeah, I basically lived my whole life in one place, and then seven years ago we moved away. But it’s, like, one and a half kilometers away. So I’ve been living in the same area my whole life.
Is it inside or outside of the city?
It’s more outside of the city. It’s more quiet, so I like it. There’s a river, and some places where you can just go walk, where there’s a lot of people walking their dogs and stuff.
While you were growing up, what was your favorite dish to eat at home?
I always liked eating rice porridge during Christmas. I still like it. My mom always makes it. I don’t know what my favorite dish is… just some normal food, probably. I’ll say I always enjoy rice porridge. It’s something I remember eating my whole life, at least.
What does your mom do with the rice porridge to make it so good?
She makes it with love. That’s the best way to do it.
Speaking of Christmas, were there ever any events or celebrations in your childhood or in your family that you particularly looked forward to?
Christmas was always special; you get some gifts and have some nice family time. But also, in summer — we have our summer house, which is basically in the middle of nowhere — just those times when we’re together, it’s always nice. And in Finland, we celebrate something called Midsummer, which is the longest day of the year. The sun doesn’t set that night and it’s a nice celebration. You make a bonfire and then you just watch it and celebrate with your family.
I know you said you don’t know what makes your hometown unique, but if someone were to visit and ask what they should do, what would you tell them?
To go to Helsinki.
Alright, fair enough.
Just go out of the house and there’s everything you need to know. In Finland we have this thing called the Capital Area, which basically includes three cities — Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo. And I live in Vantaa, but Helsinki is, like, the main thing. So just take the train for 10 minutes and you’re there.
What’s it been like living in Berlin now?
I love it. I think Berlin is nice and it’s very versatile; there’s lots of different cultures, which I like, so there’s basically everything you would need. I enjoy the life here and people have been super friendly.
During the off-season, what kinds of things were you doing?
Last year, I had a vacation in Turkey, which was amazing. I loved it. So maybe this year I’ll go somewhere again — don’t know where yet. I want to go to Italy, also. Or maybe after Champions, I can have a little vacation in North America, too.
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Do you like to travel?
Yeah, I think lately I’ve been liking to travel. When I was younger, I only traveled, like, twice with my family, so it’s been nice that in the past few years I’ve been capable of traveling on my own and stuff. I actually like to travel and see new places, finally.
Throughout your VALORANT career, you’ve been to a number of different cities. Which ones particularly stood out to you?
I think Istanbul and São Paulo were so different [in] how big they are, compared to Finland. Both of them, just in the city, have two or three times more people than the whole of Finland. So I like those two. Iceland was super nice — the nature around Reykjavík. You just basically need to be in the city, and you see such beautiful things. But the Iceland weather was not as good as in Istanbul and São Paulo.
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So, obviously, we’ve got Tokyo coming up for the next Masters. If you had the opportunity to decide where the next major VALORANT event would be after that, where do you think you would pick?
I have no idea. There’s not many fans in Finland for VALORANT, that’s the problem. Which place has many fans…? Places like Spain, Turkey again… somewhere in Europe, so maybe my family could come. I would say those two places. I think Spain and Turkey have a lot of fans.