When it comes to gaming, the Finnish mobile gaming industry is leading on a global scale. However, you’ll be surprised to know that their gaming culture is much older than most people think. Modern Finland’s gaming culture and the source of today’s success in the industry traces its roots back to the 80s. Following the introduction of home computers, tech-savvy Finnish gamers started exploring more than just Finland gambling establishments and found a new hobby.
Many Finnish programmers started developing games for the Commodore 64 and Commodore VIC-20. It was easy to program for these computers, and a single person could create a full game, unlike today’s games which require a large team of skilled professionals. However, games were highly counterfeited, though lots of experimentation and originality were found in the games of that era.
Here are some of the games that helped shape Finland’s gaming culture and put it on the global map.
While tracing the first video game in Helsinki can be tricky, Chesmac would be a strong contender for the top position. The game was published in 1979, being a chess simulation game created for the Telmac TMC-1800. This video game was the brainchild of Raimo Suonio at a period he was unemployed. Suonio began working for Topdata after developing it and agree to have it published.
Chesmac sold over 100 copies, which was a great achievement back then, though it may not sound like anything in today’s market.
The horizontal shoot’em up game title, the Sanxion was the first Finnish video game to hit the global market. The game was published for the Commodore 64 or the kuusnepa – as the Finns called it in 1986. This title came courtesy of a British gaming company known as Thalamus and developed by Stravros Fasoulas, a Finnish programmer.
Sanxion also featured an award-winning track by Rob Hubbard, who went ahead to become one of the most celebrated early game music composers. Additionally, it was the first game to use John Twiddy’s Cyberload loading system that came with the infamous line “Hackers Fuck Off and Die”.
Uuno Turhapuro Muuttaa Maalle, 1986
Uuno Turhapuro may not be remembered as the best game in Finland’s history, but it’s a massive milestone in Finnish gaming history. Based on Uuno Turhapuro movies released in the 80s, it was the first video game licensed for a Finnish film. This game was released for the C64, and it became a huge success. That explains why many consider it as the debut of the Finnish commercial gaming scene.
UnReal World, 1992
This rogue-like RPG game has earned a lot of praise and even named among the top RPG games for PC. The game has been in development for over two and a half decades after it’s original release hit the market in 1992. UnReal World was developed by Erkka Lehmus and Sami Maaranen who have continued updating it for over 25 years.
Snake Game, 1977
The Snake game is one of the games that helped shape the current Finnish mobile gaming scene. This game came preinstalled in all Nokia handsets released from 1997, ushering in a new era in the gaming scene. It was not the first Finnish game to be available on mobile, though it was the most influential at the time and it paved the way for Finnish mobile game titles to dominate the market.